Which van makes the best campervan???

Of course, the van which many people associate with camping and campervans is the Volkswagen. Starting with the iconic VW splitscreen bus, or ‘splitty’, then its replacement, the so-called ‘bay’ or ‘bay-window’, followed by the T25 which retained a rear-engined configuration, then the VW Transporter T4 which saw the engine relocated to the front, right up to the present-day VW Transporter T5 – the Volkswagen van has had a unique place in campervan history. To many people the VW is the iconic camper, right down to the chrome VW badge on the front! Without doubt, the VW Transporter van, the T5, makes a fine campervan, and indeed Volkswagen even build their own – the VW California.

If you asked the question 20 – or even 10 – years ago, the VW product was streets ahead [arguably] of the competition. If you wanted a campervan, buy a VW, they would say. However, in recent times commercial vehicles have developed hugely, and now each manufacturer has superb vans available. Car-like handling and driver experience, comfort and quietness have become the norm rather than the exception.

One vehicle which makes a superb campervan is the Vauxhall Vivaro. This was designed as a joint venture between Vauxhall, Renault and Nissan, and so can also be bought badged as a Renault Trafic or a Nissan Primastar too. Current models feature the Renault-engineered 2.0DCI engine, coupled to a six-speed manual gearbox, or to a TechShift automatic transmission. When you first drive a Vivaro, you will be amazed by the low engine noise, smooth suspension, and overall drive of the van. The short-wheelbase version is of the same size externally as the VW T5 at ‘waist’ level, but has more vertical sides, increasing internal volume without requiring a bigger footprint on the road.

Come over and see us – and you can test drive VW’s, Vauxhalls, Nissans – find out for yourself!

Campervans made ‘just for you’

Now most days when people come to visit us and they are looking to buy a campervan, they look for the right number of beds and we can show them all our options from sleeps two to sleeps four or even five in our campervans; they look for space and we explain the pros and cons of long wheel base (LWB) vs short wheel base (SWB) vehicles. Customers look for quality so we provide them with a tour of our workshop so they can see the work taking place first hand and keep in touch with customers throughout their build keeping them up to speed on the progress in their vehilce, and even on occasion we introduce them to past customers who are more than happy to recommend our work. We generally sell five different models of campervan:

More often than not one of these five conversions will suit most people, often with a few personalisations (colour choices for seat fabrics, furniture wood colour, vehicle lining, a choice of whether to have a microwave or not…etc) as people love being able to make their campervan truly ‘theirs’! This is the ‘norm’ and we love catering for people who want to buy a pre designed camper van. Just occasionally we have people who simply don’t fit the mould. And after showing them our five tried and tested conversions they say ‘We want something different!’ Now for most campervan conversion companies that would be the end of that potential customer’s visit. Here at Sussex Campervans this is where we’re different!

How do we make it ‘just for you’?

We recently had some visitors who wanted something totally out of the ordinary. They didn’t want rear belted seats as they were only planning on using the vehicle for two people. They wanted two sofa length seats in the back, a sink, hob, grill, microwave, fridge and plenty of storage to boot and that’s just on top of all the traditional fixtures and fittings on a campervan (electric hookup, PMS, leisure battery, running water…) you name it this van had to have it. So we started with a clean slate and worked with our customer to design and build their campervan.

Custom build van pencil diagram
Here’s one of our first sketch ups of how they wanted their campervan laid out.

Once everything was agreed, colours chosen and everyone was happy the build got under-way.

The unconverted van as it came to us
The unconverted van as it came to us
Windows cut out and interior lined
Windows cut out and interior lined
High level storage as per the customer's request
High level storage as per the customer’s request
Glazing in and furniture starting to come together
Glazing in and furniture starting to come together
Bench seats going in
Just the last few bits going in, bench seats and soft furnishings to go!

Throughout the build the customer came to check how things were progressing, we made some suggestions and worked with the customer to achieve the best functionality in their campervan with the customer, moving certain pieces of furniture around to make the most of the space available. And finally after many hours of labour and a lot of dedicated work from our workshop team the campervan emerged!

The finished campervan emerges from our workshop
The finished campervan emerges from our workshop
Everything is done
Everything is done
The interior is cleaned ready for delivery
The interior is cleaned ready for delivery
The kitchen area is checked and made ready
The kitchen area is checked and made ready
The finished campervan is ready to go!
The finished campervan is ready to go!
And is collected by its happy new owner
And is collected by its happy new owner

And this is not the first bespoke campervan we’ve converted for our customers. Here’s a few more we’ve done recently!

A variation on a theme, but a big difference all the same, these customers wanted room for their pets....
A variation on a theme, but a big difference all the same, these customers wanted room for their pets….
...and we still provided them with all the mod cons you'd expect in a campervan!
…and we still provided them with all the mod cons you’d expect in a campervan!

We even made a video tour!

