Loading Notifications...

Why camper vans and not caravans?

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020

Hi,

So we've just bought a caravan, having seen the cost of camper vans.  I know caravans are not cool but given how much cheaper they are, why don't more people get them?  Or are the camper van owners more vocal on here?

David

Report
 Graeme G 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Caravans actually make more sense for a mobile holiday home. No having to tidy up every morning before you drive off to explore where you’re based. Just unhitch and you’re back to being a normal driver. No having to service it, fill it with fuel or get it MOT’d etc

That said, I would never be seen in one. 

Post edited at 10:58
Report
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Because caravans are quite hard to pull unless you use a car. A campervan you only need one vehicle?

In more seriousness, they take up more space when not used, winter storage, higher pitch fees, pain to do a multi location road trips, often much slower up hills....

Report
 Mike505 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Campervans are just far, far more convinent, if do discretely you can park up anywhere. Parking at the crag is far easier, using some back roads in the Lakes would be nearly impossible with a caravan.

Caravans are great if you want to use a campsite but campers give a greater freedom imho.  It's so easy to just hop in and head out for the weekend on a Friday night. And looking at caravan pitch prices you could easily spend £40 per weekend just pitching up, that'd cost us £800+ a year!

Post edited at 11:19
Report
 galpinos 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

We've gone from a campervan to family tent. The tent is a lot better for basing ourselves at a campsite for a weekend or week as we can get set up and then drive away if needs be without having to pack everything up again. The "advantage" of a tent over a caravan is that they are cheaper, easier to store and we won't get sworn at by blocking narrow lanes in the Lakes......

The whole "campervan" thing seems to be getting too popular. Very few have facilities on board and the amount of rubbish/human s**t that is appearing around popular Peak District spots is getting silly. Stanage Popular on Saturday morning looked like a festival campsite.

Report
 mike123 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Mike505:

" using some back roads in the Lakes would be nearly impossible with a caravan." 

Could you please please please tell them .

Report
 Mike505 22 Jul 2020
In reply to mike123:

I wish i could, but we can at least give them joint looks of rage.

Report
 mike123 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Mike505:

That said , I agree that in many ways they make much more sense than a motor home and as the OP said loads  cheaper . I like the idea of getting a cheapish one and towing it out to France / Spain and finding somewhere to leave it for multiple trips . I Know a couple of people who ve done this and find it works well . Move it when you get bored / want a change . 

Report
In reply to Mike505:

>  And looking at caravan pitch prices you could easily spend £40 per weekend just pitching up, that'd cost is £800+ a year!

My brother spent a fortune on a caravan and a bigger car to drag it, it sees less than 2 weeks use a year. The financial aspect of shed dragging is horrendous. 

I had caravanning parents, I had a T3 for many years myself, but I wouldn't go back to either. 

If I'm on a budget I'll just camp or hostel, many hostels have normal rooms not just dormitaries, you get a decent kitchen, freezer space, showers, dry facilities... all for very little money. 

Report
 mike123 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Mike505:

I've had a busy few days and had almost Forgotten the mad woman, Audi A5 , caravan incident on Sunday . I ve have just deleted what I shouted at her as I picked my bike out the hedge, even with lots of £&@&&££ I'm embarrassed .

edit : But it probably wouldn't have fitted and she may have quiet liked it .

Post edited at 11:17
Report
 elliot.baker 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

My neighbours have a caravan and have just come back from 3 weeks in Wales somewhere at a nice site - sounded amazing. I can see the appeal but I think for a lot of people the thought of towing anything at all would be quite alien / intimidating.

It's horses for courses isn't it, I'm sure there are people with campervans who don't get out every weekend and only use them rarely - and I've got a massive tent I've used twice only and it's been sat in the garage for two years because of a change of circumstances.

Report
In reply to galpinos:

> The whole "campervan" thing seems to be getting too popular. Very few have facilities on board and the amount of rubbish/human s**t that is appearing around popular Peak District spots is getting silly. Stanage Popular on Saturday morning looked like a festival campsite.

I've been past some of the more popular carparks in the Peak by bike of a weekend morning and have been surprised at the numbers of people obviously having stayed over in their vans. I thought such folks used to get moved on by the PDNP wardens. Is it budget cuts etc that stops this from happening now?

Report
 Trangia 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Caravan is much better for basing yourself for more than just one night. You just leave it there and use the car to drive around the area, or to the crags/beach/shopping or whatever. Caravans take a bit more practice to learn to manoeuvre, but it shouldn't take a competent driver too long to get the hang of it, no need to drag it into towns and congested areas with a bit of forethought and sensible route planning.

Overall though, I agree that a tent is a lot more flexible than either. I've done all three with my kids when they were young, and a family tent won every time for a flexible family holiday.

Report
 Mike505 22 Jul 2020
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

I think folk still get moved out of carparks innsome areas, but no so much from laybys. The warden seems quite happy to let people park up in suprise view near millstone fornthe night, provide they don't mind getting locked in.

Report
 nikoid 22 Jul 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> The whole "campervan" thing seems to be getting too popular. Very few have facilities on board and the amount of rubbish/human s**t that is appearing around popular Peak District spots is getting silly. Stanage Popular on Saturday morning looked like a festival campsite.

I blame Alex Honnold. The whole van life thing looks quite appealing in the USA but doesn't quite work in this country.

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

> Caravans actually make more sense for a mobile holiday home. No having to tidy up every morning before you drive off to explore where you’re based. Just unhitch and you’re back to being a normal driver. No having to service it, fill it with fuel or get it MOT’d etc

> That said, I would never be seen in one. 

Ha!  I agree with you about the first part.  My wife's not a fan of tents at all though so this is where I compromise.  I'm getting very middle aged now so I can stand the shame

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Mike505:

It'll be for family holidays more than anything so we'll be using campsites. And £40 per weekend for three of us is pretty good.

I am not looking forward to narrow roads.  We've got a 'microlite' caravan so I'm hoping we won't be too slow.

Report
 finneyles 22 Jul 2020
In reply to nikoid:

Why do you think it doesn't work in this country?

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> We've gone from a campervan to family tent. The tent is a lot better for basing ourselves at a campsite for a weekend or week as we can get set up and then drive away if needs be without having to pack everything up again. The "advantage" of a tent over a caravan is that they are cheaper, easier to store and we won't get sworn at by blocking narrow lanes in the Lakes......

> The whole "campervan" thing seems to be getting too popular. Very few have facilities on board and the amount of rubbish/human s**t that is appearing around popular Peak District spots is getting silly. Stanage Popular on Saturday morning looked like a festival campsite.

I agree about the convenience of not having to pack everything up whenever you want to drive away.  I do remember seeing the enormous RVs, in the US when I was a kid, towing cars which is one way of solving the problem!  My wife does not like tents though so it's our compromise. 

Report
 galpinos 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

It's horses for courses I guess. Some friends sold their campervan at the same time as us but plumped for a trailer tent, smaller/cheaper than a caravan but more "luxury" than a tent.

I think, as someone said above, the "vanlife" vibe from the US has made campervanning cool, whereas caravanning is something old people do.

Report
 galpinos 22 Jul 2020
In reply to finneyles:

I know you didn't ask me but this is UKC so I'll answer anyway.......

We are a reasonably densely populated island with not much/any wild space. Compared to the large expanses on uninhabited land in the US, the Peak District, for example, is surrounded by large urban conurbations and is flooded with visitors everyday. It has neither the space nor facilities* to cope with a large influx of vans parking up all over the place and the associated litter/human waste.** We have limited "wild" spaces so need to be considerate of how we use and preserve them.

* Last Sunday in the Peak it felt like it didn't have the capacity for the day visitors, Castleton and the parking around Mam Tor was something to behold!

**Despite the "I never leave a mess/s**t 6 ft away from the van next to path in the middle of the night" claims from all van owners, there it, in the morning when they've gone, the rubbish and the human waste.

Report
 Tobes 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Where does a motor home fit into this debate. is it the best or worst of both worlds?
 

Camper vans - less likely to integrate with local economies (campsites etc) and more likely to ‘wild crap‘ but more likely to shop local (supermarkets and cafes) - have to endure too many humble/brag Facebook posts ; )
 

Caravan - based at caravan parks - less likely to shop local (bought food before departure) less likely to wild crap - less likely to park up in lay-bys and car parks for overnight stays - a pain to be stuck behind on the roads!

