Used Campervans For Sale

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Used Campervans For Sale

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Used campervans for sale

Camping has always been a popular pastime in the UK but it seemed to explode in popularity following the Covid 19 pandemic. While putting up a tent and kipping in a field is fun, it’s arguably even better if you can drive to a site in a van that already has a bed included, and that’s where campervans come in.

The latest breed of campervans have benefitted from all the improvements of the vans they’re based on, making the latest breed better than ever. They’re more powerful, more refined, easier to drive, filled with more features, and should cost less to run too - and if you buy used, you can offset the occasionally lofty price tags that all these improvements have resulted in.

What is a campervan?

As you can probably guess from the name, a campervan is effectively a van you can camp in. Known by several different names (the term caravanette used to be popular in the UK, while motorhome and RV are used elsewhere in the world) the popularity of equipping vans with beds and kitchen facilities took off in the 1950s and is today a huge industry - think of a modern van, and a company or individual out there has probably turned one into a campervan.

Sizes and facilities vary, but to keep things simple we’ll mainly be referring to vans without significant changes to the body here, such as the models sold from the showroom by the likes of Ford and Volkswagen, rather than vans converted by third parties with entirely new bodies on the back. In these factory conversions you’ll typically find fold-out beds, small kitchen facilities, storage, curtains, and sometimes built-in awnings, but rarely if ever onboard toilet and shower facilities, so these vans are mainly aimed at day trips or camping at sites with dedicated washrooms.

Why buy a used campervan?

Take one look at the price lists for something like the Volkswagen California and you’ll understand why a used camper is appealing. Campervans can be very expensive indeed - it’s no exaggeration to say you can buy a flat in some parts of the UK for less than the price of a new camper - and while used demand is high, buying pre-owned can still cut thousands from the price of a new one.

How do I choose the ideal used campervan?

Campervans come in all shapes and sizes, and the choice can initially be a little overwhelming. You probably have an idea of your needs in mind though, and this can help narrow down your options quite significantly - someone after a solo ‘stealth’ camping experience may be able to get away with a very small van with a single bed and basic facilities, whereas a family of four will need something considerably bigger.

Probably the most important factor is the number of beds, and how easy those beds are to set up. Most will have some way of turning the existing seats or a sofa into a bed, while others may allow you to raise the roof - useful for a little more headroom when you’re parked, but also opening up a tent-style area on top of the van which reveals another bed. These campers can therefore sleep as many as four people (a couple of adults and a couple of kits, for instance) despite being no bigger than a regular panel van. Some may seat even more people, though you’ll need to bring a separate tent along to accommodate them at a site.

Facilities can vary, but most modern vans will have a small sink connected to a water tank, a small burner or two for cooking, a small refrigerator (‘small’ being the operative word here, essential for cramming all these things into a van!) and usually plenty of clever storage areas. You’ll typically need a much larger converted van if you want built-in toilet or shower facilities.

There are the usual choices of engines, transmissions, and the number of driven wheels too - diesels are most common, automatic gearboxes are becoming more popular for their ease of use, and the likes of Ford and Volkswagen give you all-wheel drive options, mainly to assist with traction for those grassy or muddy sites.

Where can I find used campervans for sale?

A quick internet search will reveal plenty of campervans for sale near you. The main dealers of some of the manufacturers that build their own campers may have a few in stock, but the specialised nature of campervans means that your best bet may be a caravan and campervan specialist. The line of white boxes in their forecourt might be a little intimidating if you’re new to the world of campervans, but the best dealers should be able to steer you towards something that’s perfect for your needs.

Basic used campervan checks

It’s always a good idea to check a campervan’s history before you go and view one, and tools like the RAC’s history checker will show you whether a van has outstanding finance or has been involved in an accident, plus its MOT history if the vehicle is more than three years old. It’s also wise to find insurance quotes before you buy a camper - these can vary quite a bit depending on how you plan to use the van, and how large and expensive the van is.

When you go to view a camper, you’ll want to carry out all the usual checks, including inspecting the vehicle’s service history, and making sure the bodywork and tyres are in good condition, but it’s useful to poke around the inside too. You’ll want to ensure items like the sink and refrigerator are working, if it has them, and it’s also a good time to see how easy it is to fold out the bed, as some vans make things more straightforward than others.