So what did we think of the campervan?

Over the past 7 years, we have travelled on motorcycles around the world and in Australia, in a four wheel drive camper in Australia and Southern Africa, a car and camping equipment in Scotland  and a 7 meter long campervan with bells and whistles in Queensland.  The last one being the most recent and only time we’ve travelled in this way.  I’ve had a dream to travel long term around Australia for some years now so after the most recent experience is a good time to review the pros and cons of each mode.

Motorcycles with camping equipment – in our case, 3 man tent

Pros

  • Total independence
  • Always clean and safe
  • Everything has its place and easily packed
  • Cheap accommodation and meals
  • Can pick remote and quiet spots

Cons

  • Long or hard days’ riding make camping at the end of the day harder
  • Limited space for fresh food and water
  • Exposed to the elements (including evening mosquitoes and flies)
  • Limited space in the tent to keep riding equipment away from elements
  • Awkward to get dressed in the tent
  • Limited recharging capabilities
  • Ground can be uneven/sloping making for an uncomfortable night

    Some days are just exhausting

     

    Remote camping – bliss

     

    Remote camping – more bliss

Motorcycles without camping equipment

Pros

  • Travel lighter
  • Minimal packing in the mornings
  • Can travel anywhere
  • Can dry out riding clothing overnight
  • Easier to do hand washing
  • Can recharge all cameras and devices in hotels/motels

Cons

  • Have to stay in hotels/motels = cost
  • Beds may be uncomfortable
  • Have to eat out = cost
  • Cheaper places might not be the quietest
  • I miss not camping!

    Our recent 3 day trip with just those 2 panniers of stuff.

Car and camping equipment

Pros

  • Can go anywhere the car can go
  • Can take as much as on 2 bikes 
  • Can share the driving

Cons

  • Can’t be quite remote enough
  • Ground can be uneven/sloping making for an uncomfortable night

    Our car was born for country roads

     

    Our week end cabin, the old village school.

     

    Cosy evening by the fire

    One of our camping spots in Scotland – so serene

4×4 camper 

Pros

  • Total independence
  • Consistent sleeping comfort 
  • Can carry more clothes
  • Can carry more and fresh food
  • Can travel anywhere and be as remote as one wants
  • Easy to boil water/cook
  • Can eat out of the elements
  • Can keep devices charged
  • Can share the driving

Cons

  • Roof top tents can be tricky in high winds (as happened to us in Namibia)
  • Some campers might mean cooking outside (with the flies, heat/rain)

    Surrounded by wild animals – the night symphony of animal sounds is unforgettable

     

    In our wild camp spot in Botswana

     

    This where our rooftop tent folded itself over us in Namibia so we spent the night in the driver’s cab. A most memorable night!

     

    The downside of the central desert of Australia when the flies are desperately thirsty and go for your eyes and mouth.

     

    In one of my favourite places, Docker River, Australia

2 wheel drive hire Campervan

Pros

  • Consistent sleeping comfort 
  • Can carry more clothes
  • Can carry more and fresh food
  • Easy to cook fresh meals
  • Can heat/cool main cabin when plugged in
  • Can eat out of the elements
  • Easy to pee in the night
  • Can recharge all cameras and devices
  • Can share the driving

Cons

  • Need to find powered site every 3 days
  • Cannot drive on tracks/dirt roads
  • Have to empty toilet and refill water every 3 days
  • Length and height constraints 
  • Packing sleeping area time consuming before moving off (the bed is made by placing the table top and some planks over the storage cupboards and moving cushions to make the matress)
  • Storage not that easy to access
  • Powered sites feel like being in a car park
  • You take more than you need and end up filling the storage space!

    Farm stay off grid in Central Queensland

     

    “Car park” camping in a commercial camp ground

On our last trip, we had the opportunity of talking to people travelling with different modes of transport and sleeping arrangements:

  • Motorcyclists staying in cabins/hotels
  • Motorcyclists with Elite camper trailer with Queen size bed etc etc
  • 4×4 towing large caravan
  • 4×4 towing offroad (dust proof) campertrailer
  • 4×4 with home made sleeping arrangement 
  • Campervan with bed that did not have to be collapsed and remade daily

They all had some great features and and tips and more pros and cons.

I think ultimately, the choice will depend on where you want to go and what comfort means to you.  Can you guess my favourite?

I love remote camping but sleeping in a tent is getting less comfortable as we age.  While in Australia, we are very unlikely to hire a monster campervan again but are glad we tried it.  My favourite mode would definitely be a 4×4 camper although nothing beats the feeling of being on the road on bikes, so that would mean bikes with no camping equipment… Luckily, we both feel the same. But that is not going to happen for some time now.  We are glad we seized the opportunity when we could.  Stay happy and safe everyone  🙂

– Anne

6 comments on “So what did we think of the campervan?

  1. You should also take into serious consideration that you are both getting on a bit and that one of you keeps falling apart !
    Have you considered a 4×4 or camper van with dirtbikes on a trailer: Set up a base and explore for a day. (God bless sat-nav)
    Whatever you decide I’ll enjoy reading about it from the comfort of my armchair.
    Keep safe

    Like

    • You know us and off-road and eapecially sand!! A 4×4 is likely when we decide our time on bikes is over. And yes, taking our time exploring is definitely what we want to do more of.

      Like

  2. The red car – that’s Beanie, isn’t it? How did you manage to get the personalised numberplate?
    You, Anne, will remember the trip to Scotland all those years ago when there were not all the modcons in a camper van and so we booked into a hotel every 3-4 days to have a good scrub. I get a shiver down my spine when I think of those bathing sessions in icy-cold spring water.

    Like

    • Yes the red car is Beanie, 22 years old amd still going strong! Here you can pat a little extra to get a personalised so we organised that when we bought Beanie. Washing with a mug of water is not as cold!!

      Like

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