Motorhomes - The worst of all the above?

Report
 galpinos 22 Jul 2020
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

No idea. There seems to be some semi permanent residents at Hooks Carr and in the layby at the Apparent North walk in. Hook Car seems to have 10-15 vans a night over the weekend.

Report
In reply to finneyles:

> Why do you think it doesn't work in this country?

Serious campervans are invariably quite large, and UK roads / parking facilities are relatively small. Plus many carparks have height restrictions to keep gypsies and caravanners out which larger vans would fall foul of.

Report
 Wainers44 22 Jul 2020
In reply to galpinos:

We have a little campervan (small van, not a van for small campers). Probably only stop outside of campsites around 10% of the time. Actively hunt out unobtrusive places to stay when we aren't on a site, arrive just before dark, leave before 0730. Leave nothing behind. We decided to spend £40 on a chemical toilet for the van which sits nicely under the back seat. Will be a bit public when used,  but hey, the fresh air will be nice!

There are some right idiots around who simply cant be trusted to care for the wild places they stop at and spoil. They are giving all camper owners a bad name.

Mind you, we are rubbish in this country at catering for this sort of thing. We hired a van in NZ last year and they have strictly regulated camper arrangements which seem to work well. Crucially they limit wildcamping to specific sites in sensitive areas, you pay a small fee and can then enjoy the experience of the long drop toilet....

Look out if you camp in the wrong place and/or have no chemical toilet in the van. We could easily protect the most sensitive areas here in the same way and generate a bit of local income too.

To the OP, caravan? Nah, I see too many of those upside down on the A38 Haldon Hill each year to ever want to tow one of those things!

Report
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

I suspect part of the reason is the danger of towing them - we've all seen caravans being towed badly on motorways - too fast, tow vehicle to weedy etc. It's one thing driving a big van, but it's another trying to tow something as big, especially maneuvering.

Report
In reply to galpinos:

> We are a reasonably densely populated island with not much/any wild space. Compared to the large expanses on uninhabited land in the US, the Peak District, for example, is surrounded by large urban conurbations and is flooded with visitors everyday. It has neither the space nor facilities* to cope with a large influx of vans parking up all over the place.

Absolutely. The problem is that one of the attraction of vans is to be more or less self sufficient and therefore not in need of most of the facilities of campsites; obviously nobody wants to pay £10 to £15 per night for facilities they mostly don't need. I think that in popular areas (at least in peak season) some sort of control is now needed. The answer may be dedicated sites with absolutely minimal facilities (probably just a cold tap and a toilet) at a fair price via an honesty box. Although this would still take away some of the freedom of a van, the current situation is, I think, untenable.

Report
 nathan79 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Tobes:

When does a campervan become a motorhome? I'm trying to think what the distinguishing differences are/should be.

Report
In reply to nathan79:

> When does a campervan become a motorhome? I'm trying to think what the distinguishing differences are/should be.

The degree to which they are an eyesore.

Report
In reply to galpinos:

> No idea. There seems to be some semi permanent residents at Hooks Carr and in the layby at the Apparent North walk in. Hook Car seems to have 10-15 vans a night over the weekend.

There's been a bloke in a large brown-camo camper van that seems to have been at one of the laybys/carparks in the Stanage/Burbage/Lady Cannings area pretty much every time I go out, from lockdown onwards. Semi-permanent indeed.

Report

Financially, its better to bivvy and then spend 10 nights a year in 5 star hotels recovering.

Or even, recover in your bivouac from the shock of the 5 star hotel. 

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to nathan79:

I'd thought about them as interchangeable terms but maybe a campervan is anything based on a commercial van chassis and anything else is a motorhome. 

​​

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Heartinthe highlands:

Not entirely practical with a one year old. Either option

Report
In reply to galpinos:

> **Despite the "I never leave a mess/s**t 6 ft away from the van next to path in the middle of the night" claims from all van owners, there it, in the morning when they've gone, the rubbish and the human waste.

The same can be said about climbers, dog walkers and pretty much every group you can think of. That is because what you *do* notice is the rubbish someone left, you do not notice the rubbish and waste I have *not* left, as it is not there.

Report
 nikoid 22 Jul 2020
In reply to finneyles:

> Why do you think it doesn't work in this country?

I was just about to compose a reply, but Galpinos at 12.07 has done a pretty good job of reading my thoughts on the subject.

Report
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

One issue is that if you want anything bigger than a small one you need a B + E licence to tow it (as B is max 750kg), also you need a big car to tow the weight.

750kg does actually give you more than you would think (as caravans are plywood and tinfoil) but I think a lot of people get the impression you need B+E to tow at all.

Also caravans aren't "cool"

Post edited at 13:23
Report
 duchessofmalfi 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Financially campervan or cavarans aren't a good deal compared with camping or a B+B unless you use them an awful lot. Personally from a long period of observation caravans seem to me about a way to take established domestic roles on holiday with you.

Vans are one of those things that for many people are more a symbol of freedom and aspirational lifestyle than a practical thing.  I know a load of people without vans who wish they had them and I know that if they ever get one they will be underwhelmed and secretly revolted by the experience. 

On the other hand if you don't mind living like a dog in a prison cell for a few days and you don't mind sloping out and the grim grime that infests vanlife and you're desperate to overcome the hassle of camping or booking a B+B or motel then you're ok but don't kid yourself it makes financial sense except for a few scummy bastards or people who like projects.

For most people vans are in the category "looks more fun than it is" along with motorised skateboard, jetskis, hoover boards, drones, CB radios and abseiling. 

Report
 Wainers44 22 Jul 2020
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

Gosh really?

I must be odd then. Van life is even better than I expected, ours is probably cleaner and more hygienic than home (don't judge, please!). 

Dog kennel, well yes I suppose there is a dog in the van, but he is matching (black and white) and tbh because he likes the sea so much he is usually cleaner than I am.

We have stayed in some fab places, Orkneys, Inner and Outer Hebredies, New Year cold camp in the Lakes, Arran, and loads of impromptu trips down the road to Cornwall. Van is now worth more than we paid for it. Only positive experiences for us.

Report
 Mike505 22 Jul 2020
In reply to galpinos:

Yea I've noticed people seem to have an inability to bag up toilet tissue or even attemt to bury it. Several areas around Stanage are fast becoming minefields.

Is it ironic that the #vanlife image is of someone who's in touch with nature, i guess in all the instagram pictures the left behind bin bags and latrine pits are cropped out?

Post edited at 13:44
Report
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

> On the other hand if you don't mind living like a dog in a prison cell for a few days and you don't mind sloping out and the grim grime that infests vanlife

What on earth? I understand loads of other criticisms raised here but this is something else. Either you have been in some dodgy vans or I don't know what, I cannot think of a single way in which a van is more like a prison cell than a tent. It's certainly cleaner than a tent and doesn't mould the second you dare sleep in the British weather on a multi-day trip...

Report
 The Norris 22 Jul 2020
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

I dunno, I just quite like rocking up to a campsite in my van in the pi**ing rain watching some poor sod put his tent up while get a beer out the fridge.

Report
 galpinos 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Alkis:

Oh, I know. I've seen the state of the Peak since lockdown has eased. I'm not laying the blame for ALL litter at vanlifers feet. I had a van and loved it (honeymoon, trips to Spain, Font, the Alps, all over the UK etc in it, the daughters were in tears when we sold it!) but there is a big difference between a lonely van in a layby in the a**e end of nowhere and 20 vans with no facilities every night in the most popular parking spot in the Peak District. There comes a point where you reach an "unsustainable" critical mass of vanlifers in one spot and we are already there in more than a few places.

Report
 ScraggyGoat 22 Jul 2020
In reply to galpinos:

The end of so called freedom is nigh for motor-homers, van-lifers and road-side 'dirty' campers. Multiple highland communities are fed-up of the mess, traffic regulation breaches, anti-social behavior along with people just taking the mickey. I'm not saying that all are guilty, but most appear very indifferent, or at least completely naive to the local animosity (at the lesser end of the scale for example is the half a dozen vans parked up directly outside a formal campsite entrance I saw just last night, because view is better, or the multiple passing places blocked, at the other end of the scale is the crap, waste, fires and noise).  The numbers are now beyond sustainable, and some form of attempt at organisation (and regulation) as on the Outer Hebrides, Mull and Tiree is highly likely. 

