Guide: buying advice for used campers: on tour through Europe

Camping has not only been in vogue since the Corona pandemic.

Guide: buying advice for used campers: on tour through Europe

Camping has not only been in vogue since the Corona pandemic. More and more people are enthusiastic about taking their own small apartment on four wheels with them on a weekend break or on vacation. The offer on the new and used car market is almost unmanageable and if you are not looking for a transporter in order to then convert it yourself, you should not only deal with your own budget, but also with the various possibilities of finding the right mobile accommodation. Before spring comes, we'll give you a few tips as to the price segment in which there are cheap options to have fun on the road on a short weekend trip for mountain biking or for a few days on the coast.

If you don't want to go on a long trip through half of Europe for two weeks, a small mobile home based on a van is usually sufficient. This offers space for two people and if the children should come along, there is always the tent next door or an emergency solution for three or four people in the small camper. In general, however, models such as the VW Transporter, a Fiat Ducato / Citroen Jumper, the Renault Trafic or a Mercedes Marco Polo are the right vehicle for one or two people. The cars can be moved like a car in everyday life, quickly made fit for the next stage at the holiday destination and if you really want to, you can spend the night in some regions directly on the lake, beach or in the parking lot in the mountains, if it is allowed.

A classic like the VW T4 California with a tilting roof from the early 1990s with a mileage of around 150,000 kilometers starts at just under 10,000 euros. Well-preserved models quickly cost 20,000 euros or significantly more. As with many other older vehicles, attention should be paid to the pollutant classification, because many vehicles are on the road with old diesel engines and those who do not live just outside or cannot park their camper there look into the city tube with a red or yellow sticker and have to stay outside . For this reason, and also because of the sharp rise in diesel prices, the petrol engines, which were rather unpopular at the time, are currently more interesting for many. The early models of the VW T4 are usually rather poorly equipped as campers and, in addition to the camping expansion, offer little more than an auxiliary heater, which should be serviced accordingly. You have to be careful when it comes to rust, because the T4 is as susceptible to this as its predecessors. Newer models from the 2000s, which quickly cost over 30,000 euros, not only offer air conditioning, but also ABS, comfort features or xenon headlights, which is more important on long tours than you might think at first.

If you opt for a historic T1 / T2 camper from Volkswagen, you will quickly have to dig deep into your pocket if it is properly maintained. A restored camper of the T1 generation from the 1960s with a stylish camping extension from the time of the economic upswing quickly costs 45,000 to 60,000 euros. Then maybe you would prefer one of the coveted T3 vans with a mobile home extension, because they start in good condition at around 15,000 euros from the mid-1980s. A US import could also be worthwhile here - freshly restored and rust-free, but 40,000 euros are due.

Fiat models are more popular than ever on the camping market. The Ducato in particular is one of the best-selling vehicles in Europe. However, many campers are semi-integrated motorhomes for four to six people from one of the major camping providers, which, even if they are more than five years old, can quickly cost 50,000 euros or more. But the Ducato is also available as a normal panel van - mostly with a high roof - and a corresponding camping extension. Even simple models from the 1990s cost up to 10,000 euros if they are in reasonable condition. Technology and especially the engines are considered to be particularly solid, but rust is just as big an issue here as the water and gas supply lines. A camper from the 2000s with 100,000 kilometers on the clock and in the appropriate condition costs around 25,000 euros powered by one of the high-torque common rail diesels. Good specimens not only have auxiliary heating and a solar roof, but also all-wheel drive if it should go into rough terrain.

The Mercedes models are more popular than ever with many camping fans. Especially the Vito or the V-Class with a camping extension are in demand because they can be used in everyday life like cars. In good condition and with 120,000 to 160,000 kilometers on the clock, a Mercedes camper from the early 2000s costs less than 20,000 euros. The current model series of the Mercedes Vito with a long wheelbase, which costs well over 30,000 euros even without the pop-up roof, is significantly more expensive. The cheaper the vehicle, the larger the proportion of self-conversions. The original Marco Polo models are significantly more expensive and quickly cost 40,000 euros or more, especially with the high-torque V6 diesel.

If you want it significantly cheaper, but not much worse, the Ford Transit could be the right choice. The original conversions often come from Westfalia under the name Nugget. 10 to 15 years old, it starts at 25,000 euros. The equipment with a high roof construction for up to four sleeping places inside is extensive, the diesel engines with e.g. 103 kW / 140 hp are just as high in torque as they are economical. Models from the late 2010s cost between 35,000 and 30,000 euros with a professional camper conversion, with the customer having the choice between a display construction and a high roof - depending on their own wishes. Not least because of the increasing number of automatic transmissions, younger models are particularly popular.