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Campervans (not Motorhomes), who's got what and why?

Started by Bustergrunt, November 02, 2016, 22:52:52 pm

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Bustergrunt

We're looking to buy a Campervan, compact and bijou, i.e. Mazda Bongo or Toyota Regius, as we will be travelling single track roads and tight spaces...
Who has got what make of Campervan and which recommendations please...
I must get out more...

steamysheep

Often wondered if they are big enough to have a toilet in them  . Fancy one for the bucket list for roadtrips
Keeping my chin up!

British Victory

My cousin's husband, who's a kiwi bought a vw t 4 or 5. they use it to transport their bikes and selves (obviously) to the north of Italy.
I'm fairly certain it has 4wd and is a diesel. Does 30 ish mpg.
Basically used for overnight stopping and is painted in an awful purplish colour that looks like a mobile bruise.
Has kitchen, bed but no karsi.
there's only one f in RCMF,
               John

Bustergrunt

Quote from: steamysheep on November 03, 2016, 22:11:59 pm
Often wondered if they are big enough to have a toilet in them  . Fancy one for the bucket list for roadtrips


Toilet... that's one of wifie's requirements...portaloo is fine
I must get out more...

Steve Lewin

I have a WildAx van conversion built on a Fiat Ducato hightop which I guess is bigger than you want. But it does have all mod cons including a toilet, shower, gas heater, fridge, cooker and one thing I really like, an underfloor LPG tank that saves faffing about with gas bottles.

And since it's basically a delivery van there aren't that many places it won't go. I bought it years ago when I was towing my race cars around the circuits but it still works well for me now.

Steve


Michael_Rolls

BG
Don't worry too much about the ability of motor-homes to cope with minor roads - before Veronica's increasing disability forced us to reluctantly sell it, our Autotrail Cheyenne coped very happily with the grotty little lanes very much in evidence up here. Can't remember the exact dimensions, but near as dammit, 21' long, 10'6" high, 8'6" wide.
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Michael_Rolls

Oh, and of course, at that size, two nice single beds, proper toilet (Portaloos are bit disgusitng), shower, 4 ring gas hob, grill, oven, gas heater, fridge, etc. We also added a cheap microwave (about £25). All in all, very comfortable
Do be careful when checking beds - some of them are suitable only for midget contortionists!
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Michael_Rolls

Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Bustergrunt

Cheers for the info. We are not looking for a Cheyenne sized vehicle yet, but our investigations and prep are pointing us towards a Campervan at this juncture.
I must get out more...

Cary

Nissan Elgrand is what I have. Great for the model transportation, towing our caravan but also great for weekends away! Mine is not converted but I do know people that have got them done. It has the capacity to carry 6 people in high luxury but the centre rear seats swivel to face backwards and the full rear seats rise out of the way forming a "van" type space in the back. Alternatively the centre and rear seats can be flattened to form a large double bed! The vehicle is very well insulated so does not get as cold as our caravan! I have seen these fitted with a kitchen, rise up roof hood, portaloo, gas and water storage!
Cary
I'm gonna fly this one day!!

meharibear

Personally I would not buy a very small van if you intend to sleep two people in it.  A Ducato based panel van conversion is usually the best answer to civilised but compact campervans.  Try to get on with a high roof though as I have a neck problem after stooping for a number of year in a standard height one  Murvi make some excellent vehicles but only in penny numbers so they are quite hard to find.  One of their advantages is that they often have "across the van" sleeping arrangements which are very efficient in use of space.  I had a 1996 Ducato based Murvi Meteor for a number of years - my son still has it and apart from the low roof issue it was great.  Now I have a 1999 La Strada Mercedes based Sprinter with a high roof and shower compartment.  Very much better for my back and neck but perhaps bigger than you are looking for.  Follow this link and click on the bottom of three test report links to see a test on a van identical to my old Meteor.  http://www.murvi.co.uk/meteor-road-test/
Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.  (Terry Pratchett)

keithl

If you can wait until next summer, why not kill two birds with one stone, go to a few model shows, and take an early evening stroll round the campsite, chatting to people and having a look in their vans?
Warning: objects in the mirror may be close than they appear (or I'm creeping up on you from behind)

meharibear

Good suggestion from Keith L - I will be at the Old Warden shows and (if it happens) the NATS as a minimum!  There are so many stupid practicalities to take into account when buying a small van - Some of which you won't care about and other which suddenly become very important indeed!

