Living in a vehicle full time... serious replies please :)

Randomnerd

Formerly known as Woodenspoons
Location
North Yorkshire
 
Though the need has gone now, but I know someone who went to quite a lot of trouble to get a panel van, somewhat dubiously, registered as a camper van to avoid the then big toll fees on the Severn Bridge. Another friend had to pay the full commercial vehicle fee for her mini van, ie the van version of the old mini, a tiny vehicle, whereas someone in a huge truck sized camper would only pay a fiver
I had a type 2 VW van and gutted out my defunct Commer camper van to install the units the VW. This was originally to defeat Calmac who put extortionate rates on panel vans. They did not notice that I came back loaded and this worked for a long time until they overhauled the fare structure which had caused lots of anger. I also used the van as a camper [it had no side windows] on business trips as it saved the hassle of B&B particularly in tourist season. We also used it on family holidays with no problem apart from some sites would not let vans on but this was never much of a problem.
 

RichardB

Slightly retro
Location
West Wales
Convincing the DVLA that what was a van and is now a motorhome or campervan is now notoriously difficult, and being made harder each year.
It is not just a case of sending in photos of the motorhome, complete with windows, shower, loo, kitchen, bed etc.
The DVLA now want it to have suitable decals on the outside.

Basically what the DVLA are trying to stop is 'stealth campers', vans that from a quick glance look like any other white van with a couple of extra windows. They want them to look, very obviously, inside and out like a Motorhome or a Campervan.
I'm quite concerned to read this. Do you know why they are so against people with white vans converting them to 'stealth campers'? One of my vague plans for my retirement was to get a plain, anonymous van and kit it out as a camper. I'd want to avoid the silly graphics as much as possible, for aesthetic reasons mainly. Why would that be a bad thing, but the same van with an awning and graphics be OK?

Or am I getting hold of the wrong end of the stick? Is it just the registration as a motorhome with the DVLA that is the problem, and does that matter? We would presumably still be able to own a van for 'personal use', build some accommodation inside and use it like that? Just insure it as a plain old van? Or is that going to be made illegal? Have I missed something?

Moving off topic a bit, and I apologise, but while reading this thread I can see some of my long-term plans going up in smoke.
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
I'm quite concerned to read this. Do you know why they are so against people with white vans converting them to 'stealth campers'? One of my vague plans for my retirement was to get a plain, anonymous van and kit it out as a camper. I'd want to avoid the silly graphics as much as possible, for aesthetic reasons mainly. Why would that be a bad thing, but the same van with an awning and graphics be OK?

Or am I getting hold of the wrong end of the stick? Is it just the registration as a motorhome with the DVLA that is the problem, and does that matter? We would presumably still be able to own a van for 'personal use', build some accommodation inside and use it like that? Just insure it as a plain old van? Or is that going to be made illegal? Have I missed something?

Moving off topic a bit, and I apologise, but while reading this thread I can see some of my long-term plans going up in smoke.
See my later message with the picture of the Hymer motorhomes.
Same model of vehicle; One in white with decals and an awning, the other in black without decals or awning.
The white one is a motorhome, the black one is not (according to the DVLA).
Hence, for the UK market, Hymer only sell that model in white, with decals and awning.

The issue is MOT's, Tax, Insurance and number of passengers.
Also if over 3.5t you would need a tachograph as you would be a commercial driver.
As a 'van' you pay at commercial levels.
There is also the issue of usage, in that they are not designed as motorhomes, so if for example you do not have a bulkhead behind the drivers seats, in a serious accident what stops the interior coming forward ?

As a 'motorhome' you are classed as a large car, and are MOT'ed, Taxed, insured at the same rate as a car, you can also take as many passengers as you have belted seats for.

There are also issues with tolls and ferry crossings etc. where you either pay commercial rates or reduced tourist rates.
To a computer a van is a van, to an human operator a van and a motorhome can easily be told apart.

To be fair, it's not just the UK that is stamping down on stealth camper vans, the Germans have also recently started, and the Scandinavians made stealth campers illegal years ago.
 
Last edited:

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
What's the distinction between a camper-van and a motorhome?
Basically does it have a loo and shower.

A camper van tends to be like a traditional VW 'hippy bus', possibly with a pop top, no shower, and no fitted loo (at best a porta-poti loo).
Under 6m in length and under 3,500kg
It is usually obligatory to carry a surfboard on the roof

A motorhome may have the VW van base, but it will have a 'box' on the back.
You can stand up inside, it will have a habitation door (like a caravan) on the side
It will normally have a fitted loo and shower, and a proper kitchen.
It will be over 5m in length (normally around 7m in length) and may be over 3,500kg
According to the DVLA it will have 'suitable decals' and probably an awning.
It is usually obligatory to carry bicycles on the back.

:rolleyes:
 
Last edited:
I'm quite concerned to read this. Do you know why they are so against people with white vans converting them to 'stealth campers'? One of my vague plans for my retirement was to get a plain, anonymous van and kit it out as a camper. I'd want to avoid the silly graphics as much as possible, for aesthetic reasons mainly. Why would that be a bad thing, but the same van with an awning and graphics be OK?

Or am I getting hold of the wrong end of the stick? Is it just the registration as a motorhome with the DVLA that is the problem, and does that matter? We would presumably still be able to own a van for 'personal use', build some accommodation inside and use it like that? Just insure it as a plain old van? Or is that going to be made illegal? Have I missed something?

Moving off topic a bit, and I apologise, but while reading this thread I can see some of my long-term plans going up in smoke.
There was a bit of an argument with Calmac as panel vans paid more than camper vans and people were using panel vans with basic accommodation and claiming they were campers and not panel vans on the long distance routes. It was eventually decided that the key point was that vans had to have a proper functional toilet built in to qualify as campers. Bucket and chuck it would not do.
 
Basically does it have a loo and shower.

A camper van tends to be like a traditional VW 'hippy bus', possibly with a pop top, no shower, and no fitted loo (at best a porta-poti loo).
Under 6m in length and under 3,500kg
It is usually obligatory to carry a surfboard on the roof

A motorhome may have the VW van base, but it will have a 'box' on the back.
You can stand up inside, it will have a habitation door (like a caravan) on the side
It will normally have a fitted loo and shower, and a proper kitchen.
It will be over 5m in length (normally around 7m in length) and may be over 3,500kg
According to the DVLA it will have 'suitable decals' and probably an awning.
It is usually obligatory to carry bicycles on the back.

:rolleyes:
The bicycles are only for decoration of course.
My motorhome was 5.6 metres long with no awning and gross weight was 3000Kg which is light for a m/home but over 3500 Kg you may run into driving licence problems.
Very handy size but a bit high at 3.2 metres and was able to park in most car park spaces without height barriers.
It was Fiat based and Italian made. very good van for two people with very spacious interior.
 
Top Bottom