A spot I know that has been quietly used since at least the late 1980's, which is completely out of sight of houses, having had the Instagram style treatment resulting in volume and associated waste/litter/fires, means that the usually laid back Sheppard and crofters have taken to discouraging access at present and are working to remove it long term, while the vans cause some problems which could all be solved, its the fundamental lack of respect that got the locals backs-up.

Post edited at 15:02
Report
 SteveX 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Absolutely. The problem is that one of the attraction of vans is to be more or less self sufficient and therefore not in need of most of the facilities of campsites; obviously nobody wants to pay £10 to £15 per night for facilities they mostly don't need. I think that in popular areas (at least in peak season) some sort of control is now needed. The answer may be dedicated sites with absolutely minimal facilities (probably just a cold tap and a toilet) at a fair price via an honesty box. Although this would still take away some of the freedom of a van, the current situation is, I think, untenable.

How much do you consider to be a fair price. £10 or £15 sounds fair enough to me, not to have to be parked next to a road and not to have to empty a chemical toilet, having litter bins and a shower makes it a total bargain.

Report
In reply to SteveX:

> How much do you consider to be a fair price. £10 or £15 sounds fair enough to me, not to have to be parked next to a road and not to have to empty a chemical toilet, having litter bins and a shower makes it a total bargain.

I'd say maybe £5 max for a cold tap and a toilet. If people want the full campsite facilities with showers and so on they are always welcome to pay £10 to £15 for it. I was thinking of the bare minimum to keep the experience as close as possible to what people are used to getting for free but without the associated problems.

Report
 Mark Eddy 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SteveX:

Yes that's a very reasonable rate. A regular car park will often be £8 per day and have no facilities other than to park a vehicle.

Report
 SteveX 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I'd say maybe £5 max for a cold tap and a toilet. If people want the full campsite facilities with showers and so on they are always welcome to pay £10 to £15 for it. I was thinking of the bare minimum to keep the experience as close as possible to what people are used to getting for free but without the associated problems.

MAX 🤔

I would suggest that is a tad unrealistic in 2020. 

Post edited at 15:37
Report
 Mark Eddy 22 Jul 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

The Lakes are awash with vans overnighting all over the place now. Many of the places that specify no overnight stays are regularly being used. A few discreet vans is one thing, but the current level is problematic. I hear the Police are now more actively discouraging this in the Borrowdale area with fines being issued when appropriate.

Many campsites are open again now, so why not just pay a few quid and use a site and their facilities. 

Report
In reply to SteveX:

> MAX 🤔

> I would suggest that is a tad unrealistic in 2020. 

What is unrealistic us expecting people to voluntarily pay for stuff they don't need. 

Report
 Graeme G 22 Jul 2020
In reply to The Norris:

> I dunno, I just quite like rocking up to a campsite in my van in the pi**ing rain watching some poor sod put his tent up while get a beer out the fridge.

Far better to drive past the campsite, check in to a hotel and get the staff to bring your bags in, fold down the bed and pour you a fresh pint whilst you recline in front of the fire.

Report
 Tobes 22 Jul 2020
In reply to nathan79:

> When does a campervan become a motorhome? I'm trying to think what the distinguishing differences are/should be.

Camper van - think long wheel base Hi Ace or similar - mattress on top of a few storage boxes, a stove, some pots and pans - can be a custom conversion, off the shelf or old works van with a bouldering mat to sleep on. Anything from a few grand upwards. Takes the parking space of a long estate 

Motorhome - in built toilet, shower, storage, seating/dining area, sleeping area - kitchenette. Start at 15/20k i'd have thought. Larger vehicle requirements for parking 

A world of difference imo 

Report
In reply to Mark Eddy:

Agree.  £5 is the cost of a pint in many places and costs me £7 to park up at Coniston for a days fishing.  £5 for the van, £5/person after that.

Report
 cb294 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Bivvying under a rock overhang in the Elbe sandstone for a couple of late September nights with temperatures dropping down to around 5°C is definitely possible with a one and a bit year old toddler. My son absolutely loved it, especially with the red deer stags rutting in the valley below!

CB

Report
 Steff 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

In some places (Spain) there is a legal distinction. I don't remember the details, but there are places where you cannot spend the night with a caravan, but you can with a van.

I am more of a hotels and B&B person though ;-)

Report
 Eric9Points 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Personally, I'd like the Scottish government to start putting drones on patrol above many of the roads in or heading to the Highlands. Any van or car+caravan that has a queue of more than three cars behind it for more than ten minutes would get taken out with a Hellfire anti tank missile.

However that's unlikely to happen but congestion and pollution (shite and rubbish) from "wild campers", caravaners and motorhome owners is trashing many beautiful parts of Scotland. While I am instinctively against limiting access to the outdoors something needs to be done. I'd like to see the same sorts of restrictions on camping and overnight parking that are now in place on Loch Lomond side and the Trossachs extended to cover the whole of Scotland with a caveat that if you can be arsed carrying your tent a mile from the car, no one is going to bother you.

Report
 Timmd 22 Jul 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> A spot I know that has been quietly used since at least the late 1980's, which is completely out of sight of houses, having had the Instagram style treatment resulting in volume and associated waste/litter/fires, means that the usually laid back Sheppard and crofters have taken to discouraging access at present and are working to remove it long term, while the vans cause some problems which could all be solved, its the fundamental lack of respect that got the locals backs-up.

I guess even if people did all bury their poo in a considerate way, over time it might change the nature of the ground where people regularly stop, and the urinating could, which could be a bad thing for any sites which might be a SSSI. The area outside the Barrow Mountaineering hut in the Coniston Coppermines valley is an SSSI and they say to not camp outside the hut, it looks just like your average bit of grass which is keep closely trimmed by sheep. The value of where people are diggng holes to poo etc may not always be apparent.

Post edited at 16:53
Report
 geordiepie 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Loads of reasons I bought a van and wouldn't consider a caravan:-

1. Allows camping on sites with no hookup and still have the luxury of cold beer and a charged phone

2. Allows occasional 'wild' camping

3. Can be used as a day to day vehicle and comfortably fits kids and dog in 

4. Can be used as a van (seats and bed can be removed)

4. Doesn't take up any extra room on the drive or need to be stored

5. If camping for a day or two no need for a tent- for longer trips we'll take van plus tent

In short it's far more flexible than having a car and caravan combo for my needs

Report
 Ridge 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> What is unrealistic us expecting people to voluntarily pay for stuff they don't need. 

Such as the not insignificant cost of installing toilets, taps, digging up the road to connect to water and sewerage, maintenance and repair to provide virtually free facilities to camper van owners?

Report
 haworthjim 22 Jul 2020
In reply to geordiepie:

Also to add;

Most sites want you off by midday! With a caravan in tow that's your weekend away finished by Sunday lunch.  With a van you can pack up and leave a site and still have your Sunday at the beach, crag etc before leaving for home in the evening (when traffic has cleared)

Report
 Yanis Nayu 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Graeme G:

It’s a sense of freedom you don’t get with other holidays. 

Report
In reply to Ridge:

> Such as the not insignificant cost of installing toilets, taps, digging up the road to connect to water and sewerage, maintenance and repair to provide virtually free facilities to camper van owners.

At the moment people are getting all they need for free and it is causing problems. So either the absolute basics need to available at a cost which people will voluntarily pay or else they need to be forced to pay the sort of fees they are not paying voluntarily at the moment. 

Report
 SteveX 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

> Hi,

> So we've just bought a caravan, having seen the cost of camper vans.  I know caravans are not cool but given how much cheaper they are, why don't more people get them?  Or are the camper van owners more vocal on here?

> David

We are currently going around this block. I suggest some of the people replying are not comparing like with like, in that they have a climbers doss van, which you would not want to sit in for two days waiting for rain to clear.

You are correct that caravans are cheaper, but for us the advantages of a proper campervan are,

  • Can wild camp. Though we would generally use sites.
  • Can access deep into the places we like such as the lakes, whereas a caravan is a pain.
  • I am used to driving big vans and not towing.
  • They are pretty cool. 
  • Caravans have connotations of George and Mildred.

