Camping trend: remove the motorhome yourself – two couples realize their dream

More and more popular: expand the camper van yourself – two couples realize their dream

First of all, a coffee for everyone: no problem in a motorhome, it’s done quickly. It takes significantly longer to expand such a motorhome yourself. But that’s exactly what is hip, just like camping. There is just one thing that you shouldn’t be afraid of.

Is the Corona crisis making all of us camping holidaymakers? The question can be asked when sellers and landlords of mobile homes can hardly find supplies as quickly as people plagued by wanderlust are snatching mobile homes out of their hands. Or even convert Bullis and Vans into campers yourself. Is that the big trend?

The industry sees a niche in this, but assumes that it will become increasingly popular to expand your own vans – camping is extremely popular. No wonder that it is sung in the world of Instagram and Co. as the song of praise for #vanlife, life in the camper.

Removing the motorhome yourself: “It has become my dream”

No wonder that the often laborious expansion is often documented in detail, whether on YouTube or Instagram. But it’s not just about lifestyle there, there are also instructions and aids to do-it-yourself, says Greta Thomas.

The 23-year-old student and the one year older Hannes Wehrmann, also a student, use the time the pandemic and studies leave them – and expand a van: “We have six months free between Bachelor and Master,” says the 23-year-old. Year olds. For them it was a leap into the deep end. But: “It has become my dream because it is Hannes’ lifelong dream.”

Extend the camper van yourself: craftsmen and electricians thanks to YouTube

The 24-year-old Hannes says that he camped for three months in New Zealand – since then he has wanted his own camper van. So they buy a used Mercedes Sprinter, the short-wheelbase transporter, and in March start planning and expanding their own motorhome.

Now you don’t become a craftsman in your sleep: “Thanks to social media, many people dare to do it first, and you can learn all the electrics on YouTube,” explains Wehrmann. “You don’t have to be an electrician.” The couple, she from Großenmeer in the Wesermarsch district, he from Bremen, documented the renovation on Instagram. And notices that I have learned a lot. Would you like an example? “You don’t have to be afraid of tools,” says the 23-year-old with a laugh.

Camping trend: More and more young couples are choosing to go camping

You are not the only ones who dare to expand. 31-year-old Ines Spicker and 30-year-old Arne Meyer from Hanover have opted for the classic – the VW Bulli in the T5 generation. In 2019 they bought the Bulli and expanded it since March 2020, in the middle of the Corona period – at home in front of their own door.

“When it comes to patience, we’ve both learned a lot,” says the graphic designer. They, too, have published their experiences online – and get “constant inquiries about how to do that,” says car sharing marketing expert Spicker. In their own circle of friends there are four or five couples who also want to build a mobile home themselves.

Build your own motorhome – from Mercedes T5 and VW Bulli

Originally the T5 was a craftsman’s car, in which they then installed the side windows themselves. They would have liked to have standing height, but at the thought of a pop-up roof they would have been “a bit jittery”, explains Meyer. Although there is no wet room, “but everything else,” says Spicker. They planned, thought out and tailored everything, all furniture and fittings had at least two purposes: A folded up cupboard door becomes a table, and laundry can be hung on the tailgate.

The couple from Großenmeer and Bremen also like to have it practical, so the bed was not built across because of the width of the transporter of only 1.75 meters, but a bed was welded to unfold – after all, Hannes is 1.94 meters tall, says Greta Thomas. During the day it is now a sofa, while at night it fills almost the entire Bulli. And they were lucky too, they didn’t have to install everything themselves: A parking heater was already there.

What was particularly difficult to install?

Because some things are simply difficult to do when expanding. What was particularly complicated? Assembling the 30-liter water tanks under the vehicle, says Thomas – without a lifting platform, sometimes lying on the floor all day, with his hands up. For Ines Spicker, on the other hand, the electrics are difficult – and especially the installation of the side panels: it took three weekends and the sides never really fit.

Problems that industrial RV companies are unlikely to be aware of. Their business is going well – probably better than ever: in the first quarter of 2021, more recreational vehicles were registered than ever before at the beginning of the year, as the Caravaning Industry Association (CIVD) recently reported. To be more precise: the number of new registrations rose by 12.6 percent to 24,224 vehicles in the first three months compared to the same period in the previous year. Mobile homes were particularly popular. They came to 19 058 new registrations – an increase of 23.9 percent.

And the Bullis that you have built yourself? It is difficult to come up with numbers, says association spokesman Daniel Rätz. One assumes “that this will increase”. But their number is “finite” – if you want to expand your mobile home yourself, you need time and equipment. And water connection, water tank or gas installation “can’t just be done like that”.

How did you come up with the idea of ​​going on a camping holiday?

Quite simply: At some point, the booked vacation with flight and rental car was no longer enough, says Arne Meyer. And sometimes the couple from Hanover didn’t even book in advance, then at some point the panic arose on the beach: Where are we going to sleep tonight? The wanderlust has remained, but also the uncertainty about where to travel to in the pandemic. The solution: the self-developed Bulli. Just go away for a weekend, stop somewhere, no longer have to rely on hotels, says Ines Spicker.

Where should it go now? The couple from Hanover dreams of a tour to Scandinavia – “hopefully in the near future,” says the 31-year-old. Greta Thomas and Hannes Wehrmann would also like to go to Scandinavia over midsummer, but do not expect it in the pandemic. The 23-year-old says: “If that doesn’t work, we’ll just drive off.”

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