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Why, it’s a conversion

Why, it’s a conversion

It takes all kinds, so each to their own…

A world sommelier champion once told me that the best wine was the one that you liked, tasted and enjoyed best. I think it’s the same for campervans.

They come in as many shapes, sizes and choices as people themselves and only you can say what works best for you.

I never tire of my curiosity of the next van that parks up nearby from the old school conversions to the spanking new ultra-luxurious models now on the market. Have to confess I’m a voyeur when it comes to other people’s campers.

However, for me my campervan home-from-home does not mean I require all the mod cons of the modern household. For me a lounge size living space with microwave and TV as standard defeats the purpose of getting away from it all and greeting the great outdoors. You do require a kitchen sink, but not the kitchen sink, sofa, king size beds and flat screen telly in my book. Comfort and convenience is important of course when you are on the road but judging by the palatial standards of some vehicles you might as well book in to a nearby hotel. At the end of the day it’s horses for courses I suppose and each to their own.

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Cost of course is always a big consideration and I have to admit to not understanding why some splash out on an expensive camper only to leave it parked in the drive for all but a fortnight a year.

To my mind investing in a campervan is more than just the purchase price. You must also invest in the lifestyle and holiday choices that go with it and that’s when you get real value and a return over the years.

For my spec I required a camper that would be activity and surfing friendly; easily sleep two (plus two young kids if needs be); legally carry four adults; have the basics in terms of sink, cooker, fridge and again to facilitate wild camping if required a shower/loo cabin were a must. Because the vehicle would be used as much for a quick one or two day surf trip as for more extensive breaks it needed to be nimble and compact easy to handle and convenient on country roads. The finish had to be practical and functional rather than fancy as this van is going to spend 50 weeks of the year coping with damp Irish weather and salty sea side conditions.

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With all this in mind, a bespoke conversion made more sense than a factory build or purchasing a second hand camper. It would also prove more cost effective, and an interesting journey in itself from van selection to design and fit out.

In the next post I will explain why I eventually opted for a Ford Transit panel van for the build and go in to the process of the design and other fit-out decisions. If you have any further questions I would be more than glad to answer them…

About The Author

John Whelan

John Whelan is a vastly experienced midlands based journalist and editor who has contributed extensively to the country's leading national and regional titles, as well as broadcast outlets. He runs the media services company, Communicate Ireland www.communicateireland.ie. John is a keen camping and campervan enthusiast with an interest in music, culture, heritage and outdoor pursuits. He has written for the Sunday Times, Sunday Independent and the Woman's Way on these topics. He is also an author, and his latest book, The Last Beekeeper, reflects his love of nature, the landscape and our shared responsibility to protect the environment. The Last Beekeeper is available to preview and purchase at www.thelastbeekeeper.ie. Safe travels...

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