For example, in some small vans you suddenly find you cannot open the fridge if the bed is out.  For some people this is almost "life and death" because they must have that early morning cuppa before getting up!  Others are quite happy to rise and put away their bedding and fold the bed away first.

Also consider if you are going to be a fair weather camper only or do you need heating etc  Don't consider a van with a "pop top" if you want to use it in spring or autumn as they can be much colder than a "solid" one!
Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.  (Terry Pratchett)

half throttle

Quote from: meharibear on December 07, 2016, 14:18:34 pm
Also consider if you are going to be a fair weather camper only or do you need heating etc 


You WILL need heating! Look at a Gaslow system too, no more bottles to hump about. All IMHO of course.
'Concerning myself with the reasoning processes of your cerebral cortex is notably absent from my tables of consideration at this juncture'

Michael_Rolls

As HT says, heating is an absolute must, regardless of everything else. It is amazing how cold an uninsulated (relatively speaking) van can be.(or any other vehicle - I still remember trying to sleep in an Anglia on a cold autumn night in the Highlands!)
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Bustergrunt

I must get out more...

Bustergrunt

I have previously borrowed my brothers small Campervan for the "Nats" over the previous 3 years...Wifie came along for the last time and so enjoyed it we decided that we would get our own.
The van we used was a Toyota Granvia and it suited our needs, with a tent to stow my planes when camped up.
We fully intend to go larger I.e. Coach built upon retirement, but the idea of driving to the lakes on a Friday night for a stonkingly long yomp on a Saturday morning without the drive over early doors is what we are looking for, rather than spend weeks away at this stage.
I must get out more...

Michael_Rolls

And campervans/motorhomes are absolutely ideal for that sort of outing, and also when you wake up in morning, see that it's a nice day (it has been known to happen!) and decide 'let's spend the day at wherever'. Although some folk see them as one and the same community, the 'van users tend to have a different mindset to caravan users - just different, not better, not worse. Not many caravan owners go to the lengths of hitching up, etc, just to spend perhaps six or eight hours somewhere attractive.
OTOH a caravan and tow car is more convenenint for staying somewhere for a while - you can leave eveyting in the caravan and tootle around in the car
Of, course, the ideal (to my mind) is to have a 'van with a towed car - probab;y the best of both worlds
Mike
Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

The Beakmeister

Personal preference is a VW T5 , you can pick up a reasonably priced Long wheel base and have it converted at one of the many specialists, rock and toll bed, cooker sink ,etc, it will still be cost effective, Go for diesel, you can then use somthing like the Eberspacher night heater, a thermostat central heating system used on trucks, that will keep you cosy ! Engine wise have it remapped for economy,, tht had mine returning 40 plus mpg on a run, I also fitted cruise control, it also makes the pick up much crisper so car like acceleration is easy and top speed is sufficient to loose your license  if you are daft enough to keep the go pedal pressed down.
There are only two types of model aircraft, those that have crashed and those that are going to crash !

meharibear

On the heating front, don't forget that most sites include electricity in their rates these days so if you carry a cheap radiant electric fire it costs you nothing to run it in the van!!!  Make sure you get one with an automatic cut off in case it is knocked over though.  They are very cheap.
Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.  (Terry Pratchett)

keithl

Possible problem with a VW Transporter T4/T5 is the lack of height inside.  I've seen a couple based on high top short wheelbase transit that overcome this, and the advantage of a transit is the availability of parts.
Warning: objects in the mirror may be close than they appear (or I'm creeping up on you from behind)

tom gaskin

Have a look at the Autosleeper Trooper vans. They have a fully insulated elevating roof that gives you standard van driving, with sensible head-room when you setup.

