What is really inside a campervan?

 

What’s inside a campervan?

“What’s inside a campervan?”, “What are they like to drive?” and “How can you spend so much time travelling in a campervan”.  These are the most common questions I’m asked.

My favourite statement would have to be “Oh, I’ve always wanted to travel in a campervan, they look like such fun”.

They are indeed a fun way to travel, but I usually always ask them, “Have you ever camped?”, or “Do you like spending a lot of time in confined spaces?”,  or “What’s the relationship like with the person/s you are planning on travelling with?”

For the better part, most times the answers to the above will assist me in how I answer the question truthfully.  It allows me to try and assist wherever possible in making sure that people think properly about this method of travel, before getting too romantic about the idea of being free on the road.

My husband and I always travel together in campervans and have been doing so for many years now.  We’ve also taken my parents along for the ride – twice!  So I think we are suitably qualified to talk on a range of campervan issues.

There are a lot of factors that can make (or break) a great trip.

Knowing what’s inside a campervan is one of the crucial first steps in deciding whether you’ll survive for a couple of weeks, or even months.  this guide gives an indication of the size, space and configuration of a campervan for those who might be looking to hire one for the first time.  Instead of hiring one sight unseen, take a look through this article to get an understanding of what you will be travelling in.  This is really beneficial as it ensures that you hire a vehicle that will give you the best possible chance of having a fantastic holiday.

USE PROMO CODE BEERCROI FOR €50 OFF YOUR NEXT HIRE WITH FRANCE MOTORHOME HIRE

Are they motorhomes, campervans or RVs?

The name really depends on a range of factors.  It can change depending on the continent, country or region you either hail from or are visiting.  It can also waiver depending on your age, your income or your gender.  Confusingly, it can differ depending on the actual size of the vehicle.

For me, I start with one and vary it depending on which country I am in and who I am conversing with.

In the US they are generally known as RVs, or even sometimes by the brand name, Winnebago (a bit like how we use the term Google for an internet search).  Australians and New Zealanders call them motorhomes or campervans.  Campers or camping cars are the regular terms used in Europe.

But, as I said it can vary.  I’ve talked to people who will call them campervans when they are small and motorhomes when they are large.  RVs can be seen as being super luxurious and expensive, or articulated trailers that are hitched onto another vehicle.

Wherever you’re from, whatever you call them, they are an amazing way to travel, as long as you are clear upfront on what to expect, and you know your limitations or pressure points.

On the outside

Campervans come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be small, Kombi style vehicles, with just enough space to squeeze in two people.  I’ve known people to somehow find room to put a few more, but that’s more than I could cope with.

As they get larger, the number of berths (spaces for people) increases.  Generally, campervans for hire range from 2 berth to 6 berth.  Those that are much larger, the big RVs and the buses are usually privately owned (not hired) by families undertaking long journeys.

As a general rule, my husband and I always upsize.  So, if it’s just us, we will hire a 4 berth.  If there are four of us travelling in the one campervan, we’d hire a 6 berth.  Ultimately it depends on how much space you require, and of course, your budget.

There are pros and cons for having smaller and larger campervans, which I am not going to discuss here.

So let’s take a look at the inside of the campervan we hired late last year from France Motorhome Hire.  It’s a Renault Sky 20, 4 berth, with the following dimensions.

  • Length  6.61m
  • Width 2.24m
  • Height 2.94m
  • Internal headroom 1.995m
  • Maximum weight 3.5t

This makes it a pretty big vehicle to drive (and park!!) but we are well adjusted to it.

Tip: If you’ve never done this type of travel before, it might be a good idea to start a little smaller until you get the hang of it.  The only sacrifice will be space.

The Motorhome-camper-campervan-RV
The campervan from the outside

Front of the motorhome

The cabin

The cabin is super spacious and what I love the most is the ability to move freely between front and back.  There is plenty of leg room here and lots of storage as well.  The dashboard is wide, and the front of the dash and the insides of the doors have compartments for drink bottles, snacks, books and gadgets.

There are multiple USB ports for charging as well.  This is a great feature considering the number of smartphones, tablets and cameras we travel with.  Being in a campervan means we don’t always have access to electricity either, so charging as we drive becomes really important.

Other features:

    • Fully air-conditioned and diesel heating is also available.  In my opinion diesel heating is far more economical and easier to refill diesel than it is to find compatible gas bottles.
    • Arm rests are moveable.  This might sound uninteresting, but you would be surprised how annoying it is when they don’t, especially when you are moving from front to back.
    • Storage space above the visors are within easy reach when you are sitting down.
    • Access point for removable GPS.
    • Easy to clean floor.
    • Safety implements for breakdowns.
    • Full curtain that sections off the front cabin for privacy.
Front cabin- what's inside a campervan
The front cabin

Front cabin- what's inside a campervan

Front cabin- what's inside a campervan
Plenty of charging points for gadgets

The dining area

With room to seat four people around the dining table comfortably, this area is extremely spacious.  Being in a larger campervan means that we always have the table set up and ready for use.  If you do have a few extra people, then the table and seats can be rearranged to form a smaller bed.

