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How to camp in a Caravelle (or, heaven forbid, other people carriers)?

A

anothercamper

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Hi. I'm be surprised if the answer's not on this site already, but if it is I unfortunately can't find it having searched for a while, so apologies if this is a common question.

Started looking at campers a week or so ago. We can just about afford a California, and I would love one, but for a vehicle that expensive we'd need it to be the daily driver for a family of four (plus dog) 80% of the time, camper/day van 20% of the time. When camping, it would be just two of us (plus dog) most of the time, so no real need to sleep four (we'd get a tent or awning for those few occasions).

Which led me to the Beach, but then I found that lots of folks actually camp a fair bit in their Caravelles, too. They appeal as we don't really need the built in cooker. The built in storage in the 2 seat Beach seems great, but as for the 3 seat Beach, I don't see much difference between that and a Caravelle other than the pop-top. I've read "it's the little things that make all the difference"' but I've not found an actual list of what those little things are :)

Anyway, how does sleeping in a Caravelle work? I'm thinking specifically about a bed setup and securing/fixing storage safely into the people carrier. I've no plans to convert it to a camper, just use it 'as is' with a load of stuff in the boot I guess?

Do I need a Multiflex to stick in the boot of the Caravelle to make it a good sleeping space? Do the chairs just fold flat and I don't need anything other than a mattress to lay across them?

Admittedly I've looked at much cheaper people carriers too, namely the Ford Tourneo Custom, a well reviewed people carrier with room for sleeping - but like the Caravelle I'm just not sure how 'easy' it would be to actually camp in for a night or two, and how storage would safely work with things just loose in the boot etc.

I know it's an age old question, sorry - that's why I'm trying to make it more specific about 'how' you actually camp comfortable in a people carrier. Or not, as the case may be? :)
 
A

anothercamper

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I forgot to ask about how a fridge would be secured? I've seen lots of fridge recommendations, but I don't think I've read anything about how they actually integrate into the various vehicles.

Would they just be loose on the floor in a Caravelle/Beach?

Can you tell I'm new to this? Give me a few months and I'll be up to speed :)
 
2haw

2haw

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I’m not 100% sure on the Caravelle but i think the main differences are:

No integrated Black out blinds? I know you can get the bed option on the caravelle but I don't know what blinds it comes with. I’m not sure if it also comes with the Multiflex board.

Not sure if the front seats in the Caravelle rotate?

Integrated Table in sliding door and chairs in boot in Beach.

You can stand up in the Beach with the roof up.

I personally think the Beach will hold more of its value.. as long as you don’t overpay now.
 
Ch1pbutty

Ch1pbutty

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I would go for a Beach. Its the minor details that make a difference as everything is tucked out of the way until you need it (roller awning, chairs stowed in boot, window blinds, table in the sliding door, comfy roof bed, bike rack - uprated boot struts, MFB). It's the details that make the (expensive) difference, but it will retain its value.
 
Ch1pbutty

Ch1pbutty

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I forgot to ask about how a fridge would be secured? I've seen lots of fridge recommendations, but I don't think I've read anything about how they actually integrate into the various vehicles.

Would they just be loose on the floor in a Caravelle/Beach?

Can you tell I'm new to this? Give me a few months and I'll be up to speed :)
VW fridge can be attached to the floor rails (expect fixings could also be adapted for other fridges), or, most fridges sit nicely under the MFB in the boot, which works especially well combined with slide out boot tray.
 
A

anothercamper

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Thanks for the prompt replies, all makes sense so far. The difference don't seem that big between the Beach and Caravelle (except the roof), but I can see how the stowed chairs and table and blinds make the whole pull-up-and-just-camp experience a lot easier.

I'd still be interested to hear how anyone has successfully camped in a Caravelle though, whether it can be done without purchasing extra bed supports and stuff like that, or whether they're necessary because the folding seats don't make a decent bed without extras.
 
