Is there a modern replacement for the VW camper? It was an easy size to park and maneuver and well designed for car camping. It appears that you can’t get new VW campers in the US anymore. Everything else I’ve seen is much larger and cumbersome.
Check locally for a van conversion outfit. Also some of the larger RV dealers are likely to have converted vans ready to go.
A good idea if you can find one is a RV and camping show. You get a wide range of choices to consider.
There are Sprinter(Dodge/MB) vans converted. They are $$$$.
My grandmother bought a Chevy van and made her own RV out of it by making interior fixtures out of wood. I think I might do the same thing some day. You don’t have to use a full size van. You could use a minivan with removable seats if you wanted to. When you think about it, making your own small RV has its appeal because it will be designed and built exactly how you want it.
Thanks for your thoughts on RV’s. I’ve seen them and they are so much bigger than my ideal. There is such a large VW camper following that it is hard to believe there isn’t a market for an updated copy in the US. I’ve heard the 1990 through early 2000 Eurovan have a lot of mechanical problems (that plague VW in general) and even with that rep the campers sell for very high prices. The newer T4 and now T5 I’ve seen on UK sites appear to be much better mechanically, but are not for sale here. My hope was to find an alternative with the old VW esthetic in this decade that is affordable. I had a 58, 70, and 74 VW type 2 that were extremely reliable and so much fun, but that old air cooled technology does not cut it anymore. I guess the reason I have not found a modern replacement is because they do not exist.
I disagree that there aren’t alternatives in the same size range. A small truck campers like this http://www.eastendcampers.com/northstar-campers.html would be as practical as a VW camper.
I wonder if somebody will come up with a mini RV based on the Ford Transit Connect? Would seem to fit your needs. But the cargo area’s only 6’ long…
You mean the 1979 through 2009 VW vans had a lot of mechanical problems. The trouble is that the VW vans have been simply terrible vehicles since the end of the air-cooled era, both in terms of awful reliability and otherwise high cost of ownership, but also because they really got pretty poor gas mileage for something that was essentially a minivan. The campers were really the only thing they had going for them, and they don’t sell in enough numbers to justify keeping the entire line.
A full-size van based conversion camper will do everything your Eurovan did, but will be roomier and have more power. My dad ditched his last VW camper for a full-size dodge van that got around the same mileage as the old Vanagon, was roomier and sure didn’t have to crawl in the mountains like the old VW!
Another thing to look into is this company: http://www.gtrv.com/ . They make some minivan based van campers, most popularly based on Toyota Siennas.
GreasyJack, a minivan conversion may be the best bet. I’ll have to do some research to see which models make sense for me. The Ford Transit is an interesting option mentioned by texases. I’ve not seen a Ford Transit up close. I own a Toyota Tacoma that I absolutely love and have been tempted to buy a camper for it, but the ability to access the back directly via the step-through front seats is important to me and I miss the room of a great big open cab. These are some really good ideas. Thanks!
The only trouble with the mini-van campers is that they have a relatively low payload capacity, so after you’ve loaded one up with a bunch of camper goodies, there’s not that much left for people and gear before you start bumping into the GVWR. Honestly, if you’ve already got the truck and given what a huge investment a whole new vehicle would be, I’d just at least try a slide-in camper and see how you like it.
Another option if you don’t need the stove and all that is there’s a company that makes a Honda Element pop-up: http://www.ursaminorvehicles.com/camper.htm
The Tacoma is just shy of 200k. Still runs well over all but starting to show it’s age. So I’m starting the process of looking for a replacement. Thus this conversation. To your point, part of my quest is to find the right combination of comfort vs. weight. I took out the fridge/sink out of my last vw camper to lighten the load and used a cooler instead. A high priority for me is to be able to use the vehicle as a second car. Part of my ideal replacement is passenger room. In the Tacoma the rear seating is not really usable for adults. My parents can’t fit back there so any time I have to take them somewhere I and my wife end up wedged in the back. I’m willing to live with a slightly under powered vehicle if my other objectives are met. Thanks very much for the Element link. This could be a very viable option.