A Guide to Living in a Camper Van

Living in a camper van or motorhome is a cheap and convenient way to see lots of locations. If you are looking to explore in comfort then it is a great option.

I lived in my camper van for 9 months, and loved it. My vehicle was a converted small Mercedes Sprinter which I converted into a camper van. I spent almost all of my time free camping, with occasional visits to camp sites when in built up areas, and also in rural areas to refresh water supplies and empty toilets, etc.

I travelled in France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal from September to June. I had no problems at all. I know free camping in these areas is more difficult during June, July and August as the police do not like too many people taking up car parks when there are lots of visitors to the beaches.

My camper van looked like an ordinary van from the outside, and so did not attract much attention.

But, If I were going to spend a lot of time living in a vehicle I would consider buying a motorhome as these are more comfortable. But a well converted camper van can be just as comfortable.

For a long period of time I would suggest that you have a wash room, with a toilet and perhaps a simple shower. Toilets are easy to empty with occasional visits to campsites, but showers require a lot of water to be carried. You can generally let the waste water just run onto the ground, but you may have to collect the water if you intend to camp on hard surfaces such as car parks.

If you intend to spend time in northern Europe, or anywhere else that is cold uring winter, I would suggest a heating system of some kind. There are special camper van/motorhome heaters that live outside of the vehicle, run on diesel, and pump heat into the vehicle. These take a bit of work to fit and make some noise with their diesel engine. A simpler option is to get a gas heater that sits on top of a gas bottle, but you need to have some sort of ventilation in the vehicle such as an open window, to allow the burnt gases to escape. You should also insulate the vehicle to ensure that the heat stays in and the cold stays out. Also thick curtains that fit the windows well will keep a lot of heat in.

I would consider a high-top vehicle necessary, to allow standing all of the time in the vehicle. During bad weather, which could last several days, you need to be able to stand comfortably and move around.

Having at least a small area where you can walk around is also good for stretching legs. Typical VW layouts, with the seating across the van is not good for living in a van, and is really only meant for weekend use.

Expenses can be kept to a minimum with free camping, limited driving and buy stocking up at supermarkets. LPG is cheaper to buy in large quantities, so having large gas bottles means you can save money there.

Electrical power is also a consideration. A vehicle for living in should have a good 12v electrical circuit. You would need 1 or maybe more leisure batteries. These should be charged when the engine is running, as this is the quickest way to charge them. Also consider solar panels which will provide a small amount of power during daylight hours. If you need lots of power, for a TV or laptop when consider having several leisure batteries. If you will be free camping away from other people you can get a generator to provide 240v electricity. Wind turbines, like those on yachts, can also provide reasonable levels of 12v electricity, but they can be expensive and need to be taken down from the roof every time you drive the vehicle.

Good things

You always have your home with you

You don’t have to plan your day looking for accommodation, or end your day short because you need to find a hotel.

You always have a form of transport

You don’t have to use public transport. You can drive where you want, when you want. If you are exploring a lot of locations you will save lots of time and money by not using public transport. You do not have to get up early, or wait around for a public transport connection or flight. If you do not like somewhere you just dive on. If you do like somewhere you can stay. You can save lots of time this way

You can stay in beautiful locations

Most campsites are situated in lovely locations, and many have great facilities. However, if you are keen to try free camping (wild camping) then you can stay, for free, in many beautiful locations. There are few things better than watching the sun go down at the beach, and then wake up in the same location in the morning. All just by stepping out of your camper van or motorhome.

Ability to carry possessions

With a camper van you can carry much more than if relying on public transport for a trip. This is great if your trip will incorporate sports such as surfing, wind surfing or cycling.

Bad things

Security

Camper vans and motorhomes are easy to spot and are a target for thieves. If you are careful you can reduce the chances of theft or damage. Stealth campers can help greatly in making your vehicle ‘blend in’ to the normal traffic.

Initial cost and maintenance costs of the vehicle

Of course you have to purchase or build a camper van or motorhome, and these generally cost a lot of money. However you can trade in your existing vehicle. If you sleep in the camper van you will save accommodation costs and on a long trip this will work out much cheaper than using public transport and hotels. All vehicles need maintaining, and this can be expensive. Careful driving and good maintenance will keep your costs down.

More difficult to drive and park than a car

Camper vans and motorhomes are bigger and generally more difficult to drive than a car. All modern vehicles will have power steering, big mirrors and more expensive models will have reversing sensors or cameras. But the vehicles are large and require a good deal of care. High or wide vehicles will be limited to where they can go. Many car parks now have height restrictions. There is always somewhere else to park, and pop-top models get around this problem.

A problem when visiting islands

If visiting islands for a day or more taking a vehicle is often not an option. Sometimes taking a vehicle on a ferry is expensive, and often not an option. This can be overcome by finding somewhere secure to park the vehicle and then relying on public transport. Secure parking areas are available in a lot of areas. It is worth asking at campsites if they are able to store the vehicle for you during your separation from it. Campsites often store caravans for people.

