Everything I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Campervan

Isn’t it nice if you can sleep on an actual bed when you’re camping? Although the point of going camping is to connect with nature, some of us are unable (or unwilling) to sleep on a tent. So, one good solution is to buy a campervan or any other RV. However, choosing the right campervan is not as easy as choosing a tent. What should you look for before you buy a campervan? 

So, you might ask, what exactly is a campervan? A campervan, sometimes called “whizz-bang”, is smaller compared to a motorhome. But it is still equipped with the same features like a bedroom, kitchen, and appliances for cooking and entertainment. 

Now that you know the basics, it’s time for us to delve deeper. There are a lot of factors that you’ll need to consider and we will discuss some of them. So, if you want to have a campervan that fits your needs and your budget, read on to find out!

Should I Go with A Campervan or A Camper Trailer?

Let’s admit it, most of us would choose the one with the cheaper price tag. But if that’s the case, then you should go ahead and buy a camper trailer. However, some of your needs may not be met and you would be better off spending a few more dollars on a campervan. So, here are the pros and cons of camper trailers and campervans.

Camper Trailers


  • Cheaper
  • Smaller and easier to tow
  • Increased fuel economy
  • You will feel more connected with nature (because it has a roof and sides that are made of canvas)
  • Can be parked and stored easily


  • Less space
  • Not as durable because of its materials



  • More space for sleeping and cooking
  • Most models come with a bathroom
  • Comes with cooking and entertainment systems
  • Space can be maximized through slide-outs and pop-top roof
  • Has 4WD and 2WD options
  • Easier to drive and you won’t have to tow anything


  • More expensive
  • Space is cramped compared to larger RVs (but still larger than camper trailers)

Can I Use A Campervan on Remote Places?

Campervans can be plugged into mains electricity while on caravan parks. All electric appliances will automatically run on 230V AC electricity. But campervans also have batteries that can be used when you want to go off-grid. 

The batteries in campervans should last approximately 12–15 hours when fully charged. Most campervans are equipped with a dual battery system allowing the 12V lights, water pump, fridge, and any other 12V appliances to run from an auxiliary battery. The engine battery is often separate, so if you flatten the auxiliary battery, you will still be able to start the engine and drive. This also allows the re-charging of the auxiliary battery when the vehicle engine is running.

 Do Campervans Have A Cramped Interior?

Although campervans are more spacious than camper trailers, it would still feel cramped if you plan to have more companions. But having your bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom inside is still a lot better than camper trailers (which only comes with a bathroom when you opt for the higher-end model).

To save space, the beds can convert into a sofa or dining bench when not in use. Some high-end models also have an option to increase the height of the ceiling. This adds more head room and comfort when you are inside.

One downside, however, is the cramped bathroom. Although some models have separate showers and toilets, others come with the combination of the two. The kitchen is also small, usually with a countertop, a sink, and a small gas/electric range. Most models also have a fridge so you can store your food. To expand space, slide-outs are also available to add space for beds or another sofa.

Is It Easier to Drive Campervans Than Camper Trailers?

Yes. Unlike camper trailers, you wouldn’t need to tow anything. Campervans are built on standard van chassis. So, it’s easier to turn, park, and store a campervan compared to a camper trailer.

What Is the Average Fuel Consumption of a Campervan?

Campervans or Class B motorhomes have a fuel tank that can accommodate 115-160 litres. Compared to other types of motorhomes, they also have better fuel consumption at around 7.7-10.6 km/L on gas and 9.3-10.6 km/L on diesel.

Are There 4WD Campervans?

4WD and AWD campervans are available on various brands’ lineup. Although there are some models that can really handle rough terrain, driving a campervan through them is not recommended. 

Most models only come with 2WD and these cannot be taken off-road, on the beach, or even on dirt roads. This can potentially damage the campervan, or you can get stuck and need rescue. If you frequent remote areas, then this can be quite the hassle. 

Can I Convert A Normal Van into A Campervan?

