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Small campervan or caravan?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by heldon, Jul 31, 2020 at 7:23 PM.

  1. heldon

    heldon Occasional commenter

    What would be best, little caravan like a tab or Eriba or a little campervan? Love hillwalking in Scotland, like to tour France,Spain and Portugal.

    Don't want to run 2 vehicles so what do you think? No experience of either?

    all thoughts welcomed
  2. HannahD16

    HannahD16 New commenter

    Camper van. Defo!
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    With a caravan it gives you the freedom to park up for a few days and then have the car to drive round in. A camper van is huge fun though. More suited for touring and moving on regularly.
    sunshineneeded and Lara mfl 05 like this.

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    Camper van. I've watched ( nervously) caravans weaving back and for in the wind etc and I'd like to think that when you're driving a camper van you only have to focus on the one vehicle !
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    If you are using it for normal day to day transport then a campervan is slower and uses more fuel than a car. Campervans can also be limited in there seating options and will not fit into some car parks.

    It is important that you match the caravan to your car - a caravan that is too large for the car is a recipe for disaster!

    However I would opt for the campervan, it is great to return from a hillwalk and be able to have a hot drink, meal and change clothes in comfort before you have to think about driving anywhere!
    sunshineneeded and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    How many people? The VW campervans look lovely but are cramped for long trips. Bigger and then you get the hassle of parking and using them day to day. Do you want a loo and shower too? On the other hand towing a caravan can be painfully slow if you want to go on long trips. There isn't an ideal solution I'm afraid.
  7. geraldbeattie

    geraldbeattie New commenter

    Have you considered renting a campervan for a few days to see how you get on with it? France is very campervan friendly, with Aires in all sorts of places. The UK less so. You will pay more on a ferry/tunnel for crossing to the continent for a car and caravan. However, a car and caravan mean that the caravan can be left on your pitch at a campsite while you go off and explore with the car if you want. There are loads of camping blogs that are out there outlining people's experiences of both. Also quite a few caravan/camping forums which will provide even more viewpoints. Caravan and Motorhome Club, Camping Club, Ukcampsite, etc. Bear in mind Eriba caravans are expensive, both new and used, but will last for an awfully long time, due to their build quality. They can be quite cramped if you happen to be 6 feet plus tall, but so do small campervans. Hope you find the solution for you, but I am afraid that there is no perfectly right or wrong answer today, and the answer may also change with time. Best wishes.
  8. heldon

    heldon Occasional commenter

    thanks for all the replies, have thought about the campervan. The thought of having to drive about in it all year puts me off a bit, also wouldn't fit in my garage. Really like the teardrop tab caravan which is quite small, but an awning would double the size, it's only 800kg so could be towed with a small car as well! Need to think over the winter and do the research along with the plus and minus list!

  9. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    For walking in the mountains (Inverness) i know a couple who have a camper van and tow a little car behind it. The camper is their accomodation while the car gets then right up to the start of their walking routes which would be inaccessible to the van. Its not a cheap option but it's their life.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  10. mustntgrumble

    mustntgrumble New commenter

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    I am taking my venerable folding camper out for a few nights this week. I have had it for 27 years and it has spent many summers in France , Ireland and all over the UK. I have never had an issue with snaking or difficulty towing and it stores away in my garage. With a fairly average car you cannot really feel it when you are towing . One issue is that it does take an hour to get fully set up once you arrive on site (that's just me on my own setting up). I have a separate toilet/shower tent so can camp at minimal facilities sites. The other issue is packing away in the rain, which is a pain, so I tend to only use it when the weather forecast is reasonably good.
    Camper vans are pricey and , even with a stand -up awning, room is very limited unless you pay a lot. The new, lightweight caravans seem a good option and have far better year- round capability than a trailer tent or folding camper.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    One of my Uncles had a campervan which he parked on site and used a small motor cycle to get about when there. He used to disappear in October to Portugal for 6 months.
  13. NCSexton