Toilets and showers

Most camper vans and motorhomes do not have toilets and showers. This is because they take up a lot of room inside the vehicle, toilets can smell and showers require a lot of fresh and waste water be carried. Bigger motorhomes tend to have a toilet and a shower. It is easy to add a portable toilet to a camper van, but storing it is often a problem, and it will almost certainly smell. Most people tend to use campsites at night, which have showers and toilets. It is normally easy to find a toilet in any area where there are people, even at the beach. Cold water showers are available to most popular beaches in Europe. Whilst cold water showers are not ideal they are free. Solar showers are an option, and it is easy to rig up a simple shower for outdoor use with a camper. Most people rely on campsites and beaches though.

  1. For a few months I have been seduced by van living, partly because I am fed up of paying high rent and being stuck in 1 place.
    As I am investigating this option the idyllic pictures on the internet on glam rv life seems far away as regulations here(belgium) are so strict; parking, sleeping in parked rv, domicile registration etc.
    So the idea of simply spend a few days in the country would be illegal…
    Not so fab to park in line in low cost car parks.
    Second idea is to travel as a single woman in europe, especially with the inflow of illegal immigrants and violence/rape increase!
    Any women solo travellers here?

    Reply

  2. Somebody above in the comments mentioned copies of important documents – All you need to do is open up a DropBox / Google Drive or Onedrive account and stash scans of your passport/birth certificate/whatever you need up in there.

    I personally have all my references, driver license/blah blah stashed away behind a password. Has saved my ass on more than one occasion.

    As a fairly seasoned camper – you want to have:
    A portable toilet, a second battery (12v auto), a dual-charging system to feed the second and your primary battery and a 1000W inverter for mains power on the go.

    Forget the advice about dry/canned food – That’s obvious – Nothing will make you feel more like a confident member of the human race after a week away from your last shower than: Wet (Flushable) wipes or a damp washcloth for those areas we prefer not to mention.

    Reply

  3. (sure power) & (solar) wiring van for off grid living
    hello, can use any info on how or who (or) were I can take my unity to be wired

    Reply

  4. John O'Connell June 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    A Travelling Life
    I’m 60 years old with Terminal Cancer and Pulmonary Hypertension. I need a Vehicle which will suit my 6’3″ frame. I prefer sitting higher than local traffic but I also like a vehicle I can take into most car parks. I no longer have any meaningful strength or stamina. I need advice on the type of Vehicle I could live in here and abroad. I’m Ex Forces so am used to “Roughing it” but……….

    Reply

  5. Living in a van when you sixty
    Hi, I purchased a Nissan Elgrand recently, it already has a fridge, sink and leisure battery system installed. Also has pop up roof with room for sleeping and I plan on installing an inverter so I can run my microwave etc…Where would I be able to find a twelve volt tv/DVDs player in the uk also has anyone used the twelve volt shower system. I am single woman with three very small yorkies and would love to store what I want to keep and live in my van for a year or two. I would like to connect with any other ladies who have done this or are thinking of doing it.

    Reply

  6. I would like to turn an x
    I would like to turn an x trail by Nissan into a camper, any ideas. I cannot put carpeting down because I have chemical and fungal sensitivities.

    Reply

  7. I would like to turn an x
    I would like to turn an x trail by Nissan into a camper, any ideas. I cannot put carpeting down because I have chemical and fungal sensitivities.

    Reply

  8. Jeremy Cruickshank July 27, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Stealth vans
    I am not sure that stealth vans are the answer as thieves are not fools. If they do think your van is a standard commercial vehicle, they may target it to steal tools and other valuable items. It’s no coincidence that many commercial vans in the UK display a notice in the rear window: ‘No tools left in this vehicle overnight’.

    Reply

  9. Janette Taylor June 14, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    money matters
    what about finacial and what about address if u have post bank if you lose your credit cards etc

    Reply

  10. Solar showers
    Hi guys, I saw someone mention solar showers. Does anyone know of someone wanting any? I am In the forces and have been given a large quantity of them.

    Reply

    1. I would love some solar
      I would love some solar panels for my small stealth camper van, how can I get in touch with Ryan?

      Regards
      Jon

      Reply

  11. Living in a camper van or motorhome
    Hi all,
    I always wanted a motorhome but due to the price I was not in a position to do so until I went through a divorce and my dream came true, I bought a Autotrail 4berth for £46000 which was a year old with 6000 miles on the clock and lived in it for two and a half years and have to say they were the best times of my life and only sold it to start my own business and needed the money to set it up, my family thought I was nuts but it was so comfortable that would recommend it to anyone and intend to do it again one day as I traveled around a lot and saw the country so go for it folks and enjoy.