These customers wanted a very specific rear seat, so we adjusted everything to work around their choice of rock and roll bed!
These customers wanted a very specific rear seat, so we adjusted everything else to work around their choice of seat from a different manufacturer.
This customer wanted all the internal fixtures and fittings usually found on our much higher range vans, but didn't want a pop-top roof... we provided extra lighting inside so that things weren't so dark.
This customer wanted all the internal fixtures and fittings usually found on our much higher range vans, but didn’t want a pop-top roof… we provided extra lighting inside so that things weren’t so dark.
this customer needed room for two oxygen cylinders and her wheel chair... not a problem!
this customer needed room for two oxygen cylinders and her wheel chair… not a problem!

If you’re looking for something special, unique and custom built just for you; why not get in touch with us on 01403 336 369 and arrange a date and time to come and visit us or head on over to our website at www.sussexcampervans.com and sign up to receive a free copy of ‘The Essential Campervan Buyer’s Guide 2014’ and find out more about what we can do for you.

Geocaching by campervan

Campervans have got to be the best way to get around and see as much as possible of a country without having to spend hours and hours travelling backwards and forwards from a ‘home’ base. The main reason for that being that your base travels with you wherever you are.

When you’re done for the day, you pop up your roof tent and settle down for a nice meal cooked on your campervan’s built in stove, have a refreshing drink straight out of the fridge, all without the need to ‘return to base’. After a good night’s rest in the luxury of your own camper you can be up in the morning and head on to your next destination and repeat the process, exploring the world to your heart’s content.

Now this is a great opportunity for the interpid explorer but there are many other reasons to keep exploring further and further afield rather than sitting on a campsite. One great use of using a campervan as a holiday home, is to go geocaching…

Geocaching….What’s that?” I hear you say.

Check out this short introduction video to find out a bit about this great new activity that’s fun and exciting for everyone in your family whatever their age.

With over 2 million geocaches now active worldwide, and hundreds of thousands of caches to be found across the UK and Europe at large, you could travel around for months and still have plenty of new and exciting caches to find.

The picture below shows just a few of the geocaches hidden across the UK.

Geocaching  Map of Southern England!

To see if there’s any near you why not visit www.geogaching.com, it’s free to sign up.

The All-New Nissan NV200 CamperCar from Sussex Campervans

We are pleased to announce the release after many hours of development work of the Sussex Campervans CamperCar based on the stylish and comfortable Nissan NV200 van.

This vehicle answers a need expressed by a significant group of our customers who ask us ‘Have you got anything smaller?’ in response to our other campervans.   This vehicle truly squeezes the proverbial quart into a pint pot.   There is belted seating for four – that 4 belted road seats – with 2-berth or 4-berth options [with optional roof bed]

From a driving point of view, the NV200 is excellent, with the punchy yet frugal Renault 1.5DCi diesel common-rail engine on board, excellent manouevrability and visibility, quiet and smooth handling – you really should come and test drive it for yourself.

Inside, despite the diminutive dimensions, there are all the typical camper van comforts: 50 litre compressor fridge, 2-burner gas hob, sink with pumped water, 110Ah leisure batttery and power management unit, 4 touch-contol LED downlighters, 240V hookup, chemical WC and oodles of storage space too.

Our own specially-developed poptop elevating roof completes the vehicle, with a front window and two side vents too, all zippable for light and ventilation.

Prices start from £29,995 complete for Brand New, and an eminently affordable £24,995 for a new conversion on a late low-mileage used van.

We look forward very much to giving you the guided tour in person!

Fully Bespoke Campervan

Here’s a few photos of a campervan we delivered just the other day.
These customers wanted a totally unique conversion for their own holiday home on wheels. So we designed, and worked out the angles, measured the floors and built the campervan just how they wanted.

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The daytime layout of this campervan looks more like a caravan interior, and feels incredibly roomy. Without the table, there’s stacks of room to move about and you really do feel like you’re in a sun lounge.

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In night mode, the blackout curtains keep the occupants privacy safe.

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While the huge bed provides lots of room to spread out.

Go Climbing in your Campervan

A customer came to us recently looking for a basic conversion of a van which she wanted to use primarily as a base for going rock climbing in Wales.

Here’s a few photos of what we did to a standard Vauxhall Vivaro to turn it into a small, but comfortable base from which to get around those Welsh crags.

P1040153
This is the base vehicle, as you can see we haven’t done anything too special to the basic van apart from adding windows all around so that our customer can enjoy the view. We did offer to put a pop-top on, but the customer didn’t need it (as her plan wasn’t to spend lots of time in it).

P1040145
Showing off the interior decor of the campervan, with plenty of room to relax and enjoy a cuppa after a hard climb.

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The cooking facilities, with integrated running water means there’s no need for that long trek back to a motel just for a nice cuppa!

P1040150
The all important rock and roll bed. Avoiding the epic of trying to drive home exhausted after a long day at the crag, in this van you can sleep at the crag ready to go again in the morning, or have a snooze in the back, during a break on the journey home.

(Photography by Sussex Wedding and Studio Photographer Alex White)