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Driving a campervan all those miles just got better....

The great thing about the campervan is that you can use it to pop down to the shops or take off for as long as you like. 

The VW Campervan fits in a normal car parking space and is low enough to fit under most car park height restrictions, but powered by a 2.0-litre TDI engine provides plenty of power and torque with a combined fuel consumption of 37.2mpg and a top speed of 113mph.

Effortless Steering

Driving long distances, however, just got a lot easier with a completely revised steering system. VW has switched from the traditional hydraulic power assistance to the newer electro-mechanical assistance.

It makes the steering feel both effortless and accurate, being light and lazy at low speeds without compromising stability when going faster. It also enables some clever safety features and saves a bit of fuel, helping to reduce running costs.

Car functionality, on a campervan...

 

  • Parking sensors, front and rear
     
  • Adaptive Cruise Control ACC 
     
  • Lane Assist counter-steers in the event of lane drift
     
  • Electrically foldable and adjustable exterior heated door mirrors
     
  • Windshield wiper intermittent control with rain sensor
     
  • Multi-function steering wheel for fingertip control of functions including radio and cruise control
     
  • Climatic air conditioning system
     
  • Solar Power sunroof

Hire the VW 2.0 Litre Camper Van

It's a Volkswagen, but the engine isn't at the back anymore.....

Campervans for hire in England, and Volkswagen campervans at that!

Campervans for hire in England, and Volkswagen campervans at that!If you have the wanderlust - then this is for you

Lights
Automatic headlight activation with separate daytime running lights.
Leaving home and manual coming home light functionality for when you pop to the shops is handy, but when you are on the open road the campervan is your home.
Fog lights with integrated cornering lights
Interior ambient dimmable LED lights

Security
Anti-theft alarm system with interior monitoring in cab, backup horn, towing protection and SAFELOCK.

Entertainment
Composition Colour DAB+ radio system with 6.5 inch touch-screen and four loudspeakers, SD card slot, Bluetooth® hands-free and two USB interfaces (type-C) in dashboard.

Definition of a camper van?

It may sound like a peculiar question, but a camper van falls under the umbrella term of Recreational Vehicles (RV).

A recreational vehicle is a motorised vehicle that combines, living accommodation for travel, recreation and camping, the term motor-home sits at the top of the Recreational Vehicle pecking order, but this is then categorised by class in a descending order of A, B and C.

Motor-homes

The A category motor-home is between 8 and 13 metres long, with room for up to 10 people and will have not only a shower, but also baths (yes plural) and a kitchen which has all the amenities that you have at home (including that double sided air fryer that you have your eye on, but haven't bought yet).

The downside of this mammoth, I'm trying to think of one, but I can't apart from the parking and reversing and the cries of dismay when sighted by motorists coming up behind on a road with no overtaking or lay-by's for the next 20 miles.

Category B (yes we are still in Motor-homes) drops to between 5 to 7 metres in length but still with a bathroom, (yes, just one) kitchen, and living space. 

Now as we drop to the final Motor-home classification "C" we are running with between 6 and 8 metres which, though it is a lower classification is longer than category B, which in all probability include an over cab area for storage or sleeping, but featuring bunk beds, decent size living accommodation and well designed kitchen and, yes, bathroom facilities.

We are now descending into Camper van dimensions which are between 4 to 6 meters in length.
Before we extol the virtues of hiring the modern camper-van (we'll touch base on the good old air cooled rear mounted engine Westphalia T1 split screen and T2 Early bay and late bay shortly, don't worry) there is some price sensitivity associated with The A,B,C motorhome categories.

How much do Motor-homes cost?

Category A, one of these behemoths costs, and this is as bizarre a price range as I've ever encountered, between £60,000 and £500,000 and if you are at the top end of that, then "worry" is not a word that is going to be used related to fuel consumption or economy, though if I was invited along I would accept.

Category B is between £30,000 and £100,000 and C is between £40,000 and £200,000 
Hire a campervan, definitely hire

Camper van interior...it's accommodating

Camper van interior...it's accommodatingUnder counter fridge and cupboards, two ring gas cooker, sink, 12 Volt power sockets, dimmer lights, battery level, fold-away table, wardrobe and underseat storage.

Camper van accommodation

The Campervan walls have lining insulation and are carpeted  the altro flooring is durable and easy to clean and the windows are tinted and have curtains.

The Leisure Battery
The Leisure battery powers the interior LED lights, the fridge, the cabin heater (when stationary) anything you hook up to the power sockets.

There are four power sources:

The Engine: which powers the engine and fulfills normal vehicle expectations as well as driver cabin usb ports and a 12 v whilst the vehicle is running, but does not contribute to any accommodation consumption such as fridge, kettle or microwave.

The Leisure Battery: which will power internal LED lights in the cabin and devices and equipment plugged into the cabin 12 v power sockets

Campsite Electric Power Points: Plugging the van in to public power points takes over from the leisure battery when parked and charges the battery at the same time.

The 100w Solar roof panel: for charging the leisure battery, and powering low-consumption devices like LED lights, Ipads, kindles and water pumps. This really grants you a lot of freedom reducing your reliance on the power grid.

