Discussion in 'Taylor's Tittle-Tattle - General Banter' started by Mollyboo, May 30, 2018.

  1. Mollyboo

    Mollyboo First Year Pro

    I'm seriously considering getting rid of my car and buying a campervan - just a small transit van sized affair, so that we can sod off on weekends away at the drop of a hat.
    Anyone had experience of these, and if so are there any you'd recommend? We don't have kids, so we don't need anything huge.
  2. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Keyboard Warrior Staff Member

  3. What about the cello, bassoon and harp? And don't even start about the double bass. Going to need a Winnebago.
  4. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

    Campervan Beethoven?
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  5. Cool idea. Plenty of yewtewb vids of people building their own by converting a van.
    Mollyboo and wfcmoog like this.
  6. Two or three decades ago now, but after leaving college in Oz I bought myself a VW Campervan and virtually lived in it for six months - cruising the east coast of Queensland 'chasing the surf'. It never gave me any problems mechanically & was easily big enough for two, especially with an awning. I kept it for a work vehicle for two years - only replaced it with a Landcruiser as it wasn't ideal for rainforest or bush driving. So, unless you intend looking for rainforests in the UK, I'd recommend one.
    Mollyboo likes this.
  7. HeurelhoGomesBaby

    HeurelhoGomesBaby Academy Graduate

    Me and my wife had a 1970s VW camper from 2004-2011 and we loved it. Living in London without a garden at the time we used it a lot and took it around Europe for 4 months in 2005.

    We will get another at some stage, but probably not a VW as the prices have gone stupid. It’s a massive cliche but having a camper van is a bug and once it gets you it’s difficult to ever shake it off.

    All I would say is that even without kids a small van can get a bit cramped at times. I’d suggest it makes a world of difference to have a good roof conversion that gives you a decent double bed so you don’t have to shift too much around at night. Also the headroom is important. There’s companies that can convert almost any van and it’s not worth compromising on a diy roof conversion - a leaking roof is not fun at night. See Danbury or Dormobile conversions. The Westfalia roof conversion is perhaps the best. Even if you are not thinking of a VW it’s also worth checking out the various forms of VW conversions as they vary so much and will give you plenty of ideas about what sort of downstairs layout will suit you the most. Maybe search the internet for camper van conventions and get a good look around.

    Have fun with it all.
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  8. Mollyboo

    Mollyboo First Year Pro

    Thanks all for your input, we've decided to go for a nice T2 VW. We tried alternatives, but kept coming back to the original idea.

    Ok, they may be a tad expensive, but they hold their value incredibly well.

    Hopefully it will all be happening in the next few weeks, and I can't bloody wait.
  9. Just like this one I presume...

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  10. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    Nice. I have 1974 T2, Its great to pack it up and roll off for a weekend somewhere. Had mine ten years and it now needs a bit of work done in a number of areas, but still love it.
  11. Mollyboo

    Mollyboo First Year Pro

    That's exactly the idea we've got.
    Where are the best places you've taken yours? And does it have a name? They all seem to.
  12. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    Its called Mel, it was imported from oz and on the log book cover it said "mellow yellow" which I guess was its original name, so we called it Mel.

    The wife likes some modern comfort so we joined the caravan club a few years ago and use accredited sites. We also have a chemical toilet (not fitted just loose in a box!) That help not having to plan a day around toilet breaks with small boy and a woman on board. No turds on the bus is a general rule though and guess what mug has to empty it?

    We went to France in it most summers beofre and after small boy arrived. We have 2 now which is giving me some questions about logistics (sleeping and seat belts with a 3/4 bench in rear). South of France was nice but you really dont need to go that far. The loire valley, dourdogne, entire west coast, brittany and normandy all have brilliant campsites everywhere, I could dig out some good ones if you want but i dont have the names to hand.

    And you should do Devon and Cornwall coastal tour.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
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  13. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    Not a particular recommendation not that it wasnt decent, we stayed here 1 night, but if you scroll down you'll see that when we went they were doing campsite photos and got us in one of the pitches shots. You'll notice my pro-move of getting in the shade.
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  14. Mollyboo

    Mollyboo First Year Pro

    She looks stunning! Ours will be a full width bed - we measured out a 3/4 on our own bed and whilst it was ok, we both like our space when it comes to getting off to sleep.

    We've had to lose the sink because of that, but there are plenty of options besides a fixed sink. I think a toilet of some sort will be a must too.

    Devon, Cornwall, plus a trip through the wine regions of France are definitely on the agenda.
  15. zztop

    zztop Eurovision Winner 2015

    I'm off to Paulliac next next week. Cant't wait.
  16. Mollyboo

    Mollyboo First Year Pro

    Would love to hear a report when you get back. How are you travelling around?
  17. zztop

    zztop Eurovision Winner 2015

    Ferry, then driving down from Caen, then staying with friends, staying in Caen overnight each way. Just a normal car, well our Lexus hybrid 4x4 thingy.

    A "report" probably wouldn't be too useful, as we really are going for a good rest and some wine, but I see what I can do. But I envy you, we have hired a small campervan from near Paris and meandered down the west coast as far as Spain, in the past. Possibly our most enjoyable holidays yet. Just moving on, when it suits. Perfect.

