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Cactus Matt
21-10-2013, 03:06
Hello,
Newbie here so I'm going to ask some possibly silly, nieve questions. This is more for people who live in camper vans permanently although any good advice is welcome. I'll be getting a van pretty soon and want to try living in it for as long as I can cos I'm fed up of spending every penny I've got on rent and bills. BUT I've only got £3000. Is it possible to find a van for £3000 or less which is liveable in? Also, I'm not sure about where I'd put it. The maximum stay for campsites is usually 28 days I think. Are there any fairly cheap campsites that let you stay permanently? . I'm fine with wild camping but showering might be a problem. I doubt I'll get a van with a shower in it for £3000?
It'd be good to hear from some people who live in their camper permantly;to hear how you get by. I live in North Derbyshire now but will probably move down to the South West (wiltshire/Dorset) soon after I get the van.
Thanks
Matt

zipnolan
21-10-2013, 06:01
Campsites !!! ........ stop swearing.

Blodwyn Pig
21-10-2013, 06:24
Welcome to the forum from mid Derbyshire :welcome:

QFour
21-10-2013, 06:59
Staying on campsites is not going to work out very cheaply. Having read some of the live in posts they appear to move from place to place on a regular basis. Parking on roads etc. Suppose the answer to you shower problem is the leisure centre /pool . Some of the live aboards will be along as soon as they have picked up a free wi-fi hot spot. There is a guy at Mablethorpe living in a car and one of the Forum lives in a Land Rover. Stealth seems to be the way. Look like a van and nobody notices, Put windows in it and everyone will want to know who you are.

jenks
21-10-2013, 10:08
Having lived in my Landrover then a borrowed motorhome. My best advice is keep it simple! The simplier things are the easier they are to live with. Showering I found easier to do in work or overnight with friends and family at their houses on a Saturday eve etc. Emptying the loo was my biggest bug bear / nightmare. In the landy I have a portaloo, I emptied this in public loos / parents house when visiting. The motorhome had a large septic tank.... not nice being on a campsite only way to empty it was with a bucket and nose peg...... Try and keep the amount of stuff you keep in the van to an absolute minimum, it's just easier that way.

I'd defo say stealth is the way forward if you intend to have a peacful life and be left alone to get on with it.

Smaug
21-10-2013, 10:12
A couple of comments on that van, David. it is cheap because it is basic, which is fine if you are using it as a surfer pad. But the OP is looking to full time in it & those seats do not look comfy. Furthermore, if fulltiming over winter it will need to be very well insulated, and that doesn't look to have been particularly well lined & as it isn't insulated under the bunks, I suspect it isn't insulated anywhere.

Things you need for liveaboard are INSULATION, a safe heater (flued externally), comfortable seating, fridge, toilet & washing facilities, hanging wardrobe & cooker (preferably with an oven). Standing headroom is probably quite important too, but I think that van had that.

Edit: I take the "keep it simple" comment, but if it ain't at least warm & comfy, you will be spending a lot of time in pubs to keep warm & that could prove expensive & might possibly cost you your licence.

Kryten
21-10-2013, 10:28
Try and base yourself near a large 24 hour supermarket, within short driving distance. You can use the toilets there and pickup something to eat as well. Since you will only probably be carrying dry or canned foods, you will probably need a daily shop for sandwiches, milk, meat, etc.

mark61
21-10-2013, 10:30
Another. (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vauxhall-Movano-Camper-Van-/291000136098?pt=UK_Campers_Caravans_Motorhomes&hash=item43c0f5b1a2)

mark61
21-10-2013, 10:52
To hell with stealth, this will do nicely (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/camper-van-6-2-v8-diesel-/251361287228?pt=UK_Campers_Caravans_Motorhomes&hash=item3a864cdc3c) . :)

Just needs an MOT, and a big parking space.

n brown
21-10-2013, 11:12
have a look at the ambulance I just did. the base vehicle was under 3 grand,and comes already massively insulated,diesel heating,leisure battery,rooflights ,windows etc. put a mattress in the back ,a 2 burner and grill and a bucket and move in immediately and wait for the money you're saving to accumulate and fit it out using that

Smaug
21-10-2013, 11:35
That's fine if no-one notices, but there is a 28 day limit on that sort of use is there not? If a neighbour decides to whinge, you will need half a dozen farmers with odd fields & road access.

mark61
21-10-2013, 11:45
That's fine if no-one notices, but there is a 28 day limit on that sort of use is there not? If a neighbour decides to whinge, you will need half a dozen farmers with odd fields & road access.


