Are you looking for a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, and want to take your kids out on a camping trip, or to teach them how to fish?
It isn’t like the old days when you would rough it out in the wild in cold tents, relieve yourself behind a bush that turned out to be poison ivy, or trudge your way through the muck. That is fun, for sure, but with a family in tow, you likely prefer more comfort.
What you are looking for is a comfortable experience to remember, where your children weren’t complaining about the heat or the lack of Wi-Fi, and you and your wife didn’t have to cook cold hot dogs on a spit. No, the family experience should be fun and comfortable. So, you decided to buy a camper van, but there are many factors to consider before buying one.
There are many features, models, components, and prices to consider and choose from. Are you looking for comfort and elegance? Are you perhaps looking for high-end fixtures inside your camper? Or perhaps you want vintage and homey, instead of modern and sleek. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a camper for you.
Keeping those features and requirements in mind, the following is a list of the top five campers you can consider when you’re looking for a family-and budget- get-away home on wheels.
- Fiat Ducato Sunlight Cliff 600
- Danbury Heritage 64
- The Winnebago 4×4 Revel
- Knaus Boxlife 630 ME
- Grand California
Let’s break it down and look at what each of these campers has to offer by way of comfort, character, and cost-efficiency.
Five Best Camper Vans for a Family of Four
5 ) Fiat Ducato Sunlight Cliff 600
Designed and released in 2019, this model of the Fiat Ducato might be more popular in Europe, but is available in many sizes and customisable layouts, with different engines and power steering, all designed to make your experience on the road with your family the best possible one.
What’s on the inside, you ask?
Well, the living/dining area is as spacious as it gets, and is perfectly designed to make optimal use of the space and maximise movement and function.
Here’s a list of some of its most attractive features.
- 2-ring hob
- TV/TV Aerial
- Swivel seats
- Truma heating gas
- 90L fridge mounted at chest height so you don’t constantly need to bend in and forage for food or a can of pop.
- Under the bed storage and internal storage compartments
The Cliff 600 has a convenient rear bed layout, with judicious and practical use of space in a very attractive and compact package. It has a large bed for two with a possible- and comfortable- stretch out for two more. It has an offside habitation door with automatic retracting steps and a full sized mosquito screen to keep you and your family pest-free inside.
Behind the sink and hob is a recess that allows extra storage room for cleaning supplies and utensils, as do the sizeable overhead cupboards.
Let’s talk about the bathroom for a second, because there’s a big update from the previous model that is ergonomically improved, with a swivel loo, and a large sink with a swivelling tap that doubles as a shower head.
This camper is wide enough and smart enough that you and your family of four can easily fit in and have a comfortable and fun trip, out on the road.
4) Danbury Heritage 64
The Danbury Heritage 64 is inspired by the Volkswagen T2, and manages to be a suave and classic model, merging vintage with the modern, making your house on wheels a great way to get away.
Let’s walk through the layout. The spacious van can comfortably seat up to four, with additional room for 2 more, you can opt for a large king or a double bed, depending on what you need in terms of sleeping arrangements and the equipment you want to store in the back.
In the kitchen, there is a stainless steel sink, next to two burner gas hobs, under which sits a 50L fridge-freezer. It also comes equipped with a grill. Over to the right are a removable table and seating which supports storage underneath it. These rear seats come tested to provide the best possible safety and also pull out as the double bed. Next to this is an optional and customizable Porta Potti.
The windows provide optimal privacy, with the rear windows protected by privacy glass.
Here’s a list of the additional mechanical features for you to consider before buying this vintage camper for your family.
- Mains hook-up with leisure battery
- LED Lighting
- Air conditioning
- Front and Rear parking sensors with reversing camera
- Electric, heated door mirrors
- Sliding side windows – both sides
- Thatcham Cat 1 alarm
In short, the Danbury Heritage 64 is a classic mix of modern features with a retro finish, from its russet leather seats to the two-tone metallic paintwork. This is every driver’s vintage dream and every family’s comfortable ride into the woods.