The diesel heater: Not a power source as such, but provides heat independent of a running engine or draining the battery. Diesel heaters are known for their fuel efficiency.

You'll be amazed at how little fuel they consume while keeping you warm throughout your journey with adjustable temperature and can be operated from the sofa or bed using the remote control.

No more chilly nights! Woohoo!! 

Arrive at your destination and chill...

Camper Van Kitchen and Food Prep

The kitchen area has a worktop which when lifted reveals a sink, a two ring gas hob, and a 12V compressor fridge.
There are 12V and 240V electric points so that you can put the kettle on, charge up your iPads and even take your microwave with you.


The cooker is connected to a 2.8kg gas cylinder2 with gas pressure regulator and shut-off valve located in a compartment behind the rear seats underneath the wardrobe. When you travel turn off the gas and disconnect the regulator.

Heating When Stationary

The days of shivering through cold nights in a campervan are over.
Set the temperature from the comfort of your bed or seating area with the remote control.

Water

You have a 10 litre freshwater tank and you also have a 10 litre wastewater tank that drains off from the sink. Underneath the sink there is a valve to let the waste water go whereas at the same time there are indicators to show the water levels.

There is an water filling point that operates the same as a petrol filling point on the campervan exterior.

Turn off the engine, you have arrived.

Connect the mains cable from the van to the campsite or public power supply.

No more driving, that's it for the day, swivel the front seats around to make a lounge, push out the awning, put the table and two chairs (that are stowed in the Campervan) outside and have a long cool drink straight from the fridge.

Where are the olives...Ooh la la, how continental!

Sleeps 4

Rock and Roll Style Bed Seats
Crash Tested Rock and Roll Style Beds come with integrated 3-point seat belts.

OK, Absolutely nothing to do with hippies, rock'n'roll or the swinging sixties.
They could have been called the up and over, the or push and pull bed seats, but that would not be groovy.

The lower bed size when the rear seats have been extended give a sleeping area of  2000mm long by 1140mm wide and the upper bed dimensions are 2000mm long by 1200ml wide.

Campervan Sleeping Arrangements

Quilt or sleeping bags? but you really need the pillows.

Some Travelling Tips

Are we there yet?

Campervans offer the perfect opportunity to explore the many wonderful sights and experiences in the UK and abroad.

But what should you prepare for?

You have the option to have a planned travel itinerary with identified locations for stay overs or to utilise the versatility of the Volkswagen campervan which can fit any standard parking space and keep your options open.

If it's the former, then book your campsites according to your itinerary as soon as you can.

If you are more of a free spirit with no firm agenda, then you might find this website Park4night, for stopping points in the UK and abroad particularly useful.
You can also relay your unique "campers" perspective on locations, ranging from a cliff-top lay-by overlooking the sea or a campsite welcoming campervans in Barcelona with comments such as:

  • Campervan/camping only (no caravans). quiet, located just above Whitby. Would call ahead.
  • Outside water tap available to fill up water tank. Only one we found in the area
  • Large parking lot with public toilets and toilet disposal
  • Laundry nice and clean friendly staff parking 24 hours £9
  • At night you can hear some traffic but not to much to have a good night of sleep.
  • Up to 7 m vehicle should be ok.

Storage

Spend time planning your storage. Make sure you have all the necessary spices, and kitchen utensils.

"Missing things is fine when you are on your own. If you have someone with you, maybe not so much."

"Muddy footwear storage is really useful. Keeping the interior clean is great. People will want to check out your interior wherever you go."

First Aid

⁠A travel first aid kit is essential.
Also pack insect cream, anti-histamines and plasters.

"Exploring can be hazardous. Those midges can be evil."

It might get windy

Make sure your awning is securely strapped down.

Entertainment 
Maybe not Monopoly, but a couple of packs of good card games (Uno is great!) might be an alternative to Candy Crush Saga or Call of Duty.

It's the little things
I'm just popping to the shower block!
Have a plastic / waterproof bag with all your bits and bobs in that you can hang on the single hook on the back of the shower changing room door.
Don’t forget your flip flops, keep your regular footwear nice and dry in the campervan.

"Washing up liquid, hand washing sheets and a line of ripcord will extend your time away from civilisation. You can buy solid bars of shampoo and conditioner. Have a waterproof container. Microfibre towels are effective and take up much less space as well as drying quickly."

And some Candid Insights

Power up.

The campervan leisure battery keeps the fridge, interior lights, USB and mains sockets working.
In addition to this you have the driver/dashboard sockets available for when the engine is running and you have the solar roof panel contribution as well.

The diesel fuel heater (with remote control) will keep you toasty and warm. 

Having said that, and bearing in mind that  you might take your microwave, kettle and super dupa (I can't leave home without it) bean to cup coffee percolator then having the odd USB Powerbank for when your phone dies at 3am midway through a friends episode; the one with all the cheesecake - season 7 episode 11, and you can't go and plug it in to the mains without waking everybody else up.

Mains Charging
So if you plan a long stay in one place be sure to book somewhere that has an electric plugin not only to run all your power requirements, but also to keep your leisure battery topped up for trips away.