Ch1pbutty

Ch1pbutty

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Thanks for the prompt replies, all makes sense so far. The difference don't seem that big between the Beach and Caravelle (except the roof), but I can see how the stowed chairs and table and blinds make the whole pull-up-and-just-camp experience a lot easier.

I'd still be interested to hear how anyone has successfully camped in a Caravelle though, whether it can be done without purchasing extra bed supports and stuff like that, or whether they're necessary because the folding seats don't make a decent bed without extras.
You would still need a mattress a Beach for downstairs; Found this on ebay which looks to have everything you need for the Caravelle for £500:

 
A

anothercamper

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You would still need a mattress a Beach for downstairs; Found this on ebay which looks to have everything you need for the Caravelle for £500:

That looks great, thanks so much Ch1pbutty! Not a huge cost at all to at least try out the whole can lifestyle for a while in a second hand Caravelle. Stick a Thule wind out awning on the side and no one would know the difference ;)

I admit I'm leaning towards a Caravelle plus 'stuff in the boot' at the moment for spur of the moment trips, purely as a very versatile solution and having it as a main car most of the time - and second hand Caravelles seem to hold value pretty well at the moment too - I think.

I'd probably try find some blinds rather than curtains though :)
 
2haw

2haw

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That looks great, thanks so much Ch1pbutty! Not a huge cost at all to at least try out the whole can lifestyle for a while in a second hand Caravelle. Stick a Thule wind out awning on the side and no one would know the difference ;)

I admit I'm leaning towards a Caravelle plus 'stuff in the boot' at the moment for spur of the moment trips, purely as a very versatile solution and having it as a main car most of the time - and second hand Caravelles seem to hold value pretty well at the moment too - I think.

I'd probably try find some blinds rather than curtains though :)
What’s the cost saving for going down the Caravelle route?
 
Gary&Heather

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We had a Caravelle Generations Six seven seater that we used as our everyday vehicle and used it for camping as well for 2 1/2 years we then decided to buy a seven seater Beach as this was more practical and comfortable when we went camping we did enjoy the Caravelle but it seems quite cramped once you've slept in a beach if there's just two of you it's fine but we discovered the equipment you needed when camping like fridge table chairs all the bits and bobs we ended up towing a trailer if you can afford a beach that's the one I will go for now when we came to sell our Generations Six after 2 1/2 years ownership we only lost £500.
Good luck on your adventures.
 
Wesel

Wesel

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It is probably not here that you will find much information on this subject, since we have almost all chosen a California. By searching on Google with "sleeping in vw caravelle" I found a lot of interesting information. This must be possible since our son converted his VW Caddy in this direction for his holidays.
 
Borris

Borris

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I’m not 100% sure on the Caravelle but i think the main differences are:

No integrated Black out blinds? I know you can get the bed option on the caravelle but I don't know what blinds it comes with. I’m not sure if it also comes with the Multiflex board.

Not sure if the front seats in the Caravelle rotate?

Integrated Table in sliding door and chairs in boot in Beach.

You can stand up in the Beach with the roof up.

I personally think the Beach will hold more of its value.. as long as you don’t overpay now.
I agree. Having gone down exactly the same road from looking at the Caravelle to ending up with a Beach the differences don't look that great at first. But believe me they are.
As has already been said the Caravelle lacks:

1. The pop top with the extra double bed.
2. The ability to stand up in the van.
3. The multiflex board.
4. The VW Comfort mattress (optional extra).
5. Front swivel seats.
6. Picnic table and integrated storage.
7. Picnic chairs and integrated storage.
8. Leisure battery.
9. Electrical hook up.
10. Black out blinds.
11. Pull out awning (optional extra but included on most Beaches)
12. Parking heater (optional extra but included on some Beaches)
13. The same ability to maintain high residual value.

In short both are great vehicles and both can be used as every day transport. However only one is a practical all rounder with maximum flexibility to cope with most, if not all family needs.
 
