Nearly 3 years ago we decided to buy an old Renault Trafic to convert ourselves into a campervan – and while it was an expensive decision, it’s one I’m so glad we made. Tom is incredibly handy and took on the conversion project entirely on his own, and he’s done a fantastic job – the van is fully working (at the moment!), comfortable and cosy inside, practical and is a great way to escape to the great outdoors for a weekend.
Having used the van on numerous trips away, now feels like a good time to summarise why I love having a campervan – and more specifically, one that is 100% converted and worked on by ourselves.
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Having your own campervan means that you can decide on a friday afternoon to go away for a weekend, without having to worry about booking a hotel – just drive up to a campsite (or call ahead) and grab a pitch for a couple of nights. We’re fortunate enough to live in a county where there are plenty of lush, green areas with lots of campsites in, and with just a 40 minute drive across to the New Forest National Park we really are spoilt for choice.
TIME SPENT OUTDOORS
I’ve always enjoyed going camping (although bugs are an entirely different story) and one of my favourite things about owning a campervan is that you’re guaranteed a warm, comfortable and most importantly, DRY night sleep. Whenever I tell people that we’re going camping for the weekend, I’m often met with a grimace and a ‘Oh, enjoy the rain then!’ – which would probably put us off if we were simply camping in a tent. With a campervan, you’re good to go whatever the weather!
I can’t tell you just how comforting it is to know that everything will stay completely dry – long gone are the days of damp clothes, cold tents and wet shoes – the days of glamping at its finest are here!
The sound of rain on your awning, a warm fire crackling away, a hot mug of tea in hand and an evening with your favourite person. Doesn’t that sound ideal?
Cosy evenings spent away in our campervan are some of my favourites, and our setup is pretty much spot on. This year we bought a small fire pit to use on our weekends away, and it was the missing piece in our camping toolkit! Spending evenings doing nothing, sitting in our (extremely comfortable) camping chairs and not feeling the pressure of work or chores at home really helps us to feel refreshed – the ultimate staycation, just a short drive from home.
SOMEWHERE DRY TO HIDE FROM THE RAIN
Whenever we plan a weekend away, we’re almost always guaranteed some proper British rain – typical of our weather really! We’ve been caught out before in Cowes when the rain has suddenly come pouring down, and after an extremely wet walk back to our van (parked nice and far away from the town) it’s very satisfying to know that we can hide in the back, in the dry, and change our clothes in private. Not many people can say that they have this luxury when they’re caught out in a rainy spell!
Sunsets in the countryside are always pretty special, aren’t they? No light pollution in sight, the sound of wind through the trees and a multicolour sky. Definitely one of my favourite parts of camping!
100% CONVERTED OURSELVES
The best reason of all! We’ve spent the last few years gradually tweaking and upgrading the van to bring it to the point it’s at now. Tom is very handy (which is handy) and has converted the majority of the van all by himself – from stripping the interior and adding insulation, to designing and building our bed entirely from scratch.
The benefit of converting the van ourselves is that everything is tailored to suit our needs specifically – which you probably wouldn’t get with a professionally converted campervan. We’ve got elasticated nets, Pinterest-worthy jars and lots of repurposed spice racks – and it all works as very practical (and quirky) storage!
Those are all of the reasons why I LOVE having a campervan – and perhaps I’ve even convinced you to convert your own?
If you’d like to follow our campervan adventures, you can follow our dedicated instagram page here.