Disadvantages, 

  • Initial cost.
  • Amount of choice.
  • When you want to go anywhere you have to pack everything up.
  • Less space.
  • Possibly they are getting a bit too popular and it's a bubble.
  • Getting too popular and legislation may stop wild camping, but we are happy to use sites.
Report
In reply to Eric9Points:

> However that's unlikely to happen but congestion and pollution (shite and rubbish) from "wild campers", caravaners and motorhome owners is trashing many beautiful parts of Scotland. While I am instinctively against limiting access to the outdoors something needs to be done. I'd like to see the same sorts of restrictions on camping and overnight parking that are now in place on Loch Lomond side and the Trossachs extended to cover the whole of Scotland with a caveat that if you can be arsed carrying your tent a mile from the car, no one is going to bother you.

Sadly, I am coming to the same conclusion. Though I admit I would probably still aim to get away with discrete arriving late and leaving early roadside dossing in the car.

Report
 duchessofmalfi 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Alkis:

Don't get me wrong - I love my van. I think I just have a high tolerance to living like a tramp. Undoubtedly most people can save money and live a more comfortable, more pleasant, cleaner life staying in a premier inn whereas I'd be more at home in a ditch.

A load of the van wannabes I know don't seem to understand that a van is, by many objective standards, an expensive way to stay in scummy B+B that sometimes has a great view but often doesn't.

While it is fun to sit in your van and watch dejected campers erect tents in the rain would you really pay £(insert price of van + conversion) for that pleasure alone?

Report
 Darron 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

I’ve always understood Campervan/Motorhome difference as:

Campervan. 

VW Transporter type. Can have porta potty type toilet (but most don’t?)

Panel Van conversion (PVC). Fiat Ducati type retains Van sides roof etc and has been converted, usually professionally. Think the delivery vans currently wizzing round our streets. Usually 5.5 to 6.5m long, 6m probably more common. Usually have all mod cons, are very easy to drive inc narrow/single track roads.

Motorhome.

Either built on custom chassis or on (eg) Fiat Ducato chassis. Usually called ‘coachbuilt’. These can be any size from big to huge. Think big white box.All mod cons but more restrictive where it’s possible to drive them.

As an aside I don’t see why a PVC or Motorhome user would crap outside when they have a toilet on board.

Does this mean the VW vans, so beloved of UKC, are responsible?

Report
 peppermill 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Although this would still take away some of the freedom of a van, the current situation is, I think, untenable.

I agree. It's one of the main reasons I sold mine, after silly insurance/tax costs etc. As much fun as I had converting and using it for a few years I felt like part of an unsustainable problem in Scotland.

Besides, I actually quite like staying in hostels and bunkhouses!

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Toerag:

> I suspect part of the reason is the danger of towing them - we've all seen caravans being towed badly on motorways - too fast, tow vehicle to weedy etc. It's one thing driving a big van, but it's another trying to tow something as big, especially maneuvering.

We had one when I was a kid and never had any issues so I suppose I'm confident that if my dad could manage it, so can I.

The caravan is less than 50% of the car's kerb weight so it should be fine.

I can understand the nervousness though and I will be feeling a bit of it the first couple of trips.

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to peppermill:

> I agree. It's one of the main reasons I sold mine, after silly insurance/tax costs etc.

> Besides, I actually quite like staying in hostels and bunkhouses!

If I were still single...

For trips up to Scotland for Munro bagging and climbing they'll still be my preferred option.

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to haworthjim:

> Also to add;

> Most sites want you off by midday! With a caravan in tow that's your weekend away finished by Sunday lunch.  With a van you can pack up and leave a site and still have your Sunday at the beach, crag etc before leaving for home in the evening (when traffic has cleared)

That's a good point. I'll probably just book an extra night or negotiate something with the site owner.

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Personally, I'd like the Scottish government to start putting drones on patrol above many of the roads in or heading to the Highlands. Any van or car+caravan that has a queue of more than three cars behind it for more than ten minutes would get taken out with a Hellfire anti tank missile.

> However that's unlikely to happen but congestion and pollution (shite and rubbish) from "wild campers", caravaners and motorhome owners is trashing many beautiful parts of Scotland. While I am instinctively against limiting access to the outdoors something needs to be done. I'd like to see the same sorts of restrictions on camping and overnight parking that are now in place on Loch Lomond side and the Trossachs extended to cover the whole of Scotland with a caveat that if you can be arsed carrying your tent a mile from the car, no one is going to bother you.

I can understand the frustration and I've always been the tired driver with a long journey ahead of me or behind me and a slow vehicle in front. I promise to keep my speed up as much as possible and pull over if I'm creating a tailback.

These sorts of measures (limiting caravans and campers) might just end up up pushing prices sky high on self catering places stimulating a lot of new building or encouraging more investors to buy up property to let. And the tourist money is going to be vital in an independent Scotland with fossil fuels on the way out. 

Report
In reply to galpinos:

> The whole "campervan" thing seems to be getting too popular. Very few have facilities on board and the amount of rubbish/human s**t that is appearing around popular Peak District spots is getting silly. Stanage Popular on Saturday morning looked like a festival campsite.

The vans are not to blame. Blame the people who don't know how to behave.

Report
 peppermill 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

To answer your actual question:

Caravans don't look good on Instagram 

;p

Report
In reply to Rog Wilko:

What is the right way to behave if you have a van without a toilet? Or is the right way to have a van that has one?

Report
 Billhook 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Having owned both at different times I can only agree with almost all the comments and observations  made above.

Report
 Eric9Points 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

> I can understand the frustration and I've always been the tired driver with a long journey ahead of me or behind me and a slow vehicle in front. I promise to keep my speed up as much as possible and pull over if I'm creating a tailback.

Pulling over is probably best.

> These sorts of measures (limiting caravans and campers) might just end up up pushing prices sky high on self catering places stimulating a lot of new building or encouraging more investors to buy up property to let.

I doubt it. Robert's suggestion of providing more lost cost sites combined with a complete ban on camping outside of such places would probably work.

And the tourist money is going to be vital in an independent Scotland with fossil fuels on the way out. 

There are no plans for Scotland to become independent but furfuxake, don't start on that, please.

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Eric9Points:

> Pulling over is probably best.

> I doubt it. Robert's suggestion of providing more lost cost sites combined with a complete ban on camping outside of such places would probably work.

I think that's sensible.  I hope to do some family trips to Scotland where we stay on sites and when the baby's older, some father/son wild camping while mum relaxes in the caravan.

> And the tourist money is going to be vital in an independent Scotland with fossil fuels on the way out. 

> There are no plans for Scotland to become independent but furfuxake, don't start on that, please.

Haha!  It was a bit of a troll.  I hope Scotland stays, I love the place and the people and I'm proud to be part of a country with such talented poets, artists, musicians and thinkers. But I could understand anyone wanting to dump England and all of it's petty folk.

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to peppermill:

> To answer your actual question:

> Caravans don't look good on Instagram 

> ;p

Haha!  My wife is picking out decals for the bodywork, tiles to replace the carpet and having new covers made for the cushions. Seriously.  It will look as good as a caravan can.  It helps that it's so dinky - just over 10 feet long.

Report
In reply to galpinos:

I left Dennis Knoll parking at 2200 last night. All the way along stanage up to Burbage they were vans parked, most overnight I guess. Up at Stanage Apparent North roadside parking, people sitting around a brazier in the lay-by between two vans! Not saying people in campervans necessarily leave litter or make a mess but I do wonder where they are go when they need to do number two! I don't know but I didn't think the public toilets at plantation car park were open again.

Report
In reply to Wainers44:

> Only positive experiences for us.

Don't get too smug, or all of us whose poor life decisions mean that #vanlife isn't happening for us, will be round to let your tyres down. ;-)

Report
 peppermill 22 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

> Haha!  My wife is picking out decals for the bodywork, tiles to replace the carpet and having new covers made for the cushions. Seriously.  It will look as good as a caravan can.  It helps that it's so dinky - just over 10 feet long.

#towbarlife

Report
 Glug 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Absolutely. The problem is that one of the attraction of vans is to be more or less self sufficient and therefore not in need of most of the facilities of campsites; obviously nobody wants to pay £10 to £15 per night for facilities they mostly don't need. I think that in popular areas (at least in peak season) some sort of control is now needed. The answer may be dedicated sites with absolutely minimal facilities (probably just a cold tap and a toilet) at a fair price via an honesty box. Although this would still take away some of the freedom of a van, the current situation is, I think, untenable.

I think something like the French have in many villages would be a great idea, a small aire with water and somewhere to empty the waste water for a couple of £, and people encouraged to use local shops and services. 