The large window right beside the table means that when the weather is great, you can open it up to let the fresh air in.  All windows also come with screens to keep any unwanted critters outside.

Blinds and curtains also provide full privacy when required.

Shelving and cupboards can be found above this part of the cabin, giving you ample room to store pantry items.

The seats also lift up, providing further storage. We usually store our water under here. There’s also a small sunken storage area (almost like secret storage) under the table where I kept my shoes.  It’s another example of how the manufacturers of these vehicles prioritise the use of the available space.

Dining area- what's inside a campervan
Plenty of space to eat inside

The Kitchen

Being able to cook and prepare foods in the campervan is one of the best parts of travelling in this way.  If you are trying to save money, this is a great way to do it.  For us, it affords us the opportunity to use all the local produce that we’ve bought during the day.

A two-burner cooktop is more than ample and the fridge/freezer on board is extremely spacious.  Ours is always jammed full of things to eat, and of course lots of local wines and beer.  The fridge operates on electricity, battery (so it charges when driving), or off the gas bottles.

You can check out the great meals (and others) we cook in a motorhome here

All the necessary kitchen staples are included in the campervan as well. eg cutlery, crockery, wine glasses, pots and pans etc. Our lovely hosts also add a few extra touches like coffee plungers and corkscrews.

Kitchen- what's inside a campervan
Cooking up some fresh Atlantic salmon

Kitchen- what's inside a campervan

The bedroom

This configuration is my favourite I have to say.  One double bed right down the back.  We’ve had beds above the cabin, and double bunks down the back over the years.  Checking the configuration is really important before you hire a campervan.

This one is super comfortable.  You can bring your own bedding if you don’t want to have it included in your package.  We’ve taken our own sleeping gear before but in all honesty, I couldn’t be bothered anymore.  It takes up so much room, especially if you are travelling in the colder months like we do.  As you can see from the photo, the bedding provided is really good.

Underneath the bed is cupboard access to the storage area under the vehicle.  Here you can store luggage and any other larger items you might have brought with you.

Again, the inclusion of the windows makes such a difference.  Being able to let in the light and fresh air is terrific.

Bedroom what's inside a campervan
The main bed at the rear of the motorhome

This particular campervan also had a suspended bed which I thought was a cool invention.  To allow for additional space over the cabin to be used for storage, this bed is kept up in the ceiling.  At night, when the bed is required, a press of a button is all that is needed to bring the bed down to a point at which it can be easily accessed.

Beds- what's inside a campervan
The bed comes down from the ceiling

Storage is well thought out

This campervan had a huge amount of storage.  With that being said, it’s still a campervan, so space is at a premium and it isn’t limitless.  Because we travel for long periods of time, and also because we aren’t light packers, we always have huge suitcases.

France Motorhome Hire kindly allow us to store our luggage at their depot, as there wouldn’t be enough room on board for them.  When we pick up the vehicle, we simply decant the contents into the campervan cupboards.

what's inside a campervan - shelving
Shelving above the beds

The Bathroom

Now, this isn’t a place where you will want to spend too much time.  Bathrooms in vehicles such as these have improved out of sight over the years, but they are still small.

But, this little space is all our own, and we are always thankful for being able to travel with a toilet onboard.

Containing a sink, toilet and separate shower (a real luxury) as well as good storage, this is one of the better bathrooms I’ve ever had.  Until you’ve had a bathroom where you have to sit on the toilet to have a shower, leaving everything in the room wet, you won’t realise how truly luxurious this is.

The toilet moves sideways to accommodate different people sizes too 🙂

The bathroom what's inside a campervan
The bathroom
 what's inside a campervan
The shower

Add-ons for the campervan

It’s not really inside the campervan, but I couldn’t help but mention them.  If you ever think you don’t need a table and chairs, I urge you to rethink your strategy.  Unless you are travelling in the deep of winter, at which point, sitting outside becomes impossible, you should hire the table and chairs.

Almost every night, wherever we were camped, the table and chairs came out.  Each night, we sat at them surrounded by gorgeous smallgoods, cheese and wine and recapped our day.  We set them up in campgrounds, along lakes and rivers, and even vineyards.

what's inside a campervan - tables anda chairs
We always have so many uses for the outdoor chairs and tables

Another must-do, even if you’re not a huge rider, is to hire the bikes.  We rode these so often.  They also became invaluable in towns where we knew the campervan wouldn’t be able to access smaller streets or find a park.

