…AKA why we love campervans over motorhomes
Over the past few years we’ve toyed with the idea of trying out motorhomes or diversifying Shore Campers to include a motorhome rather than just campervans.
For clarity, a campervan is a self-contained travelling home with facilities for cooking, washing and sleeping, usually a fitted out van. A motorhome is a larger vehicle, normally built on a long wheel base, and tends to sleep more people. Motorhomes usually have a divide between the cab and the living quarters which contains sleeping spaces, toilet/shower and kitchen facilities.
We love our campervans and the freedom and flexibility they bring – so here’s our take on campervans vs motorhomes, and why we’re sticking with the campers!
1. Ease of driving
The thought of driving and manoeuvring a vehicle that is much larger than one you’re used to can be intimidating. Our campervans are converted luxury MPVs (Nissan Elgrands) imported from Japan, and the driving experience really isn’t that different from driving a large car. Because of this they are much more user-friendly and easier to drive down winding, narrow, country lanes, and makes for fewer considerations on motorways. You might need to take an extra driving test to be able to drive a motorhome (depending on the size of motorhome and when you passed your test) – not needed with one of our campers.
All of this means that when hiring a campervan: a) you have the freedom to stop off wherever you fancy instead of having to use specific routes to avoid difficult roads or go to places with bigger designated camping areas, b) you have a more relaxed holiday as you’re more comfortable driving something closer to your normal vehicle …and c) we don’t have lots of broken off motorhome wing mirrors to fix!
2. Parking versatility
Our campervans fit in a standard parking space. Motorhomes do not. Simple as that. So hiring one of our campers means you don’t have to worry at all about needing an unplanned stop, quickly popping to a shop, city driving, or that seaside car park in the really fantastic location with the 2.1m height barrier.
The campervans are well-designed and have a small kitchenette with hobs, a fridge, a sink and table. What more do you need? We’ve all heard of the design principle, Keep It Simple, Stupid, and I’m happy with that. We can focus on the simpler things in life. And there are clever space-saving ideas in the vans that help, like smart storage areas and the easy-to-use fold-out rock and roll bed.
4. Storage space
Whilst the vans are surprisingly roomy and we have lots of nifty storage solutions and usually space for everything, it is undeniable that we have less room for “stuff” than in a larger motorhome. We’ve never had a problem with this – sometimes the van is full on our way to a destination, but once we arrive we tend to use a two-man pop-up tent (included in every hire) just outside the van, or even better the driveaway inflatable awning (an optional extra), to store things we don’t need all the time (e.g. child car seats, luggage, wetsuits etc). Whilst we are away we do keep organised and have places for things as clutter can build up – but that’s probably fair to say about motorhomes too!
Or lack of – in the campervan. We don’t have any toilet or shower facilities available with the campers, not even a porta potty. We don’t see this as a problem – the majority of our hirers stay at campsites or pub stops that have convenient washroom facilities. In fact, many of our hirers are upgrading their camping experience from tents so are used to using campsite facilities. People still wild camp in the vans, but are conscious to camp where they can do their ablutions. It just means hirers don’t need to worry about how they work and are emptied, and we don’t need to worry about dealing with any waste left behind or the extra cleaning required.
A smaller campervan is generally cheaper to rent than a large motorhome of equivalent age/capability etc. Plus, a smaller payload makes for better fuel economy (though our 3.5 litre Elgrands can be a bit thirsty!), any toll charges or ferry trips are likely to be cheaper for smaller vehicles, and campsites may have cheaper pitches for campers too.
7. Shore Campers
It’s in the name, innit.