Report
In reply to Glug:

> I think something like the French have in many villages would be a great idea, a small aire with water and somewhere to empty the waste water for a couple of £, and people encouraged to use local shops and services. 

Yes, I'm thinking that some dedicated places like that in the north of Scotland, maybe not in the villages, but nearby with a nice view for a small fee, might be a good idea. The NC500 is the worst idea ever, but, if it's here to stay, the plague of vans and motorhomes need to be catered for somehow.

Report
In reply to mbh:

> What is the right way to behave if you have a van without a toilet? Or is the right way to have a van that has one?

Overnight only on camp sites.

Report
 Siward 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

Aye. As the owner of a basic self converted van (which is lovely btw) I have concluded that it's ludicrous to use it in the summer anywhere in the UK, ludicrous to use it south of the border at all, and it remains useful for Scottish late autumn to early spring trips only. Vans are appreciated more then anyway. 

Caravan sites should offer a waste water/waste disposal facility perhaps for a fee (as I'm told is available in France free?) since there is nowhere on Scotland to dispose of it that I know of?

It comes down to, as usual, too many people, lack of respect, social media /newspapers monetising experiences, the usual woes of the modern world. Scotland was fantastic 30 odd years ago, or I'm just getting old  

Report
 SuperstarDJ 22 Jul 2020
In reply to Siward:

> It comes down to, as usual, too many people, lack of respect, social media /newspapers monetising experiences, the usual woes of the modern world. Scotland was fantastic 30 odd years ago, or I'm just getting old  

Aye - it should be a cause of celebration, that so many more people are interested in, and can afford, the best bits of the world, the best jobs, careers, food, drink, experiences and aren't content with boring weeks in seaside B&Bs, mundane hobbies or soul destroying jobs.  But there's not enough to go around.  However can we fix it?

Report
 obi-wan nick b 22 Jul 2020
In reply to mbh:

I can’t really see the point in one without a toilet & proper shower.  I’m told the toilet will only hold about 3 days worth for 2 people though which is disappointing. 

Report
 finneyles 22 Jul 2020
In reply to duchessofmalfi:

> Don't get me wrong - I love my van. I think I just have a high tolerance to living like a tramp. Undoubtedly most people can save money and live a more comfortable, more pleasant, cleaner life staying in a premier inn whereas I'd be more at home in a ditch.

> A load of the van wannabes I know don't seem to understand that a van is, by many objective standards, an expensive way to stay in scummy B+B that sometimes has a great view but often doesn't.

> While it is fun to sit in your van and watch dejected campers erect tents in the rain would you really pay £(insert price of van + conversion) for that pleasure alone?

you must of done a shite conversion if you compare the experience to a scummy b+b!

Report
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Or just use a service station, pub or any other place you would normally use on a day trip anyway, the fact that you are gonna spend the night doesn't mean you have to start shitting all over the place.

Post edited at 23:16
Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

The thread seems to have digressed from the OP.
I would have thought that most UKCers are aware of the concept of The Tragedy of the Commons, and I would suggest that the Campervan situation is or is becoming an example of The Tragedy of the Commons.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons

Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Alkis:

> Or just use a service station, pub or any other place you would normally use on a day trip anyway, the fact that you are gonna spend the night doesn't mean you have to start shitting all over the place.

People do not chose between a Campervan or a Caravan for a day trip away, that is a different situation. 

Report
 galpinos 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> The vans are not to blame. Blame the people who don't know how to behave.

Well, obviously. But more vans equal more people and that seems to equal more s**t and litter. Add to that the points made about increasing local animosity to vans to parking up all over the shop and you must be able to see the issue?

Report
In reply to SteveX:

This is not what I said. Use the same facilities that you would use if you were on a day trip.

Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Alkis:

Its a different situation. People on a longer trip are not always passing a service station or that kind of thing. Also not everyone goes into a pub everyday, and some people would consider going into private establishments habitually to subsidise a holiday or a life style the actions of a freeloading scrounger and its these actions that ultimately make it worse for all of us. I doubt many people object to a person in need using a toilet, but when it becomes apparent that people are abusing the situation, is when you get little signs going up saying "Toilets for Customers only". The big joke or the tragedy of this is the first person to condemn this is the freeloader who caused  the problem in the first place <RANT OVER>

You have a good day an all

Report
 galpinos 23 Jul 2020
In reply to TobyA:

> I left Dennis Knoll parking at 2200 last night. All the way along stanage up to Burbage they were vans parked, most overnight I guess. Up at Stanage Apparent North roadside parking, people sitting around a brazier in the lay-by between two vans!

I think there is little insight from the vanlifers into why locals might get their backs up about this, especially after all the wildfires. I wonder how much the "vanlifing round a fire" experience these people are having sat by the side of the road in a busy national park compares to the Instagram pictures they are emulating of van campfire scenes in remote deserts.....

> Not saying people in campervans necessarily leave litter or make a mess but I do wonder where they are go when they need to do number two!

I think the verges around and about provide the answer.

> I don't know but I didn't think the public toilets at plantation car park were open again.

They weren't last weekend and I think this is poor from the PDNP. 

Report
In reply to SteveX:

You are making a hell of a lot of assumptions there, but fair enough.

Yes, of course you should not be using the facilities without giving them your custom. It was an example.

OTOH, if you are in a multi day trip where you are staying in one place and it's nowhere near anything, then I would agree with other posters that you should buy a chemical toilet. They are not that expensive and don't take much space.

Report
In reply to Alkis:

> Or just use a service station, pub or any other place you would normally use on a day trip anyway, the fact that you are gonna spend the night doesn't mean you have to start shitting all over the place.

Day trip or overnight makes no difference - might or might not be near a public convenience when one needs to go.

Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Alkis:

> You are making a hell of a lot of assumptions there, but fair enough.

Its just what I see around. A lot of people seem to think that if they have a poo its just the one and hey, just tonight I will not bury it, and crickey what a mess those other people have made, I would never do that, well except just this once. See it all the time. I climb a lot and go where climbers go, so presumably its climbers, but maybe bird watchers and fisherman and runners are the same, I have no idea.


 

Report
In reply to galpinos:

> Add to that the points made about increasing local animosity to vans to parking up all over the shop and you must be able to see the issue?

This is a different but related issue. I am happy to overnight in the wild but not in a honeypot location where numbers become an issue. In a sparsely populated area the odd van isn't a problem if it's thoughtfully positioned out of sight of dwellings. 

But I do think most campsites see vans as a cash cow - if you can afford a vehicle like that you can afford to give me 25 quid just to park it overnight and perhaps fill it with water and empty your toilet. The French camping car aires are often free (prepared to provide this to have you maybe use our shop or cafe) but even if there is a charge it's modest and reasonable.

Report
 tlouth7 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Something I haven't seen mentioned is that if you have a caravan you need off road parking. In contrast a van can be parked in a nearby street. This makes a big difference to city dwellers who I suspect make up a big chunk of the converted van ownership.

Report
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Yes, I'm thinking that some dedicated places like that in the north of Scotland, maybe not in the villages, but nearby with a nice view for a small fee, might be a good idea. The NC500 is the worst idea ever, but, if it's here to stay, the plague of vans and motorhomes need to be catered for somehow.

Mandatory use of campsites or basicFbasic style Aires / community campsites should be looked at.

The use of these would need to be backed up with large fines for none compliance (>£100). Unfortunately we seem to be unable to follow rules in this country unless there is a strong deterrent or penalty. Perhaps "wild" van use in the off season could be permitted but the areas on the NC500 are getting spoilt by the shear number of people visiting.

There is already camping restrictions around Loch Lomond so I believe there would be some support in the impacted areas. With rights come responsibilities, sadly some folks don't care

Report
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

> Aye - it should be a cause of celebration, that so many more people are interested in, and can afford, the best bits of the world.

But I keep hearing people say that they are planning to "do" the NC500. Do they really want to visit places in the north of Scotland (which have always been there) or are they just "victims"of the marketing of a tick?

Report
 Lankyman 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> But I keep hearing people say that they are planning to "do" the NC500. Do they really want to visit places in the north of Scotland (which have always been there) or are they just "victims"of the marketing of a tick?

Just up the road from me is a second hand camper van seller. All through lockdown I walked past most days and wondered if it would survive the oncoming economic meltdown. Well, judging by all the sold signs on the moving palaces it would seem that my 'fears' were unfounded. Lots of folks preparing to 'live the dream' (their advertising strap line) and contribute to the nightmare on rural roads.