They are no trouble at all to have on the back, as long as you remember they are there when reversing!

what's inside a campervan - bikes
The bikes are also a great addition

So now you’ve had a sneak peek inside a campervan.  Whilst the general inclusions are reasonably typical, I must point out that this can all change, even if only slightly, depending on the make and model of the campervan, the hiring company and of course the size.  The smaller you go, the fewer features and space.  Configuration can also vary widely, especially with the beds.

When hiring, be sure to look at the specifications that should be provided with each type of vehicle.  Don’t be shy in asking the hiring company any questions you might have, or to request a specific configuration.

Use our promo code BEERCROI when getting an online quote from France Motorhome Hire to get €50 off your hire straight away

You might also like to read these for more detailed motorhome information

Beginner’s guide to campervan hire in Europe

Campervan packing list: The essential packing list for campervan hire

Planning on hiring a motorhome in France? Check out France Motorhome Hire

How to keep you and your campervan safe

5 tips for a successful campervan pickup

Please note:  Beer and Croissants tries to provide you with accurate information at time of writing but makes no representations or provides any warranty or coverage of liability for bookings made with France Motorhome Hire.

 

74 thoughts on “What is really inside a campervan?”

  1. Brooke of Passport Couture

    Interesting to learn so much about campervans. I have never embarked on this kind of travel, so it was great to learn about your experience and recommendations!

  2. For 5 years we traveled to 49 American states, 9 Canadian provinces, and 6 Mexican states in an RV, first with pretty much like the campervan you had in France and next with a 37.5-ft. Class A motorhome. It is the best way to travel North America, I think. And we documented it in a book, Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream.

  3. My first visit to Alaska was in an RV. I enjoyed it. Wouldn’t mind doing another trip in one.

  4. Thuymi @ AdventureFaktory.com

    Bucketlist is to travel the world in a minihome!!! Although crossing the Ocean might be a big problem hihi!

  5. annette charlton

    Hey, I love this. I have never ever seen inside a campervan but have seen heaps on the road. It looks roomier than I had imagined. They are so popular following le Tour de France. Thanks for the photos.

  6. I’ve never done a trip this way but it is in my list of fun things to explore in a road trip, possibly to some amazing national parks

  7. My friends and I are planning to roadtrip around Europe with a campervan, so we’re bookmarking this!

  8. I have never been in one but now I see why so many people own them. What a great way to travel and explore.

  9. melody pittman

    Loving the camper van! Looks like such an epic way to travel and the close quarters would not bother me one bit. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Campervans always seem look bigger on the inside, and the beds always look amazing! I love having a window where my head is, and a super cosy, closed up bed. 🙂 Bookmarking!

  11. Noemi of Pinay Flying High

    That looks really awesome! We’ve planned to have one during a roadtrip across the US but we chickened out as we thought it would be such a hassle (with the draining of the toilets, the thing that we’re mostly concerned about lol). But seeing this now made me rethink my opinion about it, maybe we should definitely give it a go.

  12. It’s one of my dreams to go RV’ing around the States. I think that mobility is such an empowering thing for any person and i love how optimistic of a tone this post carries. It makes me feel like its so possible to travel comfortably through this means. The dining area does look so spacious! Sooo much more enthused by this idea!

  13. Thanks Izzy. I honestly love it, and don’t embellish any of this at all, but as I said, what I love, other can hate. Best to start off small. So many great places to do it in the US too.

  14. Aah, the toilets etc still need to be emptied but it really isn’t that bad. The technology for them has come a long way these days. It’s worth it to have one on board.

  15. I like the look of the big silver bullet camper vans, so chic! I couldn’t survive without a bath though and the loo arrangements are a bit off-putting. Looks like yo had a lot of fun!

  16. Christine @thetraveloguer

    This was so interesting. I’ve never stayed in a campervan, but I think I’d like it!

  17. Anita Hendrieka

    Really great post for people wanting to hire one but don’t know the details on what to look for. I love travelling by campervan, it’s so much more fun! 🙂

  18. RaW | Ramble and Wander

    I’ve only stayed in a campervan once, many years ago (say 20 years, heh!) in a park somewhere in Cornwall, England. I don’t really know what to think of the experience because we just stayed overnight and went there just to sleep before leaving the next morning. It was a bit small and crowded but obviously a lot has changed in the past decade. I think I’m game on using one to explore countries like New Zealand one day. Your post has given me ideas on what to expect and what to look for when choosing one to rent. So thanks for this!

