A growing selection of FAQs for hiring a campervan as they are asked or occur to us.
Living in the vans
What do you provide in terms of cooking equipment and plates etc
We provide everything you should need for your hire in terms of cooking and eating gear. A typical inventory will be:
Set of 4 knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons, mugs, plastic wine glasses, Plastic dinner plates, side plates, tumblers
- Tin opener
- Bottle opener/ corkscrew
- Large cook’s knife
- Small paring knife
- Wooden spoon/spatula
- Oven gloves
- Frying pan, large lidded saucepan, small saucepan
- Chopping board
We also supply
- 2 camping chairs
- One camping table
- Fire extinguisher
- Oil filled radiator (you will typically only need this at the start and end of the season so this is provided on request). The radiator needs to be connected to a 240v electrical hookup.
The internal height of the vans with the pop top up provides a lot more space – a 6 ft tall person can easily stand up in them.
|Internal heights/headspace||Poptop down||Poptop up|
|Betty||140 cm (55 in)|
|Bertie||140 cm (55 in)|
|Ruby||142 cm (56 in)|
How many will the vans sleep?
This varies by van – see table below. If you want to sleep more than 2 persons then the ideal setup is to also take one of our awnings.
||On bed||||Pop top / hammock across front seats||||Awning||||Total||||Seat belts||
|Bertie||2||1 child in pop top (bunk size is 0.5m at widest tapering to 0.4m and 1.8m long 1 child in front hammock (max length 1.4m)||2||5||5|
|Ruby||2||2 small kids in pop top (pop top space is approx 160cm long and 38cm wide)||2||5||5|
|Jade||2||2 small kids in pop top (pop top space is approx 160cm long and 38cm wide)||2||5||2|
When we take a van out the comfortable setup is to just have two sleeping inside and any additional people going in the awning. Having an awning also makes a huge difference to the space available and your comfort levels. Awning hire is an optional extra.
The exception is if you are moving sites every night in which case an awning will slow you down as it needs to be dry before packing away and takes a bit of time to erect. If you are taking kids then they will likely be a lot happier stopped in one or two spots rather than driving off somewhere new every day.
How many people can you fit into a van
We need to know the size of the beds so that we can bring the right sheets
|Betty||¾ width rock and roll||109cm (43 in)|
|Bertie||Full width rock and roll||152cm (60 in)|
|Ruby||Full width rock and roll||142cm (56 in)|
|Jade||Full width rock and roll||142cm (56 in)|
We recommend a mattress cover and sheet underneath and a duvet on top with a couple of pillows.
In both Betty and Ruby there is plenty to space to stretch your feet beyond the end of the bed. We did have one extremely tall (6’7”) hirer whose feet extended to touch the cooker unit in Bertie so if this could be you we would go for one of the others.
What electrical provisions are there and what works/doesn’t
All vans have an electric hookup that provides 240v a/c when plugged into a campsite electrical point. This is really useful as it means you can plug in electrical equipment such as hair dryers and phone chargers and not have to worry about whether the leisure battery will last long enough to power your coolbox.
All vans have leisure batteries for use when not connected to a hookup. Leisure batteries charge up whilst driving and when connected to a hookup. Be aware the battery life will very much depend on what you have switched on. If you just use the LED lights it should easily last a weekend. If you connect the fridge/coolbox it will only last a few hours.
Each van does have at least one USB port.
Can we plug things in to the electric 240 volt sockets whilst driving along?
Nope. The 240 sockets only work when connected to an electrical hookup.
Driving the vans
What it’s like to drive?
The concept of a VW camper is not to get from A to B as fast as possible but to enjoy the experience of meandering through the countryside. Sit back and relax. Other motorists, especially campervans will always wave so remember to wave back. Whenever you stop all sorts of people will want to take pictures.
The ideal speed is 50mph which is a comfortable speed for both you and the campervan. In heavy winds or if a lorry passes you at speed you will feel buffeting but this is not a problem at 50mph or less. It is therefore good practice to avoid dual-carriageways and motorways.
The average hourly speed of a campervan is 35mph and unlike a modern vehicle you will have to actually drive it without the assistance of modern tech. No power steering or power assisted brakes. It has wind up windows, individually locked doors (ie no central locking) and lots of changing gears, especially when taking on hills.
You will find that travelling long distances for hours at a time can be very tiring. We recommend taking a break at least every couple of hours and don’t plan on driving to Scotland or Cornwall without stopping for the night half way. At an average of 35mph it will take a minimum of 10 hours to get to Cornwall and 6 hours to get to Gretna Green on the Scottish border.
It will take 15 to 20 minutes to become accustomed to driving the van and then you will start to relax. Every customer comes back an expert.
The campervans have drum brakes which were designed in the 50s. They are in perfect working order and checked on a regular basis but are not as sharp as on a modern vehicle. You should therefore leave a little more space than usual between you and the car in front of you and start to slow down a little earlier than usual at a roundabout.
