Looking for our first camper van

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by ClareOllerenshaw, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. ClareOllerenshaw

    ClareOllerenshaw Read Only Funster

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    Steve and I are looking to buy our first camper van and we're after suggestions of somewhere we can go and have a look at a few to get a feel for what's out there.

    We think we'd like something like a LWB van, not too new (so it doesn't matter when we scrape it and spill wine in it!), not too expensive, maybe with a wood burning stove.

    We've had a good look around the vans available on e-bay but with not much luck, its difficult to get out and see them before the auction ends.
    Anyone know of any other websites we should be looking at? How much do you think we ought to be paying for this type of thing?

    All help gratefully received, we've been looking forward to getting out and about in our new van!

    Ta very much, Clare
     
  2. barryd

    barryd Read Only Funster

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    Hi and welcome

    I think some idea of your budget might help. Vans range in price from £2000 to well over £100000.

    The main thing is to take your time and see as many as possible. Are you going to live in it, go on long trips or just short ones for a week or two? Are you going to use it all year round?

    The main thing when your looking is to find the right layout that suits you. Dont get too hung up on makes or models at first just see as many as possible and find a layout that suits.

    We bought our first van in 2008, My budget was £25K but I also wanted a motorbike to put on the back and a satellite dish and a small inflatable boat and outboard. We knew we wanted a big van with a rear lounge and a separate dinnete at the front. In the end we decided a Swift Kontiki would suit us. We looked at a few before buying a low mileage one on a 1996 Peugeot Boxer. The bike, rack and boat set us back another £4K (within the budget).

    After 2 years and 20000 miles and many countries it was a good choice. The van was well under budget but the rest was soon used up on the extras and bits and pieces that need doing. There is always something that you need to spend money on so dont blow your entire budget on the van.

    If your paying cash then you will get a good deal private and use the forums for advice. You will also have bargening power at the dealers plus a bit more comeback if it all goes wrong. I reckon I saved £4-5K by going private but I walked away from loads before I was happy with the van and the person selling it.

    Dont be rushed and when you are about to do the deal you need to spend litterally hours with the seller going over everything. Test everything and have a good half hour drive. If they rush you or dont go out of there way to show you everything then walk away.

    Good luck and there are some real experts on here that will help you.
     
  3. ourcampersbeentrashed

    ourcampersbeentrashed Funster

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    Hi and welcome to fun

    Browse ebay, decide what layout you fancy and visit the motorhome shows - see the home page right hand side for shows meets and rallies as thats where you will get the most choice within a very close proximity.

    Take time in deciding exactly what you want. Check things like the oven etc for size how many gas rings etc, lay on the bed - does it suit you etc.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to buy
     
  4. peter marshall

    peter marshall

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    Hi Clare
    Don't know where you live but there is a show coming up in July at Knutsford in Cheshire, there is a post on here about it if thats any help to you, and welcome to the site. Pete & Lynn :thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  5. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    It depends if you are looking for a motorhome/camper which is a factory build; or if you fancy a woodburner - a travellers type self build.

    The self builds there are specific websites that will lead you through building, finding base vehicles and even have ones for sale on.

    If you want a more generic camper, then there are plenty of older ones available. Or if on a budget, go to an auction - the older ones will be peanuts as dealers just want rid of them.

    Have a look at self build sites, and see what you decide to do - the are vast arrays in each sector to choose from, so probably wise choosing what you want first!

    If you are new to camping, I would suggest a standard camper before looking into self builds - they will be less troublesome whilst you get to grips with camping and the lifestyle. With self builds to are gambling on the builder knowing what they are doing, and being competent in doing it. It is one of those things that needs to be conidered when sleeping in a wooden structure with lots of fire hazards about!
     
  6. vwalan

    vwalan Funster

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    i think its fair to ask first does your driving licence allow you both to drive over 3.5ton?then ask is it for long or short term camping.do you want to use campsites or go wild /free?
    there is alot out there but you do have to move quick for the good stuff if it comes up cheap.
     
  7. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    with a wood burner Mmmmmmmmm, I have a 1991 LDV400 with a fibrglass dormobile body (Ex walking wounded ambulance) wood burner, newish units ready to screw in, sink, cooker gas bottle etc needs finishing, also needs new windscreen (cracked) and a pair of batteries. a real DIY bargain £350.
     
  8. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi Clare
    go for comfort in your van. It is not a lot of use having a drop down bed if you cannot climb into it or perhaps get out in the middle of the night if you had too much wine LAYOUT / comfort is the single most thing you should be looking at We have tied all sorts of layouts from 2 / 4 berth to 6 to 4 again then 6 again and now in a 2 witch suits us great. Get out and look / try out as many bed layouts and don't be scared to put up climb in etc, etc, before buying Use one of the shows or a dealer to try this and get a good idea what is going to suit you then look for what you want.
    Also try hiring one for a weekend or mid week this will give a good idea as to what you want
    terry
    PS although ours is a self build (see fun garage ) most are sheds :Eek!: but if you can find a good self build or are handy then this is the cheapest way of getting a good value for money van- there are a couple of S/B on fleabay for not a lot of money--remember to do your home work on prices :thumb:
     
  9. ClareOllerenshaw

    ClareOllerenshaw Read Only Funster

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    Thanks for all your advice folks! Shows and rallies sound like the kind of place we could see a variety of vans at once and really get a sound idea of what it is we want.

    In terms of budget, as first time camper van-ners I think we're looking at about £5000. And we will use it mainly for short trips at weekends in the UK, thou once we're into it could fancy some longer road trips around Europe!

    Think we've realised that its going to take us a while to find our van so we'll keep on looking! Any other ideas gratefully received :Smile:
     
  10. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    With your budget, i would go to auctions for factory made vehicles. Even the older ones really hold their value. You are just above the minimum value of the oldest motorhomes and within reach of the ethusiastic owner that thinks his van/camper is worth more than it is - so look very carefully at what you are buying. Unfortunately, as much as picking up a bargain goes - you can also pick up a dog.

    Time researching, and picking the brains of the good folks here is time well spent! Trawl through threads old and new and familiarise yourself with problems etc - gives an idea what to look for - and buy yourself a damp meter! It will pay for itself in protecting you from a real damp van, or help you get a bargain!

    You want something that is not complicated. N/A diesel or similar which has very little to go wrong -LDV's are good for this, or an older mercedes.

    Self builds as I say are another mine field - but you shopuld find a fairly good one for that bracket. That said - people build their own and then think they are worth as much as a factory build - so again, be cautious, do your homework!

    If you feel brave and really want to get to know your van, then build one yourself - you know what you have then! You can pick up a great base vehicle for a couple of grand and start from there...it may end up costing a little more, but you know you have done it properly! Rather tour europe in something I trust!
     
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