  19. Thanks for demystifying the campervan! My mom grew up traveling in one, but I’ve never been inside one – so I was very intrigued! Thanks for sharing – found you through Weekend Wanderlust! xx

  20. One does not need anything else (champagne included) with a campervan like this! But I guess I would miss the hostel atmosphere in my trips 🙂

  21. Reading this makes me want to travel on campervan so much! I decide not to get a house but a campervan instead hehe. And I love how you roam around the world with a motorhome. Happy travels. – Julie

  22. Owning a campervan/Motorhome is my dream. You have given me reasons to believe in my dream.
    Thanks guys for such a detailed post on campervan.

  23. I just completed a two week tour of Iceland with some friends and this would have been perfect! It looks small but like it has enough room.

  24. I don’t have very much interest in camping, but went on a few RV trips with family back in the day. I agree with your strategy to “size up” – it makes everyone more comfortable.

  25. Haha that would have definitely been different. 20 years ago I was in a Kombi and I certainly wouldn’t travel like that again. New Zealand is an awesome place to travel in one of these and you can see so much in a short period of time, meaning it’s a great place to test them. 2 weeks is a good start I think.

  26. Thank you for sharing the inside of your “mobile home”! It’s an enticing idea, and I didn’t realise that you could get campervans with such nice bathrooms. We use to borrow a friends VW camper when we were kids and eeeesk… the toilet situation!!

  27. That’s why it’s not for everyone Marie and why I wanted to share what it looks like inside. I’ve got plenty of friends who would never cope with the toilet along 🙂

  28. Salwa Kisswani

    So cool, I was actually thinking of buying one and just travel all around the US even into south America if possible for a couple of years.. a crazy idea but who knows 😛

  29. The Toronto Seoulcialite

    Whoa! That’s way roomier than I would have ever anticipated! I love the size of the bed (and the vino!), and that you can have a relaxed dinner for 4 inside.

  30. wow… this is exciting! i have only seen such campervans on television or in films… great deal of information for me!

  31. Wow! I always wondered how these look inside and always imagined they are crammed, but from your photos it looks incredibly spacious and inviting! 😮 Amazing!

  32. I love road trips and I’ve always wanted to rent a campervan to road trip across the US. I love the inside! Very spacious and I love the kitchen and bedroom. 😀

  33. Amanda - EatWorkTravel

    We’re pretty flexible in the type of travel that we do so RV’s are definitely an option. We always envision traveling in them when we want to roadtrip around the US. Brian typically does the driving therefore I would definitely need to start out small in order to get the hang of driving one!

  34. This look fantastic! The inside is amazingly organized and modern. I would not mind travelling with this.

  35. I can’t believe how incredibly equipped and spacious the camper is. It is absolutely a perfect home on wheels that will make any road trip a memorable one.

  36. This is super awesome!! would love to have this campervan and travel along(:… no need to have hotels to stay…can cook ur own food, refresh as well… its just wow… this will caught on amoung travellers the idea of travelling with campervan.

  37. Melissa Douglas

    Great and informative post! It’s always been a dream of mine to rent a campervan and travel – it offers you so much more freedom than having to stay in hotels.

  38. Sydney Fashion Hunter

    I’ve hired a camper van twice and loved it both times. Perfect way to do a road trip.

  39. Tara @ shataratravel

    We hired a kombucha camper in Portugal once! It was lots of fun although less luxurious and spacious than yours!!

  40. You’ve got one luxurious campervan right there! It looks bigger than I expected. I always see small campervans in Iceland so we didn’t rented one. I still wanna try though! Hopefully next year in NZ! 🙂

  41. Interesting! I’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to be in a campervan! There aren’t many here in the Philippines hehe

  42. You know, strangely, I have always wanted to know more about camper vans….hubby and I have talked about renting one and doing the grand tour of America so this was actually really helpful to know what the hell these things are even all about!!!

  43. “Do you like spending a lot of time in confined spaces?” Haha as I’m reading this, I’ve just finished a 13-hr flight and am on another 7-hr one. And even though I have a “travel blog”, this is my first flight that’s over 2 hours (except a few when I was a toddler and can’t really remember). Sorry, I digress but I just find that really funny and I’m discovering what it’s like to travel in confined spaces for so long.

    I think a campervan would be a cool experience though. Like a road trip, you can get out anytime and explore your area and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of finding a place to sleep. Win, win!

  44. You’ve done well to travel with only 2 hour flights. The majority of my flights have been 24 hours +++. I’d love to be able to fly internationally for 2 hours. Hope your flight went well.

  45. Katie Writes Stuff

    Thanks for this facinating tour inside a campervan – I’ve always wondered what they were like inside. I recently had a tour of a friend’s fancy caravan and it impressed me with the clever use of space, as in the campervan you hired. Despite that, I expect you quickly work out which essentials aren’t quite as essential as you thought at the beginning!

  46. Thanks Sarah…..I get so many people say to me they would love to hire one but have never camped, or been in smaller cars etc with themselves (or other people). I did this to give people a sense of how it looks as most hire companies don’t really give a good indication.

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