Camper vans - PoloGirl
Mum and dad are both retired, and having done a few far flung trips since quitting work a year or two ago, they're keen to see all the places in the UK they haven't been to yet.

Dad's got his heart set on a camper van, and mum seems to like the idea too. I got excited at the mention of camper van, thinking of a cute VW one that I could steal/borrow, but apparently you pay a premium for a VW one so dad's looking at others. Today he looked at a Bedford one, I think.

Anyone any experience of buying camper vans? What to look for? Common areas of concern?

Thank you!
Camper vans - DavidHM
If it's a Bedford it's probably nearly as old as you!

How much do they have to spend?
Camper vans - PoloGirl
Oh, now you're asking. I've tried not to show too much interest so far! Knowing my dad, less than £10k?
Camper vans - DavidHM
£10k in the camper van world means something that's into its teenage years unfortunately.

So if you can imagine everything that you would look at when buying an L-reg Mondeo plus everything you would look at when surveying a house - water under the carpets, leaks, dodgy furniture, etc...

I'm no expert on camper vans as you can probably tell but frankly the idea of spending £10k on one frightens me, mitigated only by the fact that no matter how bad it is, you can probably still sell it on for £9,500.
Camper vans - Altea Ego
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Camper vans - Baskerville
I was just thinking the same thing. Those things last forever (tubular steel frame rather than wood) and generally don't leak even at 20+ years old. The smallest, the Puck, is the same size as a VW camper van with the cab part chopped off. You can tow it with a 2CV. They are not cheap by caravan standards, but a lot cheaper than a camper van. The older ones (1980s and older) are now appreciating.
Camper vans - mrmender
I 've had a few camper vans in my time all at the lower price scale VW type 2's good but getting old, expensive and they are very small
For 10k you'd be suprised what you can get, but your dad is looking at the wrong time of year. I would start looking around october and bag a bargain in December/January
I would recomend a older Renault Traffic (Check gear boxes) or VW T4 transporter, I don't recomend the older Peugeot/Talbot based vans as they tend to be rust prone
Going back to your dads budget it all depends on what creature comforts, and who did the Van conversion. Some convertors carry a higher price than others
Camper vans - OldHand
Buying LHD can net considerable savings, better specifications and if you plan to go abroad in it then it makes a lot of sense.

Point your Father toward this website

I helped my brother select and import his VW California (4 wheel drive and 170bhp!) at a saving of some £10K over those available in the UK.
Camper vans - Manatee
There's a chap down the road who keeps buying old camper vans - they're accumulating in his garden. It seems like a series of random attempts to get a good one for not much money. If buying an old one I would definitely think in terms of van conversions rather than the 'coachbuilt' type (caravan-type construction on a chassis cab); these latter, at ten years old plus, are more likely to be leaky or to have been damp and have rotten walls etc. Damp is the great enemy of caravans/motorhomes.

Whilst it doesn't answer your question directly, the Eriba (or perhaps caravan generally) suggestion is a good one. Motorhomes come into their own abroad - you can 'wild camp' in much of Europe, and there is more acceptance and better provision for them in towns/villages. You'd struggle to park a coachbuilt motorhome (another reason to got for a small van conversion) in many towns in the UK.

In UK your Dad will basically have to use caravan sites anyway. The Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club ones are generally very good, but there are lots of privately run ones too.

If he doesn't mind towing then a caravan will probably be a better option in the UK. Why?

- he'll get a much newer caravan than a camper

- he can leave the caravan on site while they explore in the car (owners of longer/taller motorhomes are effectively stranded at their site unless they have a car/motorcycle in tow)

- you don't have the expense of maintaining and insuring two motor vehicles (and possibly additional expense of MoT'ing an old camper)

I'm a fan of Eribas - we have one of the bigger ones but it is still slightly narrower than the total width of the car including mirrors; because it has a popup roof and a generally better shape, it is much more stable to tow than the wobbly boxes; it's small enough to keep in the garden; it's handier for 'touring' than a big box; it's 'different'. It feels closer to camping than the conventional caravans, but you're still warm and dry! A motor mover would overcome the difficulty of manoeuvring it about and positioning. Plenty of scope at under £10,000 and as has been said they last and last.