    Reply

    1. Hi Phillip
      Hi Phillip

      What a great adventure. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply

  12. Kos from Greece August 31, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Hi guys, just today came
    Hi guys, just today came across the website trying to find some info and ideas to improve the car for weekends this winter.
    I’ve been doing free camping for the last 12 years (tent) never done camping sites as here in Greece people are very close in camping sites (I don’t know how it is out there) and when I’m going camping its because I want to be close to nature and not people [there is enough people in Athens that I live 🙂 ]
    Well this summer me and wifey decided to mod the car and try to spend our holidays different this time, by driving around Peloponnese (west side is the best part guys +if anyone needs info I can help you out),we did nearly 1 month on the road.
    I’ve got a Peugeot 307 3door hatch, took the back seats out, cut a mattress (12cm thick for good nights sleep) exactly the shape of the car and separated so I could fold the front seats and unfold the mattress and do the opposite to drive . Thrown the necessary gear on the roof box, clothes / 12v shower / folded chairs and table and went off… Stoped anywhere we liked the spot, enjoy the day at the beach and go sleep in the car at night, the next morning after breakfast we moved to the next spot and every day the same thing, needless to say that if we decided to do the same thing and staying in a hotel (especially with the kind of views that we had right in front off the sea) it would cost us at least 2500€ in accommodation only. We spent 650€ and enjoyed it!! 😀
    Now we are thinking of doing some weekends in the winter but we come across some difficulties… We’ll get our around them though 🙂
    Nice to come across this website and thank you guys for the info

    Reply

  13. Molly from Windsor UK August 21, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Conversion currently in progress
    Hi, came across your site this morning while having breakfast, nice and informative.

    I too am fed up like most here paying high prices for rent, when house prices seem to keep getting out of my reach, so instead I bought a bus, yes a bus, a hopper bus, a 18 seater which is now just 2 seater bus. Windows all round, which by Tuesday will have 8mm security mirror reflective film on. The bus’s name is BURT cos that seems to be one of the destinations on the board so all the neighbours said to keep it as it suits this old bugger (not me). I plan to live aboard for probably 9 – 16 months full time, I am self employed and my renovation company that I run will still continue, so having to give some serious thoughts to electrics powering laptop and wifi to answer enquiry emails.

    So far have gotten down to the removing the horrible vinyl and finding that its only ply lined on the chassis, so have bought myself a Karcher K4, chassis cleaner, POR 15 rust prevention paint and a black top coat. New boards will be laid on top, was considering fibre glass as a base just to stop water ingress, but if I treat the marine ply carefully and fill all edges with epoxy resin and surfaces with yacht varnish, plus put a bitumen layer underneath I should (fingers crossed be water free), sounds good in principle and should work. Hope to get a website going with all the news and restoration. I’ve got a bespoke carpenter/joiner onboard, plan on doing some bespoke cabinets, a captains bed with portholes. The obvious things before furniture comes in is to insulate, so on the ceiling which is currently carpeted will use armaflex 18mm, the sides will have 200-250mm foil backed roofing insulation (yet to be fully decided what brand, but may as well be expensive, then having seen many articles about vapour barriers will put a vapour barrier around. The floor will be duly insulated too, probably 250-300mm then ply on top of that and again varnished, then carpet tiles ontop of that for ease of cleaning – have a springer spaniel and she will have muddy paws! Debating this morning about toilet and shower, have the external stuff like a shower tent and shower materials, may get a solar panel for it though so its nice and warm. Thule have a new awning out, its a Quickfit awning, looks good to put up for one person, yes has to be one person and must be easy, they say it only takes 15 minutes – cool and just the job for breakfast outside. Debating on the diner still whether this will be another pull out bed or even a rock n roll bed, not sure. I’ve got the space for it all. My grey dull office 4 drawer office filing cabinet was painted up by some local spray company and will be the kitchen larder and utensils holder. I’ve bought some nice lime green items from John Lewis to compliment the off white colour scheme inside with some jazzy colours. The 110Ltr fridge has been bought, a compressor one Waeco, sitting in the middle of the lounge room. Next things to consider are the security, I know I want some good locks – I’ve got air compressor front doors as you can imagine and a rear side exit door, T bars on the front door, but exit will have to be strengthened may get a mobile welder over to install some strong steel plates into the insulation areas so I can add locks and chains or whatever I source on the interweb – isn’t it so great now having the web to source items, either on ebay who I am a great fan.

    Well I don’t want to overshadow this website with my current conversion, so adios and good luck everyone, if you see BURT the bus around, give me a wink and a hoot, I shall be going up and down the UK. He is currently red at the front and has a grey behind!

    All the best.

    Reply

  14. want to travel west in canada
    my dog and I want to travel west in Canada to get away from life, I am over 50 and fed up. I think a van would be ok. Just pull out the back seats, make a box for a bed with storage under for clothes, back wall where the tail gate opens make a cupboard for microwave, hot plate, bbq mini fridge, roof rack for storage, ladder on side to get to storage, solar panel to run kettle and radio, curtains on window for privacy, generator for heat its still very cold here. But the small tent trailers under 24 ft looks just like home but are expensive. I don’t want to pay for a camp site because it would double the cost after paying for a tent trailer. Can I just pull in the bush or a lane way off the highway out of site and park for the night. any advice for a first timer on her own.
    I can’t take much more I need to get out.

