Posted: 16-11-2021 Written by: Editorial office Reading time: 7 minutes
The Camper Handbook: So You Want a Camper?

The Camper Handbook: So You Want a Camper?

A camper means freedom. But what does that freedom actually mean? You can decide just before departure whether you are going to Sweden or France. For example, because the weather in Scandinavia does not bode well and Brittany has better prospects. It also means finding a camper spot in Ypres and taking your bike to experience the daily commemoration of WW20 at 00 p.m. Arie and Tineke de Ruijter describe in their book “So you want a camper?” what considerations you face.

You can experience freedom at the camper place on the cliffs of Arromanches. May you stand there with a view of the caissons of “The longest day” of WWII. Beautiful places because of their dramatic past. It is also possible to go to a business meeting, a family visit or a party in November and combine it with a few days of holiday.

Go and stand where you want

A camper makes it possible to go wherever you want. For some, this is the familiarity of a more luxurious campsite with all the trimmings. For the other, it is the view 40 meters above the sea at Pointe du Bay near Le Caste. No facilities such as a reception, shower facilities, electricity and water. After all, you have all that with you in your camper. Or spend the night next to the museum in Cherbourg with the exhibition about the Titanic and the largest nuclear submarine in the world. Or just do nothing for a few days in the garden at a castle with the awning off.

The choice is huge

What do you need for that? A camper! But which? There are 180 brands and many more models. Can't you see the forest for the trees? You will have to prepare for the purchase and orientate yourself. A transverse bed, a French bed, a lengthwise bed or a queen bed? What kind of engine do you need? Can the dog come along? Is driving license B sufficient? Can anyone actually drive such a big thing? How do you transport the e-bikes or a scooter? What about the 3500 kg limit? How fast can you drive in Germany? Which insurance? An inverter and a living room battery?

These are all questions that you better have answered before you buy a camper. Knowing a little what you want and knowing a little what you are buying. After all, you don't buy a bag of tomatoes. Good preparation is half the job.


Anyone who buys a passenger car usually does not consider the weight that can be loaded. This is very relevant for a camper. A camper is built with an engine and cabin and sometimes the body of a van. As a rule, a maximum mass permitted by the RDW of 3500 kg, sometimes 3300 kg, applies. A camper usually drives with a fully packed car. Then you will quickly reach the set limits. No good mother can help with that. A camping couple of 2 people can usually manage with that, but as soon as two or three children, luggage, a few bicycles, a motorcycle or a scooter have to come along, you go off track.

Some campers have a technical maximum mass that is, for example, 3800 kg or 4250 kg. The camper can then be re-inspected by the RDW for that higher weight. If the maximum permitted mass is greater than 3500 kg, this means driving license C or C1. A limited number of restrictions. For example, in Germany you are not allowed to drive faster than 100 km on the highway and 110 km in France. There is still some way to get over that. If the camper cannot be upgraded, or the driver is not prepared to achieve C1, excess weight may need to be taken into account by taking less. Less water, less food supplies, e-books instead of the paper version, no or lighter bicycles, just think about it.

Some people think it's nonsense. The police would show "leniency". Unfortunately. There are no leniency arrangements. It's that simple. There are strict rules in other countries. Germany and especially Austria and Switzerland are famous for it. Will everyone be fined or sent back? No definitely not. Running a red light or driving too fast does not always result in a fine. But you can do better if you end up in a trap during a police action, right? It is also your own safety and that of others. Tyres, suspension and brakes have to endure quite a bit under the heavy holiday load.

That's just how it is. Knowing a little what you want and knowing a little what you are buying.

Bring bicycles?

A camper must be large on the inside and small on the outside and, above all, not have a transverse bed. A transverse bed is difficult. Then one has to climb over the other. Of course, it is easier to slide under your duvet in a length bed, but a length bed takes up no less than 60 cm more of the length of the camper. And how did you plan to take the bicycles with you? They're going behind! But a bicycle rack makes the vehicle at least 40 cm longer. So you should think about this a little longer before purchasing. There are still a few points to consider.

Taking the bicycles in the garage is an excellent solution. The expensive bicycles are safe and dry. The height and width of the entrance door must be suitable for the bicycles. A lot can often be achieved with an adjustable handlebar. Still on the back? Not every back wall is strong enough to hang a few heavy bicycles.

Also, not everyone is physically able to lift a bunch of bicycles onto a high bicycle rack. Fortunately, there are now numerous facilities, including those for electrically raising a bicycle rack. Every advantage has its disadvantage. Remember that every option carries extra weight. After all, many camper teachers struggle with the permitted mass of their camper. A few heavy bicycles with racks on the back also make the camper heavier. That's just how it is. Knowing a little what you want and knowing a little what you are buying. Also when it comes to taking bicycles with you.


Still looking for your own camper? look at it current range of campers. Would you rather have a caravan? Look at here the range of caravans. Or read more camping news.

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