Travel light.
You’ll probably need fewer clothes than you think and when packing, do it in bags, no suitcases.

"Make sure your clothing and bedding is well packed and adequate.

"It is incredibly easy for a camper to turn into a no-go zone with mess. Buy water proof storage bags for used clothes."

Sleep 
Pillows make such a difference, it might be considered a luxury in respect of space, but waking refreshed as opposed to with a crick in your neck makes all the difference.

"Yes. You can get inflatable travel pillows but none by comparison are really any good. For the hard-core campers only."

"A good sleeping bag packs away and keeps you cosy. A 3 season bag is optimal."

Pasta, but not every day

You have your gas stove with not one, but two gas rings. Gone are the days of a single gas ring and one pot meals, however some pre-trip menu planning for hot and cold meals are a serious consideration.

⁠"Wine, beer, water and snacks....

When, not if, you are in the middle of nowhere and the shops are nowhere to be found, you will bless your foresight."

⁠"An emergency loo roll is heaven sent.
Stash them for when the inevitable happens. Like wise, kitchen roll has a multitude of applications.
Tin foil has been used for warmth on bitter nights and can be used for baking everything by the fire."

Don't forget to strap down that awning.....

To check for availability and hire of the latest Volkswagen T6 generation campervan go here

Westphalia VW Baywindow T2 (Late Bay) Campervan Westphalia VW Baywindow T2 (Late Bay) Campervan

Before you get all nostalgic

Now, our VW Transporter campervans are a little different from the original T1 Splitscreen which was in production from 1950 to 1967.

The T1 also referred to as a splittie started off with the same air cooled 1131cc rear-engine as the car it had evolved from, the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, which had a few tweaks, but nothing significant until 1963 when it was bumped up to a 1500cc engine giving around 22-24 mpg for a vehicle that had a curb weight of 1134kg.

Considering it originally started off as a delivery van with a windowless cargo area, variations included the VW T1, 11, 13and 15 window Kombi Bus and the 23 window Deluxe Microbus and Samba Bus and Deluxe microbus.

3.9 million Volkswagen T2 Bays sold worldwide

3.9 million Volkswagen T2 Bays sold worldwide

The Hippie Van

By 1967 1.9 million T1 Splitties had been manufactured. In the USA it was known as the Hippie van, prompting images of hippies and surfers, and reminiscent of wholesome, adventurous camping holidays.

Then in 1967 the T2a arrived, with a sliding door as standard, but minus the split screen window, earning the nickname "Baywindow", which, because so many incremental variations occurred, would become "Early Bays" for models made up to 1971 and "Late Bays" from 1971 to 1979.

With their panoramic windscreens and front seats positioned above and ahead of the front axle, the vans offered a for some an unsettling driving experience and others one of absolute exhilaration.

The T2a Transporter was an extra 22.5cm (9 inches) in length, and 170kg heavier taking it to a 1304kg curb weight, an upgrade from 6V to 12V and a bit more rear storage space as the new 1.6 L engine was built a little lower than the Splittie but fuel consumption remained around the 22-24mpg.
 

The Good Old Days!

Those extra 22.5cm in length contributed to a cargo space of 5 cubic meters, meanwhile stopping took less time with the addition of disc brakes on the front wheels, and lap and shoulder seat belts were introduced.

Other features on the Type 2a (Early Bay) included a firewall between the fuel tank and the engine, and a more robust steering column.

It was the first model to convert to pop up roofs and an extra double bed, which only helped sales so that by 1971 3 million VW Transporter buses had been manufactured.

The late Bay would get a front bumper designed for enhanced crash protetction.

Fancy a trip ? The flexibility of stopping just when you want to stop?

So you might yearn or even perhaps relive the days of your youth when you drove a T1 or a T2 Volkswagen Campervan, maybe you even had one with the pop up roof, so you could sleep four.

To own one, a T2 which is the biggest selling VW transporter of them all would be a joy ( need a garage though, but spares are plentiful).
The last VW Camper vans were last made under license in Brazil in 2013 

In the absence of time, money and motivation to invest in a VW Bay,  but you still want to get away from it all, then there are worse things you could do than hire a T6.
This is the latest generation of the Volkswagen Camper van, which does, despite a lack of nostalgia, have a few benefits over the old T2  VW Bays:

The ride is going to be smoother, you will have power steering, sat nav, the top speed will not be restricted to 65mph (with the wind behind you on the flat) and hills are simply not going to be a problem.

Volkswagen Camper Van Hire

If you stumble on a beautiful view miles from anywhere, with not an electric charging point in site, you have, in addition to the leisure battery, the solar panel on the roof keeping it charged, so that you can stop and relax ....completely off grid!

You can take your iPad, your kettle, your microwave and even your tv or laptop if you really want to.

At night when it's getting a bit chilly, you can put on the heating and before you start preparing dinner, you could pluck a cold beer or a nicely chilled bottle of Pinot from the fridge and have an aperitif....with a few olives perhaps, maybe some bruschetta, but lets not get ahead of ourselves. 

Did I mention it's an automatic?

 No manual gear changing, one pedal less, put it in cruise and enjoy the freedom!

Hire your Volkswagen Campervan here