Camping. It’s something that we love to do. It’s a little slice of adventure, of freedom, it’s us and the world with no interruptions. At least it is until 3am when it starts raining, or we find ourselves displaying Blair Witch levels of fear because there’s a strange noise coming from outside. A noise that we later discovered was a horny sheep.
And that’s just the thing. Our normal sleeping habits have made us accustomed to things like walls, and warmth, and not getting wet when Mother Nature has a wee. That’s where the camper van comes in. We can park it in the woods, or in a field, or in Clacket Lane services and get a good night’s sleep. Sadly though, they’ve very expensive. So what options do we, the motorist on a shoestring, have? Happily, plenty. As long as you’re willing to use a bit of imagination.
Nothing quite like Bernard Bresslaw’s slightly sinister face to get you in the mood for camping. Seriously, how was Carry on Camping not a horror film?
Anyway, raunchy (and equally unsettling) movies aside, let’s move onto our first alternative camper, namely the van.
The van is a versatile tool, and one that should be considered for all your camping needs. Yes, a fit-for-purpose camper would be better, but it’s also limited. Think about it, when it’s not being a camper it’s just sitting on your driveway. All it can be is a vessel for camping. A van though, you can use that to move sofas, or do epic tip runs, or bank robberies, the world is your oyster.
For camping, you don’t need a sink and fitted units. All you’re trying to achieve is a better sleeping environment than a tent. And last we checked, hedghogs can’t get into vans, so your toes won’t get nibbled. Plus, if it rains, you’ll be drier than James Bond’s wit. Winner.
- Van practicality
- Potential for people thinking you're a sex offender
- Part-time removal earnings
Okay, so you don’t want to end up on a ‘list’ by driving around a van that has a mattress in the back of it. We get that. So let us show you our next alternative camper. Namely the mighty limousine. Yes, think out of the box, dear reader. The limo could be a wonderful camper.
Think about it, you’re getting luxury in spades here. Limousines are built to be posh, so spending the night in one of these would be like spending a night in a recently refurbished Premier Inn. But with less Lenny Henry. And you would get car-like driving manners too, not the clunky rattles that you’d get from a van. Less brick dust, too.
Okay, so you might have to removed the middle row of seats and fashion some sort of base for the inflatable mattress you got from Lidl, but once you’ve done that, you’re all set. Just make sue you buy an ex-funeral home limo, not a party limo. Tears are easier to valet out than the vomit of Sharon who had too much Prosecco.
- Pretend like you're a camp site dignitary.
- "Dad, please don't pick us up in that awful Rover."
- Number of times you spend more than an hour trying to park it
Okay, so you don’t like the idea of an ex-funeral home limo. How about this then? Yes, a hearse! We’ve gone too far the other way here, haven’t we? Sorry, but we’re sticking to our guns. A hearse would make an excellent camper. It’s already designed to accommodate people who are lying down. That’s half the battle won.
Logically, this makes sense. A hearse will be cheap, it will almost certainly be low mileage and it will be filled with the tangy whiff of formaldehyde. What’s not to like? Okay, so it might be a little bit haunted, and it will almost certainly scare the pants off everyone else on the campsite. Or if you go camping in the woods, well, you’re a horror movie waiting to happen. But aside from all that, you get a ‘car’ that’s exceptionally well built, has loads of space for flowers that you might pick and you will never, ever get a parking ticket. Traffic wardens are scared of hearses. It’s a known fact.
- Chance of your partner leaving you
- Yvette Fielding approval rating
- Sudden appreciation for death metal
Sticking with the theme of, well, deadness. How about this? Yes, an old ambulance. Again, don’t raise an eyebrow, there’s some actual logic to this one. Ambulances are built exceptionally well, and they’re full of all kinds of cubby holes, partitions and more. Plus, they’re extremely private thanks to built-in blinds. Perfect for a smutty weekend away in a Cumbrian field. Plus, you can hose them out easily should you have a really dirty weekend. Just try not to think about why you can hose them out.
Not only that, you get a Mercedes chassis, air suspension and if you get one directly off the fleet, you might even get a bed and some plasters, too. Also, if you resist the urge to paint it, you’ll get to enjoy traffic parting for you like the sea did for that bloke in the religious book. How satisfying will that be?
- Ha! I'm like a person from Casualty!
- No, I can't help you with your medical emergency
- Chance of arrest if you hook up the blues and twos
Finally, we have the Starcraft. It’s a bit of a cheat, this, as it was always meant to be a camper. However, it’s so damn weird that we think it warrants its place here. Plus, it’s quite a rare beast, so in a seat of Bailey Caravans and tents from Go Outdoors, a Starcraft really will be ‘alternative’.
The large, and frankly hideous fibreglass body sits onto of with wither a Sierra or Cortina chassis, so you can expect a fairly dull ride. However, that does mean it will be cheap to maintain. Until it comes to tyres, that is – the Starcraft has an extra axle, so six tyres in total. Weird.
We sort of love it though. It’s weird, it’s deeply unconventional but it should still be able to be the safe little box in which you can get a good night’s sleep. You can probably get it cover on classic insurance for 13p a year, too.
- Just look at it...
- ...it's so unforgivably ugly...
- ...but yet, we can't. Stop. Looking. At. It.