Image of a camper van

Campers

A camper is essentially a vehicle that provides both transportation as well as accommodation. They have proved exceptionally popular in the United States , Europe and Australia, but tend to be manufactured much larger in size in America.

Campers can either feature a pop-up roof, which provides a little more headroom when inhabited, or a fixed roof shared with the van which forms the basis of the vehicle.

Either way, campers provide one with all the comforts of home whilst out enjoying nature or on the open road with many people opting to hire them.

Campers go by numerous titles depending on the country:

North America : campervan, recreational vehicle, RV, motorhome
United Kingdom : Dormobile, caravanette, camper van
Australia : Kombi, motorhome

Campers are equipped with diminutive versions of all the privileges one enjoys when at home, while some of the larger, more modern campers are truly a vision of technology and luxury, with features including:

• Air conditioning
• Small kitchen complete with refrigerator, two-burner gas hob and grill; the latter of which are generally gas or battery-powered
• A portable toilet inside a tiny closet
• Shower facilities
• Water heater or geyser
• Television (with an aerial and / or satellite dish)
• Bike rack
• An external awning that can be extended from the side of the vehicle
• External barbeque points
• Microwave
• Radio and CD player
• Clothing washer and dryer
• Separate waste storage tanks for grey water (wash water) and sewerage
• One or more beds, some of which are fixed bunk beds which can be folded away into a couch during the daytime

Several camping sites and caravan parks offer AC power points which provide campers electricity to power the lighting, fridge and (if not gas-powered) the stove, microwave and other electrical appliances.

Smaller campers obviously do not afford the space to be as comprehensive in the luxuries they have to offer, however, more often than not they do include the necessities such as:

• A portable toilet
• An external shower, which is shielded by an awning or screen for privacy
• Gas or electric powered fridge
• Gas or electric powered grill
• Beds, which can be fixed or double up as couches
• An external awning to provide a shaded patio area

There are a myriad of opinions on what the perfect camping trip should be like. Some people dream of being one with the smells, sights and sounds of nature and so desire nothing more than somewhere to sleep, somewhere to wash and the means to prepare meals. Others, far more pampered individuals, want a glorified hotel experience when venturing out into the wilderness. As such, many different classes and types of campers have been designed and manufactured in order to meet the variety of needs of the public. Some examples of campers include:

The A-class (AC) or “Winnebago” campers

The A-class or Winnebago are large campers, around 7.5 tons and up, which consist of a full coach-built over a medium to large van chassis. These virtual mobile homes often feature living space extensions that are electrically operated to slide out of the central unit. They make use of solar panels or wind turbines that generate enough electricity from the elements to keep the electrical appliances happy. Some of the very large models of these classes of campers can even feature a hydraulically operated garage, which are large enough to shelter a small car or motorcycle!

Overcab (OC) or C-class campers (CC)

The Overcab or C-class campers generally consists of a coach built body, which is constructed from a base vehicle. They come with a raised ceiling that overlaps the driving cab, which functions as a sleeping area with tiny built in cupboards around the sides. Other beds may be located around or at the other end of the camper, and these are either fixed or double up as tables, couches or can even be lowered down from the ceiling. These campers, like the Winnebago, can also feature a small garage suitable for housing motorbikes or bicycles and sometimes even a mechanism for towing small cars.

Low profile campers (LP)

These campers are also coach-built but do not have the raised sleeping area over the front driving cab. They are typically built from light-duty vehicles with smaller engines. Low profile campers also have all basic living facilities such as fixed or convertible beds, cupboards, kitchen area as well as being fitted with toilet and shower cubicles. The addition of extra features such as towing fittings and a garage depends on the model and make of the LP camper.

High top (HT) or Auto sleeper campers

Auto sleeper campers are essentially additions placed on top of a high-top van without any major modifications having been made to the coach of the van. As with the other campers, it contains all the basic living facilities including the provision of electricity by an internal battery or external hook-up.

Rising roof (RR) campers

Rising roof campers are usually small vehicles, not more than 3 tons in weight, and feature a raisable roof with breathable canvas sides, not unlike a roof tent. Sleeping areas are typically located in the rising roof, but can also double up as couches and tables. More sophisticated luxuries, such as shower and toilet cubicles are rarely fitted, so you will need to make use of the public facilities provided by the camping site, or just take a trip into the wilderness.

Fixed roof campers (FR), Surf Vans or Day Vans

Fixed Roof campers are much like their Rising Roof cousin in size and construction; however, beds are not fixed at all, but rather folded out from other furniture. Other than cupboards, shelving, a table and kitchenette, these campers are minimalist in style so don't expect luxuries such as a shower, a toilet cubicle, hot water geyser or even running water for that matter.

Dismountable (DM) campers

Dismountable campers, as their name suggests, consist of a dismountable coach-built body that rests upon a pick-up load-bed. Ford, Toyota and Mitsubishi are the most common manufacturers. The body is and generally removable at campsites so that the vehicle can be used separately to go down to the shops or on game viewing or mountain drives, etc. Dismountable campers feature minimal facilities beyond a sleeping area.

B-class (BC) campers

B class campers are common North American models, but not often found anywhere else in the world. They vary greatly in size from van conversions to semi-low profile coach-builds and usually come fully kitted with all the luxury camping gear including; a cooker, microwave, hot water geyser, a television and built-in toilet and showering facilities.