Campervan V Caravan - discuss!

I really want a caravan and while motorhomes / campervans are lovely I was following one the other day and IJ thought - wow - a LOT of money to buy then you have to have big insurance, and CTs etc (all the costs of running another vehchile). Then when you get there you can’t just nip to the shop if you don’t have a pull along car / bike / scooter without pulling up camp.

What do you think? If you have either (or have had) what do you have and why did you choose it?

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I’m no fan of camping/caravanning (these days) too old and like my creature comforts too much but…

The really big ones have a garage at the back/side where you can store a motor cycle.
Maybe best to rent one… they are a significant investment just to stand in a corner of the yard for months on end :thinking:


Years ago I built a motorhome body on a chassis cab…We went overland to Jordan and beyond when things were more peaceful. (I bought a second hand aluminium box body with roller shutter door as a starting point). Since then we have camped in tents, camped out of the back of a Landrover, and alternated with smaller professionally built VW and Toyota campers (the Toyota was much more robust and reliable).
Later I concluded that separating motor and home was for us the best compromise, so we bought a second hand truck camper (v common in the USA). It jacks up on removable stilts so one can drive a pickup… e.g. Toyota or Landrover twin cab, under it, lower and remove the stilts, then drive away. It does not enable walk through (although it is feasible to modify one to achieve that), but comfortably seats and sleeps 4 with fridge, cooker etc, heating, cassette WC, awning etc. With the camper mounted it won’t enter low carparks, but then one can leave the camper body behind at a camping site, and drive the motor vehicle unencumbered.


Ooooo visions of TB2 come to mind :slightly_smiling_face:



You need a big vehicle to tow a big van, when not towing you have a big vehicle to fuel when a smaller one would serve your needs. For the money invested you could travel further for less money and book into a chambre for a lot more comfort.


Daughter takes a slightly different approach. She found a 1950’s pop-up camper trailer, which is towed behind an ordinary car, and is fine for weekends/short breaks away. It was cheap and cheerful, and could just squeeze the family in.

This sort of thing


€8220 :astonished::astonished: that’s a lot of Hotel bookings :yum:


Brilliant - at that price we could have one each and I wouldn’t have to put up with his snoring (or he, mine). :grin:

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Loving your thoughts and feedback!

I’ve actually bought a little old (1979) ‘vintage’ caravan about 3 or 4 years ago. We picked it up dirt cheap but needs a bit more work that we originally thought so I think I’ll look at getting another one that doesn’t need the whole back rebuilding which dh can do and we have all the stuff to do it but just dont’ have the time when so much else to do!

We towed a large Coachman Pastice for years, but faced with yearly medicals in france to continue, made it a garden room, and went to Gites. Got fed up last year and bought a 1982 folding caravan, under 750 kgs, to tow, so no medicals. Waiting to use due to covid… Problem with motorhomes, is losing ones site, when out.

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You might be pleased to hear that the requirement for regular medicals to retain your B+E license was dropped a few years ago.

She bought a second hand one for under 2,000…


Ditto in Oz where all tradies drive a ‘ute’ as well as many other people and those with families have dual cabs so all the family can be in it so these work well!

So cute, that is the sort of thing I’m after just to pack up and go adn visit friends (without having to bother them to fit us all in / have our own space).

I think I’ll be ‘browsing’ LBC!

Too late for our caravan, as car now owned not comparable. Hence daddy one.

I think that’s called a “Fifth Wheel”. Very popular with America as lots of them have pickups… it kind of goes with an American image/type it seems.

Having towed a caravan to the artic circle and then to Malaga in the same year, over the years I have owned and used lots of different caravans (pop tops, folding, etc) I have also generally owned and self built motorcaravans for 40 years so can I give you my humble opinion? Basically you need to define what you want to use one for, if you are planning to stay in one location for weeks then a caravan is best hands down, as it leaves you with the tow vehicle to explore and shop etc. On the other hand, if you want to tour and stop off in lots of different places then a motorhome is perfect! Although the fuel economy of a car suffers when towing, driving a campervan loaded with all the necessities also affects its fuel consumption, so fuel isnt really the issue here. As regards the comment about hotels are better, well when you have your own space on wheels there is no hotel on earth that is more comfortable and a pleasant place to be when you are not actually at home.
If considering a caravan be aware that the vehicle length, say 16ft and the caravan total over 30ft which makes impromtu stops in layby’s tricky, also towing down narrow lanes etc where you might have to reverse can be a bit of a nightmare and even if your reversing skills are 100% its still stressful, and who needs the extra stress when trying to engage in leisure!!!
It seems the general idea about motorhomes is that they are expensive to upkeep, sorry to say thats not true, all are based on common commercial vehicles that are designed for long service, the insurance is of the same level as a car and the tax generally the same as a large car (lucky French with no road tax), modern vans are car like to drive with power steering/power brakes and are just as low fatigue as their car opposite numbers, so if you are happy controlling a largish vehicle then no problem, but be aware to keep it under 2500kg if you have a modern licence. So I have both a caravan and a campervan, niether cost the earth, and although I have owned ‘gin palaces’ in the recent past, I still prefer my own conversion!
When it comes to prices, which incidentally have all gone up during the pandemic, £35000 buys a low mileage late year motorcaravan, £10000 buys a late caravan. I circumnavigated this huge cost by buying an empty van (Renault master long wheel base), a nearly end of life caravan with a fine interior and then spent many hours (about six weeks actually) converting, but you have to be fairly skilled in electrics plumbing and carpentry, but of course all these things can be self learnt.
Conclusion? Motorcaravan wins !


2500kg? or 3500kg?

whoops, 3500 ! sorry, my mistake.

I also have done the caravan hols when the children were young, but now it’s just me and the queen so a motor home suits best (horses for courses), but I still have my Patrol with fridge etc for when I want to escape to the mountains.

This is pretty much the caravan that I have that I dont’ think will get done up (sadly!) - would like to get something similar - small (easy to tow), cheap and cheerful that I can just hook up and head off for weekends with the kids!