If your Mum and Dad think the Eriba option is worth considering I suggest they post their story on - they'll get lots of information.
Camper vans - Ruperts Trooper
Check out imported Japanese panel vans (very high specification) and converted here, often to the "traditional" VW camper layout.
Camper vans - local yokel
VW Bay window camper vans (69-78) are about £6,000 to £10,000 for a well-sorted good one. Still not much room for more than two. I've just sold one needing lots of tidying, but with a new MoT for £2,500.

I have a sideline importing classic Eribas - ones made before 1980, as they are really well-made, and not highly valued by the Dutch. I've a 69 Pan with a huge (3.0mx2.5m) awning, over-sized double bed, kitchen and fridge and it's £1,700!

The other camper they might look at is the Mazda Bongo - all imports, but about £7,000 for a good one. Lifting roof, happy at 80 mph.
Camper vans - PoloGirl
Thank you!

Yokel, my cousin has a Bongo. I think that's what got my dad interested!

He's spotted a Romahome on Ebay that is nearby that he wants to go and look at. I am so glad I am moving out anyway - with that sooty wagon thing parked on the driveway I would have had to leave! It's about as far away from cute VW as you can get!
Camper vans - OldHand
Mazda Bongo Frendee!!!! My favourite idiotic vehicle name.

They are actually very interesting vehicles- AWD,petrol or turbo diesel and usually with lots of toys like climate control you don't find in european vehicles of the same era. Your Dad could do a lot worse than one of those for 6-7K.

Here's the owners club in case you didn't know.

They are almost cool.
Camper vans - jc2
For reliability,VW or the one no-one else has mentioned,a Transit based one.Avoid continental front wheel drives-OK till you have problems;then nigh on impossible to work on.
Camper vans - bell boy
A £10 grand motorhome is usually worth a lot less but is made up to that price like 99p items in shops because you have set your price at a £1 tops
As said wrong time of year completely
bare in mind these things are stood more than used and do rot
also remember they can be a handful to manouvere
your parents are retired so could be 50 or 70 i would suggest they hire a suitable type vehicle for a week and see how they get on
bongo good by the way...............bell boy want bongo
Camper vans - PoloGirl
Just introduced my dad to the BR - he says "good advice". Thanks guys.

We just looked at that Bongo page linked to higher up. They are cool! We've printed off the buying guide and advice and there is one for sale nearby.

Camper vans - Cliff Pope
The usual warning when looking at campers is to remember that a lot of them have been used in the summer only, and spend most of their time sitting in people's drives. They therefore tend to have been inadequately serviced, and generally suffer all the ailments of cars that don't get used very much.
Camper vans - Vansboy
If you go to AuctionView (BCA link to our left, for those that don't know)o go to you'll see links to their Caravan/camper sales. Acouple of entries so far for next month in Measham.

One thing many are NOT aware of, the current trend in cloning & theft of campers, is more popular than cars, as the usual HPI type checks aren't carried out quite as effectivly, for these types of vehicles.

You could very easily become the proud owner of some paperwork, vin plates & registration numbers, to a long since departed builders truck!! So check, check & check again!!

& comments regarding VW, yes they do have a good reputation, but for value for £$£, driveability & European trips, Think Fiat & forget the anti-Fiat brigade!!

Camper vans - rtj70
I'd check it's not been to muddy Glastonbury too.... I know the event is near Pilton in reality ;-)
Camper vans - Pugugly {P}
Very good edition of Wheeler Dealers tonight. Conversion of an old VW Transporter van to a Camper. Despite my hatred of any vehicle you sleep in, I enjoyed it. Ed China bought it himself in the end.
Camper vans - Robin Reliant
We get plagued with them at holiday times. The damn things are even slower than caravans.
Camper vans - jc2
Mustn't spill the tea!!!
Camper vans - OldHand
>>damn things are even slower than

Not all of them, my Brother's California will manage 0-60 in 11 seconds and cruise at 180kph.

Value my car