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Is there any hope?!

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Is there any hope?! Empty Is there any hope?!

Post by mrswm Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:00 pm

Hello all, from having a little poke around the forums, you seem like a nice friendly bunch. Sadly I'm still only at the hoping and dreaming (not to mention saving!) stage of Autosleeper ownership!

To cut a long (and painful) story short, my dear husband died very suddenly of a brain haemorrhage last year, leaving me a widow at the grand old age of 42. We always loved tent camping but now I'm mostly on my own it just feels like far too much faff, loading a car, unloading a car, putting up a tent, setting up a tent (airbed, building a kitchen etc) before I can even get the kettle on (or the wine glass out!). And to be frank, I just don't want to tent camp without him. 

I've never towed anything in my life, so that rules out caravans. So, I'm thinking a campervan might be the answer? About 20yrs ago I did have a VW T2 Devon Bay and I loved the sense of freedom that came from being able to simply put the handbrake on and consider myself largely set-up and on holiday. Everywhere I have looked online has said that Autosleepers are known for their build quality, so, well, here I am! 

Obviously my life has been turned upside down over recent months, including financially, and so I am on a ridiculously tight budget. In truth, I think my hopes of getting myself the home on wheels I long for, to enable me to escape down to the coast whenever I can, may be nothing more than a pipedream... 

So, hopefully this is where you wise folks either give me some hope that it is feasible or tell me I'm just being daft and that I should take up jigsaw puzzles as a hobby or something! 

The things I'm ideally looking for are as follows:


  • Not too big, fits in a normal parking space, easy to drive with good visibility
  • Manual RHD (never driven an automatic or a LHD)
  • 3/4 berth. I'd guestimate that 75% of the time I'll be on my own / 25% with my 3yr old grandson coming along for exciting adventures to the seaside with his Granny! Very occasionally my lovely adult daughter will no doubt want to come along to see what all the fuss is about. 
  • Don't want the driving seat to form part of the bed (incase I ever need to drive off in a hurry at night - lone female, safety first and all that)
  • Ideally a toilet, not fussed about a shower - will only be away a couple of nights at a time and so a decent wash will do. Will mostly be staying on campsites with showers anyway.
  • Not at all fussed about 'image' or the badge on the front or any of that stuff.
  • Fully accept I'm looking at a van probably a similar age to myself!  
  • Budget - at an absolute push between 5k and 7k. 


So, what is my future to be? Escapes to the coast or a decade of jigsaws and saving?!

Lucy  wave
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Post by burlingtonboaby Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:02 pm

Hi Lucy
Welcome to the forum from sunny warm Bridington 
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Post by steamdrivenandy Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:26 pm

Welcome.
A 3 to 4 berth where the cab seats don't form part of the bed is likely to be a motorhome, not a campervan. Or put another way, a coach built, not a panel van conversion. It's down to basic measurements. 4 beds are going to be a minimum of 6ft by 2ft each (12sq ft) by 4 = 48sq ft. A standard 6m long panel van is about 6ft wide with about 12ft behind the cab (6x12=72), so only 24 sq ft left for kitchen, storage, toilet/shower, gangway etc. You may find the odd model with bunks that reduces the floor area for bed space, but they're fairly rare.
So all of that means that to have a van that meets your spec. could mean something fairly large, which it sounds like you don't want.
Maybe you need to rethink what you want. 
Using cab seats shrinks the size of van you need and if on you're own you can set the nearside bed up and leave the drivers side ready for a quick off, whilst still having room for two when required.
Quick offs aren't usually necessary if you stick to organised campsites and are hard to do anyway without tugging an EHU bollard out of the ground and leaving your levelling wedges behind.
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Post by Lancy Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:30 pm

Hi, I wonder if you are on Facebook. If so there are some campervan groups for folk who camp alone as well as solo folk. I can recommend Women with Campervans as well as Women with Campervans for sale. 
I have known folk who get a campervan with your budget and the above Fb group is a good place to start as on the whole they are honest folk, as well as very encouraging and helpful. They a,so arrange group Meets which is great for making new friends.   In terms of beds....a 2 berth might do as when your daughter and grandson both come, at his age he could sleep on a sleeping bag etc in the aisle between the 2 beds. If possible try to stay max 5.5m for ease of parking etc but might have to go to 5.8m for a loo! The latter will fit in a parking bay.There are both coachbuilts and Van type campers within those lengths.  Also, look round as many as you possibly can! 
This is a very supportive and helpful group with plenty of folk happy to part with their years of experience.
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Post by mrswm Tue Jun 02, 2020 5:54 pm

