Musing over which type of van to go for

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    Hi all,

    I have just joined the forum and can see there are some seasoned campervanners out there so hoping to draw on your knowledge and experience!

    I was brought up with VW campervans but that was a long time ago! Now looking to get my own van (doesn’t have to be a VW) for weekend breaks with my man and/or my 7 year-old son and hopefully longer trips during the school hols once I get into the swing of it.

    Will sadly have to part with my wonderful ’93 Mercedes estate when I do buy – so I’m used to a good drive! This means the van will be my sole vehicle – and will be parked on the roadside (UK).

    A friend has recommended I get a pop-top for convenience of parking etc I presume. However I am also seduced by the idea of having a loo and even a shower on board! But clearly I don’t want to go too big. I’ll also need two rear passenger seats with proper three-point safety belts (or the ability to fit them) so I can carry people in the same way I would with my car. I don’t use my car that much actually, but enjoy the convenience and thought I’d get a lot more out of having a camper.

    I’d welcome opinions on:

    1: Pop-top versus high-top?
    2: Van types to look at – I’d like something practical, reliable and fairly easy to maintain as I won’t have knowledge/time for mechanics, though I don’t mind smartening up the interior a bit.
    3: When to buy – I don’t want to rush into something and thought I’d buy off-season when prices may not be hiked, but that’s no good if nobody sells their van at that time!

    Oh, lastly, I don’t have a big budget!

    I really welcome all advice and am excited about my search.


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  1. Many thanks for the prompt
    Many thanks for the prompt and valuable advice Darren, that all makes good sense. Actually I’m not sure yet what I’ll be doing more, camping just the occasional weekend or for longer stretches, so in the light of your comments I might be better off going for something smaller and then trading up at some point if necessary.

    Appreciate it!


  2. Hi M
    The big choose is the

    Hi M

    The big choose is the size of van. This really depends on who you will use the van.
    If you use the van occasionally for camping, more regularly for just driving then go for a small van like a VW transporter. Pop top is generally the best for these, but some have a high-top. If occasionally camping you wont mind the smaller space inside, and the reduced headroom. You’ll love the maneuverability of the smaller van when driving.

    If you will use the vehicle for mostly camping, especially for longer period, i.e. more than a weekend, get a bigger van. You’ll love having the extra space. Driving a bigger van occasionally is not a problem. The high roof is great for long camping periods.

    You can get a porta-potti in a smaller VW van. You need a bigger van for a shower though.

    For maximum reliability you have to go for Mercedes. Sprinters are the mid/big vans. Very reliable. They also do bigger truck type vans. VW are also reliable. Fiat/Peugeot/Renault and others are very popular, but not as reliable. But you will pay more for the van if buying German.

    Buying off-season is cheaper, but only buy a big amount if you do a lot of homework.
    Some good buys in summer as well though. Take your time and look around.