Report
 galpinos 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Rog Wilko:

> This is a different but related issue. I am happy to overnight in the wild but not in a honeypot location where numbers become an issue. In a sparsely populated area the odd van isn't a problem if it's thoughtfully positioned out of sight of dwellings.

I agree with this, but as the number of vans increase, what were places you might see the odd van are now quite popular. When I first got my van, you'd rarely see a van parked up. Last trip to Scotland, there seemed to be a coupe of vans in every layby and often in passing places.

> But I do think most campsites see vans as a cash cow - if you can afford a vehicle like that you can afford to give me 25 quid just to park it overnight and perhaps fill it with water and empty your toilet. The French camping car aires are often free (prepared to provide this to have you maybe use our shop or cafe) but even if there is a charge it's modest and reasonable.

I agree with this too. When we got the van 12 years ago, it was doddle to just park up in a field style campsite for a reasonable price. Last summer no-one seemed to want us unless we paid for hard standing and hookup and a considerable cost.

Report
In reply to Lankyman:

> Just up the road from me is a second hand camper van seller. All through lockdown I walked past most days and wondered if it would survive the oncoming economic meltdown. Well, judging by all the sold signs on the moving palaces it would seem that my 'fears' were unfounded. Lots of folks preparing to 'live the dream' (their advertising strap line) and contribute to the nightmare on rural roads.

Well hopefully they'll find that it is a wet, midgy nightmare and revert to their cheap flights to the sun once covid is over. 

Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to galpinos:

> I agree with this too. When we got the van 12 years ago, it was doddle to just park up in a field style campsite for a reasonable price. Last summer no-one seemed to want us unless we paid for hard standing and hookup and a considerable cost.

Is it not odd that people are prepared to pay large amounts for the van, and all the bits and bats to go with it. They are also prepared to pay put fuel in it.
However many do not seem to want to pay someone who has a field in a beautiful place to provide a bog and some water and a place where the van will not sink up to its axles. And it would seem that many of these people also have nowhere to park it at home so chose to leave what is in essence a commercial vehicle spoiling the view for their neighbours.

It would be reasonable to ask people who camper van to dispose of their poo, either in a bog or bag it. Have somewhere to park it at home or find somwhere, and in a crowded place like britain generally pay to camp.

If anyone thinks that they can provide camping for vans at £5 a night, crack on and open some campsites.

Report
In reply to SteveX:

> Is it not odd that people are prepared to pay large amounts for the van, and all the bits and bats to go with it. They are also prepared to pay put fuel in it.

> However many do not seem to want to pay someone who has a field in a beautiful place to provide a bog and some water and a place where the van will not sink up to its axles. 

No it's not odd at all - you seem to be missing the point. A big reason for having a van is to be self sufficient and so not be tied to having to stay in and pay for campsites. 

Report
In reply to SteveX:

> If anyone thinks that they can provide camping for vans at £5 a night, crack on and open some campsites.

It might not be viable as a private entreprise, but may well make sense as part of the local infrastructure in areas which benefit from tourism, the NC500 being a possible example. Others have mentioned the aire system in France.

Report
 Eric9Points 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

This special offer for users of said route seems timely.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1748211721986486&id=134158920058449

Report
In reply to Eric9Points:

Bargain! I didn't see a price for the HRH Handjob In A Lay-by package though, sounds like it'd be totally worth it!

Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> No it's not odd at all - you seem to be missing the point. A big reason for having a van is to be self sufficient and so not be tied to having to stay in and pay for campsites. 

I find you a touch puzzling. I get the sense that you are highly intelligent, possibly well educated and environmentally aware, I therefore am surprised that you seem to be so keen on externalizing the costs of your camping trips.  

Report
In reply to SteveX:

> I find you a touch puzzling. I get the sense that you are highly intelligent, possibly well educated and environmentally aware, I therefore am surprised that you seem to be so keen on externalizing the costs of your camping trips.  

Sorry, I thought I was saying something pretty obvious. What does not make sense?

Edit: Note that I have made it clear that I think there is a problem with the proliferation of vans.

Post edited at 12:36
Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

You want to camp free of charge or a nominal cost, but there is always a cost, and you do not seem to want accept the cost. Leaving aside France, you acknowledge a campsite charging £5 is not viable, however your solution is that some "other" should subsidise you, and I suspect you do not really care who this is. Why do you not just pay the going rate?

Post edited at 12:40
Report
 neilh 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Camper vans.Hate the things.It just seems the latest craze.

I would prefer to spend the money on a decent hotel or b and b or bunking down in a climbers hut or a tent.

From what I see unless you go off for a 3 months plus tour round Europe, they are an expensive waste of time.

LOL

Now in the USA and I can well understand it.Those open spaces.

Report
In reply to SteveX:

Do you accept that one of the attractions of a van is that, in principle, you can park it more or less anywhere for the night?

If so, do you acknowledge that their proliferation is in conflict with this attraction?

Do you acknowledge that even £5 seems a lot of money to pay to take a dump?

All I am doing is suggesting how to reconcile this conflict.

Report
 Wainers44 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SteveX:

> Is it not odd that people are prepared to pay large amounts for the van, and all the bits and bats to go with it. They are also prepared to pay put fuel...

> If anyone thinks that they can provide camping for vans at £5 a night, crack on and open some campsites.

Well I can think of a couple and the rule change about being able to use a field as a campsite for 56 days per year without Planning Permission (previously 28) makes these things even more likely to spring up.

Peak season you can find sites in range £5 to £15 offering amazing views of the coast,  basic bogs, and possibly showers, in a rollalong unit. I expect the field to be rough, not flat, and likely to turn to kack the moment it rains and that's all fine. 

We used one near Sennen a couple of years back, and one near Bude last year. Seemed to be run by the farmer (hope the guy I paid wasn't just a con artist who had set up a scam...!). 

I don't like random  parking in random laybys as other vans use them and they're driven by strange blokes, like me. 

Give people an option,  ban the vans from stopping in sensitive places, and enforce it, like they do in NZ and things will be better. 

Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Do you accept that one of the attractions of a van is that, in principle, you can park it more or less anywhere for the night?

Certainly, but the reality is that in a country as crowded as ours it is difficult.

> If so, do you acknowledge that their proliferation is in conflict with this attraction?

Certainly.

> Do you acknowledge that even £5 seems a lot of money to pay to take a dump?

It's not just somewhere to take a dump, it's also somewhere to park the vehicle for upto 24 hours 

> All I am doing is suggesting how to reconcile this conflict.

The way to reconcile it is to pay to go on a campsite and £10 to £20 depending on location seems fair enough to me.

Report
 Lankyman 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SteveX

> The way to reconcile it is to pay to go on a campsite and £10 to £20 depending on location seems fair enough to me.

Come on, Steve! You must know that ALL climbers are just tightwads at heart.

Report
 SteveX 23 Jul 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

Yes they are, but, and I am not laying this on Robert, being careful with money does not have to mean being selfish and anti social.

Report
 peppermill 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SteveX:

I don't agree with this anymore but for pretty much every climber I know that has a van (That's a lot in Scotland) being able to park anywhere and stay the night without having to pay for accommodation was one of the main reasons for getting a van! Including me at the time.

Report
In reply to SteveX:

> It's not just somewhere to take a dump, it's also somewhere to park the vehicle for upto 24 hours 

Yes, but all they are getting extra that they cannot get free is a dump in a toilet rather than in the woods.

> The way to reconcile it is to pay to go on a campsite and £10 to £20 depending on location seems fair enough to me.

Many will only pay that much if a ban on not doing so is enforced.

Report
In reply to peppermill:

For me it is being able to just turn up whatever time, after a long day at work, having chased the weather, and without having to book in advance. The money is very much secondary. There are actual campsites that allow this, you just pay in the morning, and I do use them where available. I always give the Nantperis campsite my money for instance. Unfortunately in some places they just aren't available, or I haven't found them yet.

I used to do the same with the back of my car, the van has just made things a lot more comfortable.

Report
 Timmd 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

I think if I was going to have a camper van, it would be a double cab (row) transit which could be used as a camper van behind that (or a similar van and seat concept with removable seats), so that I could carry friends around and carry stuff in the back, and camp in it too. It'd mean that I wouldn't just be spending money on a camper, and I'd not feel like I was holding people up on the roads.