Thanks all for the welcome. I really don't want to go for anything bigger than a van conversion for ease of parking, as well as my modest budget considerations! But you raise very good points about the size actually needed for the things I'd ideally want. Given that I'll be on my own much of the time, a porta potti in a cupboard would suffice, so don't need a dedicated shower/toilet 'room'. And as my grandson is only 3yrs I was figuring a top bunk (with safety net of some kind) would maybe suit him? Maybe a 2 berth is all I really need?

An excellent point about the quick offs if using EHU - that's probably one way to ensure you're never invited back! Perhaps I'm being over cautious worrying about that kind of thing. 

I am on Facebook and have just asked to join the 2 groups you mention Lancy - thank you!
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Post by steamdrivenandy Tue Jun 02, 2020 6:30 pm

5m two berth with shower room, toilet, oven, 4 belted seats, uses cab seats for single beds, can turn into a double. Horizons Unlimited Cavarno 2 made 2005 to 2014. Two for sale that I know of one on Autotrader, one on Ebay.
My van is by the same people, their Innovation 3 model. 5.2m long, same 4 belted seats, but the rear habitation is different. No oven, no shower room, but a big boot under an enormous kitchen worktop. Fridge, hobs, sink, proper Thetford toilet etc.
5.4m Autosleeper Symbol, like a Cavarno, but just a bit bigger. Most have just 3 belted seats, though 4 seaters are around. 5.4m Adria Twin 500, 4 belted seats, uses cab seats, toilet and shower on board.
Then you transition to 5.99m, which is by far the most popular size PVC and the permutations of layout are never ending. Single beds in the back tend to be 6ft or less long and across the van doubles are about the same length.
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Post by groundhog Tue Jun 02, 2020 7:51 pm

Welcome and may I offer my condolences for your loss, can't imagine what you must have been through.

The good news is you do not have to spend a lot to achieve your dreams, if your budget is really tiny there are plenty of small van conversions out there but when buying do take someone along who knows about these things.

I know someone locally (young couple plus 5 year old) who purchased a converted disabled minibus, it really looks the part, sleeps three and has all the basics, they spent about six months touring Europe in it, the cost......£2250! So it is possible

Good luck and good wishes
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Post by mrswm Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:40 am

groundhog wrote:Welcome and may I offer my condolences for your loss, can't imagine what you must have been through.

The good news is you do not have to spend a lot to achieve your dreams, if your budget is really tiny there are plenty of small van conversions out there but when buying do take someone along who knows about these things.

I know someone locally (young couple plus 5 year old) who purchased a converted disabled minibus, it really looks the part, sleeps three and has all the basics, they spent about six months touring Europe in it, the cost......£2250! So it is possible

Good luck and good wishes
Thank you for your good wishes Groundhog, your post gives me tremendous hope!  up!
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Post by Gromit Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:00 am

Hi

Just a thought . . . .

Have you considered a folding camper?

Some of them are far too big for you, but there are several quite small ones that are so easy to tow that you could forget they are there, and very quick and easy to erect.

There are loads of YouTube videos showing how they are erected and what they are like inside.

I guess they are a bit like Marmite. You either fancy one or you don't, but it's worth mentioning in case it helps. 

Dave
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Post by Milvus Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:02 am

Sorry to read of your loss. A warm welcome to the friendliest of forums. I’m sure there will be plenty of help and encouragement from all, to get you started with a new motorhome. There are many things to consider, so take plenty of time to fine tune your wishes, to fit with what you want. Good luck and enjoy the journey.

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Post by kaspian Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:19 am

Dont loose hope/ heart , there will be perfectly useable Van's out there you  can afford. I would doubt there are many autosleeper as they tend to  command  silly prices for what they are. Look in places like Gumtree, I have just done a quick search and there are plenty that fall into your criteria. Take someone with a bit of mechanical knowledge to view just to help avoid the obvious lemons. 
        It is not what you spend on a van that matters or even the toys it comes with. Happy memories come from what you do with it. Our first caravan  cost only a few hundred pounds, was 3 .2 metres in length , had one electrical socket, a kettle for hot water and a porta potty but we had some fantastic times in that van with young kids . We sold it for what we paid 3 years later! An 'arms race ' then occurred with us spending ever more on bigger , better equipped Van's but they did not increase the enjoyment in any real way,  in fact you were more aware that you may do damage to the van  costing hundreds to repair! 
        Have a look on Gumtree take note of reg. Number and put this into the government website to check mot history ( google mot history checker) It costs nothing but will show up serious corrosion issues which should be avoided. Above all have fun looking over a few Van's until you see something you like.
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Post by Riminime Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:41 pm

Hi

So sorry to hear about your bereavement, what a shock and so young too, sending you my sympathies.

