So how do you choose the right camping vehicle for you? It could be anything from a micro camper like a converted Doblo, a sexy VW campervan, a super-comfy coachbuilt motorhome or an RV fit for a celebrity. Dave Hurrell, a freelance journalist and well known motorhoming expert who also writes for the ever-popular MMM Magazine, has been campervanning in one form or another since the 1970s and has pretty much seen it all, So I asked him to share his wisdom on how to choose the best camping vehicle for you and your camping style…
Q: So how did you get into camping/campervanning and what sort of vehicles have you had along the way?
I guess travel is rooted in my DNA. Both my parents loved camping, caravanning and owned motorhomes for most of their retirement. I was already sending off for caravan and tent brochures aged 10!
What was Your Favourite Vehicle?
A fave vehicle is difficult to choose as each was bought for a reason. I’ve owned 11 and just about every type going. One of my favourites though, is the VW California. Built, end-to-end by Volkswagen, it is, in my opinion, one of the very best of its genre.
Q: So What are the questions we should be asking ourselves before we buy a camping vehicle?
Really, only the advice I always give to people I meet and at my presentations. The first is to do plenty of research, The second is make a list with must-haves at the top, descending to the ‘wouldn’t it be nice ifs.’ Remember, there’s a huge choice of layouts and types and every motorhome is a box of compromises, so you must know pretty much what you’re after before you look at specific models. if you’ve not been motorhoming before, try before you buy. If you hate it, you’ll only have spent a few £100s not lost thousands when subsequently, you sell. And finally, buy the smallest ‘van that suits your needs, motor caravanning is about enjoying the journey – the driving – as well as the camping. Oh, one more thing, a capable kitchen would be a must.
I love cooking in and outside the ‘van and have recently started getting into Dutch oven cooking. This traditional cast iron pot cooked a Christmas turkey to a turn, sitting on coals, with more on the lid.
Q: What is your opinion on buying a ready-made camper or converting your own van from scratch?
There are two reasons for choosing a custom-built ‘van: saving money and getting exactly what you want. If you convert a used vehicle yourself it can work out to be very inexpensive and you can, within reason, have just the layout you want. Even if you have it done professionally, there’s a good chunk of money to be saved using a low mileage used vehicle. An all-new ‘van is unlikely to be cheaper than a mainstream model, but again, the interior and specification can be built to your specific needs.
Q: If money was no object, what camping vehicle would you choose and why?
Ah, the million-dollar question. I’d probably go down the custom build route, the vehicle would be created to be a comfortable and versatile as possible: things such as four-wheel drive, automatic transmission, climate control – I might get very carried away if I could tick all the boxes on the options list without worrying about the cost! It would be as small as possible though, the thing I love about travelling in a ‘vans is the ability to go anywhere I fancy; narrow lanes and farm-type campsites included.
Check out Dave on YouTube or you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He offers writing, photography, editing, video and stage presenting, all connected with motorhomes, campervans and travelling.