3) The Winnebago 4×4 Revel
The Winnebago Revel, according to reviewers, is a digital nomad’s dream come true, quote-unquote.
What it also is, is a camper that comfortably sits and sleeps a family of four that is perfect for off-road adventures. The best choice to give your kids their first camping experience, without the lack of amenities like clean water and a toilet, the Winnebago houses many clever and nifty features.
Let me walk you through the campervan.
The back of this camper can be packed away to make room for all your bikes, or paddle boats, or fishing gear. The rear bed is four feet wide and is a double, that ascends to the ceiling via a, motorised lift, creating a five foot high room for you to store all your equipment. On the driver’s side, you will find the bathroom and closet, with a European style cassette toilet, a big closet and effective floor drains.
Across the toilet is the kitchen area which has a stainless steel sink and adjustable pantry shelves, under which is a single burner induction stove. Here’s the exciting bit. The 2.5 cubic foot fridge basically runs forever, as the Revel’s battery is solar powered. To finish it off is a nice fold-out table and another one on the outside if you’re toasting marshmallows and eating hotdogs by the fire with the family.
Let’s get a little technical. There is an on-demand four-wheel drive that gets activated with the flick of a switch on the dash that also features a low gear range to aid with steep hill climbing and descents.
In addition to the standard gray water tank purge is the shore power input and multiple electrical outlets and sockets.
The Winnebago Revel is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, but is it worth it? For all the features and high-tech functions it offers, definitely.
At competitive prices that include customisable changes to your Camper, take the Renault Traffic out for a spin, then drive it home, pick up your beautiful family and go on that camping trip you promised your kids this summer!
2) Knaus Boxlife 630 ME
Okay, this camper is for your family of four and then some! Do your kids have friends they want to take on your trip as well? Bring them along because the Boxlife 630ME sleeps seven people.
Here’s how the sleeping situation looks like. There is a queen sized bed that can sleep two people that also goes up into the roof like the Winnebago. This is completely detachable, if you’re looking to free up space for your camping gear or fishing equipment.
There is a flip out sofa underneath that can easily sleep 3, a dinette that can be converted into a bed and a lift away bed, as well. One, two, three, four, five….I’ve lost count now.
The kitchen has a dual-burner stove, a 90L fridge, sink, foldable counter and all the storage you can ever need. Maybe not all the storage, but definitely enough to get you through the trip. Across the way is a wet bathroom, fully equipped with a shower and rotating toilet.
Additionally, the Boxlife includes a Truma Combi 6D cabin/ water heater standard that comes with a 95-Ah AGM battery, 12V and 230V outlets, LED lighting, comfort blinds and plenty of overhead lighting.
What really sets the Boxlife apart, however, is the flexibility of its design and customizable layout. Go to your nearest dealer and start talking prices, now that you have an idea of what the Boxlife can mean for your weekend getaway with your family.
1) Grand California 600
Volkswagen’s latest addition to camper homes features a comfortable and spacious interior, cutting edge technology that provides the best experience ever for you family of four, on wheels.
The model 600 sleeps two adults and two children in its spacious rear beds, which merges flawlessly into a well appointed kitchen and comfy living space with a retractable dinette for you and your children to kick back with a board game or break out a deck of cards. The camper van also boasts of optional panoramic skylights.
The bathroom is a separate wet room, and the compartment offers plenty of overhead storage, allowing for room to include a toilet, a shower, and a compact sink with a mirror. There is a ventilation system in the ceiling that allows for steam from your hot shower to clear out easily. What about the kitchen, you ask? Well, the kitchen counter extends at both ends to create extra space when required, and the fridge comes with both a freezer compartment and a basket/shelf area that doubles up as a way to keep bottles upright.
With aircraft style overhead lockers that surround the sleeping area, this camper also provides a lot of storage space.
