For those who remember the 1960s – perhaps through a blue smoke haze - a campervan is a VW microbus, a Commer, or a Ford Transit, with seats that convert into a bed, a rudimentary stove and a roof that raises – usually on hinges at one end.
Today, a campervan is technically much what it was back then: a small van, or 4WD-based motorised caravan, while a new class of vehicles called ‘motor homes’ have slipped in above, based on either larger van or bus chassis.
Today’s campervans follow the same principal, but are usually based on VW Transporter, Toyota HiAce or Toyota Troop Carrier underpinning and have become much more comfortable and sophisticated vehicles than their predecessors.
The principle of the campervan is the same except that we now have swivel seats, full slide-out stoves (some even with microwave ovens), hot water showers, home entertainment systems and much more comfortable beds.
Volkswagen’s transporter campervan is arguably the pick of the bunch in Australia for on-road work, and a number of the best campervan layouts are available from companies like Trakka and Kea.
Off-road, Kea’s campervan has a particularly good conversion based on the trusty Toyota Troop Carrier that makes the most of the limited space in a vehicle that truly can take you everywhere, from the Simpson Desert to the top of Cape York. Standard equipment includes a pop-up roof, an 80-litre fridge, 2-burner metho stove, running water, solar power and an air conditioned front cabin.
• Everything travels with you
• Immediate set-up
• Security in remote areas
• 4WD based models go everywhere the 4WD goes
• You need to pack up before you travel anywhere
• Pretty squeezy
• More expensive than a small caravan and tow car combo