Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

Beach v full California

J

Jamesw

Messages
2
Hi, first post on the forum so please be gentle and apologies if this has already been posted somewhere! (although can't find it)

We're looking to buy a california, already rented one for a short break and loved it. But we also need something usable mon-fri for school runs etc. I also currently have a caddy which will have to go but will miss just how damn useful having a van is, for bikes, dogs and trips to ikea!

So looking at the beach. Is my understanding correct that the basic difference is the kitchen unit and storage, and electric hook up? When we camp, it's usually short overnighters and we're more of a pub grub family so probably wouldn't use the kitchen much. If we were going anywhere remote I'd pack a camping stove but seems pointless dragging one round all the time. Having seating for 7 occasionally would be a benefit, along with turning it into a van if needed.

Can spec beaches with a cool box and park heaters, so I'm struggling to understand what I'm missing as the price difference is huge, and the beach probably fits our family needs better. Been to the local van sales but left none the wiser as we both just sat going through the brochure.

Any help or experiences of both would be really helpful!

Thank you. :help
 
I don't know the exact differences but I think the full fat Cali starts from a higher spec van. You get the electric roof, option of more powerful engine (and 4motion) and some other bits.

The sliding seat means we can happily fits loads of bikes in the back too.

However seating is strictly four only and when it's warm, we cook outside on a camping stove and the sink rarely gets used. The fridge is brilliant though.

I can see many pluses for a Beach above them just being cheaper but a full Cali really is quite a luxury item that's given us great holidays as well as being a good daily driver.
 
Hi JamesW

I was in the same situation and went for the Beach , here's some of the reason's why

We use the Beach as a day to day vehicle , so i look at it as a T5 (but a bit posher)
5 seats and more room than the SE
as there 's more room in it , i can get the fishing tackle in when we go away
Camping we take a 5 water bottle a small stove "who want to cook spag bol / kippers in a nice new Cali SE
The new beach gives mains hook up
We just run a cool box off the 12V in the back of the cali or hook up when on site

Hope this helps
Chris
 
Hi James

Like Chris, we were unsure whether to go for an SE or a Beach. One reason for liking the SE was the bigger engine. I had been driving around in a T5 174 BHP and it pulled like a train. So I thought the 180 would be just as good, rather than the Beach which has 140. As it happened, for us, it seemed the extra weight cancelled out the extra power which just left the bed size.

Being a bit more round these days ( it's an age thing ) we found that the downstairs bed was a bit narrow for us, especially when it was warm. So after weeks of 'back and forth' we finally decided on the Beach, and we are extremely happy with it. After taking advice from the forum we bought a Waeco fridge, a Kampa Quartermaster 4 Storage unit, a Cobb and a gas cooker. All fit nicely in the boot when travelling then go into the awning when we arrive at a site. It's great as a daily vehicle and I always take it rather than the car when we go out for the day.

Whichever way you go, I am sure you will love it, good luck.

Cheer

Steve
 
Just returned from 2 nights away in our Beach (2 rear seater) myself,wife and 4yr old grandson.We slept downstairs and had 2 brilliant nights sleep on the full width bed,ours came with the VW comfort mattress, which we find excellant.Our grandson slept up top and loved it!
We have a Waeco 35 litre fridge that we put in ours (behind the passenger seat) so 12volt whilst travelling,then onto hook up on site.We carry a Cadac and a double burner stove in the boot for cooking.
We agonised for ages on which to buy (an SE, a Beach or have a conversion done), what swung it for us was the fact that on the Beach we have a full width bed ! We wouldn't want to cook inside either, so felt that the SE would have too much equipment that we wouldn't use. Having a manual roof is a big plus as well, less to go wrong.
Over 348 mile round trip,our 140 managed 39.4MPG, which we were quite pleased with.
Both the SE and the Beach are great vehicles.......You've just got to pick which ones right for your own needs.
 
My advice would be simple, for everyday use I'd take the Beach, if you want a camper, a sort of traditional camper, than the SE is hard to beat.

The Beach stems from a Multivan Startline and the SE a Multivan Comfortline, aside from nicer door cards, there is not much in it, UK Se's don't come with the European style dash, so they are very similar.

I have used both daily and it's entirely possible to use the SE everyday and people do, quite happily, however the Beach is lighter, much more nimble and very versitile, you'll buy it as a camping vehicle and suddenly discover the joy of owning a large practicable vehicle, it's amazing how useful it becomes.

There's a refinement to the SE that probably doesn't exist in the Beach, it does feel more solid.

But, as everyday vehicle, i would pick the Beach.

The two are both special vehicles, whenever I am at a dealers, I always look over an SE, they are really nice.

James
 
Hi,

After reading you post i'd say the beach fits your needs more than the SE, and as James said you dont even get the luxury dash in the uk on the SE :(.
Hook up is now an option on the beach too!.
Ive drive both and you feel the extra Wieght of the SE.

//Mart
 
We plumped for a 7-seater beach as it was more practical for our needs which was (i) large multi seater (cool) transport and (ii) camping.

I have taken the extra seats out and used it to shift 5 people plus about 3/4 tonne of firewood. We've also used it for transporting 7 people and for camping. It's a great all-rounder.

If it was mainly for camping, especially just for two, then that bling kitchen in the SE would be hard to resist but for my varied needs I couldn't do better than the beach.