Move it around every 28 days then. I do believe if it's SORN you can even use red diesel. :) ( Don't quote me on that though )

n brown
21-10-2013, 12:23
you'd be surprised how long you can get away with things for.we lived,on and off, in buses and trailers ,for years on a bit of land we rented off a farmer. we got to know the locals and got on with them,so nobody dobbed us in

SteelyDan
21-10-2013, 15:39
Hello, Matt, I live in a converted Fiat Ducato 1998 minibus permanently when I am in the UK, about 12 weeks of the year.
"Is it possible to find a van for £3000 or less which is liveable in?"
I struggled to find a decent MH with onward loo, shower and fitted kitchen for less than 8K.... But if your budget is only 3K, you should find something in the way of a home conversion van for that money. Just be prepared to spend time and money fixing the things that the seller hasn't installed properly, or at all! And Do take a friendly mechanic with you, cos new clutches, brakes, or suspension are expensive..
"Also, I'm not sure about where I'd put it"
Parking in a damp field in winter and hoping to slip under the radar of the local NIMBY radar is not really a sensible option. Pubs with large car parks and friendly Landlords, mixed with layers and secluded forest roads, is my preferred option. You can always treat yourself to a luxury night with a hook-up once a week (when you can hook up your battery charger to top up the leisure battery.)
"Are there any fairly cheap campsites" - the cheapest I have found with proper facilities is 12 quid a night (weekdays).
Of course, do use the famous Welcoming database!! Good luck, happy hunting, and do let us know what you buy!

SteelyDan
21-10-2013, 15:44
Oops typos on my smartphone! Correct version follows...

Hello, Matt, I live in a converted Fiat Ducato 1998 minibus permanently when I am in the UK, about 12 weeks of the year.

"Is it possible to find a van for £3000 or less which is liveable in?"
I struggled to find a decent MH with onward loo, shower and fitted kitchen for less than 8K.... But if your budget is only 3K, you should find something in the way of a home conversion van for that money. Just be prepared to spend time and money fixing the things that the seller hasn't installed properly, or at all! And Do take a friendly mechanic with you, cos new clutches, brakes, or suspension are expensive..

"Also, I'm not sure about where I'd put it"
Parking in a damp field in winter and hoping to slip under the radar of the local NIMBY radar is not really a sensible option. Pubs with large car parks and friendly Landlords, mixed with laybys and secluded forest roads, is my preferred option. You can always treat yourself to a luxury night with a hook-up once a week (when you can hook up your battery charger to top up the leisure battery.)
"Are there any fairly cheap campsites" - the cheapest I have found with proper facilities is 12 quid a night (weekdays).
Of course, do use the famous Wildcamping database!! Good luck, happy hunting, and do let us know what you buy![/QUOTE]

n8rbos
21-10-2013, 19:21
Uk hippy and tribal living would be good sites to try , get advice there from folk who do live in low cost vehicles and off grid. You cold buy a decent ldv convoy with the 2.5 di engine, simple and spacious for @£700, do it up with insulation, portaloo, bowl, camping cooker, bed settee to keep simple then build on it. Shower? A lot of folk who have them in motorhomes don't use them.... Plenty advice on obtaining showers.

mandrake
21-10-2013, 19:57
Hello,
Newbie here so I'm going to ask some possibly silly, nieve questions. This is more for people who live in camper vans permanently although any good advice is welcome. I'll be getting a van pretty soon and want to try living in it for as long as I can cos I'm fed up of spending every penny I've got on rent and bills. BUT I've only got £3000. Is it possible to find a van for £3000 or less which is liveable in? Also, I'm not sure about where I'd put it. The maximum stay for campsites is usually 28 days I think. Are there any fairly cheap campsites that let you stay permanently? . I'm fine with wild camping but showering might be a problem. I doubt I'll get a van with a shower in it for £3000?
It'd be good to hear from some people who live in their camper permantly;to hear how you get by. I live in North Derbyshire now but will probably move down to the South West (wiltshire/Dorset) soon after I get the van.
Thanks
Matt

well for what its worth ,we bought a bedford cf ,cost 2.5k ran it 4 years as a weekend holiday van .then due to circumstances out of our hand ended up living in it for two years almost . we never used a site and stayed in laybies /industrial estates or just about anywhere we wanted .we were unemployed and went as n.f.a so we were able to look for work anywhere in the country (bit like get on your bike ala tebbut )but comfier , we were ok and enjoyed every min of the time we were in the van we found work and bricks and mortar eventually .we lived quite well during the 2 years ,and still miss living in the van though eventually we sold the van for 3k .only thing we really found hard was paying for the fuel as the van was petrol but we managed.

