camping with children

Top Tips For Camping With Children

It’s the Summer holidays! For parents, the 6 week holidays means finding things to do to keep the kids entertained. Many will be planning a summer holiday and the recent warm weather means that a staycation in the UK is a great option. For anyone planning on taking the kids camping, whether you’re a seasoned camper or not, when it comes to taking children with you, preparation is the key to success.

Make A List

The beauty of a campervan is that you can just pack up all of your things into the van & everything is there ready when you arrive at your destination.  But remember, with a limited space to fit it all in, you need to pack carefully and that starts with making that all important list.

Get back to basics and just pack the essentials – think eating, sleeping and clothing. There’s no nipping home if you’ve forgotten something, so be ready for all weathers – wellies, raincoats, sun hats and sun cream.

Choose A Suitable Site

This may be an obvious point but check beforehand that the site allows children. Not all of them do, so make sure you’ve had a quick look at the fine print before booking.

Make sure you think about how you’re going to move around on site. Do you normally have a buggy or pushchair? Have you got a very young child with legs that can’t manage the distance you plan to hike? Consider switching to carrying your little ones instead.

Keep The Kids Entertained

It will make your holiday more enjoyable if the kids are entertained. Don’t assume that all kids will see a grass field and run off and immediately be self-entertaining for the duration of your stay.

Take a wide variety of things to occupy them. A selection of their favourite toys, books, colouring. If you take powered devices make sure you have enough batteries or means to recharge them.  Remember that even if they love the outdoors they will need something to do if it rains or in the late evenings.

Remain In Control & Think Safety

Don’t let the kids run off and explore the site by themselves, especially if they’re very small. Even if it’s a child friendly site, don’t assume it’s 100% safe. There could be concealed ditches, deep water & trip hazards.

Walk the site with small to medium sized kids as soon as you can. Let them know clearly which areas are in and out of bounds to them. You could mark your tent or campervan with bunting, flags or coloured lights that lets them know it’s their home.

Remember To Enjoy Your Own Trip Too

Try not to set a very hectic pace for the trip – you need extra chill time when you’re in charge of children.  There will be some sacrifices you’ll have to make, so plan to deal with them in a fair way. Take turns at night with calls for milk, wet sleeping bags and lost toys.

Most importantly, remember to relax and have fun. If you have any tips of your own please feel free to share in the comment box below.

campervan sites in yorkshire

The top 5 best campervan sites in Yorkshire

Holidaying in the UK on staycation has become increasingly popular. This has lead to an increase in the popularity of campervans as an easy and practical way to explore the UK.

This month we look at the top 5 best campervan sites in Yorkshire. From luxury coastal retreats to farmyard camping experiences, they are all dog-friendly. Our list proves that you don’t have to travel far in your campervan. We’re so lucky to have such wonderful destinations right on our doorstep. (more…)

taking a campervan to a festival

Taking A Campervan To A Festival: Top Tips

Are you wanting to visit a festival, but don’t like the prospect of sleeping in a potentially boggy field with no home comforts for a few days? We are here today to discuss the perfect alternative solution – taking a campervan to a festival!

With the ever growing popularity of festivals the vast majority have become campervan friendly over the past few years – so why not take full advantage of this? Whether you are taking your own campervan to a festival, or you are looking to hire one for the weekend, there are a number of things to think about before taking a campervan to a festival.

Additional Campervan Fees

Most festivals will make it mandatory for you to purchase an additional ticket to be able to park in the campervan site. Also, the majority of festivals require you to book these in advance, so be sure to do so – don’t just turn up on the day with your normal ticket!

Arrive early

This is just a recommendation from our previous experiences, but we have found that the earlier you arrive – the better. Everyone wants the perfect spot when it comes to parking your campervan. Dependant on what amenities you require, take into consideration the proximities of your campervan if your’s does not have a toilet and/or shower.

Stock up

Festivals can be a nightmare for not only queueing for basics such as toilets and showers, but food as well. Make use of taking a campervan to a festival and the space that comes with it, and stock up with some basic supplies to see you through however long you are there. Not only this, but festivals can be pretty expensive, especially in terms of food. Why not stop off at the local supermarket on route to the festival, so that you can pop back to your campervan during the day for some light meals and much-needed fluids?

If you haven’t already got your own campervan, why not check out our extensive range here, and see what is available to you. Alternatively, contact our experienced team on 01484 961567 and have a chat about your requirements.

campsite dog

Our guide to choosing the ideal campsite

Welcome to Effective Campervans blog. This month we look at tips on how to choose the best campsite for your needs and for travelling with a dog.

Choosing the ideal campsite

You may have a perfect destination in mind but with so much choice out there, picking the perfect campsite can be a difficult task. Have a read through our handy tips to help you decide.

  1. Make a list

It might seem obvious but make a list of your needs. Do you enjoy sitting around a campfire? If so check that the site allows this, because some don’t. You may require a well stocked shop on site or nearby, especially if you’re staying for a long time. Check in advance to avoid disappointment.

