Home on Wheels. How would you design yours?
Campervan sales have soared over the past few months as the growth of staycations rise and there is no signs that this is going to change any time soon. You might have been thinking about owning your own campervan for sometime now, or have recently experienced a camper holiday that has inspired you to think about your own, but how do you go about choosing one?
There are many options out there. You could buy a second hand van that has already been converted. Quirky Campers is a good place to look if you are after something a little unique and don't want to or have the time to design your own. Or your could buy a brand new off the shelf model if you don't mind some MDF and having the same van as many others , or go for a company that will help you design and build one. Whichever option you go for, it is a big investment and you want to make sure you get it right!
We believe that having a campervan is having your very home on wheels and that it has to work for you and your family's needs. Whether that means that it has to be child friendly, dog friendly, or you are total outdoor sporting enthusiasts that need to prioritise the surfing kit or your beloved bikes! So, how would you design yours? Perhaps you might consider the following:
Fixed or folding bed?
In our current build, our dogs were at the centre of our design as we want a van that we can use, but also one that can have a totally flexible use for our hirers. We know that people who hire from us tend to be dog owners and into outdoor activities so having a fixed bed with garage space underneath for dogs or equipment like paddle or surf boards, bikes, climbing gear etc would be a real benefit. However this does compromise living space but then having a folding bed and you lose the garage space! There, we said it, the dreaded "C" word. While it would be amazing to get everything you want, just like buying a new home, there has to be some compromise decisions.
Whichever option you go for, we recommend having your bed at the rear of the van with opening back doors to take in the view.
Where to put the kids?
I'm sure you'd love to escape without them but this might not be possible! Maybe you have couple of kids and therefore you need sleeping space for them. Bunks are great options . We recently did a build for a family and built bunk beds with a climbing wall on the back!
We also had a dilemma. How do you turn a 2 berth into a flexible 4 berth? A buyer for our beautiful Alaska fell in love with her but the problem was that she needed to accommodate her children, aged 8 and 10. The solution was to build bunks above the current seating/pull out bed at the back. The top bunk folds up and the lower bunk stows under the seats when not in use. Great option as still means you can use the seating area fully and still have access the the kitchen and front seating area when the kids are in bed!
Do you want to be totally self-sufficient and be able to camp off grid? You might know that you will always stay on campsites and if that's the case, then you could save space by not having a shower. However
if you intend to do more wild camping (especially in these times where due to Covid-19 many campsites don't have their facilities open), having a shower is a great option. Plus it's a good place to stow away that all important toilet or hang up you wet gear! Have some fun by adding some cool cladding or a funky shower curtain to inject some personality into your van! We have fitted our new conversion Tikaani with a power shower and Truma boiler fed hot and cold tap. Of course, you can do this more simply and cheaper with a camping type shower.
Oven as well as hob? We think so! Great for sticking a pizza in on the road. In our new build we wanted a fixed bed with garage space and a shower, but also to fit in an oven too. Planning out the use of space is key here as there is less room to play with. The solution in this case was to get an ice box style fridge that slides under the bed to save on kitchen space. It could also fit under a seat.
Not opting for a shower or removing the bulklhead then this L shaped kitchen is super practical allowing you to really cook up a feast on the road!
Where to start?
Start with everything you would like in your van, then decide what is most important and work with your build designer to figure out the best way to deliver this.
Pintrest and Instagram are brilliant for inspiration BUT be warned, you might get overwhelmed by all the possibilities! It will open you up to a whole new world of ideas that you never thought possible however and if you choose the right person to build it for you, they should be able to work with you on realising your ideas. Of course that depends on their business model though. At Wolfpact we only build a maximum of 6 vans per year. This allows us to spend time with our customers. We are here to advise you on what we know works and also on what will work for you. We will find out what you need and help you to maximise space and importantly, add value to your van.
Look out for our next blog, where we will talk you through some more design ideas including storage solutions, lighting and heating and seating.
Not sure if you want your own van, then hiring is a great option. It allows you to try out different designs. We hire our vans through Quirky Campers.