    Reply

  15. Living
    Yeah I’m a student entering my 3rd year and have managed to save the funds to buy a camper this coming summer and have decided to buy a van and travel initial for the summer break and who knows may stay in it when I get back. I have a gym membership so shower and indulgence won’t be an issue, can’t afford accomodation so bring on the free wheeling xxx

    Reply

  16. Campervan Toilets.
    I read with interest the difficulties of getting a compact loo that does not smell and has no water or chemicals slopping about when you are travelling.

    If you have a look at Popaloo this could solve a lot of your problems…Water,Chemical and Smell free..

    It’s something we all have to do..but it’s a lot nicer with a Popaloo.

    Reply

  17. van living
    Iv been living in my van in leeds west Yorkshire since may 2013 after spliting up from the girlfriend and having no where to go I brought a vw lt 46 thats been converted to a camper iv fitted a 100 watt solar panel and have a 1000wat and 2000 watt inverter. now going in to my first winter so will see how I go on with the cold. I enjoy the life living in a van and something I thought about for years.

    Reply

    1. van living in Leeds
      Christopher – I’m interested to know how you get on. That’s not an easy climate to be running around in – what have you done about insulation and heating? How are you getting on finding places to park? Any specific difficulties you have had to overcome?
      Good luck with it!
      Phil

      Reply

  18. van living
    Iv been living in my van in leeds west Yorkshire since may 2013 after spliting up from the girlfriend and having no where to go I brought a vw lt 46 thats been converted to a camper iv fitted a 100 watt solar panel and have a 1000wat and 2000 watt inverter. now going in to my first winter so will see how I go on with the cold. I enjoy the life living in a van and something I thought about for years.

    Reply

  19. Envy!!
    Would love to have the balls to go and live this kind of life. Fed up of paying rent and all the things associated with modern living. Seriously considering this way of life and I suppose if I don’t try I wont know….watch this space, I may be talking to you all shortly!

    Reply

    1. If you do it, you’ll find it
      If you do it, you’ll find it so much easier than you think.

      Reply

    2. You will never regret trying.
      I live in mine to fund my adventures
      Fab lifestyle
      https://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/eedel/2/1493742625/tpod.html

      Reply

  20. Hi, have really enjoyed
    Hi, have really enjoyed reading the comments and learning about other people who are thinking along the same lines as me. I have been thinking seriously about a bit of stealth living myself but have one main concern…not having an official address. I have no family or friends that I would feel comfortable in asking for this kind of help so need to know how i would get around this problem? My main worry is the things like where you would have your driving license registered to, and your bank account, and what do you say to any employers? What is the address on the vehicle docs? I don’t want to let these worries spoil a unique opportunity to explore and live a simpler life, (and hopefully save a bit of money up in the process!) Can anyone put my mind at rest?

    Reply

    1. Hi
      What country are you in?

      Hi

      What country are you in? There are options to work around this, typically getting a temporary address via a company that provides such as thing.

      You need insurance that allows you to live in the vehicle, which is available.
      Your employer does not need to know, unless it directly affects your ability to do you job, which is very rare.

      Reply

    2. Worries of life on the Road
      I have also been wanting to live on the road and just have a free life. It’s sounds fun and exhilarating. But, like you, I also had many worries of where my license and address would be registered and I started researching on the internet. I found this website and it is VERY VERY helpful. Hope you enjoy it.

      http://www.today.com/id/33618582/ns/today-money/t/living-road-full-time-it-right-you/#.UswhzxXnaM8

      Reply

  21. Adventures are afoot!
    Hi,
    I have really enjoyed reading the travelling stories on your site, I read them aloud to my partner as he scours hundreds of ads on the web looking to buy a used camper van. He and I are fully intent on heading out across Europe to escape both the bitter North England winter and the massive heating bill that is inevitably follows. My Partner is a singer – usually entertaining in pubs clubs,at weddings etc. so we are hoping to get him a little work whilst on our adventures – has anyone done anything similar? if so, please share,
    happy camping all :0)

    Reply

  22. Mobile Bathroom
    I made a video about going to the bathroom, and keeping everything clean.

    Here it is.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQWzdLyi9fg

    Reply

  23. buying
    hi guys, iam a hungarian/eu citizen and would like to buy a motorhome/campervan in the uk. my question is , if i want to keep the english number plate, i have to have an adress in the uk?

    Reply

    1. Hi. You don’t need a UK
      Hi. You don’t need a UK address. You can use a EU address when buying the vehicle. After you have bought it, you send off the registration document (V5 form) and they send a new one to your address.
      To keep the UK number plate you need to have a MOT (vehicle inspection) every year. This has to be in the UK.
      You also need to pay for Tax every year and have insurance.

