It seems that more and more people are packing up their lives, chucking everything they own into a camper van, and hitting the open road.
Or even if you aren’t considering full-time van life, the idea of having a campervan on hand so that you can spend your weekends exploring new places is a pretty appealing one!
When you’re buying a camper, there are a few things to think about, aside from the usual checks that you would carry out when buying another type of motor vehicle.
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Campervans are big, and they are heavy, particularly once you’ve decked them out with a kitchen, bathroom, and all of your stuff!
Before you get started campervan shopping, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with campervan weights and, in particular, the term ‘MAM’, which means ‘Maximum Authorized Mass.’ This means the maximum amount of weight that your van can safely carry.
When looking at vans, be aware of the MAM and also whether the vehicle is currently exceeding it (they often do)!
If you’re planning to add extras to the inside and the van is already over capacity, this could hamper your plans somewhat.
The next thing to think about is how big you want your van to be. Are you planning to travel solo, or do you need to be able to fit an entire family inside?
Vans, which allow people to live a compact life in a small space, are very popular, and it means that you can get away with a smaller vehicle, but this might not be suitable for everyone.
It’s also worth planning the trips you are likely to take at least roughly. If you are planning to visit places where there are lots of small and winding roads, you’ll probably want to keep your van compact!
There are a lot of different ways to design the interior of a van, each with its own pros and cons. The easiest way to understand which layout works best for you is to hire a few vans with different layouts before taking the plunge and buying your own.
Keep a log of the things you like about the layout and about the things that you don’t. Then, you can keep this checklist in mind when you start shopping for a van of your own.
When designing your layout, you should consider things like:
- Storage room
- Do you need a workspace?
- Do you need a bathroom, or are you planning to camp at sites with their own facilities?
- How many people need to be able to sleep inside?
- Will you be socializing in the van?
This is obviously quite a big factor! Campervans come in a range of prices, and how much you’re willing to spend is very much down to you and your budget.
It’s worth shopping around to understand what a good deal is on your chosen type of van and what isn’t such a good deal so that you can be assured that you are getting a good price.
If you’re considering financing your van, then be sure to think about the full repayment amount, including interest, and across the full term of the loan. Auto Finance Online allows you to calculate your repayment amounts using an easy calculator, which makes it easy to see how much you will actually be paying back.
You should bear in mind that you will need to be able to keep up repayments for the entire loan term, so try to think about what your employment and savings situation is likely to be over that time when deciding how affordable a loan is.
It’s quite common for people to buy a van to live or travel in for a period of time and then sell it on again once they have finished and want to move back into a house.
Camper vans do hold their value well compared with other types of vehicles, so this can be a good strategy, but it’s definitely worth making yourself aware of how much your vehicle is likely to depreciate over time. Again, there are plenty of depreciation calculators that you can use to do this.
DIY or ready to go?
The next thing to consider is whether you want to buy a camper that has already been refurbished and is ready to stay in or whether you want to plan the conversion yourself.
Many people like to plan their own conversions because if done well, it gives you the opportunity to save some money, and it also means that you can design a perfect van for your needs.
However, it’s also not as easy as a lot of people suppose it might be! It can take a lot of time and effort, and if you aren’t someone who enjoys these kinds of projects, it might be better to leave the conversion itself to someone else.