    The weather is important to us, and whilst the Vendee is usually good in June and July, there is always that doubt. Fingers crossed.
  18. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    Sink is negotiable I guess.

    Would recommend an awning unless genuinely using as 1 night stop over bus. Ours is inflatable and is actually sturdy and incredibly useful when staying more than a night. (Why its on the roofrack in photo). As we now have 2 kids i may need the awning for an extra bed...

    Big tables and equipment are nice, but you have to carry around and move from back to front when setting the bed up.. Same for spare tyre, took me years to bite the bullet and drill holes into front but it does save space. Our pop up roof is useful too for storage of items that once were in boot but now need to be bed.

    We couldnt live without electric hook up as making morning tea the easy way appeals (but hair straighteners wtf woman) , if youre going to france you need a euro plug converter and 10m+ so you can park up the way you like in the pitch.

    Its slow, very slow. I try and aim to go same speed as the restricted lorries, but dont always manage it uphill! But you dont care about that, because when you get in it, you dont need to travel fast. Its about how you get there not where you're going. Every time I've been anywhere in france we try and plan a max days journey of around 100-130 miles. Thats a stop in the loire which is not so bad is it?
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2018
  19. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    I really like the overnight crossing from portsmouth to St Malo.

    Leave early evening, have dinner, check out the bar, sleep, wake up at 7, breakfast, offferry 8.30 to start day.
  20. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Just saw this report on one of the "other parishes" I frequent that mentioned that the latest "crime wave" is for camper-vans/caravans to be nicked and broken down for parts...
  21. Meh!

    Meh! Pre-Dictator

    I drove a Toyota Hiace pop-top up the west coast of Australia. Great little van.
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  22. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    I'd never been camping as a kid but Mrs Moog and I went on a 3 month tour of Australia and New Zealand in a camper van.

    It was one of these in Oz

    In NZ it was just a van with a matress in the back and a plastic box with a few spoons and stuff.

    Nowadays we go camping with the kids a few times a year. Just got back from Cornwall (Yeah, timed that perfectly as it rained constantly) the kids love it, which is the main thing.

    Trouble is that the tent is so limiting. We have to put it up when we arrive, get all our stuff laid out, airbeds inflated, etc. Then I spend all week getting a bad back from scooping stuff from boxes and bags on the floor. To be fair, on a good day it's only about half an hour to put it up, but I've now got to put it up to dry it out at some point.

    My in laws have an 8 berth trailer tent which looks quite old fashioned but the living space is much better and the layout is great. I still think it takes a long time to put up and get down.

    I'd look into a van with a porch extension if I can save a few quid up to buy one. I'm really interested in pottering about and fitting it up, but If I'm honest I desperately lack any of the relevant skills do to it. I don't know where I'd keep it though. It's a bit odd around here with parking in front of houses. I have a driveway but I had to fight for 2 years and overturn an old covenant to build that. The houses around ours originally were not permitted to have motor vehicles parked on the land.

    Long, rambling post, over.
  23. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    Similar story re-camping. Did it for quite a few years as the kids loved it and got a sense of freedom, but sleeping on the floor, (albeit with posh self inflating air beds), gets to you as you get older. Last year we went to one of our favourite camp sites but stayed in one of their static caravans instead and that was it, it was heaven. Camping and me are now firmly separated.

    When the kids have all buggered off Mrs Diamond and myself will more than likely get some sort of tourer and be off ourselves.
    wfcmoog likes this.
  24. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    That's a big negative for me - the airbed. Obviously you have a few craft beers of an evening when camping, and then need to get up and pee a few times in the night. That means trecking to the toilet block or just peeing in the bushes or a bucket, but more inconveniently, rolling around, unzipping the tent, waking up the mrs because of the loss of equilibrium on the inflatable mattress.

    I was pushing heavily to stay in a static caravan if we go on another one of these holidays. I can't imagine it costs that much more and the difference in quality of life must be marked!
  25. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    It costs a sh*tload more.
  26. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Same here with my kids, but we invested in decent kit - decent tent, awning (with night toilet), folding beds, decent dining table set (in the awning), larder thingy and excellent petrol stove (and stand). This all lives in a small, cheaply bought trailer that lives in the garage. We also had an excellent site to use (nr Canterbury, nice pub next door) that had an outdoor pool that meant the kids had something to do and I could cycle the 7 km to St Leonard's (with my eldest son) to watch the cricket. Heaven - but the place had a "makeover" ripped out the pool and installed "eco-lodges" and stopped camping. We did try a few other places (just not as good as the unfortunately named "Yewtree Park") but then it wasn't quite as much fun for my two eldest kids so all this stuff is now sat in the garage collecting mould and dust.

    We still go the "static van" route for a "final" break at the end of the summer or in school holidays but it can be pricey if you go to places with decent facilities. We used to use the Haven sites out-of-season for fishing trips (courtesy of the "Sun's" "free" holidays) in Weymouth and when there were just the two little kids but I did start to feel "uncomfortable" around some of the "clientele". The odd thing is it's not usually the "visitors" to the parks but normally those who've inherited van/pitches on the sites...

