What outdoor adventurer doesn’t dream of having a home on wheels? Having the freedom to leave on a whim and go wherever the open road takes you. Campervans and wanderlust are a match made in heaven.
And campervans come with a lot of advantages. You can store most of the things you need inside. Unlike using a tent, you don’t have to spend so much time setting it up and packing it back in when it’s time to leave.
If you’ve been thinking about how much more fun road trips would be in a campervan, you may be considering buying one. That’s probably why you’re reading this article. But there are a few things you should know beforehand. It’s a fairly sizable financial investment, and you want to be sure you’re making the right choice.
If you’re planning on trying out the van life at some point in the future, most experienced campervan owners will tell you to start simple. Maybe you’ve spent weeks and months looking at fancy conversion vans, and there are endless upgrade options like bamboo countertops, solar panels, and drop-down beds. But you won’t know what you need until you’ve used the van for a few camping trips. Space is limited, and you don’t want to spend your hard-earned cash on things that you only thought were useful from lack of experience.
You can first rent a few campervans with the features you think you’d like and see what it’s like. Then you can buy the simplest van you can find and upgrade it as you go. It will be your passion project customized to your precise camping style and needs. You’ll be surprised how much you can do with some moldable glue like the kind you get from https://sugru.com/.
Ultimately, the point of going camping is to spend time in nature and live a more simplified life, not to make your campervan as luxurious as possible.
How Much Space Do I Need?
You’ll most likely want to get the biggest campervan you can afford but remember that it’s not just the purchasing price. You also have to think about the running costs.
Instead, it’s better to choose the van’s size according to how much space you need. You’ll first want to consider how many people will need to sleep in it. If you’re traveling alone or with just one other person, it shouldn’t be any problem. Most campervans can accommodate two people. However, once you start adding kids, you’ll need to get creative. If you want to go the DIY path, you can build an extra sleeping spot. The easiest solution would be to just keep an extra mattress or foam pad in the back.
You can also get a van with a bench that converts into an extra bed. Just keep in mind that you need to find a balance between having enough sleeping space and living space.
How will you be using the van? Even if it’s just for two people, if you need to carry a lot of sports equipment when going camping, then you’ll need something bigger.
Then you have to think about how much time you’ll be spending camping. If it’s for extended periods, you might need a kitchen area with a hob and a sink.
Should I Get a Built-in Bathroom?
You can get a campervan with a bathroom, which includes a toilet, sink, and shower. But this will take up valuable space, so you need to think about whether you really need it. The convenience is nice, especially when going camping with children, but you can also make stops while driving, and while camping, you can use a portable toilet.
For more privacy, you can put up a tent at the back of the van and place the portable toilet there.
When it comes to showering, you can also pack an outdoor shower. This will allow you to save more room for other things like storage space or an extra bed.
How Much Storage Do I Need?
Your storage needs will depend on how many people you’re going camping with, for how long, and how much gear you need to take with you. If it’s just you and one other person going away for the weekend, you won’t need to bring that much stuff, so you don’t need to allocate so much room for storage.
However, if you go on a family trip for a week and want to bring equipment, you may have to either DIY or go to a company specializing in customized campervans. When creating adding storage, pay attention to how easy to access it is and, once again, remember that you need to leave enough sleeping and living space.
Buying a Used Van
When it comes to campervan shopping, you have three main options. The first one is to buy a brand new campervan equipped with everything you need. This is the easiest but the most expensive option. The second option is to get a second hand. The third option is to buy a regular van and turn it into a campervan. The second option is by far the most popular, so we will discuss it in more detail.
Just like when you’re buying any type of used vehicle, you want to make sure it’s worth the asking price. You expect some wear and tear, but you have to inspect it to see if it’s in relatively good condition and there are no hidden issues. You’ll first want to check the vehicle history to find out if it’s been in any accidents and if there are any problems with the title status.
Then you’ll want to check the exterior for rust patches and similar problems. Look under the hood to check the engine for leaks. On the interior, look for signs of water damage and check behind everything to make sure the beds and cupboards are not masking any damage that the seller hasn’t informed you about.
You should also check the wiring, gas system, water tank, and safety equipment. If everything seems in order, take the van to a mechanic to inspect and road test it before closing the deal.