  1. Look online

If you know where you want to go you can search within the local area, or use an online campsite finder to narrow down your search further.

  1. Ask around

Nothing beats a recommendation from a friend or family member. You can trust them to give their honest opinion to get a better idea of what to expect. So don’t be afraid to ask for advice.

  1. Keep your eyes peeled

When you’re out and about in your campervan you may spot campsites that appeal to you. Make a note for future reference.

Travelling with a dog in your campervan

When planning this year’s holiday, we know many people will be taking their dog or dogs into consideration and bringing them along too. If you haven’t taken your dog on holiday before, it can seem like a daunting prospect, but it is very much doable, particularly if you intend to spend your holiday in a campervan. As long as there is enough space for your dog in your van, and you have chosen a site where pets are allowed, the possibilities are almost limitless when it comes to campervanning with a pooch.

Here we have some simple tips to help you when travelling with a dog on board:

  • If your campervan is new or your dog has never travelled in it before, it is advisable to acclimatise them to it before undertaking a long journey. Remember to reward your dog with a short walk or treat each time you make a stop. You may want to park up overnight on your driveway prior to your holiday and spend the night in your campervan with your dog. Let your dog choose their spot within the vehicle and provide any treats there.
  • Dogs should never be left unattended in a campervan particularly when the weather is hot. Make sure fresh air is circulating through the vehicle while driving too, either from the air-con or an open window.
  • If your dog doesn’t travel well and is prone to becoming very anxious while travelling, speak to your vet about using mild sedatives. This will help to alleviate stress for all involved!
  • Make sure you’re stopping for regular toilet breaks on a long journey.
  • If your dog is old or small you may need a ramp for easy access.

Useful equipment for holidaying with dogs

Below is a selection of available equipment that you may not need, but it’s definitely worth considering.

  • Water bowls and food bowls designed to prevent spills and tipping while travelling or a travel water bottle.
  • A short length of hose for washing dogs after mucky walks or a bucket and cloth if no tap is available for a hose.
  • Microfibre travel towels, or spare old towels.
  • Removable, washable seat covers.
  • If you’re travelling in summer, it may be wise to invest in a fan.
  • Tethers to keep the dog from wandering off outside the campervan and a dog travel harness.
  • A bed or blanket to mark out your dog’s sleeping space.
  • Another thing to bear in mind is that pet passports, microchips and certain vaccinations and worming treatments are compulsory when travelling between countries with your pet.

Please feel free to add any comments in the box below if you have any of your own tips to add.

campervan holidays

Campervan holidays guide – sun or snow?

Here at Effective Campervans we bring you our February blog which focuses on campervan holidays in different climates. As winter draws to a close many of us may be looking to spring and wondering when we can get the camper out again and with the recent snowy weather, spring can’t come soon enough.

However, others don’t let the snow stop them and still set off in the campervan whatever the weather. (more…)

campervan awning guide

A guide to choosing the best campervan awning for you

An awning can double your living space, ultimately adding another room to your campervan so it’s important to get the right awning to suit your needs.  Here we look at what options there are when it comes to buying an awning for your campervan.

What will you use the awning for?

Think about what you will primarily be using your awning for. Will you be using your awning for extra sleeping space for people or pets, extra dining space, or just for somewhere to store your muddy clothes and footwear? What you want to use your awning for is the first thing to consider when choosing the exact style, make and model that’s right for you.

Awning Types

There are 2 types of campervan awning:

Canopy

A canopy awning can be temporarily or permanently fixed to the side of your motorhome. Permanent ones wind out like a roller blind and generally have a couple of integral poles that fold down to form legs.

At the top end of the range, you can fit fabric walls to a canopy awning to enclose the space underneath. If you want a permanent canopy, it will require specialist fitting. The downside is you can’t leave it on site when you drive off for the day.

Drive Away

A drive-away awning is self-supporting. It attaches to an awning rail, but you can slip it off and leave the tent-like structure on your pitch if you take your vehicle out for the day. It gives you a place to take off wet clothes and shoes in comfort before entering your campervan – keeping the mud outside. It will also keep the worst of the wind and rain away from the door of the living area and you can store bikes out of the rain.

Most offer enough space to sit at a table and offer privacy as well as shelter from the elements. They’re also great for dumping buckets, spades and body boards after a day at the beach. Some of the larger drive-away awnings include sleeping cabins for extra accommodation. Mark your van position with pegs to ensure you park it back in the same position when you get back to site and need to re-connect your awning.

Before you start shopping for a campervan awning remember to measure your van so you can find the best type of awning for you. Please feel free to leave awning tips and recommendations in the comment box below.

campervan with solar panel

Have you considered solar panels for your campervan?