The spur of the moment nature of a camper van would be a plus over a caravan too.

Post edited at 17:46
Report
In reply to Alkis:

> For me it is being able to just turn up whatever time, after a long day at work, having chased the weather, and without having to book in advance.

Yes, of course. Less convenience, an inferior experience, but for a substantial fee!

Report
 JohnBson 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Not tied to a campsite or any location. You can park your campervan practically anywhere for the night. 

Report
 Hooo 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

I have a campervan. Given the amount of camping I do it doesn't remotely make economic sense. It's a luxury toy. But it is great for convenience. We will go to friends for a party, get pissed up and camp on their drive. Go out for the day and cook dinner, have our own toilet etc. Go mountain biking in winter and get changed with the heater going while we make tea. And it's a second car for when we need one. I'd say that most of the stuff I use the van for a caravan wouldn't do the job. 

And I can do 70 on a dual carriageway and reverse without assistance

Report
 mrphilipoldham 23 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

What we need is a tie in between the GB climbing team and Swift caravans. Every wannabe will have one before you know it. 

Report
 nickb 24 Jul 2020

I live in my van (sprinter lwb) I have done for 18 months now. I work seasonally mostly abroad and come back to the UK for 2-4 months a year, I cannot afford to rent a house or flat for the months that I am in the UK, even if someone would rent a room for 1 or 2 months at a time.

In that way a campercan works very well for me a caravan would be super awkward.  

Even though I live full time and have "camped" in the peaks many times, I dont like the way some campervan users abuse these amazing places. 

With an ever increasing wealth gap and house prices rising I can only see this becoming more of an issue. 

Report
 MarkH55 26 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

We've got an Eriba Puck, the inside is about the size of a vw van.  Small, easy to tow and relatively cheap compared to most vans (sub £4K).

Report
 Wainers44 26 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

This thread has seen quite a lot of concern about too many campervans in wild places leaving mess etc. 

We hope to be taking our van for a trip to Scotland in September (assuming restrictions aren't reimposed of course) and will be staying at campsites each night. Planning for the trip I was surprised at how many sites still haven't opened and even more surprised at the number of sites who are charging full price but have closed all their facilities.  So full price but no toilets,  no showers etc.

Report
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

We've got a campervan, Toyota Hiace. Did have a caravan once and I hated it. The van is way more flexible. We use it for days out in winter; if it hisses down, we've got a comfortable picnic site. If you go in the sea, a changing room with a brew. If traffic makes a trip longer, we can turn onto a side road/touristy site and easily park. With a caravan, you have to go from A to B.

So yes it's more expensive (ours cost £9.5k 10 yrs ago and would think worth 3-4 now as in good nick) , but value/miles for your money, I think better. Each to their own. I hope it works for you. 

Report
 Niceboy 26 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

The way things are going I think the freedom to park up anywhere in a campervan in Scotland is inevitably going to be restricted. I joined two FB groups purporting to be about "wild camping" in Scotland. The first one turned out to be a motorhome owners group who really only wanted to find out where to park up for free in Scotland. The second group was about tent wild camping and had a decent number of bona fide wild campers - small, light, in remote area for a couple of nights, leave no trace; however I was shocked by the number of posts where the general thrust was - have just bought 8 man tent, where can we camp with the 4 kids and the dog by the car for a week by a loch and have a big campfire- we don't want to pay for a campsite. This group had almost 57000 members!

I sense that local community groups in areas affected by irresponsible "wild camping", whether in a camper or a tent, are getting their shit together ( pun intended!) and we will see legislation in the not too distant future.

Post edited at 09:59
Report
In reply to Niceboy:

> The first one turned out to be a motorhome owners group who really only wanted to find out where to park up for free in Scotland. The second group was about tent wild camping and had a decent number of bona fide wild campers - small, light, in remote area for a couple of nights.

I'm afraid that some people need to accept that they don't have exclusive rights to the term "wild camping". Rather than continuing to express indignation at its perfectly legitimate roadside camping usage, maybe it is time to drop its relatively recent adoption to mean "small, light, remote" and come up with something else in order to make the distinction. Maybe just "remote camping"? 

I am not, of course, denying that there are issues with roadside camping and have nothing but disgust for people who trash places doing it.

Post edited at 10:26
Report
 Niceboy 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

You could be right: however, the term "wild camping" currently is being used too broadly: as I mentioned above, even motorhome owners are using it to describe them parking up in a layby - I really don't believe that that is "wild camping" by any stretch of the imagination!

All forms of camping/ campervanning can be done responsibly or irresponsibly; however, I think that the situation is going to be taken out of our hands and restrictions brought in: rural communities where irresponsible wild camping in happening are getting a lot of hassle for little return and they are not happy.

Report
In reply to Niceboy:

> Even motorhome owners are using it to describe them parking up in a layby - I really don't believe that that is "wild camping" by any stretch of the imagination!

Well it's what I grew up doing in the '70s in Scotland (when it wasn't an issue) with a VW van and we called it wild camping! I've never used the term with its remote, away from road meaning. It seems to be the remote campers who have an issue with its diversity of meaning, so I think it is them who will need to change.

Report
 SteveX 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I like the French term, Sauváge, I think, so one group can claim Camping Sauváge.

I am sure the accent is in the wrong place.

Report
 65 26 Jul 2020
In reply to SteveX:

I don't think 'sauvage' has an accent.

The French use 'bivouac' for discrete 'wild' camping. For years I thought this meant sleeping in a bivi-bag but it applies to tents as well, of the type you carry in and out rather than something the size of a small house. In English I always had a concept of a bivouac as something either unplanned or undesirable but necessary (like on a big route). The French usage is useful in distinguishing it from 'wild camping' which to me has always meant sleeping anywhere outside of a campsite, including by the side of the road. The political semantics of camping appear ever more complex.

Post edited at 19:09
Report
 65 26 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

In answer to your OP, I have never owned a caravan but do have a campervan, a VW T5 with a high-top. Being able to leave a lot of kit permanently inside it makes it easy to go away on the spur of a good forecast. I've had it two years and have had two 6-week trips to the Pyrenees in it and it makes a brilliant mobile base, especially with a tent awning attached. It's a bit of a lumbering van in town or on small mountain roads but is very civilised and relaxing on a long drive. Parking is no worse than a big estate car, its footprint is about the same as a Mercedes E class estate. I get 40mpg which is good for a van, not so much for a car, but on both trips I have brought back enough wine to substantially offset the costs of the trip.

The issue raised above of the highlands being swamped with vans is a valid one, and I bought mine with a view to parking in various once quiet spots with nice views but I tend to go to campsites as I don't want to be one of these people who are being seen by locals, rightly or wrongly, as an invasive nuisance.

Report
 Niceboy 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I have been camping in Scotland for over 50 years; campsites ( mostly), roadside and in the mountains and I think we just called it "camping", so surprised that you called campervanning in the 70's "wild camping" as I only heard this expression in the last few years ( although I have never owned a campervan).

Don't you think the expression, "wild camping" , if it is to be used, is more appropriate for people camping away from the roadside? The Access Code specifically says it is used to describe lightweight camping away from habitation and for only a few days with "no trace". 

What's your issue with calling camping in a tent by the car or in a layby in a campervan " roadside camping" that you feel the need to reserve  the term "wild camping" for any camping outwith a campsite?

Post edited at 20:26
Report
 Dr.S at work 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Well it's what I grew up doing in the '70s in Scotland (when it wasn't an issue) with a VW van and we called it wild camping!

Ah ha! so its your fault! bloody neologists....

Report
In reply to Niceboy:

> What's your issue with calling camping in a tent by the car or in a layby in a campervan " roadside camping" that you feel the need to reserve  the term "wild camping" for camping outwith a campsite?

I don't really have an issue, but it's not me you need to persuade to change.

Report
 Darron 26 Jul 2020
In reply to Niceboy:

I’m with you - I don’t like the term (I use ‘off grid’). But you are not one of the Campervan community! They do use the term ‘wild camping’ and they understand what it means to them. I’m not sure they are much bothered about how the camping/climbing community views the term. And really it matters not one jot to us does it?