      Reply

  24. I’M Looking to buy a camper
    I’M Looking to buy a camper van, to travel with my son and dogs, never ever done this before, got to buy one yet,all I know is that I want to see England, and see cornwall and scotland,I can drive well, but I do not not how to use it, how to work the toliet,shower or cooker, what do you hook upto ? can I just pull over somewhere and cook a meal, in the camper van, how would the cooker work, what makes it work, what about the toilet and if I want a shower,and charging up the battery, there is so much to learn, but so want to do this, does anyone have a guide for me, my husband died 4 years ago,I just want a lovely long hoilday, 3-6 weeks, as I’m a beginner, any one can you give me advice please, kind regards

    Reply

    1. Hi
      It’s all a lot easier than

      Hi

      It’s all a lot easier than you think.
      Driving is just like driving a van, but more fun.
      The toilet, shower and cooker are straight forward, and you’ll work it out, or have someone explain it to you at the right time.
      You can stop and pull over anywhere you are allowed to. Such as a car park, lay-by. Just be mindful of private land.
      Cooker typically runs from a gas bottle, which you replace when it’s empty.
      The battery charges from the engine.
      The best thing to do is get a friend to help who knows about camper vans or caravans.

      Reply

  25. Must admit its something I
    Must admit its something I looked into when my marriage hit a rough patch. Now it’s something I like to read up on so should the worst happen £2k and a bit of time will see me living/loving life in a van and weekend fishing trips aplenty.

    Reply

    1. It’s quite a nice lifestyle.
      It’s quite a nice lifestyle. Especially if you can contain your interestes in the van, such as your fishing kit, bike, etc. Great when you move around the place as well. Especially in the warm weather.

      Reply

  26. Living full time in a motorhome or converted van
    both myself and my wife have been thinking about living full time in a camper van or a motorhome , Is there a book you can buy that gives you all the proses and cons about living this way. we our both in are mid 50s and would like to travel around , we are both semi retired so we would still have to find a few days work here and there . it would mean giving up our council flat ,We will save about six to seven hundred pounds a month , can anybody please give me any advice… Fed up living in the rat race ??? Thank you and good luck to all fellow campers/full timers…

    Reply

    1. Useful link for longer journeys
      You’d not go far wrong following some of the tips left by these guys:

      http://www.europebycamper.com/

      They’ve been travelling for ever and have so much information the mind boggles.

      Reply

    2. Living in a camper van..
      Hi,
      My husband and I also have the same idea, also in our fifties. Since we bought our converted camper van we have been out and about every weekend and have camped out over night at various locations. It`s such an adventure being self sufficient and having the freedom of the road, to go anywhere the whim takes you and to sleep snuggley with rain beating down on the skylight. It would be heaven to live in The Hobbit, that we have affectionately named our van,` Unfortunately we still have work commitments,
      But, someday ……………

      Reply

  27. that sounds great, do you
    that sounds great, do you have any pics to post up?

    Reply

  28. secure gated parking plot
    I decided enough was enough with all the money I was paying my lovely landlord for the priviledge of living in a shared house with 5 others. I was showering at the gym everyday and eating most of my meals at my job so was starting to wonder why I was commuting back to my tiny bedroom every night just to sleep. I work in the city of london EC1 and decided to buy a small van and make it comfy to sleep in. I didnt like the idea of moving about and parking up on the streets so I checked out the gumtree ads for parking spaces.. there were tons of places offering secure spaces, even within gated developments for around £100 per month. I actually found a place that was a secure underground car park close to barbican and managed to knock the guy down to £75 a month. The great thing about this was that I saved on insurance costs along with road tax. The van was pretty cheap and just managed to chug along into its parking spot. A good friend allowed me to store my things at his place and even collect what I needed any time. Actually I am haveing a much better nights sleep in my van than I did when I shared as there is hardly no noise after 11pm at night unlike the room I stayed in I could hear people chatting and moving around. I dont plan to do this forever but for a few years and save a chunk of change is a smart move I feel.

    Reply

    1. Sounds like a really good
      Sounds like a really good idea to me. Well done. I hope all goes well, and you save a good deal from it.

      Reply

    2. secure gated parking plot
      Any chance you can share this location , possibly chat by email ?
      This is exactley what i need ! In fact if anyone has this info please let me know.

      Need to reduce costs asap !

      Thanks

      Reply

  29. Is it legal to stay for two
    Is it legal to stay for two months in a trailer/tent thing on my friend’s driveway? They have given permission and we will only sleep in the trailer. I have not seen it but its big I think it has a comfy double bed in. I am sure the neighbours in the cul de sac will complain (they complain about cars parked in their space) so I am a bit worried, I am more concerned that there are no laws or by laws preventing it. We will be homeless for 2 months and it seems the only way to do things.
    Thanks

    Reply

    1. I think it probably is
      I think it probably is illegal. One can park a caravan or campervan on ones own driveway. But if anyone lives in that parked caravan or campervan for more than 28days of the year (not in a row, just in total) then you need planning permission to allow then to live in that vehicle.
      Surely the same will apply for a trailer tent.