A

anothercamper

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What’s the cost saving for going down the Caravelle route?
I seem to be able to get an automatic 2017-ish 4WD Caravelle with reversing camera and a few other bells and whistles for around £35k.

An equivalent Beach is looking like £45k+

If I lowered my expectations and was willing to forgo 4WD and the camera (but I do want an auto), I could get a 2017+ Caravelle for around £31k or a Beach for £41k.

Spec for spec trim/drive/engine/parking assist wise, it looks like a a £10k difference most of the time.
 
A

anothercamper

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I f
It is probably not here that you will find much information on this subject, since we have almost all chosen a California. By searching on Google with "sleeping in vw caravelle" I found a lot of interesting information. This must be possible since our son converted his VW Caddy in this direction for his holidays.
I found a few things good photos and info on google too, but nothing really about what was involved in the setups I saw. Thanks for looking though.

Figured it was worth a shot asking here - there's probably at least a few folks on this forum who must have camped in a Caravelle? If not, not to worry - at least I put the question in the off-topic section :)
 
Borris

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I seem to be able to get an automatic 2017-ish 4WD Caravelle with reversing camera and a few other bells and whistles for around £35k.

An equivalent Beach is looking like £45k+

If I lowered my expectations and was willing to forgo 4WD and the camera (but I do want an auto), I could get a 2017+ Caravelle for around £31k or a Beach for £41k.

Spec for spec trim/drive/engine/parking assist wise, it looks like a a £10k difference most of the time.
I don't know for sure but I suspect that difference will widen substantially the older the vehicles get. In other words I strongly suspect the Beach will work out the better vehicle in terms of depreciation over the longer term.
 
A

anothercamper

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In short both are great vehicles and both can be used as every day transport. However only one is a practical all rounder with maximum flexibility to cope with most, if not all family needs.
Borris, thank you - that's a great list and highlights a few things like the leisure batter and heater that I hadn't really considered.
 
A

anothercamper

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I don't know for sure but I suspect that difference will widen substantially the older the vehicles get. In other words I strongly suspect the Beach will work out the better vehicle in terms of depreciation over the longer term.
Looking at the prices of 10 year old Beaches, I'd say you're right and it's something I'm trying to take into account. It just seems like a scary amount of money for a vehicle (the Beach), albeit an incredibly practical one.
 
Borris

Borris

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Borris, thank you - that's a great list and highlights a few things like the leisure batter and heater that I hadn't really considered.
I started out looking at a LWB seven seat Caravelle with the bed pack. Lovely vehicle but then I discovered the Beach. It is such a flexible vehicle. It will do everything a Caravelle will do and much more besides. We are on our second seven seat beach now and it's the best family vehicle I've ever owned by a country mile.

What ever you decide, good luck.
 
2haw

2haw

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I seem to be able to get an automatic 2017-ish 4WD Caravelle with reversing camera and a few other bells and whistles for around £35k.

An equivalent Beach is looking like £45k+

If I lowered my expectations and was willing to forgo 4WD and the camera (but I do want an auto), I could get a 2017+ Caravelle for around £31k or a Beach for £41k.

Spec for spec trim/drive/engine/parking assist wise, it looks like a a £10k difference most of the time.
To be fair, the 31k Caravelle will have a far greater specification than a typical Beach.

I just took a look and the Caravelle will probably have the comfort dash and alcantara. The caravelle is also available in 200hp!

We don't camp in ours often enough and a standard Kombi would do 90% of what we use it for.
 
Borris

Borris

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Looking at the prices of 10 year old Beaches, I'd say you're right and it's something I'm trying to take into account. It just seems like a scary amount of money for a vehicle (the Beach), albeit an incredibly practical one.
Yes they are a scary amount of money but the point is that they depreciate very slowly so over the time you own it you'd probably end up being better off. The other thing is that they aren't bringing any more Beaches to the UK so with their strong following, second hand prices are likely to remain very firm .
 
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