Rubbertramp
21-10-2013, 21:00
17834

Hiya Matt, This beast (in foreground) cost me £2600 off ebay 4 years ago. It was a complete mess inside but I took a little time in tidying her up and have lived in it every summer since and full time for 2 and a half years now. If you look hard enough you will find bargains like this come up quite regularly. Go on to ebay every day..... http://motorhomes.autotrader.co.uk/used-motorhomes is another good place to look.

Finding a place to stay is a lot easier than you might think as long as you have the right attitude and don't fear to tread on ground that others might tell you it is illegal to park at. A good rule of thumb for wild camping is not to stay more than two nights in one spot and usually just one, so if you have to be in one area have a rota of half a dozen or more places to stop at on different nights....and maybe a campsite at the weekend. Clear up after yourself and others (the ignorant will presume that you have made the mess) and don't dump your sewerage anywhere near where you park.....(sh1tting on your own doorstep as it were). Although I'm normally to be found living at my work places in the winter (construction sites) I have found small cheap campsites open all year round all over the country. It would be to your advantage to join the caravan club or the caravan and camping club (About £45 a year) for their CLs. These are hundreds of small locations....sometimes working farms...throughout the UK where (officially;)) up to 5 vans can stop very cheaply. Some have basic facilities some have more than that. And don't worry about the 28 day rule, just have one or two back-up locations and only move when someone asks you to.

As for showering, I find that sports centres or swimming pools are the best option. Every small town has one and they usually charge anything between £1 and £3 for a shower. The same goes for laundry, every small town has one and you can wash and dry yer smalls for less than a tenner!

Wiltshire and Dorset have some great locations for wild camping and if you're prepared to put up with a bit of inconvenience at first then it's a great life. You will soon get used to not having water on tap, having to conserve your electricity, and having to think about where you'll dump your waste. The money you'll save will quite surprise you as long as you're not going out every night getting rat arsed of course!
:goodluck:

n brown
21-10-2013, 21:12
in this area,and it must be similar in others,i know of a couple of traveller[new age] sites right in the city,and another a little way out where one guy has negotiated a bit of land off an owner and rents out spaces for £25 a week,all full of course,and a bit further out there's a member of the aristocracy charging about the same,but with electric ,to stay in his woods.i went out there to put a kitchen in a van,great set up,very low key,you walk through the woods and there's vans and buses and coaches all tucked away -lovely. i'm only saying this to illustrate the possibilities-ask your local travellers,they have a different world going on .

vwalan
21-10-2013, 22:05
certainly loads round here living in vans trucks etc . plenty of traveller sites on the edge of moors or corner of ind estates . once folk know you are working they leave you alone .
look for big builders yards etc they very often will let you stay unofficial for little money . you are security for them . might even let you have free leccy . all worth a try.

n brown
21-10-2013, 22:11
basically it's think outside the box,use your loaf-you're not normal anymore and you have to stop thinking that way

yorkslass
22-10-2013, 00:22
not done it myself but have a look at what n brown has done recently. truly impressive .

shawbags
22-10-2013, 00:32
Theres a Ford based ambulance on ebay£1950 ,take a look ,make an offer,as mr brown said already insulated ,theres 12v and 240v already fitted don't know how to transfer the ad onto here :pc: ,take a look under motorhomes you will come across it ,as already said Mr Browns ambulance is a fine example,Shawbags.

Cactus Matt
22-10-2013, 18:50
OK, thanks to everyone for that advice. So campsites generally are too expensive but if there are patches of private land that can be rented on the cheap that would be great. Maybe spend some of the my time on it and some of the time wildcamping to keep costs down. How do I find out about such Campervan-dweller friendly landowners? Will be around Wiltshire/Dorset.
thanks
Matt.