It sounds like your requirements might be similar.
 
I used to like camping in a tent. However, there was nothing spontaneous about it. Any weekend would require too much planning, gathering equipment and then drying stuff out, and storing when you got back. After one year of many wet weekends we decided to look for a camper van. I wanted something that always "good to go" at any time. If it was sunny at work, I wanted to go away that evening , glass of wine by 7pm and back to work the following day. Also, I wanted something you could use on those sunny, but cold winter days. The California SE fitted that bill. We don't own another vehicle, but live in brighton so don't really need an everyday vehicle. The SE has allowed us to get away once or twice a month, all year around. I love it


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 
Thanks everyone, that's been really helpful! What a great forum.

Think we're set on the Beach, and will just load up the camping gear when we go away. Don't think we'll miss the kitchen too much, and I think the manual roof is actually a bonus, as my wife drives a 10 year old mini convertible which I've had to take the roof mechanism apart and put back together more than once!

Will definitely post a pic when it's here, finance sorted out today thanks to tesco!

Thanks again
 
Sounds like you've made the right choice from your comments. Just to add, when we had a T4 camper, we drove around with cupboards full of stuff that we probably didn't need. Now with the beach, we have the reimo pantry unit so we always have a sink & outside cooking facilities on board, but it makes us strict with what we take. Cupboard for food, under seat drawers for collapsible pans & plates and a box of extras in the shed to throw in when we are going camping.
 
capt_steve said:
Hi James

Like Chris, we were unsure whether to go for an SE or a Beach. One reason for liking the SE was the bigger engine. I had been driving around in a T5 174 BHP and it pulled like a train. So I thought the 180 would be just as good, rather than the Beach which has 140. As it happened, for us, it seemed the extra weight cancelled out the extra power which just left the bed size.

Being a bit more round these days ( it's an age thing ) we found that the downstairs bed was a bit narrow for us, especially when it was warm. So after weeks of 'back and forth' we finally decided on the Beach, and we are extremely happy with it. After taking advice from the forum we bought a Waeco fridge, a Kampa Quartermaster 4 Storage unit, a Cobb and a gas cooker. All fit nicely in the boot when travelling then go into the awning when we arrive at a site. It's great as a daily vehicle and I always take it rather than the car when we go out for the day.

Whichever way you go, I am sure you will love it, good luck.

Cheer

Steve

I modified the Kampa Quartermaster3 and Quatermaster3 by taking 2 inches off the width and 2 inches off the height. Just the bars as the canvas container and drawers will still work fine.
On the Beach I remove the cushion over the bench cupboard and the 2 just drop in.
The mod allows the bed to roll forward and drop and the tops are at a suitable height.
I place the legs under the aluminium tops where there is a gap and tape them up to stop them rattling. You can still take the units out and place in your awning if you want.

[album]1663[/album] [album]1662[/album] [album]1661[/album] [album]1660[/album]
 
Hi Guys
Please can i ask, on the two seater Beach there is like a bench that runs down the near side (only seen one in pics). Is that a solid unit or is it a top opening storage area?
 
frog said:
Hi Guys
Please can i ask, on the two seater Beach there is like a bench that runs down the near side (only seen one in pics). Is that a solid unit or is it a top opening storage area?

Its a top opening storage unit. :thumb
 
I modified the Kampa Quartermaster3 and Quatermaster3 by taking 2 inches off the width and 2 inches off the height. Just the bars as the canvas container and drawers will still work fine.
On the Beach I remove the cushion over the bench cupboard and the 2 just drop in.
The mod allows the bed to roll forward and drop and the tops are at a suitable height.
I place the legs under the aluminium tops where there is a gap and tape them up to stop them rattling. You can still take the units out and place in your awning if you want.

[album]1663[/album] [album]1662[/album] [album]1661[/album] [album]1660[/album]
Hi there
I know it's a while since you posted on this thread, but I was really interested in your Quartermaster solution. No pics showing, though. Would you mind posting them again?
Rebecca x
 
Hi James

Like Chris, we were unsure whether to go for an SE or a Beach. One reason for liking the SE was the bigger engine. I had been driving around in a T5 174 BHP and it pulled like a train. So I thought the 180 would be just as good, rather than the Beach which has 140. As it happened, for us, it seemed the extra weight cancelled out the extra power which just left the bed size.

Being a bit more round these days ( it's an age thing ) we found that the downstairs bed was a bit narrow for us, especially when it was warm. So after weeks of 'back and forth' we finally decided on the Beach, and we are extremely happy with it. After taking advice from the forum we bought a Waeco fridge, a Kampa Quartermaster 4 Storage unit, a Cobb and a gas cooker. All fit nicely in the boot when travelling then go into the awning when we arrive at a site. It's great as a daily vehicle and I always take it rather than the car when we go out for the day.

Whichever way you go, I am sure you will love it, good luck.

Cheer

Steve

I know it's ages since you posted this, but I've been wondering about the Quartermaster thingies for a while. Any thoughts on it for storage and as a cooker stand? They seem quite large when not in use and the legs look a bit spindly.
 

Similar threads

John Richards
Replies
10
Views
2K
Rob H
R
E
Replies
11
Views
2K
Stoneybroke
Stoneybroke
Barticus
Replies
147
Views
33K
Borris
Borris
A
Replies
2
Views
960
benmac
benmac
Back
Top