      Reply

  30. living in vans
    so guys and gals can someone please tell me the best why to insulate the van , i have a t2 vw and am planning to live in it once shes on the road in a few months. the summer im sure will be fine and i have a stove and sink to go in. But how do i keep the cold out in the winter ? any ideas experiences or dont do greatfully recieved . thanks and good luck to all

    Pedro

    Reply

    1. Re. Insulation
      There are any number of methods from bubblewrap behind your ply lining to fully self adhesive purpose designed insulation options (which are expensive!).

      What ever you do, remember that condensation will still be forming behind whatever is warm to the touch and will rot anything and risk starting rust spots where you can’t see them.

      A good option is to simply carpet the sides and roof, you’ll not get too cold and it’s able to dry out quickly if you get a warm day!

      Happy travels.

      Reply

    2. Insulating van
      The best method is the slab polystyrene sheeting you can get from places like B&Q, the 2 inch or so thick stuff. Cut to fit, then glue in with the spray foam can, cover with decent plastic film, to proof if from condensation, then cover with thin plywood. If you like you can get cheap carpet offcuts to glue onto the plywood.

      Reply

  31. hi, thanks for an interesting
    hi, thanks for an interesting article! solar cooking is an excellent way to cook food without wasting fuel or heating up your kitchen. we especially like dehydrating fruit, bananas and mangoes turn out great!!

    Reply

  32. hi, thanks for an interesting
    hi, thanks for an interesting article! solar cooking is an excellent way to cook food without wasting fuel or heating up your kitchen. we especially like dehydrating fruit, bananas and mangoes turn out great!!

    Reply

  33. hi, thanks for an interesting
    hi, thanks for an interesting article! solar cooking is an excellent way to cook food without wasting fuel or heating up your kitchen. we especially like dehydrating fruit, bananas and mangoes turn out great!!

    Reply

  34. camper van toilet/shower
    hi, anyone im going to be traviling in a camer van soon and how do i change the water, get more water and get fresh water

    Reply

    1. Hi
      The easiest option is to

      Hi

      The easiest option is to check into a campersite every few days, and empty the tanks and topup with water.
      Also across Europe there are Aires, special service stations for campers.

      However, if you intend to avoid campsites, this is what most people do.

      Fuel station
      When stopping for fuel as them if it’s OK to empty the toilet into theres, and fill up with fresh water. Most (outside of the UK) are happy to do this.
      For waster water, either let it run onto the ground, or empty the tank onto some waste ground or over a drain.
      You can also find a manhole cover and empty your toilet into it.

      Reply

      1. how to
        hi thank you for your reply, but also do u know how change the batteries and charge them up

        Reply

        1. You only need to change the
          You only need to change the batteries if they are not holding their charge anymore. A vehicle battery centre should be able to change them for you.
          I suspect that your vehicle already charges them. They are various ways to charge them. The most common being with the engine running, but also solar panels, and a hookup charger.

          Reply

  35. Wild if not furious campervanning!
    We have travelled throughout UK and Europe, rarely visiting campsites – except in Holland where anti wild camping is strongly enforced. Put pride aside and have an old ‘van. There are many advantages: less likely to be targetted by thieves; less worry about narrow roads and branch damage; simpler engines that can limp along til you/someone can fix it; more fun in adapting it to your own requirements- the list could go on and on. While the ‘hippy’ lifestyle is associated with older vans try to avoid that image; we have had a knock on the door from a curious landowner who was more than happy that we stayed for a night once he saw a conventional older couple.

    There are directories for wild camping but develop a ‘nose’ for it. NEVER CAUSE AN OBSTRUCTION, try places that are unoccupied when you want to put your head down like industrial estates (often a source of water will be found)

    We have driven an old Merc to the extremes of Greece twice and would recommend it.

    I don’t know how this site works exactly (e-mail is private) but I would happily share experiences/give tips to like-minded people who would like to be sitting near a beach in the med as we are now.

    All the best

    Reply

  36. I lived in a nissan vanette for 6 months in west london
    I was so sick of paying rent so I purchased a little red stealth van. I worked as a supervisor at my local leisure centre and had the keys to the building so had permanent access to the facilities but I only went in at night in emergencies.
    I used a pee bottle at night and on days off and use public toilets if I had to do a number 2. That was the worst part of it. I blacked out the rear windows, put a curtain across the rear of the cockpit. I started with a camp-bed and blanket but it got so cold in winter with icycles on the ceiling I got a matress and sleeping bag which could withstand -15degrees and was super comfy. I used a little camping gas stove mainly for tea and coffee. The laundrette was just around the corner. I rented a really cheap lock-up where I kept most of my larger posessions that I didnt want to get rid of such as my guitar amplifiers, stereo, tv and at least I had somewhere to put things when I needed to.
    It was stressful trying to find new places to park because I was keeping it secret from my friends and family that I was living like a gypsey. I parked by the forest, in laybyes, residential areas always moving around so I wouldnt be noticed.
    I saved so much money in such a short time and managed to get enough for a deposit for a house now Im the landlord.

