What should I know before owning a campervan? As always, we are here to help you!

As a business, we have a converted 2023 VW Transporter T28 T6.1 SWB! We have great experience and have a wealth of knowledge with what you need to think about if you'd like to own one.

Any advice given below are our own personal views and experience and we can not be held responsible for any decisions you make. Everyone rightly has an opinion and may agree/disagree with us. We just want to help people understand what we have experienced and we are still learning everyday!

  • PRO'S

    • Lots of variety with setups, customisation and vehicle sizes
    • Easily fit in normal car park spaces
    • You can park these anywhere and camp for the night
    • Easy to convert into beds

  • CON'S

    • Very cosy
    • No built in toilet or shower on smaller vans
    • Need to pack very light

This is one of the biggest questions that everyone asks.

- SWB (short wheelbase) is the length of a large estate/4x4. This is large enough for most people and is very easy to maneuver and drive

- LWB (long wheelbase) adds that extra length in both the wheelbase and overall length of the van. That extra length makes a huge difference with interior space and storage! The downside is the extra length means you will stick out of car park spaces and you may need to take a wider turning circle on bends and corners

There is no right or wrong answer and comes down to personal preference.

If you're not a confident driver, stick with a SWB as it'll be more car like in length.

A LWB has the added bonus of feeling much roomier and having more storage, but you do notice the extra length when driving


A lot of vans have different weight limits and this will depend on what you want to carry or tow.

As an example, VW label their vans as T28 (2.8 tonnes), T30 (3 tonnes), T32 (3.2 tonnes) which is the maximum weight of the vehicle.

Typically, the heavier the van, the stiffer the suspension springs and this can compromise ride quality

Again, this comes down to personal preference.

Most campervans are the lightest version of the model as you're not hauling lot's of equipment for work etc. and all your conveniences are built in


The most popular brand is VW by a country mile. The other popular options are Ford Transits, Vauxhall Vivaro's and Renault Trafic.

There are an abundance of accessories for the VW campervans compared to the other brands, to make your van unique to you, whether it's exterior styling or interior styling options.

The VW's are more expensive to purchase than the others, so this may play a part in your budget and what you want.

This comes down to personal taste on how the campervan looks.

You also need to decide which equipment spec you want as a base van to convert or buy one already converted.

We chose VW, purely because there are so many more options and there is a much larger VW community to help answer any specific questions.

Our understanding is VW have stopped making the T6.1 transporter and the new T7 transporter will be available later in 2024, which has upset the VW fan base. The new VW T7 is based on the new 2024 Ford Transit. This may work better for everyone as the vehicles will have the same build so additional accessories or conversions should be the same!


You may have heard the term Day Van before. A day van is like a campervan, but without the kitchen bits and storage cupboards. You will still get a bed and depending on the conversion, a pop-top roof.

Typically, day vans are much cheaper as they do not have all the cupboards, sink, hob, fridge etc. that increase the costs of converting or buying. They are roomier as they haven't got all the cupboards etc. filling up the inside of the van

It comes down to what you want your campervan to be!

A day van is great if you're happy not to have any luxuries like a fridge, hob, sink, but still want the flexibility to convert the seats into beds. You can always get a ice coolers which last 7 days to keep anything chilled and a small portable gas stove to cook with. You also have very little storage, so living out of bags/suitcases would be your storage options!

A campervan is more convenience as it has the storage cupboards, sink, hob, microwave, fridge/freezer built in and you can eave you cutlery, cookware, plates etc. stored in the vehicle and then just get in it and go!


Layouts are so important depending on how many people you want to travel with.

Most campervans are designed to accommodate up to 4 people, but you can get 5 and 6 seater campervans.

Campervans will sleep 2-4 persons and any additional persons would need to sleep in an awning or a tent outside. A 2 person van will not have a bed in the pop-top area. The bed in the pop-top area is designed for children or small adults as it's quite cosy up there!

The seat/bed in the back is either a 2 seater or 3 seater. Normally what this means is with a 3 seater, you lose out on a microwave and additional hobs as the seat/bed is wider and the side unit has to be a bit narrower.

We chose a 6 seater as we and our friends often struggle to find anything suitable for larger families!

Let's be honest, with a campervan, you'll be out and about most of the time and use it as a base to sleep in and not live in it during the day.

It can feel claustrophobic with lot's of you in there, especially when the weather isn't great!


The inside storage of a campervan is very compact and there isn't a lot of room for storing items.

You have to pack light and sensibly. Typically you will have :

- a few small cupboards above the kitchen area, another one at the very rear behind the seat.

- a couple of bigger cupboards between the seat and the fridge/freezer

- a large cupboard underneath the rear seat

- if you have a twin passenger seat often these will have storage under them

These cupboards are very shallow and do not hold much!

Pack what you need. We all overpack and that's fine as we know the British weather can be unpredictable!

Also, be creative when packing clothes. Instead of folding them like you do, roll them up, you will get 2-3 times as much in a bag!

We wouldn't recommend bringing suitcases and use sift holdalls/sports bags instead as it is easier to store


These are great for increasing the space you have!