Rubbertramp
22-10-2013, 18:58
Do what I do.....knock on the door and ask. Or nip into the local and make inquiries there.

n brown
22-10-2013, 19:00
ask new age travellers in your area

vwalan
22-10-2013, 19:04
ask new age travellers in your area

you could even ask them old age travellers in your area .
new age travellers dont have as much experiance as the old age ones . ha ha .
look at n, brown . is he young or old . ?
dont look at me i look very old . hee hee

n brown
22-10-2013, 19:15
must admit never liked the expression,but you have to call them something ! if I just called them travellers the poor guy could end up mystifying a bunch of French Roma !

vwalan
22-10-2013, 19:35
there wasnt new age travellers when i was a kid with my parents it was just hippies .
makes me laugh when today they talk about tepees etc in the early 60,s we were posh we had a ridge tent with a great big fly sheet you could put a table and chairs under the canopy .
i still have it . i acquired it from my parents . weighs a ton thick canvas . but its done years of camping here and abroad .
mind the best was living under the arches in st,ives pier .
i thought everyone smoked cigarettes an inch thick and 8 inches long .

n brown
22-10-2013, 19:47
so you Cornish boys were beatniks under your pier,us London boys were just dossers under our piers,and our fags were long and fat too ! didn't quite make the grade as a hippy,bit too working class I reckon !

barryd
22-10-2013, 19:53
Its pushing it a bit Matt at £3000. You came to the right forum though as there are many on here who full time for next to nowt! Have you concidered a Caravan. My neighbour bought a Caravan for £1500 and it was newer than my 1996 Kontiki and in pretty good nick. A beaten up 4x4 for less than £1000 and you have £500 to invest in solar panels and or Gennies etc.

The farmer who lives behind me let me store a bloody great motorcruiser for 2 years in his barn for just a tenner a month. Might have been more if I had been living in it but I know for a fact that most of the farmers in the North Yorks / Durham Dales where I live wouldnt give a rats arse about someone parking on their land for a few quid a month. If it were me on that budget, thats what I would be doing. Find somewhere for £100 a month tops and sod the 28 day rule.

Just another train of thought.

I wish you the best in whatever you decide.

vwalan
22-10-2013, 20:00
i was born in doncaster we visited here on holiday . then came down here to live in 64 , there was cornish blood as the family did originate here .
i just had parents that loved travelling . as a kid it was normal.
we did live at gillingham dorset . my parents had a artist do some paintings on some of the walls , one was a underwater scene with humans in a fish tank .
in fact all the paintings were funny. it was only as i grew older i realized the artist must have been stoned when he did them .
strange my parents didnt smoke art all. but i did have good times and met some real strange folk , happy memories .
i,m sure my mum and dad are up there riding around in a pony and gypsie caravan looking down on me . my dad always wanted one .
they later worked in st lawrences hospital in bodmin a mental asylum . looking after drug addicts etc . but they certainly gave me a good childhood .

landyrubbertramp
27-01-2014, 11:11
picked this thread up late so i hope my input helps, im spending around 3 nighs a week now ive got a house etc but im slowly going don the full time or longterming route long term, i run n cycle alot ive never joined a gym but it makes good sense for example im a member of pure gym so for around 18.00 per mouth or 22 if you want 24 hours access to all this centers you can have access to a shower as well as keep yourself fit, most have car parks and ive spent many night in them after all between 9pm and 6 am they are empty. im not advertising pure gym but it does stay open 24 hours 7 day a week for showers pur gym even have power points and seating for chargers. and using a laptop although no wifi. also insulate the vehicle as much as you can if its a self covertion or just a panel van dont worry about what it looks like it wont matter when it freezing outside, mine is starting to look like the international space station with all the silver foil but every week i add more and the temp gauge difference from outside and in on average creeps up .1 or.2 of a degree it all adds up and you can always take it down and use for a another vehicle. ive a hight top landorver so not stealth more turns heads a kind of hiding in plain sight but my advice is get aa lwb high roof panel van and no windows just a curtain between back and seat and add roof lights.

vindiboy
27-01-2014, 11:32
I think that at the sort of money you are talking about you would be better off getting a cheap caravan,I know I know,lol but then you would have a car to get about in and as you don,t intend to move very often you would have less problems,full time living in a Motorhome or. a Caravan is not as cheap as many suppose bills and commitments do not just go away.

