ADVICE FOR FIRST TIME CAMPER TRAVELLERS
So you have decided to hire a classic VW camper, and are planning an exciting road trip. What are the most important things to consider, to make sure your trip is as enjoyable as it should be?
1. Travel light. Type 2 bays are compact. There isn’t a great deal of storage, and there is no getting around that. So think very carefully about what you need. And where possible bring multi-use items. Warm clothes might well be needed for chilly evenings, even in summer, and obviously some wet weather gear.
2. Plan an itinerary. It is probably best to try and plan where you will be going, and to arrange campsites in advance. Remember, you won’t be able to travel the same distances in a VW camper as you would in a modern vehicle.
3. Driving the camper. If you can, have a test drive with the owner of the hired camper. Obviously, 1970’s VWs are quite different from modern campers to drive. These vehicles are the happiest cruising at around 50mph and have limited overtaking ability, do not let the engine ‘labour’ when climbing hills – always change down a gear.
Also, do keep an eye on your mirror – you may have traffic building up behind you. Let them pass if you can. If the Type 2 camper you have hired is fitted with the slightly larger and more robust ‘type 4‘ engine – they have better hill climbing ability and are less prone to overheating when under load.
4. Roof. Be aware of the height of the campervan, you don’t want to take the top off! Your camper hire company may not be too pleased! On the subject of roofs, if you can, choose a camper with a pop-top roof. This will make cooking and living in the VW far easier.
5. Driving off.
a) Before driving off in your van it is imperative you turn off the gas at the bottle. This is a very important safety consideration.
b) If you have been using an electric hook up, it is very easy to forget to unplug. This could cause damage to the van, which you will probably have to pay for.
c) If the van has a pop-up roof, this is another easy thing to forget!
d) Finally, just make sure everything is put away, you don’t want anything flying about whilst you are travelling as it could be distracting, as well as dangerous.