There are 2 types of awnings for a campervan:

- Reimo rail: where you attach an external driveaway awning which allows you to easily detach/attach your campervan to.

- Built in wind out awning: These are connected directly to the van and either manually or electronically wind-out. It's great for a quick setup, but every time you want to drive the campervan, it will have to be wound in again. You can buy additional accessories such as sides to make it weatherproof and give you more space. Some of these, like the Fiamma range have rails built in to add another awning

Awning's come in various sizes and can be blown up (air awnings) or use poles. They offer versatility and additional storage space if you have a lot of stuff with you. the downside is that this would limit you into having a central base to come back to everyday instead of travelling and pitching up wherever you are.

Awnings slide into the awning rail on the caravan and pull through, then you blow them up or use the poles. You can get many add-on's for awnings, such as annexes for storage or others to sleep in, carpets, hanging rails, hanging shoe storage, wheel skirt, storm straps etc. just to keep things dry and wind proof.

We have a Reimo rail which allows us to connect our air awning to and this works great for us as a larger family and we can just disconnect and connect it whenever we need to use the van.

If you were a smaller family 1-4 persons, then the built in option is what we would recommend as it allows you to stop anywhere and setup in minutes


New is always better as you have peace of mind with a warranty and everything works.

However, in reality, not all of us can afford a brand spanking new campervan! There are used campervans to suit every budget and you may need to make compromises on age, mileage etc. to find one in your budget.

Also, work out if it's cheaper to rent/hire a campervan each year over the next x years you will have it for as this can be a large financial outlay.

Don't forget to budget in vehicle servicing, habitat servicing, insurance, storage etc.

Campervans hold their value exceptionally well and you won't find a bargain, unless it needs some TLC!

We bought new as at the time, a 2 year old version was only £6k less and only had 1 year left of it's warranty, so this made sense.

If buying used, we'd recommend getting the campervan inspected by a qualified person who will give you a full report with any issues it may have.


Campervans should be serviced every year to keep them in working and road worthy conditions. You will need 2 services each year:

- Manufacturer/vehicle service: this is for your oil change etc.

- Habitat service: This is to ensure that the gas, water, heating etc. is serviced and working as it should be and should be carried out be a qualified person/business. Usually caravan service centres will also service campervans.

Don't forget, that vehicles 3 years and older will require an annual MOT!

The last thing you want is something to break or not work when you're on holiday! Many of us have experienced a vehicle breakdown of some sort and it's not fun, so we strongly recommend to service your campervan annually. This will give you peace of mind.

We recommend to get your campervan habitat serviced at a caravan dealer annually and will set you back around £175.

We also recommend to follow the vehicles manufacturers service schedule.


Campervans if weighing less than 3.05 tonnes aren't subject to any speed restrictions like caravans. Always adhere to the speed limit indicated on the road.

Also please note that there are updated speed limits in Wales for built-up areas of 20mph for all vehicle types!

Always refer to the government website:

A lot of us have been caught speeding before, including ourselves, and whether you have received points or a speed awareness course, stick to the speed limits.

To be honest, campervans you don't drive quick or hustle along. We have found that you're quite happy to go whatever speed you like and we found that we tend to drive slower in the campervan and enjoy the journey and company!


Campervans are highly sought after by thieves and you will notice that insurance premiums are higher than you expect!

You should always ensure your campervan is as secure as it can be and this will help with your insurance. There are so many security devices available to deter thieves such as:

- Wheel clamps

- External steering wheel lock

- Alarms

- Trackers

We have a bright yellow wheel clamp which we put on it when we're not using it, which will help deter thieves as it's a very visible security device!

Our campervan also has an alarm and tracker on it, which helped significantly reduce our business insurance premium.


You basically have 2 choices here. Keep it at home or at a caravan storage facility!

If at home, make sure it is secure as it can be from thieves.

If you haven't got the room, a caravan storage facility is the next choice and they are quite cheap. You always want to make sure the caravan storage facility meets your insurers requirements and is registered as such. Some storage facilities offer indoor storage, which will help keep you caravan dry and away from all the elements for a premium. Otherwise, it will be outside in a secure compound with other caravans and motorhomes.

We are fortunate enough to have a large garden and an area to store our caravan. We even had power running to it so we could keep the heating on low over the colder months (12 degrees), which helped with keeping the caravan damp free as well as putting a cover over it!

There's always discussions around caravan covers and do they do more damage or prolong the life of your caravan. Having a cover also helped keep moss and algae off the caravan of you're under a tree, which we were! This is definitely a 2 person job to put a cover on and they are relatively cheap to buy and help keep the damp away!


You can get additional heaters which work independently of the van's own heating system.

They are known as night heaters, but can be used any time of day and help keep the campervan warm when the engine is not running and the weather isn't great! They are typically located under the drivers seat and blow air out of them.

You can set the temperature gauge to what you're comfortable with and they usually use the diesel from your fuel tank. Always remember to keep enough fuel in your tank when using this and it is very economical!