We are a similar age (you are a bit younger than me but we are in the same decade!) and we've just spent close to half the lower end of your budget on a 1993 Renault Rimini with a 12 month MOT, its so lovely, clean inside, very sweet, runs really smoothly we are absolutely delighted and after we've lived in it for a couple of months on my parents drive (between an ending tenancy and Covid delayed house purchase) I think we'll be taking it off around the country to enjoy it properly. It would definitely be good for one, very comfy inside, you might want something bigger to get a permanent bed area but with the pop top you can stand up easily inside. But I read that you don't one that needs the front seats so perhaps not a great option for you. Just wanted to send a positive message that the price range is doable if you get lucky - found ours on Autotrader and it was about 2 streets away, we walked over after Sunday dinner to have a look and collected it today!  Just slightly everso excited about it bouncing

Best wishes, Naomi
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Post by tony50 Fri Jun 19, 2020 10:54 am

My advice is do not buy off eBay, there has and is a lot a Scammers that use this site ,and sadly on the site where we are isolating a lady bought a caravan off eBay , found toilet fault, sink waste pipes missing etc , bought it £10000, sold it for £1500!! Buy at a proper Dealership, unless you or someone else who can help you examine the vehicle , in your case I would go for a Panel van conversion especially if it's a few years old to avoid getting a damp vehicle.
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Post by mikeandlizriley Fri Jun 19, 2020 11:15 am

I have a Trident and, from your previous comments, this model should tick most if not all of your boxes. We have owned the vehicle for 13 years now and would be very reluctant to part with it. Sorry to hear of your sad loss.
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Post by Litehiker Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:07 pm

I’ve owned a high top Trident from new (2008). It still ticks all the boxes and, although we didn’t opt for it, two small children could sleep in the top with an inexpensive conversion. Having recently switched our car to an automatic, I now wish the camper was automatic as well. I tend to stall the camper now, thinking I’m in the car. After driving a manual for forty years, it took all of thirty seconds for my wife to love driving an automatic.
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Post by aqv1957 Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:32 pm

Hiya, Mrswm. 
What a remarkably positive person you are, having suffered so much but looking ahead. Our sincere condolences to you for your awful loss.
Re your prospective camper (how exciting!), our Hattie is a Trooper, which is the pop-top version of the Trident - compact enough to go in a normal parking space and cost only the same as a car on ferries, but has the space we need for two, and a child could sleep either in the roof (if you get one with the needed roof boards) or on a special hammock in the cab. We have an awning we use if we have more people around or are staying somewhere longer term. They're not expensive and more than triple your living space. We found a new one being sold at second hand price. Have a look on Google to get an idea of layout and dimensions. And all the very best in your search!
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Post by rangitira Mon Jul 06, 2020 11:34 am

We have a VW Autosleeper Glubman GL  (K reg 1992) that we are selling ( not yet advertised). We will be looking for around £7000 but would give a reduction if we didn't have to advertise it.  Details below, have not yet done photos.

Our contact number is 07760 208 552. We live in Cornwall

Regards

VW Autosleeper  Clubman GL T4
1992
Manual RH drive - 5.5 m long  
Power steering
2 Berth  - 2 singles or large double
55,000 Miles
12 mths MOT
Towbar
 Ladder and roof rack
 Rear steadies
 Int  needs limited TLC
 Original upholstery and curtains in good condition
Leisure battery charger
Reversing sensors and rear view camera
Electric hot water
 Electric power points
 New electric fridge
 Hob/grill
 Oven (as new) 
 2 Seat belts
 Radio/CD player
 Reading lights
 TV Aerial with booster
  Blinds/Flyscreens
  Blown Air System
  Cassette toilet - electric flush
 Fire extinguisher
 2 tables
  Loads Storage
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