Does the traveller choose the road, or does the road choose the traveller?

What is my brief?

Let’s see… I would like a campervan that:

  • Is relatively cheap to buy
  • Is cheap to run
  • Doesn’t use a lot of fuel
  • Can be used as a car replacement
  • Fits my drive
  • Can be used as a van, can transport people and can be used as a campervan for shorter and longer journeys away from home as well as a campervan.
  • Can be easily converted between:
    • A day van
    • A campervan only
    • A campervan with the possibility of carrying passengers on one or two journeys when needed
    • A transport van
  • Allows campervan furniture can easily stored in the house and is lightweight
  • Is not reliant on campsites if staying away for the weekend
  • Allows stealth camping when needed
  • Allows comfort at a campsite during longer trips
  • Is not resource heavy
  • Is not reliant on gas and doesn’t need a gas installation
  • Is not reliant on a leisure battery, at least not initially
  • Is modular and can be installed or adapted to fulfil different needs and usage:
    • Two days away kayaking – allows me to rinse off the kayak and takes a roof rack – therefore solar panels are not an option.
    • Two or more days away on other activities that don’t require me transporting large objects such as a kayak
    • Two weeks away with possible stays on campsites
    • Journeys away to visit family with a night in the van if needed
    • Day trips out with ability to make tea
    • Transporting at least 5 people when needed
    • Transporting large items I need for the house or garden
    • photography trips or at most a couple of days allowing me to charge my computer while driving

So… not that much then! But lets move on…

 

 

6 Responses to What is my brief?

  • Derek Goffin says:

    Hi Mark I read your website after coming from small motor homes forum.
    We built a high roof doblo that fulfilled all your list above except we wanted lpg gas and a leisure battery and a solar panel. The high roof does not allow a roof rack and we use 2 pack rafts for aqueous adventures. We have walked most of the sw coast. And packrafted rivers in the lakes Scotland and massif central and sea lochs and islands in Shetland and Scotland .
    It is long enough to sleep in, my wife is 5 foot 9. So i guess you are taller? It can carry 6 passengers converted back and the furniture folds or telescopes to not take up too much room. I have a thread on small motor homes storage in a high roof doblo with lots of pictures. It cost 4300 to buy at 3 year 73,000, and another 3,500 to self convert.
    It used to do about 45 mpg, and we have been away for up to 12 weeks wild camping, never using camp sites and nearly always cooking in the camper.
    But now our doblo has done 170,000 and the engine is not what it was and our needs have changed as my son now has his own car so a new doblo xl mpv, the high long version, has been bought and we will keep 3 seats and convert the extra length into a similar layout but a bit more spacious.
    We have not often been inconvenienced by the over 2m height and still get across the channel as a big car on dfds multi trip tickets.

    • Me says:

      Hi Derek,
      Thank you for your message. I have looked at the Doblo before, but several people have told me that they come with a free tool box… That’s not the case in your experience clearly! Maybe I need to look at this again. The only snag would be the roofrack as I have a kayak already which needs to go on the roof. Also, the higher I need to lift it, the more difficult it gets… especially with my weak back! Which is another reason a larger van is not an option. I’m not keen on taking a trailer for obvious reasons. I also found that the load space wasn’t long enough by itself without encroaching into the driver’s cab. Have I not foudn the right information? I would need at least 200cm.
      Had a quick look and I found the XL version, which I hadn’t seen before. I am going to look at this again, though, after your very positive message. Thank you.
      I think the main thing I don’t like about the NV200 is the lack of an LWB version. Although the model you can buy isn’t a problem, a bit more length would make things more comfortable. The Doblo is interesting in the sense that it can be used as a day to day car as well, which is less possible with some other vans/cars I think. I have had a look at channel crossings already and I was surprised to see that often it doesn’t make a jot of difference… which is great.
      170,000 miles is not bad at all!

      • Derek Goffin says:

        If you ask on the small motor homes, people like Karen, who have had several small campers they like the doblo. I like it because of the height but it is still narrow and easy to park. I have not had any other to compare. before we had Peugeot 205s for years which did over 200000 miles each. They had more comfortable seats too. The short doblo with front seats pushed right forward has a bed of 1920mm which is ok for us. But the xl cab will be longer than the bed! There is a long low doblo the maxi i think too which would have a roof rack for your kayak.
        The high roof is often 2nd hand after use as disabled transport which sometimes gets you low mileage bargains.
        I did see a vw california on hire with a sea kayak on a roof rack over a lifting roof! It looked like a rocket launcher taking off, but you at a cost might get a lifting roof and still have a kayak on a roof rack. We never wanted a lifting roof. We are used to living sitting and walking as little as possible inside crouched, well at 5 foot 6 I can stand-up under the skylight! Karen too says she had a kangoo with a lifting roof and hardly used it. But some need one.

  • Derek Goffin says:

    We are coming down Saturday to Bournemouth to visit my mother in law she is 91, we visit frequently. On Monday we go to Spain for 4 weeks car wild camping by poole cherbourg. I guess you do not live far away from Bournemouth?

  • Derek Goffin says:

    On the negative side on doblo the xl is rare and a mpv or combi rarer still, so 2nd hand is rarer too and a 2nd hand bargain may be like hens teeth. The long low maxi is I think a little more common.

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