Additional features include:
- 17×6.5J Silver alloy wheels
- Navigation system “Discover Media” with 4 speakers
- Electronically controlled air conditioning system
- Leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, heated
- Park distance control in front and rear
All of these features make your trip with your family an experience to remember over the holidays.
What else you need to know when choosing a family camper van
We have looked at some of the options out there for you to choose from. But, before you do, there is some more ground to cover about what additional factors you should keep in mind when choosing a camper for your family.
1. Make sure you can drive it
This might seem like a no-brainer. Of course you’ll need to buy a camper you can drive.
But it’s actually more difficult than it looks and driving a camper is not the same as driving a car or truck. Which is exactly why you need to make sure that the Camper you buy is one that meets all your driving requirements.
- Enquire about manual versus automatic transmission. I f you have never driven a stick before, a camper is not the way to learn.
- You don’t need a special license to a camper, unlike when driving an RV or other bigger motor homes.
- Take into consideration the size and weight of the camper. It is much bigger and holds much more than your car.
- Most campers do not have 4WD capabilities and if you’re thinking of going off the beaten track with a two-wheel drive, don’t. They are heavy and get stuck easily.
Always ask to take it out for a spin and test-drive it before you make your decision.
2. Know what price you are looking for
New or used, every camper offers a variety of features that you need to take into consideration when deciding if the price it is being sold at is both worth it, and in your budget. You don’t want to have to mortgage your home to get your house on wheels.
- Do a little research of different camper models available and back it up with a comparative study. A moderately appointed camper can cost anywhere between $18,000 and $30,000, but these prices can go well up to $300,000 in the case of high-end, high-tech, high everything campers.
- The best way to cut costs, without cutting corners is to shop around, without tying yourself to one particular brand.
- There is a good possibility that your camper is going to need further money poured into it to customise it to give it the feature you and your family needs. This is a long-term investment so buy now, customise later. Don’t expect to buy a camper with all the features, bells and whistles in one go as this will mean that your price range will soar.
I cannot stress on this enough, but take an insurance out on your camper. You’ve poured your heart and soul, not to mention all that money, into your camper, so make sure you have it assessed and give it enough liability coverage.
3. Go over every nook and cranny…twice
- Go over every inch of your camper. Take in all the features it offers, to see if it suits your specific needs. Does it have enough room for you and your kids to sleep and move without getting into each other’s space? How is the plumbing? Is it a wet or dry toilet? What about the kitchen and the water supply?
- Look for mould. While this may not be an issue when you’re buying a brand new camper, if you’re buying a used one, you need to check for signs of mould in the corners, the floor, the ceiling, and the caulk in the bathroom. Open the cabinets and shine a torch around. If there is mould, you’ll smell it or feel it in the damp interior of the camper.
- Check the floor or ceiling to assess any damage or to see how sturdy they are. You cannot comprise on safety.
- Don’t forget to check the tires, too.
So, keeping in mind all the amazing features you read about that the five campers offered, and the factors you need to consider before you actually pick one, customise it and subsequently buy it, I’ve put together an easy ten point checklist for you to remember along the way.
- Look for optimal usage of space for storage and shelving
- Make sure that the camper offers pull back or pull out features for the beds. This will again help you make the best use of the space in the vehicle and provide a little extra storage to keep your equipment- fishing or camping gear, bikes etc.
- Check to see if the bathroom is a wet or dry bathroom
- Keep in mind that a well lit and illuminated camper van is vital.
- Make sure the kitchen appliances and the washing facilities are up to date.
- Ask an expert at the dealership to walk you through the different technology used.
- It doesn’t hurt to shop around and compare different models and prices. You want the best for your family, but you also don’t want them to live out of a van, at the end of the day because you dropped a bomb on this camper.
- Check to see different ways you can customise the layout and interiors, and also the extra features that you can cash in on.
- DON’T SKIMP ON THE INSURANCE
- Remember that the purpose of this camper is to give your family the opportunity to have some time away from the busy routine of daily life and get away for a few days to reconnect and bond.
Now, go ahead and pick out your family camper!