    NCSexton New commenter

    I grew up with a caravan and dad made me learn to tow and park the thing as soon as I could drive; good points the living accommodation tends to be more spacious than many vans and you can leave the thing on site and drive off in the car. I have a LWB Ford transit campervan; its good points include not being such a pain to reverse, easy and quick to stop and set up -- but once I am on-site I am a bit stuck. It is not a huge van but any smaller and there would have been no bathroom. I do have a car to run around with the rest of the year.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. Prim

    Prim Occasional commenter

    You could tow a smart car behind a camper van and use that instead?
  15. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    Have you driven either before? If not I would suggest that you try hiring. There will be no ideal solution. How often will you use it? Have you costed the options against simply paying for accommodation?
  16. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I think that your initial question, raises further questions:
    Do you intend to holiday at the same place/a small range of places for prolonged periods?
    Do you intend to tour - eg moving on every one or two days?
    How comfortable do you want to be?
    How comfortable are you with performing day to day, indoor, activities in a very confined space? (eg cooking, washing, dressing, cleaning, toileting!?)

    From a driving perspective I would only be happy driving around in a small campervan (eg VW campervan - split screen please;)) on a daily basis. Anything bigger is too cumbersome to navigate around small/narrow roads. In addition, every time you 'set out' in your van, you have to tie everything down and pack away to prevent it all spilling out/over/onto the floor. Don't forger that every journey - to the supermarket, local shops, local attractions has to be in your campervan.
    For a long term holiday, I wouldn't like the restricted size of a small campervan and might want to intersperse an eg 14 day holiday with a night at a hotel/Travelodge every few days.

    Driving a caravan is more cumbersome, but with a stabiliser, the risks of swerving around are greatly minimised and motorway driving at a consistent 50-60mph is relatively stress free

    I would personally prefer a caravan as, once you have arrived, you have a larger space to live in and more home comforts. You also have the freedom and ease of every day driving using a car, which is easier. I would be happy to move on every 5 or 6 days and do a longer tour on this basis.

    If you have a drive on which to park your caravan, you could also use this as additional sleeping space at home when family come to stay.

    If you don't have a drive, you would need to factor in storage costs at a local storage facility (not sure how much this is, but when I had a caravan in the 80's, it was about £150 a year).

    I wouldn't even bother with a teardrop caravan. Trendy, yes, practical, roomy and comfortable, no. I would go for a minimum 13-15ft caravan.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  17. heldon

    heldon Occasional commenter

    have been holding off with this as we are still able to do backpacking and cycle touring trips staying in our little tent. I hope to get another year or three out of that if the body stays strong enough. We quite often throw a big tent( for us) in the boot and take off to have a base camp somewhere and we may stick with that combination for a while. I also don't make decisions quickly and like to try and hold on to the idea of trekking and cycle touring for as long as possible as they have been the trips which I really remember and feel proud of.

    However, I can see that sometime in the future the idea of a camper or caravan might be attractive. I do like the look of the tab and all the write ups seem to say it is very well made. If you add an awning it would double the space, which would seem like a huge space to us. I also like the idea that you don't need a big vehicle to drag it around and have to drive that all year as well. Lots of thinking to do for the future I think. Thanks for sharing all of your ideas and thoughts.
    Treacle3 likes this.
  18. Treacle3

    Treacle3 New commenter

    Yeah, I still regularly go camping in my 2 man hike tent for a maximum of £15 a night. Great flexibility and so easy to do. Meet up with likeminded friends around the campfire/firepit for beer and fun. Personally, I wouldn't bother with either a caravan or camper van. Use all that money instead to have great holidays of your choice e.g. luxury cruise, 5 star hotel in the Maldives etc. instead of "over complicating" your life and towing a "house" around with you. Have considered buying a holiday apartment abroad but rejected it for the same reasons. Stress free retirement is the way forward:)
  19. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    As an aside, what would be the average nightly cost for, say, a 15ft caravan at a decent site with shower facilities and electric hook-up?
  20. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    How much would a cruise cost? Or a trip to the Maldives? £1000? For 2 people £2000?
    You could get a decent second hand caravan for between £5000-£10000, so, for me it makes better financial and practical sense. On top of that, I’m just as happy holidaying in UK as I am overseas, particularly with Covid.

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