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Subject Topic: Should i buy a campervan or motorhome?
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Message posted by Campernewbie via mobile 10/5/2022 at 9:27pm
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Hi everyone,
We are newbies to the world of campervans and motorhomes and can't decide which to buy. We hired a Ducato 2 berth camper for the NC500 last year and loved it. .. but we need 4 travel seats and a bit more space.
I'd choose a motorhome for extra comfort, but hubby thinks fuel economy will be rubbish and better in a campervan.
So here's the dillemma- campervan or motorhome! I thought a low profile motorhome would be similar fuel economy to a campervan - am I right?
Any suggestions or advice much appreciated.

Message posted by Colin2110/5/2022 at 10:11pm
Outfit:  1992 Elddis Wisp 450CT + X Trail     Location:  East Herts
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The larger and heavier the vehicle the more fuel it is likely to use. That is not the only consideration though. The larger the vehicle, the more difficult it will be to park, especially in public car parks etc. There is an awful lot to consider. Do you plan to tour or stay in one place for days or weeks at a time? A motorhome is definitely going to be more comfortable and have a lot more space, but will be more difficult to park, so not quite so suited to everyday travel.

What I would do in your situation is draw up a pros and cons list for each and come to a decision as to which would suit your lifestyle best.


-------------
Best Regards,
Colin

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Message posted by Fiona W via mobile 10/5/2022 at 10:27pm
Outfit:  Autosleepers: Clubman > Nuevo.     Location:  Ayrshire
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They’re both the same thing - a Motor Caravan. A campervan is often (not always) a PVC (panel van conversion), a MH is not. Our MH is 5.8m, shorter than many campervans. Some campers don’t have a toilet, all MHs do. We only have 2 seat belts in the MH (if by travelling seats you mean seatbelts).
In short, it’s a piece of string question. If you can, get to a show where you can look at options. Failing that, get to a big dealer & look around.
Have a look at online brochures too - not promoting Autosleeper but have a look at theirs because they have PVCs up to long MHs, so you can see the various standard layouts.
We get c30mpg, diesel might get more than petrol.

-------------
2022 - 6 sites, 15 nights. 2021 - 11 / 29. 2020 - 4 / 20. 2019 - 13 / 35. 2018 - 20 / 33. 2017 - 10 / 22. 2016 - 19 / 33. 2015 - 15 sites / 27 nights. Didn't count 1976 to 2014.

Message posted by dk16810/5/2022 at 11:17pm
Outfit:  MWB VW Crafter PVC     Location:  Devizes Wiltshire
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As the others have commented, there are pros and cons for both.

A "campervan" in the size of a VW T5/T6 would be very tight and cosy for 4 people, with sufficient space for a portable toilet depending on the design layout.

A bigger "Motorhome" (MH) will provide more living space especially if a down bed is incorporated as part of the layout.

As the others have mentioned, a MH will have a toilet whereas the smaller campervans often do not.

When I was planning to change unit from a tent to a tin tent a few years ago, I went to caravan and motorhome shows and stepped into as many vans with different layouts and specifications as I could, including PVCs.

I then decided on my needs and wants, before going down the custom conversion route as I could not find a van with the features that I want.

My PVC which is a MWB VW Crafter may not be everyone's cup of tea, however, it suits my needs and wants, and it is under 6m with sufficient height to allow a drop down bed to be fitted, and a door between the living section and the kitchen and bathroom section at the back.

I had to compromise on the length of the drop down bed in order to have a decent size kitchen and bathroom. And she only has 2 seat belts - driver and passenger in the cab.

Not an issue as such as she is designed for solo camping for me and the dog in mind and I am only 5'2"/157cm.

I went to Young Conversions in Bletchley near Milton Keynes as (I believe) they were the first company to put a drop down bed in a PVC. The owners have PVCs that they converted themselves, and their current vans have drop down beds. I went to one of their open days at their workshop to see their vans first hand, and was impressed with their designs, craftmanship/build quality, and attention to details.

Apparently my van conversion was their most complicated to date - they knew that when I showed them my design specifications and accepted the challenge; and I am still in speaking terms with them!

My advice would be to visit as many shows and evaluate as many vans in different sizes and layouts to find one that suits your needs and wants.