    Reply

    1. Wow great story. Glad it
      Wow great story. Glad it worked out OK for you. An inspirational story for this trying to get on the property ladder.

      Reply

  37. Campervan Living!!
    Aaaaww Dan sounds so sweet!! :), yes it certainly looks like you’re enjoying your new life in the campervan. Oh it’s nice, unusual and like you say you’re saving with it!!, not being offensive to landlords but many of them are greedy and now it’s done away with at least one bill!!!. It’s something i’de love to do, maybe go travelling a bit in one (bit of a globetrotter)! and it sounds quite cosy!!. Nothing wrong with being a bit different!!. As for a forum or group it would be nice but feel free to email me anytime!. If you get back i’ll post my email addy!.

    Reply

  38. am loving the independence..
    I recently got made homeless very suddenly and thankfully enough had a mercedes 308d camper which i have been able to use. I have a new carpet fitted, with underlay,yuasa 75ah leisure battery which i got down scrapyard for a tenner 🙂 a 10w solar panel and charge controller which works nicely, apart from that i use bottled 5L water containers and am yet to purchase a 12v tv/dvd (many out there look on ebay) i have 3 12v strip lights on ceiling and a 12v jvc hifi system along with 300w inverter- i am currently parked opposite a hotel & i am a member of their pool etc which means nice sessions in the pool and jacuzi etc when needed. I do feel a bit self conscious wondering what people are thinking of my new life but at the end of the day im living well within my means and am able to save money & thats quite cool! More to spend on the van and things that matter to me rather than £500 a month to live in a shared house student style giving all my heard earned money to some greedy landlord (Which is no way for a grown man!)
    Would be nice if there is a forum for people like us living in our campers so we can interact – if anyone knows of one please let me know!

    Reply

    1. I don’t think it’s fair to be
      I don’t think it’s fair to be calling a landlord greedy because they rent out their property.
      At the end of the day they have to pay for the property maintain it and usually make no profit.
      We are going to be living in a van to just enjoy life and travel but we have a house.
      We either need to sell it which could be difficult or rent it out.
      You need to remember living in a van for some people is out of the question and they are happy to pay rent.
      Good luck.

      Reply

      1. ‘landlords dont make profit ???!!!!!!!’
        Landlords dont make profit ???!!!! Take it from that if you do let out your house you are only going to charge rent to cover the mortgage payments if that’s the case ????

        Good luck to guy living in his camper van – At least you are working to pay for your OWN roof over your head instead of working to line someone else’s pockets (which the property is usually in poor condition and not worth the high rent charges and most landlords do as little maintenance as possible anyway). landlords DO make profit otherwise they wouldn’t bother with the letting game at all.

        Don’t agree with this comment and the guy doesn’t ‘need to remember’ anything ! He was just conveying his situation and how financially free HE now feels and if you had read his post would have seen that this has not happened out of choice.

        Reply

        1. You are a joke
          You are a joke

          Reply

    2. i’ve replied above
      i’ve replied above Dan!!…hope all is well in the campervan!!

      Reply

  39. Lucky, you’re living my dream!
    Hiya, I’m 17 and am planing on trading in my motorcycle, and buying a camper van to live in! i’ve already planed my first lands end to lands end trip! Good luck to you! (Dream van: VW T2/T1)
    More likely van: VW T25

    Reply

  40. Easy Van Living Larry September 10, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    I Love the Idea of Stealth Van Living
    I think alot about the best way to modify a van to be practical enough for camping out in the country or at a state park, but stealthy enough to hide out in a big city for awhile. That way I could work in the city for a month or two and earn more and then go someplace peaceful with hiking trails, fishing, and natural beauty. It looks like it’s a fine line to walk, but if you can figure it out, then you have an awesome lifestyle for very little money.

    Reply

  41. Thanks for all the info
    Hey Darren, thanks for all the info you have put on this site, me and my gf are off around france and spain on the 1st Aug, starting in Cornwall (where we live – Penzance) and see how long we last out there aaaaaaaah

    Not too sure on this free camping, havent heard much about it, are they easy to come across????

    Reply

    1. Hi Sharkus
      Great to hear

      Hi Sharkus

      Great to hear about your trip.
      Free camping is great. France has special areas where you can park, which are generally free in winter.
      Spain and Portugal is good for free camping. Just ask the other campers when you get there.
      See the Free Camping Guide:
      https://www.campervanlife.com/camping/free-camping

      And also guides to Spain, Portugal, etc. which have information about free camping in some towns
      https://www.campervanlife.com/locations/europe

      Have a great trip!