If you are in a very hilly area going up and down and constantly braking you may feel a little sponginess on the brakes. This is called brake fade and is very common in vehicles with drum brakes. The brake shoes become hot and temporarily less effective but will soon return to normal when allowed to cool for 20 – 30 minutes.
Do the vans have aircon?
Only if you open a window. These are fairly primitive vehicles
How reliable are the vans – they are quite old?
The vans are very well maintained. Periodically the vans get a refit to make sure they stay on the road. Betty had a complete new engine setup in 2020 and Bertie was given an engine overhaul at the start of the 2020 season. In case of emergency they all come with accident breakdown recovery. The vans are pretty simple mechanically and are usually fixable locally wherever you are. The breakdown insurance covers a night in a hotel if need be or alternative transportation.
How old are the vans?
|Year of Registration|
These vans are officially classed as historic vehicles. “Late Bays” started in 1973 until production finished in 1979.
What type of fuel do the vans take?
Our vans take unleaded petrol. Please make sure you use E5 or super unleaded. Although it is more expensive you will get a better mpg and it is better for the vans. if you can only find E10 which is what most cars use these days then that is ok but please tell us when you get back as we will add an additive to the tank.
How many miles to the gallon do they do?
The vans typically do 22 – 25mpg.
Who can drive the van?
This is really an insurance question.
- All drivers must have held a full UK licence for a minimum of 24 months
- All drivers must be aged between 23-75
- Drivers can have up to 6 points on their licence (providing they are two minor offences)
- Standard policy terms for drivers from US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Southern Ireland. (Other foreign licences must be referred for approval and may be subject to additional excess)
- £500 excess applies in respect of all drivers.
Are there any other insurance requirements?
Also for each driver we need the following:
- Copy of the photo card drivers licence
- DVLA printout showing your license details and number of points if any https://www.viewdrivingrecord.service.gov.uk/driving-record/licence-number
- Signed rental agreement
- 2 Proofs of address – the following documentation is acceptable for proof of address:
- Utility bills, including water, gas, electric and one of the following
- Council tax bill
- HMRC bill
- Credit card bill
- Mortgage statement
How far you can drive & do you have any restrictions on where we can take the vans?
Currently we don’t have any mileage limitations. However there are some practical constraints. These are vintage vehicles and can’t be thrashed up and down a motorway all day.
For example if you are thinking of driving to Scotland you should budget two or three days to get there, depending on destination. The vans benefit from a bit of TLC.
Around 150 miles in a day is a good distance. From Lincoln the Lake District and North Wales can be reached in a day. Scotland and Cornwall need more time. We recommend that for Scotland your min hire should be two weeks.
Things to know before your trip
Our campsite wants to know the van dimensions. How big are they?
Our vans are VW Type 2 Bays which have the following typical dimensions:
|Wheelbase||240 cm (94.5 in)|
|Length||450 cm (177.4 in)|
|Width||172 cm (67.7 in)|
|Height (pop top down)||194 cm (76.4 in)|
Assume and extra two or three inches to accommodate the roof vents.
Planning your adventure
Check out our top tips page
How much luggage should we take?
Don’t take too much stuff and use squashable bags not suitcases. The vans are not like a tardis inside. They are quite compact really. There is room behind and underneath the back seat and when travelling we shove stuff there or into one of the cupboards (Betty has more cupboard space than Bertie, Ruby and Jade) and at night when the bed is down we chuck everything into the front out of the way.
If you are off on a long trip like Scotland or Cornwall it probably makes sense to take the van the day before you head off so that you can do some packing and get an early start the next day. A comfortable speed in these campervans is 50mph – 55mph at a push on a long straight stretch of motorway. We typically avoid motorways. What’s the rush? You are on holiday. The average speed is probably a lot slower.
How about phone charging?
The vans typically have a USB socket in the radios and some 12v “cigarette lighter” type sockets so it might be handy if you have multiple devices to charge to bring an appropriate socket. We do leave one in each van but they can go astray. You can also plug chargers into the 240v sockets when connected to an electrical hookup. Jade has plenty of built in USB sockets.
The radios also have bluetooth so that you can hook a phone upto sat nav and for hands free talking. A phone will prop nicely on the dashboard leant against the windscreen and you can also leave it plugged in there so that using the sat nav on a lengthy trip doesn’t drain the phone battery.
Taking the Stand Alone Drive Away Awning
The awnings provide really useful additional space outside the vans. The sleep two adults but are also handy for chucking things down that would otherwise clutter up the van – bags camping chairs, wet gear from the beach etc if it is fine we usually eat outside but if wet then the awning is a pretty good place to be.
A few tips are worth noting. When you put the awning up make sure the zips are closed so that once pegged down you can actually reshut the flaps. Also please wait until the awning has dried out before packing it away. If you have to bring it back damp them please let us know as we will need to dry it out at the depot.