Some Australian companies are already offering this kind of service. Frontline Conversions in Sydney is one of them. They can convert a Toyota Hiace and Volkswagen Transporter into campervans. The Toyota Hiace model is available in a 3L turbo diesel or 2.7L petrol.

Meanwhile, the Volkswagen is available in either 2WD or AWD. The engines also range from turbo or twin turbo diesel and either manual or 7-speed DSG Automatic Transmission. This model also features swivel seats and walkthrough cabin. It also has improved cabin height and ventilation provided by the European tilt-roof system. The company also offers a 4WD model with roof-top tents.

What Model of Campervan Should I Get?

With the rising popularity of campervans, you now have a lot of options to choose from. You can even find models which are designed with the Australian market in mind. So, here is a list of campervans that you should get:

Trakka Trakkadu Range

The Trakka Trakkadu Range campervan is built on the Volkswagen Transporter and has 2WD or AWD options.

One of its modesl is the Trakka Jabiru: a 4×4 model, this can handle rough terrain. It is available in three layouts with a 90L grey water tank, diesel-powered stove, 136L 2-way compressor fridge, and outdoor shower.

Volkswagen California

Volkswagen California is the first campervan model that VW made. Like most of campervans in this list, the VW California is based on the VW Transporter. It can accommodate 2 persons and it also has most of the features of other campervans. However, it does not have its own bathroom.

Adria Compact Plus

The Adria Compact Plus can accommodate 4 persons comfortably. This is based on the Fiat Ducato with a 35L engine that can output 130 Hp. Similar to other models, it also has a bedroom, kitchen, and a bathroom.

Hymercar Free

The Hymercar Free can seat up to 4 people. It also has a pop-top roof that extends the headroom to 1.9 m. It also comes with aluminum framed windows with insulation and a pleated insect screen for the sliding door. 

Jayco FD.19-1 Campervan

The Jayco FD.19-1 campervan is perfect for solo travelers or couples because it can comfortably house 2 people. The FD.19-1 has 12V sockets and USB ports as well as a roof-mounted air-conditioner. The campervan also comes with a rear storage under the bed. This model is also perfect for going to remote destinations because it has a 120 W solar charging system so that your battery won’t run out of charge. All of these features are complemented by the stylish interior and complete kitchen appliances.

Avida Spirit

Avida Spirit is built on the Fiat Ducato and has a 180 Hp diesel engine. It also has a 100 L fresh water tank and 105 L grey water tank. It also comes with a water heater, 3-burner LPG stove, stainless kitchen sink, 106 L fridge, 100A 12V battery, entertainment system (TV and DVD player), USB ports, and a wardrobe.

Related Questions

How Much Does It Cost to Rent A Campervan?

RV rental per day costs are all over the board – they vary depending on the class and the age of the RV. Typically, you can expect to see the average price RV rentals in these ranges: Class A: $150-$250/night (10+ years or older); $350-$450/night (newer)

Is A Special Licence Needed to Drive A Campervan In Australia?

In most cases, you will not need to present a special type of licence. You will only need to present a valid driver’s licence to be eligible to rent a campervan. Keep in mind that your driver’s licence should be valid.

Is A Campervan A Motorhome?

Campervan – A van equipped as a self-contained travelling home, campervans are normally smaller than a motorhome. There is generally no divide between the cab and the living quarters. Campervans usually have basic facilities for cooking, washing, and sleeping.

Can you park a campervan anywhere in Australia?

Street parking for campervan? … While campervans can work well for some in Australia it’s often far from a cheap option especially when you factor in the need to stay in registered caravan parks @ around $40/night. Caravan parks are more like resorts offering great facilities such as communal kitchens and rec areas etc.

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James Mitchell

Hi, I’m Jimmy Mitchell and I love exploring this great country with my wife and two boys. I have a 2015 Sterling LX that is the Mitchell Family camping machine. Lets Getaway is the website where I share things about my trailer as I learn them, and help other camper owners to enjoy their RV even more.

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