The ultimate top 10 tips for buying a Campervan in the UK 2022
So you’ve seen some awesome Campervans on your holidays or you’ve recently hired one or always wanted one. It doesn’t matter how you caught it, but you’ve got the Campervan bug and the only cure is to get one and join the thousands of people enjoying Van life and Campervaning in the UK. With so many options, books, blogs and guides on buying campervans we’ve decided to condense all of the advice out there into our quick and easy to read Ultimate Top Ten Tips for Buying a Campervan in 2022.
We will be covering:
Ultimate Top Tip 1: Types of Campervan
Campervans come in all shapes, sizes and makes. Take a look at the large, medium and small van types (and their Short Wheel and Long Wheel based option) to get an idea of what might work for you. We think that the ideal base van for a Campervan conversion is the medium sized VW Highline T6 and T6.1 Transporter. They have enough space to holiday in whilst being suitable to be your daily drive. Plus there is a huge VW campervan community of gatherings, festivals and events to join. Bearwood Campers are accredited suppliers for the 45,000 strong Dubbed Out community, who we think every VW camper owner should check out.
Ultimate Top Tip 2: Campervan Running cost
With most Campervans being built on converted vans it is important to consider the on going cost of Servicing, Maintenance, fuel efficiency and the implications of emissions rules. If you can, aim to get a Euro 6 compliant Camper that is under three years old. This way your base van should be within the manufacturer's warranty. The VW Highline T6 and T6.1 Transporters have won International van awards, have fantastic low fuel consumption, include VW's game changing Advanced Driver Assist system, Air con, heated windscreen and all the extras you will need. Auto Express said the VW Highline T6 and T6.1 are the “most car like mid sized van” and Top Gear found them “Exceeding hard to fault”. They have low maintenance costs and VW give a 3 year warranty, meaning most issues will be rectified by VW up until your Van is 3 years old.
Ultimate Top Tip 3: Pop Top roofs
Having a Pop top is a must if you want to have a 4 berth camper and get the benefit of all the extra height and headroom. Ensure that the pop top you are having is TUV tested and has the TUV Kitemark. This means that the roof will have passed all levels of safety tests that exist in the UK. You will also get options on the type of tent you have. We recommend spending the £100 or so extra to have an all-weather scenic tent. The extra windows and ability to roll up the tent are worth every penny, so is the extra level or waterproofing. Your pop top roof can also be the perfect place to add extra electricity capacity and space. It is worth thinking about adding 100w-200w solar panels to your roof to help charge your leisure battery. You can also add roof bars to most pop tops to give you the choice of adding roof boxes for extra storage. We prefer to
add Reimo roof rails on the sides of our campers. This does require using Reimo roof bars rather than universal ones, but by doing this you can carry more weight in your roof box. The range of manufacturers offers different levels of warranty, styles and opinions. We recommend making sure your new roof has at least a 2-year warranty and that the fitters are on the manufacturer's accredited installers list. We choose to install Skyline and Austops pop top roofs. Both come with 5 year warranties, a range of colours for the tents and both ensure that only certified fitters can fit their roofs.
Ultimate Top Tip 4: Rock 'n' roll or Rib beds
Like pop tops there are lots of variations of Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rib beds out there. Different styles and widths will have an impact on the rest of the options for your Campervan. Roc 'n' Roll beds can come in a 3/4 size that allows for a full side kitchen and storage unit. They are tested and certified to carry passengers in the back of your Camper too. With a mechanism built on gas struts, they are simple and easy to pull out and put away. If considering a Rib bed or RIb bed on
rails it is important to consider the extra costs or installation of rails and for the bed units. Make sure that whichever bed you buy is M1 crash tested to ensure they are safe for passengers during driving to use. Make sure that the fitters are on the manufacturer's installers list.
Ultimate Top Tip 5: Where to buy your campervan
There are lots of places to look including, Auto trader, campers4sale, quirky campers, facebook and ebay all having adverts for private and trade sellers. Buying from a private seller can often leave you without many rights if you find out that the campervan is not what you expected. Buying private will often not only mean that the camper has been used after conversion but may leave you vulnerable to getting issues fixed by the converter. Bearwood Campers recommends people buy directly from dealerships or from Campervan Conversion companies. This means that you will have more consumer rights, conversion warranties and if you pick the right company you will also get excellent customer service and after-sales care. Bearwood Campers only sell brand new conversions, so you will always be the first owner of the campervan, get all of the security and peace of mind our customers love.