We have a Webasto diesel night heater in our campervan and it's a great piece of kit, especially when it's being used out of season in chillier weather. It gets warm very quick.

It very easy to turn on and set a temperature as we have a digital control panel. It can be put on a timer, so if you're using it regularly, you can set it up so you can have a nice warm van to come back to. We haven't used the timer as it doesn't take long to heat up.

We left it on one evening when we were out and it was snowing. The great advantage to that was, we came back to a fully defrosted and warm vehicle whilst everyone else waited for there's to warm up and clear the snow and ice!


Bike racks are great if you want to park up and go for a bike ride to explore an area. Typically you only see 2 types of bike racks on campervans:

- Tow bar mounted: Easy to add 2-4 bikes on a carrier and the only option if you have a rear spoiler and you will need a number plate to be attached to the carrier. The downside is, opening the boot as even with the folding one's, you need to take the entire bike rack off the towbar

- Boot mounted: These are very common, but if you have a rear spoiler, this won't be an option as the spoiler will either need to be cut or will break with the fixings. These are much higher up and you won't need to get another number plate. You may need uprated gas struts on the tailgate if you need to lift it up with your bikes on there!

We never brought bikes with us as the kids preferred their hoverboards and scooters! We also often brought our 4 legged friends with us, so having bikes was impractical!

We have seen plenty of caravanners that have and it's all down to your personal preference!


When taking pets with you, make sure they have enough room as well!

Make sure the site you are at allows dogs. When you are out during the day, where will your pet go if you can't take it with you and will the conditions inside the caravan or awning, be suitable for a pet?

You can add fans, open windows slightly and sky lights can open if warm/hot and always leave a good supply of water they can get to!

We have large dogs and they have always come with us. In the evenings, they sleep in the awning as there is no room in the campervan when the beds are out and being used.


A lot of people replace their main car with one of these and why not! It works the same way and is the length of a large estate or 4x4.

They usually have the same engines that one of the cars will use, so it's tried and tested.

It's a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone of owning a campervan and using it as your daily driver. We have tried it and it works great. The legroom in the back is awesome!


If you want to make a little bit of money form your campervan, why not hire it out privately?

There are websites out there, which allow you to do this:





They will take a commission for the hire of your van and provide yourself with peace of mind your vehicle is insured by them and any damages etc. are covered. Think of it as the AirBnB for campervans!

This isn't for everyone and you may just want to keep your campervan for yourself and that is perfectly understandable.

Remember, you may need to pay additional taxes on this, so please check this before you do it!

We use these websites as part of our business and GoBoony is by far the most popular one. They can offer things we can't such as lower insurance deposits, damage waivers etc., but this comes at a higher daily rental cost


You may think this is an odd item to think about, but it was something we discovered when choosing a campervan. You have 2 types of water supply for a campervan:

- Refillable cannister: This sits under the sink area and you just need to unscrew the lid and carry it over to a tap to refill it and put it back.

- Underslung water tank: this is where the water tank is built-in, under the vehicle and you top it up/connect a hose to it from the outside. the downside is, cleaning this regularly as algae etc. sometimes happens.

Some vehicles have the option of hot water for the sink, although this is quite an expensive option to have

We chose the water canister as it was simple and easy to maintain. Also if it cracks, you can get a replacement easily, whereas the underslung one would require a visit to a service place to be repaired/replaced!

We didn't go for hot water as it was an expensive luxury. Most sites have washing up facilities and as the sink is mall, it's easier to use the site's facilities to wash everything up!


Another question which divides people and this is personal preference. You have 2 tailgate options:
- Barn doors: these open as 2 doors

- Lift-up: just like your car boot

We chose the tailgate as we thought opening that added additional sheltering if the weather wasn't great!


You have 2 choices with beds:

- Rock 'n' Roll: most campervans have these and they're very easy to fold into a bed. You lay on the seated side on these. Boot space is limited when it is in seat mode

- RIB: This is a more expensive option and offers a comfier nights sleep as you sleep on the reverse side so it is softer. This also allows a lot more boot space when in the seat mode

I'll be honest here, both are firm beds and there is a difference between their comfort levels.

Most people buy a mattress topper to have additional cushioning to gain a better nights sleep!


Do you prefer manual or automatic gearboxes? That is the choice to make!

- Manual gearbox: change gears manually and use the cluthc

- Automatic gearbox: Put it into Drive and away you go and the gearbox will do all the hard work for you

This is another personal preference item. We prefer automatics and as a business we need to think about other people, so we try to use automatics where we can so everyone can drive them.

Automatics are one less distraction for the driver to think about especially when they're navigating unknown areas and/or are not familiar with the vehicle


When you drive a campervan, you are part of a community of fellow campervanners.

Don't be shocked with your fellow campervanners waving at you as you're driving along!

When we first experienced the waving, we were a bit perplexed, but since then, we always wave and wave back to others.

Our kids have made up their own unique waves, which makes the journey a lot more fun as they're always looking out for them!

Not everyone waves back, but it's just a bit of fun!