articles and blog
Category: Types of homes-on-wheels. Published: 23 Jun 2009
A campervan is a self-propelled vehicle with living/sleeping facilities -- a smaller version of what is generally called a motorhome. Defined in Wiktionary (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/campervan) as "A vehicle that provides both transport and sleeping accommodation". It may have either a fixed or pop-top (elevating) roof and generally contains basic facilities, such as a bed that doubles as seating, a small refrigerator and some sort of cooking facilities. Electricity is usually provided by the drive battery or external connection.
In my travels around Australia I come across many of these types of homes-on-wheels, generally hired by younger European tourists. They would be ideal for 1-2 people wanting to travel for a few weeks or a couple of months, who do most of their cooking and "living" outside the van and who generally don't stay in one location for very long. The big advantage of a van of this type is that they are much easier to drive and park than the bigger motorhomes. They would also be cheaper to buy or hire in the first place, and running and maintenance costs would also be less. With any type of van there is a compromise between something big enough to live in and small enough to drive -- these definitely tend towards the latter, therefore compromising on the former.
Disparagingly referred to as "whizz-bangs" by larger motorhomers (that's people with large motorhomes, not large people with motorhomes!) in reference to the sound made by the sliding door on the side of the van -- generally heard late at night when you're parked next to them in a caravan park or camping ground.
I quickly decided against buying this type of van due to its size and lack of facilities -- it's just not suitable for me to live in full time. I have come across the odd person (some are very odd!) living full time in one of these but I don't remember any couples -- you'd have to get along with each other very well to travel in one of these for any length of time.
A list of campervan and motorhome manufacturers in Australia can be found at: http://www.cmca.net.au/pages/marketplace/marketplace/motorhome_sales.php