No Smoke No Poke

Camper Mad

30th April 2012 | BY NSNP

We took a trip out to the country last week to dodge the April showers and try and find ourselves a slice of Summer Fun. Placed amongst the green fields of Herefordshire is a company that not only has a plentiful supply of Funshine™  but they will even hire you some for the weekend.

We stumbled across Nick and his company Camper Mad through a chance purchase on eBay. The goods had been won and the money sent, but it was only when arriving to collect the items (a set of mint vw wheel trims) that Nick’s story came to light. Hiding behind the doors of his workshop were not one, but four very clean campers.

His T5 vans; Scooby, Storm, Toffee & Tango are VW’s answer to the classic “Vee Dub Camper” of the sixties and seventies. However the similarities are only skin deep. All of them sport 2.5 Turbo Diesels and deal with the cut and thrust of motorways far better than their air cooled cousins ever could. Hiring one of these campers you could clock out on a Friday and be parked up on the other side of the country before you could say “throwanothershrimponthebarbie.”

With the latest models of the T5 more likely to be seen on the building site than the beach, good second hand examples tend to hold their value, and buying one already kitted out to sleep in can be prohibitively expensive. Luckily after some hard searching Nick managed to track down a few super low mileage examples that were perfect for his plans.

We took out three of the vans to shoot, the fourth (a grey long wheel base model) was still having it’s conversion completed.

Outside the paintwork is pure retro, but slide open the doors and you’ll find a bang up to date interior with expensive fittings and a bench seat that, by cleverly folding flat, becomes a double bed. The real party piece though is in the roof. By releasing a couple of tie down straps and pushing the pop top up, the entire roof space slides into the air on a pair of gas struts. You then have the option of using the extra headroom to either stand, or fold down the full width sleeping platform and there’s space for two more to kip “upstairs”.

In a previous life Nick had been a joiner and kitchen fitter, and has built all of the camper conversions from scratch in his workshop. The cupboards, doors and worktops are all made and fitted in house to his designs. Even the modification required for the trick roof are done by himself.

Nineteen inch Land Rover wheels fill the big arches with a full set of pcd adapters. We’re still trying to convince Nick that building a van with air ride is a good idea!

The led lighting, batteries and 240v inverters are all controlled from a digital panel that would be more at home on the USS Enterprise and the entertainment system is cleverly integrated too. There’s a TV, additional speakers in the rear and even a fridge to keep the brews cool whilst you’re out riding the rip curl (probably).

The growing demand for holidays in the UK has meant that a traditional “weekend camping ” has enjoyed a boom in popularity. By offering a stylish and comfortable alternative to the hassle of tent pegs and guide lines, not even the worst weather could stop you from spending a few days under the stars. Why go camping when you can go glamping.

All of the campers featured here will be available to hire this summer, and if you go to they’re taking bookings now!

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