If you wish to take to the open road a camper is a great option as you are not hampered by locating a suitable hotel every night. You can stay a lot of places, but officially, it’s advisable to sleep in a registered camp site It’s safer, and has a few amenities like showers and shore power, maybe even a place to empty your wastewater. Of course, if you got too tired to drive, in a pinch you could pull off at a Walmart and park overnight.
Well Known US Campers
Any talk of campers wouldn’t be complete without mention of Winnebagos. Winnebagos have been going since 1958 and have variants such as Journey, Farza, Adventurer and Vista.
Vista, for example, is a four-person Winny with two double beds, toilet and even a shower.
The Winnebago Solis is for more glamorous camping, what with its insulated walls and a plumbed-in wet bathroom. For this design it has a sleeping sofa rather than the usual bunk area.
Well Known European Campers
Alternately, would you choose a European model like a Dormobile? The Dormobile company started in 1956, just after the VW camper known as “The Camper Box.”
The Dormobile had an estate car roof (AKA a sunshine roof) which could be extended to give two extra berths.
There have been conversions of Land Rovers by a Colorado company into campers but they aren’t Dormobiles themselves.
The reason Dormobile created campers is because they were exempt from purchase tax as long as they had cookers and the most basic washing machines.
The Dormobile had a lifting roof that was side-hinged, slightly resembling a Jack-in-the-box. It was made of a plastic canopy sometimes with red stripes, the top had two windows for ventilation. The inside looked reminiscent of the curve of a wheel’s spokes with two large poles or struts keeping the structure. It allowed for an extra meter of interior space even if it’s only purpose was to sleep in.
Before putting the roof down, you had to remove the mattresses from the bunks, otherwise the roof wouldn’t fit right. It sounds awkward, but no doubt you got used to it.
Another plus point was the 4-wheel drive which is unusual in a camper. It was definitely designed as a vehicle which was not afraid to go off road. This could come as a surprise given its streamlined shape.
With enough money you can convert vans and SUVs into campervans. There are two ways to do this-one is to just use the space as is, the second is to create an “extension” part like an overhanging caravan, also known as a pop-up.
Though the first of these is easier and creates less disruption you will be hard pressed to find a place to fit in a bathroom! What you end up with is a table and chair area in the back which can be turned into a flatbed at night.
When creating a conversion use lightweight materials. Because of the need to store away tables/chairs/mattresses the active storage space is only available when its being used to camp in not when packed up to travel.
But as conversion is so complicated, most people tend to like the specialized vans. After all, why mess with mid-century design? And if you don’t like vintage, choose an up-to-date version.