We love the freedom that comes with owning a campervan – to be able to set off at any time to explore new places around the UK and beyond. But having to think about selecting a pitch with electric hook ups could restrict your freedom. The most remote and peaceful campsites may not come with electric hook ups. So to escape that restriction, have you thought about investing in solar panels on your van? We say invest because the initial cost will be high, but in the long run they can save you money and reduce fossil fuel usage. For some, your campervan may not be getting used over winter, so now is a great time to think about making improvements to your camper ahead of bringing it back out again in spring.

Different types of solar panels for your campervan

There are 2 main types of solar panels you can get for your campervan.  Don’t worry, you can have solar panels if you have a pop top, you will just need to get flexible panels or brackets to be able to fit them.

  • Thin film PV panels are usually less expensive and will usually last around 10 years. They are produced by spraying a thin layer of semiconductor material onto another surface. The thin panels are efficient even in cloudy low light conditions. The panels are often self adhesive meaning they can be installed onto campervans with pop tops very easily. But the thin panels generally have a lower output than traditional crystalline panels, so you may need quite a few panels that will take up more space on your van.
  • Crystalline panels come in two varieties, mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline. Mono-crystalline panels are the most effective type of solar panel, with each module formed from a single silicon crystal. However, while they are the most efficient solar panels, they are also the most costly. Most of the crystalline panels you will come across will be poly-crystalline, made from a large number of small crystals. The difference in efficiency means that you will need a larger poly-crystalline panel to generate the amount of energy you need.

Free standing solar panels

You may decide not to fit the panels to the roof of your campervan, maybe you don’t like the look of them, or you’d prefer to position them to get the most amount of sun. You need to think about storing them – is there enough room in your van to store them properly? Will you be comfortable leaving them outside the van unattended?

Choosing the right solar panel for you

Now you have an idea of what type of panels are available, it’s important to do your research. Think about how much power you would like the panel to generate? Are you just topping up your battery, or do you want to depend on solar power in your campervan? When you’re on your next trip, measure the amount of power you have used and think about what extra power you need, or what you could do with the extra power, and remember, the solar power will only charge your battery in daylight hours. The Ready Reckoner is a handy tool that will help you to estimate what size solar panel you’ll need.

Campervan solar panel top tips

  • When using a crystalline solar panel, remember that even the tiniest shadow can affect the amount of power generated. Always ensure as many cells as possible are in direct sunlight.
  • Glass or plastic will dramatically reduce the amount of power produced by a solar panel, meaning it could take up to three times as much sunlight to recharge your battery. Again, you should always make sure as much of the panel as possible is in direct sunlight.
  • Before buying a new solar panel, check with your manufacturer that it will fit to your van easily. You may need to purchase special adapters if the standard clips will not be sufficient.
  • Position your solar panel to catch as much of the midday (strongest) sunlight as possible. This is normally directly overhead during the summer, but you may need to reposition the panels at other times of year.
  • Remember that your battery needs to be kept in excellent condition to be able to produce enough energy. Maintain and replace the battery when needed to ensure optimal performance.
  • Although not much energy will be generated during the winter months, a solar panel of at least 20w should be enough to keep your stored campervan ticking over until you next need to use it if you don’t like camping in winter.
  • Replacing inefficient halogen bulbs with LEDs can make a huge difference to the amount of power you use and therefore, the amount you need your solar panel to generate.
  • Pollution, dirt, traffic dust and bird droppings can prevent sunlight from reaching your solar panel. Clean your solar panels regularly with warm water and dishwashing soap to remove grime and keep your panels as efficient as possible. If you notice a drop in the amount of power produced, cleaning the panels is one of the most common and most easily rectified problems.

 

We hope that if you are considering solar panels for your campervan, we have provided you with some useful information to help you in your own search. Please feel free to leave your views in the comments box below.

classic VW campervan

The history of the VW camper

Where it all began

In 1947 the original and most iconic campervan, the VW type II Bus was created by Ben Pon.  Pon was inspired by the motorised trolleys used to move parts around the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany. The trolleys were made from stripped Beetle chassis and running gear. His first sketch of the beetle based van resembled a box on wheels.

A year later his idea was taken on by Heinz Nordhoff, the newly appointed Chief Executive of Volkswagen. In November of 1949 at the Geneva Motor Show the first VW Van was launched.

In the early 1950’s VW started building 2 different models – The Commercial Transporter and the Kombi.

The VW campervan has remained popular but campervanners are spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting a van to suits their needs. New figures claim the number of caravans and motorhomes on Britain’s roads is set to rise by 50,000 in the next 5 years.

The Converted Campervan

Campervan conversions are becoming increasingly popular. Many people are choosing this as a method to create a bespoke home on wheels. A converted van is very personal, although the van itself may have had many previous users, a newly converted van is new to you.

If you’re looking for a van to convert, or a newly converted van we can help. Please get in touch as we offer a range of finance options for new and used vans and converted campervans.

Check out our most recent VW campervan conversion. Two-tone blue and white VW T5 Transporter.

VW camper conversion