Tom

kinverflyer

We are now running our second converted camper, the first one I bought, an old Fiat Ducato old school bus, this was bought as the practice vehicle, we ran that one for a about 3 years. The second one I bought was an LDV LWB Maxus ex private ambulance, main criteria is they must run on Bio diesel, converting waste cooking oil makes them very cheap to run.
An on board heater is essential, I went with a Eberspacher 24v, much easier to get and cheaper, runs off two 12v batteries, connected in parallel for the van and series for the heater. Has a wet room with toilet and shower, water heated via on board water heater powered by external 240v supply which be either a hook up or generator. Most of the campers internals fridge, cooker, oven, sink, cupboards, wardrobe came from a donor caravan, swivel front seats ( from a Ford Galaxy). For long stays away we have a drive away awning which links up to the sliding door. The double bed is across the vehicle, not ideal if you are over six foot, but far more practical, access can still be gained via the rear doors, the table has a floor fixing which allows you to lift out the center leg, the table itself can either be used as a two person table or extended to accommodate 4. If you are looking to spend at least a couple of days in it then if you want to be comfortable then a LWB hi roof van is the way to go, the modern vans drive just like a big car.

Bustergrunt

I must get out more...

meharibear

Swivel front seats are a must in my opinion - Otherwise in a small van you are wasting at least 20% of the space!  However, make sure you understand how the seats swivel - sounds obvious but, for example in my current van I have to open the doors a fraction whilst I rotate the front seat through 180 degrees.Not really a problem BUT the drivers seat in mine needs to be in the driving position and fully forward before I erect the bed.  In my previous Ducato based Murvi I did not have this limitation.

You also need "Silver screens" to insulate the glass (as distinct from double glazed plastic) windows at night.  The external ones work better and keep you warmer BUT obviously can be wet from rain or dew when you need to pack them away - more swings and roundabouts to negotiate!

Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.  (Terry Pratchett)

Bustergrunt

Well, Wifie and I have committed to a VW camper...non blingy more functional type and I'm ready for the Nats 👍
I must get out more...

Bustergrunt

I must get out more...

Michael_Rolls

Properly trained, a man can be a dog's best friend

Phil_G

May 15, 2017, 10:52:15 am #28 Last Edit: May 15, 2017, 14:57:13 pm by Phil_G
Thats really nice BG, is it a T6? 
Been watching this thread with interest, I've decided to sell my coachbuilt this year & get a small camper,
I just dont get to use the big van enough now I'm on my tod.  I'd much prefer a VW but I'm looking at alternatives to the standard rock'n'roll bed, ie singles either side and 'corridor' access from the rear. It has to be a tailgate, not doors as I find that massively convenient and I already have a rear awning.   Lift-up lid, portaloo storage, Webasto heater, & swivel front seats are all must-haves. The engine doesnt interest me as long as it has one  :af

If its ok with you I'd love to hear a bit more about yours BG, the layout, who's conversion it is, facilities...

Ta v much  ;)
Phil

Bustergrunt

Swivel front seat (double) check
Tailgate check
Heart check
Portaloo check
Heater check


Just now got to get all th the essentials, such as electric hook up cable etc etc
I must get out more...

keithl

Quote from: Bustergrunt on May 15, 2017, 21:39:25 pm
Just now got to get all th the essentials, such as electric hook up cable etc etc

Hook up cables are expensive from camping shops.  Blue 16A plugs are a couple of quid each end from B&Q or amazon, and any length you like of suitable cable - minimum of 2.5mm2.
Warning: objects in the mirror may be close than they appear (or I'm creeping up on you from behind)

pheasant_plucker

May 17, 2017, 11:17:01 am #31 Last Edit: May 17, 2017, 11:20:51 am by pheasant_plucker
Aldi had hook up cables the other week, It might be worth a look to see if they have any left.
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Gerry
Senior Administrator

The man serving me in the canteen said "Look, You can see the face of Jesus in the Margarine" The Asian guy next to me replied "I can't believe it's not Budda"