If all thing fails, consider going down the custom conversion route to have a van built to your own requirements.

Good luck!

DK

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Message posted by chrisandsandra11/5/2022 at 10:42am
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As said, look around at as many models of both as you can before going any further. Drawing up a list of ‘must haves’ and ‘would be nice to have but not essential’ is a good starting point before doing this. You’ve already started by saying you must have 4 seats and space. You may find that fuel economy comes way down your list once you’ve done that.

From experience, and we’ve had 3 campervans (PVC) in our 20 years of doing this, I would say that a campervan for 4 people would be tight for anything longer than a weekend. However, a small Motorhome would not give you that much more space so you should sit in as many variations as you can to see how they would work with 4 people inside for eating, relaxing etc, especially in bad weather.

The other issue is that there are not many campervans that can sleep 4 in comfort. Most that are available use a pop up top for sleeping 2 of the occupants meaning that those sleeping in the roof space are virtually in a tent which can make the whole van cold in bad weather. Also the check on how practical this is to use in terms of access and space. Of course 2 people could sleep outside in a tent or awning but then you are limited to using campsites.



Motorhome Protect - Get a motorhome or campervan quote - call 01865 818345
From adventures in Europe, to summertime retreats in the UK - there is no better way to experience all this than in your motorhome or campervan. Get a quote today by calling our team on 01865 818345 or visit our website

Message posted by Campernewbie via mobile 11/5/2022 at 1:35pm
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Thanks everyone. Some really helpful advice here.
Most of the time it will be just me and hubby so generally just soace for 2 adults. We want the opportunity to take our young grandaughters away - or to be able to loan to our daughter to take the family away on occasion so 4 travel seats needed then.
We have looked at loads of different styles and configurations and settled on front diner with swivel driver and passenger seats to make a small double and rear lounge area to make up into a double. Loo is essential!
I like the LWB Ducato Tribute - i think its classed as a campervan as its not coachbuilt - which seams to tick boxes but its a wee bit small. Fuel economy is better I think than a MH so it comes down to a trade off on fuel economy or more luxury and I'm torn!
Head says go for fuel economy, heart wants a bit of luxury. The debate continues! Any ideas on best fuel economy on a MH? It would have to be an older MH as our budget won't stretch to a new one. Probably 10 years+ old. Any suggestions or recommendations.

Thanks everyone!

Message posted by Oswestry Ed via mobile 11/5/2022 at 2:21pm
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Take a look at Globecar, we bought a 7 year old 6m Fiat Ducato based PVC van 5 years ago and love it.
It has 4 seats fixed transverse bed, Large shower and bathroom with more storage than you can fill.
We have had two 5 week trips in Europe and UK. We also use it as a day van.
The only additions we've added :- 120w solar, Vango kella awning, Safefill refillable gas bottle, & Atera DL3 tilting cycle rack ( so I can open backdoors)
Ed

Message posted by Campernewbie via mobile 11/5/2022 at 3:04pm
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This sounds like a good option.
I'll keep my eyes open for 1 coming up for sale.
Thanks 😊

Message posted by Capt Lightning11/5/2022 at 3:36pm
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There's a different between travel seats and berths. My van has 4 travel seats which convert to two berths. My children have grown and flown, but were they small, I would have used an awning for extra sleeping accommodation.

My van is only 5 mtrs long and will fit in a normal car parking space. It's relatively economical and can act as a big car for shopping trips, days out etc...

Only you can say what will be right for you. See as many different vehicles and layouts as possible. The right one will come along.

-------------
Two drifters off to see the world.

I'm tired of reality, so I'm off to look for a good fantasy.

Message posted by Oswestry Ed via mobile 11/5/2022 at 4:43pm
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I wouldn't buy anything longer than 6m, I rarely have issues parking in supermarkets, occasionally you can overhang kerbs which helps.
We found a van that we almost bought but the passengers seat had no height adjustment, making it uncomfortable if you have short legs.
When you do find your van, check age of tyres and when cambelt was changed as you could have an extra £1000+ to fork out.