    We recently went to a retro-gaming festival in Blackpool. I didn't want to stay in the "vibrant" town itself so on the advice of a friend we booked into this place. It was "alright" the facilities were all quite new but it was eye-wateringly expensive for what it was (its price was on par with staying at one of Legoland's hotels) and populated by scouse gangsters "businessmen".
  27. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    My favourite all time campsite still is Ninham in the Isle of Wight. Has all of the above.
  28. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    We just returned from Widemouth Bay Caravan Park, just outside Bude. It was rank. There were just 4 toilets for men and they were just caked in faeces.

    I think we are at the point where we either need to invest in our camping portfolio and upgrade some of our kit, or just go with static caravans, but I just looked at the prices for a Haven site in Dorset (in Dorset? Well, I haven't been but the reviews look good) and they are comparable with a week's all inclusive in Spain.
  29. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    There are (were) three Haven sites in Weymouth that we used to use for fishing and I took my two eldest kids there when they were toddlers (7&5). When we used them (over 10 years ago) they seemed to cater to a certain, ahem, section of society. I'm assuming that since the idea of "staycation" they've moved more "upmarket". I always used to book them the day before (I'm really cheap) and normally got a high-end "van" - the last occasion we went I got, what was basically somebody's 3 bedroom home, on its own overlooking the nature reserve at "Littlesea" for around about £700 for a week. Haven was very much geared at young kids (pools and organised activities). We used the clubhouse a couple of times (basically on the first day/night) for drinks & eats but I wouldn't voluntarily go in it ever again as the stuff was pretty expensive and not too good quality.

    I never dreamed of camping at one of these Havens...
  30. UEA_Hornet

    UEA_Hornet First Team Captain

    We have little ones and haven't ventured abroad since they arrived. Hoping to try that next year. So in the interim we've been to a few parks around England for summer holidays. Certainly the prices are steep if you want a half decent caravan or lodge type thing. That said, I think we both felt like we'd cracked it this year. Paid a smidge over £700 for a week for a brand new lodge type static caravan at Pevensey Bay near Eastbourne. That was cheaper than the last two years at Haven in Devon in a much smaller caravan. The lodge was actually really good - loads of room, an outside seating bit, bath rather than shower, all the mod cons in the kitchen. All good things with small kids.
    wfcmoog likes this.
  31. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    My brother in law stayed at a Haven near Newquay last year - we were at nearby. This was fine.

    Previously we spent a few days at Billing Aquadrome, which is a bit like an extended, permanent pikey site.

    Obviously when camping I don't expect the other customers to be as classy as me, but then, the scumbags at the more recent site in Widemouth made sure it was like a sink council estate. People smoking everywhere, litter, dog ****, feral children, Staffordshire bull terriers tethered to every tent and everyone completely obese.

    It's good for us to go to a site where there are some facilities for the kids (pool, play area etc.) and the tacky night time entertainment is all good for them. We have never eaten at the club house at any of the sites we've been to though, as I'd rather cook on the camp stove or go to a proper restaurant.

    In any case, I'm all OK with a staycation as a cheap holiday for the kids to let off steam, but when they start costing north of £1500 I'd rather pay the extra and go to Thailand or Goa with them.
  32. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    How old are they now? It depends on the kid, of course, but we've had some great trips with ours (now 4 and 6).

    Last year it took us 9 hours to drive back from Cornwall and so I thought "**** it" if the kids are gonna sit and moan for 9 hours in a vehicle it might as well be a plane and we might as well be going to Thailand, so that's what we did over Easter. They loved it. Opened their eyes to another world.
  33. Hornpete

    Hornpete Squad Player

    Never ever, ever, ever go here;

    Police did regular patrols and we felt like we may get murdered. Thankfully a storm rolled in and blew everyone's tent over so they were too busy for murder. Wife wouldnt go see the sea because it would have meant leaving van unattended. 3 toilets, one blocked, one with no door, the other with teenagers smoking in.
  34. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    When I had finally assembled the camping gear - we decided to have a trial run with it over a weekend with just myself, father, disabled son (the site was very proud of its disability awards) and daughter to see - what's what with putting it up and taking it down. We decided to go to somewhere in Kent that we frequently drove past (with a pool) - the major discovery was the answer to the (should've been rhetorical) question of: "Where do pikies go on holiday?" - 72 hours of hell (this was the place, but it looks like they've done remodelling so it might be better).

    TBF we only used the facilities on the first night after the lengthy drive down (to Weymouth) and the grief/stress/hassle of unloading the vehicle I just fancied not having to cook and fancied a couple of pints - the sigth of grown (northern) adults stealing from the kids' piles of tuppences on the "waterfall machines" in the site's arcade put me off socialising.

    We struck lucky with the first two places we found in Kent this place (alas, it's long gone and it also had the option of staying in a converted barn) and another place (with lodges and static vans) which I'm keeping to myself as I don't want any of you ghastly Garston sum ruining it. The annual site fees are hefty (£11K) but the only thing that's putting me off is that the local sea fishing's a bit ropey every time I visit I think about became an owner there.
  35. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018

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