      Reply

    2. Alan Beazeley July 9, 2014 at 11:34 pm

      camping
      FREE CAMPING. IS WOT IT SAYS, LIKE A BEACH, FIELD, ANY WERE, AWAY FROM OTHERS, IUSED TO DO IT WHEN I LIVED ON MY NARROWBOAT, find some were out the way, get tent out, or just sleeping bag, do wot u want,

      Reply

  42. converting a small car
    Hi
    I am planning on converting a small car such a nissan micra to replace my rented room which costs £500 a months in London and I only go home to sleep, had enough of paying someone elses mortgage, time to save money, I plan to sleep in the car for a year, having a gym membership that I can use anywhere in the city (for shower, toilet, and basic washing, cooking is not important, nor storing food, as my job takes care of that,

    Question is a highly efficient sleeping bag and enough layers ok for winter, or do I need some sort of heating. also how do I insulate the car?

    thanks
    mat

    Reply

    1. Hi mat
      I would consider

      Hi mat

      I would consider getting a small van, rather than a car. A smal van such as a Fiat Scudo (or Peugeot Expert or Citroen Dispatch which are the same van with a different name) costs about the same to run as a car but will give a lot more space. Their diesel engines are very economical.
      In winter you will definitely want a well insulated vehicle. Insulating a car is difficult because it is not designed to be modified. By having a van you can insulated and modify it much more easily.
      Take a look at these small van conversions for some ideas.

      http://cornishben.smugmug.com/gallery/1300612_GCcgb#61206429_YN9hz
      https://www.campervanlife.com/galleries/537/6469
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/rick_barnes/2629556644/in/photostream/
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157600218078354/

      Reply

    2. Full Timing In London
      Hi,

      Did you survive winter?

      We are trying to find a London parking place right now, would love to hear your stories??

      Thanks

      Ray

      Reply

    3. sleep in the car
      hi your car is allready insulated against cold,a good expensive sleeping bag is a must,also a good pillow,ensure you can lie your seats fully back,and ensure that you have a new higher amp battery fitted,which will mean u can run ur radio and heater when needed,a small kettle camper stove and a 5 litre water holder with a pan or two can easily fit your boot and means u can have a brew when u feel.security////ensure that all doors are locked when sleeping but leave a window down enough for ventillation,but not enough to fit a hand in,keep your keys in your pocket and a heavy object near by in case of any problemsa large spanner would sufice,also it might be worthwile having the windows tinted,if u have a parcel shelf remove it as this creates more room.if u only use your car occasionly u might consider swapping on gumtree for a small van etc/it may sound alot but the crash bag cooking gear and a battery and window tint film will come in at around £150,2 days rent in london,i did this for a year acroos scotland with no probs good luck.

      Reply

  43. campervan hire Australia April 12, 2010 at 1:27 am

    some more camper tips
    Living in a campervan is a lot different from traveling through a campervan. Living in a campervan is not for everyone. Living in it is a huge decision. Although traveling is a string attached to it.

    Begginer’s guide: train yourself to be responsible. You don’t wanna live with all your stuff blendid altogether. You will also need to adapt to the backpacking life and build stronger legs while your vehicle are restricted on some areas.

    Reply

  44. Insurance
    I am planning to live in my van but i can’t find insurance for traveling in europe – can anyone recommend any companies?

    Reply

    1. How long do you intend to go
      How long do you intend to go for? Months or years I am assuming?

      Reply

    2. Alan Beazeley July 9, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      van insurance
      Try carol nash, I use them for my motorbike and car, they include breakdown, eu cover, 100,000 insurance cover , home start, etc, all in with the price at no extra cost

      Reply

  45. My Stealth Van
    I have a LDV Maxus LWB Xtra High Top. It has Full electrics with plug sockets and a CTek charger (enabling a charge to the leisure battery whilst driving). Double bed (fitted width ways)with the dog ‘house’ underneath, storage, microwave, small cooler, Digital TV and computer. Fully carpeted by myself and of course insulated !
    Also, a 1000w inverter for minor electrical needs, electric blanket and night lights.
    I decided to get a 2.8kv generator, also, which enables me to ‘hookup’ when far away from others!……..it powers everything I need.
    I now live in it full time with the Labrador. I work part time…Mon-Thurs…..and get away for a long weekend …every weekend!

    I visit a local pool/sauna twice a week for a full relaxing degunge….and have a shower everyday at work.

    The toilet is another issue. I do not want to cart around a chem toilet because of the smell (and it takes up too much room0 …so I use a 99p bucket from Wickes…lined with a thick ‘black bin liner’ and add chemicals before tying up and disposing of thoughtfully !! Not the best solution but it does work.

    My van is a stealth van with only two mushroom vents in the roof.No windows so can park anywhere.

    I also have a two ring gas hob which I carry in the back with my extra water and tools etc……I love it 🙂

    Reply

    1. Sounds like a great van and a
      Sounds like a great van and a great way of life.

      Do you find the bed long enough length ways in the van? How tall are you?

      Reply

    2. I think it’s awesome how your
      I think it’s awesome how your living and saving money. Dropping out of the rat race so to speak. Ive thought about doing something like this someday when the kids are grown. Email me sometime i would love to hear your personal advise as well as the pros and cons to using a van compared to using a combination pickup truck /slide on camper.

      Reply

    3. Sounds ideal!
      Sounds ideal!

      Reply

  46. thank you for your
    thank you for your information good luck in your endevours

    Reply

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