FULL TIMER
27-01-2014, 12:20
It shouldn't be impossible to achieve with that budget a lot will depend on what you can put up with, the caravan / car set up would probably be cheaper but not so easy to wild camp, we left bricks & mortar late 2006 and have mainly stayed on cl / cs sites for extended periods without much trouble with the 28 day rules, never have been asked to move off yet, we are currently staying on one that charges £5 per night but no hookup they do have a bar and a toilet block with wash basins and hot water though, they have actually run us out a lead so we have electric as we are here so often,
As for vehicle etc depending on your licence it might work out cheaper to look at a truck conversion certainly cheaper to tax, or just buying a truck and converting the box as and when funds allow.

GRWXJR
27-01-2014, 12:28
I cannot comment on full-timing cos I can't get enough time away from work to spend more than a week or so in my van.

But.... I DO have a home-built LDV Convoy LWB Hi-Top with all the basics which I've posted about on here (loo is a portapotti type, no shower or hot water heater though - but heating water on the stove and washing in a sink used to be how everyone managed not THAT long ago - and as others have said there are other ways to get a shower). It does have a diesel heater, fridge, hob, grill, sink, drainer, gas, leisure batt, electrics hook-up, etc.

Even with the money I have spent to date tinkering with it to improve it for our use I think I'm still inside the budget range the OP has of £3K though - so it is possible. I do think I was fortunate though to find one half-decent with all the basics in it with a basically sound chassis/body and running gear though for the money I paid for it. But if you can look around you might find something.

2 things helped me when looking/buying perhaps....
one was that the van I found (on Fleabay) was converted as a Motocross van, not strictly as a campervan so maybe didn't have quite the cachet of the 'campervan' handle even though its basically the same thing (just with some more space given over to carting an MX bike - now being altered after 12-mths use as is). The other was timing - I bought in November, and it seems Campervanners are like motorcyclists - they aren't buying so much in the cold/wet/dark months and so selling prices are cheaper. So perhaps your best window of opportunity is the next few weeks, before folk start winding up for Easter & the summer season?

I do think you might need a 'must-have' list though (others on here far better than I to suggest such must-haves) to make sure you get the basics.

I do like nbrowns ambulance idea though (he knows what he's on about for sure) - cos if its insulated then a lot of the 'must-haves' can be non-fixed camping items to make-do with the rest, rather than actually installed. When it comes down to it you can do everything a campervan does with portable gas stoves etc. etc. Careful with the heating though - you don't want to fall asleep with a non-vented heater on and wake up dead!

As nr8bos said - LDV vans can be bought for a few hundred quid - but the time and money on materials can add up lots unless you're really good or experienced like nbrown and others at sorting this stuff (plus its only affordable in your budget if you have the skills, tools, space/place time and opportunity to do all the work yourself).

One final thought - when I was looking I did look at several vans being sold on Gumtree in London area - of course be VERY careful like anything but.... I noted that there are often home-built vans for sale there cos (especially) Kiwis and Aussies fly into London then buy a van to tour around in for months, then they need to sell it when flying back again. Given that storage/parking in the area is limited and not cheap, their time in the area before leaving is limited.... and there's an urgent need to sell keeping prices reasonable. I didn't need to in the end, but considered spending a few days looking at a few in London to see if there was the right thing for me (cos I was on a very limited budget also).

Hopefully there's a couple of positive things you can pick out of the above drivel! I wish you luck.

G.

FULL TIMER
27-01-2014, 17:30
Just been taking a look over on that UKHIPPY site mentioned in a previous post and there was a link there to this site Campervan Classifieds | Free classified ads for campervans, motorhomes and live-in vehicles! (http://www.classifiedcampers.com/) looks like there might be a few vehicles on there within your budget.

Sky
27-01-2014, 18:32
Just been taking a look over on that UKHIPPY site mentioned in a previous post and there was a link there to this site Campervan Classifieds | Free classified ads for campervans, motorhomes and live-in vehicles! (http://www.classifiedcampers.com/) looks like there might be a few vehicles on there within your budget.

I love the orange artic, but parking may prove to be a problem. I have enough trouble parking mine sometimes. :(

FULL TIMER
27-01-2014, 19:16
can't say most of them would be my cup of tea but that I could do something with,


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