Ultimate Top Tip 6: Gas hobs and diesel heaters
Most people say that these are a must in a camper, and we agree. There are a huge range of both out there for different budgets and different needs. What is important with gas hobs is that the unit installed meets the EU and UK requirements. Companies like Dometic and Can make fantastic units. With Diesel heaters there are lot of options and ways to install. We recommend that you have a diesel heater that is plumbed directly into your main fuel tank. This
avoids having to have a diesel tank inside your camper, which can smell and spillages are a nightmare. Whichever ones you go for make sure that the installation comes with a certified gas safety check. All Bearwood Campers conversion have a full signed off gas safety check before you drive away.
Ultimate Top Tip 8: Petrol, diesel or electric campervan
The motor world is rapidly moving towards electric cars. Vans and campers are no different, but and at the moment, and it is a massive BUT, with a range of only 81miles on the new ABT e-Transporter 6.1 they are just not there yet. Once the range is improved then the world of electric campervans will open up. This is not looking likely for quite a few years, so for 2022 and the near future the choice is going to be between Petrol and Diesel. Put simply a diesel van will bemore expensive than a petrol one
to buy, but they will give much better fuel efficiency and last longer. The main thing to consider, if you go petrol or diesel is making sure you get the EURO 6 compliant engine. With so many cities in the UK bringing in clean air zones running anything that is not an EURO 6 could become very very expensive. You can see a full list of the UK's Low emissions zones here.
Ultimate Top Tip 9: Automatic or manual Camper?
The reality in the current climate of limited new vans, or any vans, on the market in 2022 means that the choice between Manual or automatic might be taken out of your hands by price. If getting an Automatic is vital then go for it. If automatic is more of a desire than a requirement then you need to consider the current marketplace. There are very few camper vans or base vans that have the DSG automatic gearboxes on the market currently. Due to this, the prices of these vans has skyrocketed and you can expect to pay between £5,000-£10,000 more for the equivalent manual camper or base van.
Automatic Transporter T6.1
£38,394 (including VAT)
Manual Transporter T6.1
£29,999 (including VAT)
Ultimate Top Tip 10: Best time to buy a campervan
Often people ask “what is the best time of year to buy a campervan?”. The simple answer is, as soon as possible. This is due to several reasons. Before the Covid Pandemic, the prices of base vans and campers was increasing year on year. With the pandemic impacting the ability for new base vans to come onto the market the price of base vans has increased. This coupled with the increased costs of conversion materials this price increase has accelerated. It does not seem that the acceleration
in price increase will likely slow down back to pre-pandemic levels until the supply of new vans is sorted out in 2023 or beyond. Even once that happens it is expected that the cost of vans and conversion materials will continue to increase as it was pre pandemic.
If pushed we would say that Bearwood Campers are busiest in the spring, summer and autumn months. In the winter things do slow down a little so we are happy to negotiate a little more on the price of our campers. So as long as you are happy to wait until sunny warm weather then and you were not in a rush then we would say winter time would be best. But if you see what you want and can, then go and get it before it is gone.
Ultimate Top 10 campervan buying tips 2022 bonus tips
Potential wish list:
A few extras that people often consider for their campers include:
TV/ entertainment system
Roof rails and roof box
Awning rail passenger side
Awning rails on both sides
Important things to check before putting down a deposit:
Is it theirs to sell?
Whether a private seller or conversion company it is worth checking if the van is there's to sell. Do they have the Vans paperwork, V5 log book, service history and any purchase agreements, invoices and receipts of their purchase? If they are missing the V5 do they have a valid reason and letter from the company they purchased from.
Is the engine OK?
Start the engine, let it idle for a while and see how things sound and look. If you do not have a mechanical mind then bring a friend along or check out some of the youtube buyers guides.
Is the van damp?
Is there any water damage on seats, fabric or interior? Especially check around the windows, doors and pop top roof seals.
When was the van last serviced?
Electrics, heating, gas pipes and the living part of the campervan should be checked annually. Ideally, any base van should undergo a full service before it is converted into a campervan.
What are the tyres like?
Any new camper conversion should really have new wheels and tyres. if it doesn't then what condition are they in. Are the alloys scratched, cracked or dented. What level of tread do the tyres have, are there any tears or slices in the tyres?
What is the glass like?
Have a look for chips in the windscreen and windows. Check that all the new window seals are correctly installed.
Do all of the lights work?
Try the lights in all of their settings, indicators and break lights all with someone outside to conform they are all working well.
Heating and air-con
You need to get the A/c running on hot and cold to make sure it is working well.
Take the van for a test drive and check that there isn’t an oil patch left on the ground after the van has been out.
You need to check for rust, dents, cracks and chips around the bodywork of the campervan. Don't be afraid to ask about any signs of repair.
Roll out awning
Lighting inside pop top
Curtains and/or blackout blinds
Charging dock for music systems and phones
Heating and/or air-con