Motorhome Protect - Get a motorhome or campervan quote - call 01865 818345
From adventures in Europe, to summertime retreats in the UK - there is no better way to experience all this than in your motorhome or campervan. Get a quote today by calling our team on 01865 818345 or visit our website

Message posted by SoggySteve02/6/2022 at 9:55am
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This may have been mentioned so sorry if my tired eyes missed this.

In my experience, many campsites are picky with where to allow purpose built motorhomes to pitch on their sites versus some camper van conversions. Many of them confined to hard standing pitches in regimented rows. Personally, I would hate to be confined to that sort of pitch. Our van conversion (VW LT32) is allowed pretty much anywhere on a normal campsite, mostly blending in with tent dwellers. I'm not saying this is always the case but it is 'sometimes' which is something to consider.

I think the main reason that people in larger purpose built vans choose hard standing with hookup is because the van's off grid suitability for many are not that well fleshed out as in a decent solar panel array and a suitable pile of leisure batteries. It's all very well having a load of nice lighting, large fridges and freezers and electric pumped showers but where can that amount of power come from? Usually from a mains hookup which for us would be a restriction too far.

That said, our van does not have a toilet or shower and i'm absolutely fine with that (we have a USB shower, a foldable bucket and a shower tent which is actually really pretty good!). It does though have heating from a diesel heater, lighting, USB chargers a 65 litre electric fridge, charger based hookup (as in the hookup charges the batteries) and a 240vac sine wave inverter, solar and a DC to DC charger from the alternator. In moderate weather, we never run out of electricity and can camp literally anywhere we're allowed and the fridge is always nice and chilled.

Tough choice and an individual one at that. Everyone's requirements are different. Best of luck finding yours.

Message posted by pepe6308/6/2022 at 12:25pm
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Quote: Originally posted by SoggySteve on 02/6/2022

I think the main reason that people in larger purpose built vans choose hard standing with hookup is because the van's off grid suitability for many are not that well fleshed out as in a decent solar panel array and a suitable pile of leisure batteries.



Whilst I would agree with that to an extent, I think that another major reason that most "motorhomers" prefer a hard standing pitch, is because the vast majority of the vehicles will be front wheel drive- and many of which will also be grossly over-bodied and tail heavy in design and many will be close to, if not over their max weight- and as such will be very prone to getting stuck on grass if/when it is wet..

(on the "power" side of things,we used to have a 7mtr MH, and with no additional batteries or solar, we could pitch up off-grid for up to a week at a time. Having said that we were quite frugal and tended to have a "camping" mindset )



Message posted by Bernie4708/6/2022 at 1:48pm
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Another thing to consider is whether you are competent to drive and reverse a large motorhome. I live in a rural area and my two sons who are HGV drivers regularly get held up on our narrow roads due to large motorhomes whose drivers are frightened to reverse to a passing place.

-------------
Bernie

Message posted by Campernewbie via mobile 08/6/2022 at 3:44pm
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Thanks everyone for the advice and comments.
We've finally decided ( and bought!) a Devon Monte Carlo campervan. Great layout with 4 travel seats converting to 2 single beds or dinning area. A rear lounge which converts to a good size double, full size cooker, fridge, shower and loo and tons of storage. All packed into a 6m Crafter conversion! Very happy with our choice so far. I don't like the upholstery, but I'm pretty handy with a sewing machine so I'm already planning how to make it our own.
Exciting times ahead!

Message posted by Oswestry Ed via mobile 08/6/2022 at 4:11pm
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Congratulations on your purchase, Use it and Enjoy.

Message posted by feeblecat via mobile 08/6/2022 at 5:26pm
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We've had both. A Bongo (very small) and an old motor home (much bigger).   Always 2 adults and a dog. Fuel consumption aside, (they were both thirsty) whilst we liked the comfort of the motorhome we preferred the campervan for a load of reasons. We suppelemented it with a drive away awning when we were away for longer periods in the UK and used a tarp for our outside living space when abroad. It had no loo but just enough space at the bottom of the bed when it was out for a porta potty at night. We always considered the Bongo as a bed on wheels, and used it as such. The motorhome was more a home from home. We always regretted selling the Bongo and would have bought another if we had gone back down that route but wouldn't have considered another motorhome. It is a mindset and you need to work out what you want from whatever you're going to buy.


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