Report
 Roberttaylor 27 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Absolutely. The problem is that one of the attraction of vans is to be more or less self sufficient and therefore not in need of most of the facilities of campsites; obviously nobody wants to pay £10 to £15 per night for facilities they mostly don't need. I think that in popular areas (at least in peak season) some sort of control is now needed. The answer may be dedicated sites with absolutely minimal facilities (probably just a cold tap and a toilet) at a fair price via an honesty box. Although this would still take away some of the freedom of a van, the current situation is, I think, untenable.

I had a van (sold it before I left the UK) and it was already obvious a year ago that things are going to have to change. I'd love to see more absolutely minimal campsites (the one in Torridon would be a good model, though I know it doesn't allow vans). There is one near the climbing in Pembroke that fits the bill; a farmer's field with a few cold taps and portaloos, costs £4/5 a night per person.

Report
 Baz P 27 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

Over the years I’ve often fancied a camper van but the thing that has put me off is that when leaving it, other than on a proper camp site, to go climbing/walking it would contain most of my belongings e.g. laptop, tv etc. and any thief would surely know that. You could watch someone breaking into it while climbing on Stanage and not be able to do anything about it. Even worse in the wilds of Scotland. Don’t know how prevalent this is though. 

Report
 trollman 30 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I help maintaining a small 5 pitch motor home/ caravan site in the Lakes, it’s surprising how much time and  costs are involved, we charge 20 a night, hard standing, electric hook up and WiFi, but no showers or toilets. The grass  areas, hedges, trees, fences gravel road and hard standings etc all need maintaining, chemical toilet  waste disposal emptying costs, rubbish and  recycling bins, dog waste collection costs, electric, water bills, spending time collecting fees, insurance, rates, etc etc, 5 quid a night as some have suggested totally unrealistic, and regarding WiFi, if it goes down it’s the first and main thing we get called out to fix

Report
In reply to trollman:

And therein lies the problem. Why would someone who has invested in self sufficiency and freedom then want to spend £20 a night for somewhere to park? I'd hate to pay that amount for any campsite with any amount of facilities (I don't think I ever have).

Report
 Wainers44 31 Jul 2020
In reply to trollman:

It can be done at a cheaper price, but it would be different to here (it's the NZ model, which does really work). Hardstandings only, no hook up, long drop toilet with a cold water tap, self registration and payment into an envelope which you put in the box. Some but not many had chemical empty facilities,  but there were plenty of those in the towns. 

Prices ranged from £4 to £10 per night and we quite often saw the ranger arriving in the morning to check people had paid. He/she rarely stayed more than 30mins. No pretty mowed verges etc, but with stunning views who needs those anyway. I would have thought that biggest cost would have been rubbish disposal, but the cost charged would easily cover all that. 

A couple we went to were busyish,  but others were very quiet.

Councils need to get organised and put these things in and stop random camping in sensitive areas. Thought out properly and working with the NPA's they would be self financing.

I certainly didn't buy a van to be viewed as part of a "club" that is ruining wild places.

Report
In reply to Wainers44:

Yes, I expect trollman's place is more aimed at the relatively affluent motorhome owner who expects electricity, WiFi, rubbish disposal and so on and this is probably where money is to be made. The basic facilities you describe as part of a thought out infrastructure is what is needed.

Report
 Wainers44 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

That's very true. No wifi and often no phone signal which was great.

One had ducks, loads of them, and most had stars at night that were so beautiful they made you want to weep....

Report
In reply to trollman:

Of course, what we are proposing at 5 quid a night would not be expected to have anything other than a tap and a toilet. Basically, a car park with a water supply. No-one would expect to get the level of service you are describing at 5 quid a night.

Report
In reply to Wainers44:

> It can be done at a cheaper price, but it would be different to here (it's the NZ model, which does really work). Hardstandings only, no hook up, long drop toilet with a cold water tap, self registration and payment into an envelope which you put in the box. 

I'm sure an ANPR camera system like the ones used in many carparks could be used if required.

Report
 Ridge 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Wainers44:

> Councils need to get organised and put these things in and stop random camping in sensitive areas. Thought out properly and working with the NPA's they would be self financing.

I suspect the last thing local councils want to provide is hard standing for multiple vehicles with a water supply.

Report
 Wainers44 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

> > Councils need to get organised and put these things in and stop random camping in sensitive areas. Thought out properly and working with the NPA's they would be self financing.

> I suspect the last thing local councils want to provide is hard standing for multiple vehicles with a water supply.

You mean like car parks that already exist, with a water supply? Why the last thing, compared to having to deal with the mess that gets randomly left at moment?

Report
 David Myatt 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Plenty of councils on the continent do exactly that. If it works for them, why not in the uk?

Report
 Ridge 31 Jul 2020
In reply to David Myatt:

Travellers setting up camp with associated costs.

Report
 Wainers44 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Ridge:

Yes of course they do turn up sometimes but as a rule the van, dogs and drive tarmac brigade stick to places near people. The sites I am talking about are more remote and less likely to be occupied.

The council car parks are a target already so I honestly can't see sites like these being any worse?

Report
 Dom Connaway 31 Jul 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

It's less the curb weight than the nose weight, plus the SWB towing vehicle pulling longer WB caravan, and the load distribution of the caravan, all combined with the tow hitch beIN behind the rear axle. 

In short caravans are like the human knee: even the worst designer wouldn't design  like this from scratch.

Report
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

I have owned a converted mazda bongo for the last 13 years. I have enjoyed and appreciated it. But it has survived this long through us also running a banger to protect it. It is a luxury, not the dirt bag van life cool that buyers initially expect.

When considering a van, consider this £15k is a typical purchase price for a converted van in reasonable condition (yes, it can be done cheaper, equally it can be done much, much more expensively). The purchase price alone will accommodate you in a £100 per night Hotel every Saturday night for 3 years. That is making no allowance for additional fuel costs, campsite fees, buying an additional banger to save your good van etc. 

These things are certainly a luxury. 

As I approach retirement, I contemplate a larger van with toilet, shower etc to tour Spain over the winter. Then, I consider what the purchase costs would provide me with accomodation, flight and car hire wise.

I may change my mind but currently, tje van doesn't look attractive. 

Report
 Big Bruva 01 Aug 2020

Seems to me that 90% of the argument against the prolific use of campervans revolves around people shitting in the vicinity of carparks. Is it too far-fetched to imagine that people bag their own shit, just like we expect dog-owners to bag their shit? Would be an easy fix.

Report
 Dom Connaway 01 Aug 2020
In reply to Big Bruva:

I already do. And p gets bottled at source. Both are then taken home for disposal.

I do the same when (proper) wild camping. 

Just seems like common sense to me; I've been horrified by stories upthread. Folks who leave waste in laybys should be subject to cruel and unusual punishment, starting with forced consumption of their own leavings.

Report
 chadogrady 01 Aug 2020
In reply to Big Bruva:

It would be a fix but it wouldn't be a good look on insta so it'll never take off. #vanlife #bagofshit 

Report
 Cantankerous 03 Aug 2020
In reply to SuperstarDJ:

I know people who have touring caravans at a campsite with a seasonal pitch. Think they said it costs about 1k for the year. 

If you went in with a few people to split the cost (say a group of 4) it would be 250 each. If you went away perhaps once each month (average as some close over winter months) it would be about 20 quid each trip. 

If you get a 10k caravan and it lasted 5 years (guessing here perhaps it would be longer with luck and good care) it would be another 500 each year or for 12 trips 41 quid each. So that's now 61 quid per trip each. 

Does start to get expensive and I'm sure there are other costs to factor in such as insurance and if you pay for towing once each year if you move and don't want to do it yourself. 

It would be pretty convenient to have a place in the Lakes or such ready at a moments notice with the only hassle being the initial setup and if you decide to move at the end of the year. I'm sure people with more experience of doing this may have different opinions, but it was something that looked interesting. 

Report
In reply to ChrisBrooke:

Having seen the number of vans ‘wild camping’ in the lakes a few weeks ago, I was ashamed to be a van owner. Cornwall is apparently the same. 


Climbers have slept in cars for years -I was  sleeping in estate cars years ago. Most are considerate and sensible. 
this van craze, and Covid has brought the worst out in people. If councils/national parks had more teeth then it could be policed, and yes I think it should be.

there so many ‘wild camping’ groups and apps, once people get moved on then word will spread.

yes, many campsites cost too much, but you can still find farmers fields for a few quid. If you own a van worth £30k then it’s shouldn’t be an issue. 

 

Report

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.