Our Favourite Camping Equipment

When we bought our vintage Ford Transit Westfalia nearly five years ago and started on our first camping adventure we barely had any equipment with us except for a mobile gas cooker and our pillows and blankets for the night. Though we had lots of fun, we soon reaslised that the right equipment could make our trips even more joyful, but especially more comfortable…. and getting older that’s an important point.

Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany

In this article I want to show you our 10 favourite camping items which we bought over the last five years and which we wouldn’t like to miss anymore:

1. Staresso Off-grid Espresso Machine

Loving our daily cappuccino to get the day started properly, I have to put the Staresso Espresso Machine at number one of our list. During our first years of camping we relied upon instant coffee but honestly that is a no-go for a true coffee lover. Then we discovered this machine and what a difference it makes.

Staresso Off-grid Espresso Machine

You get delicious espresso with perfect crema and all you need is hot water from your gas cooker. You don’t need any electricity. Just fill in your coffee powder and hot water, pump manually and that’s it. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/3ar6f9O

2. Arendo Milk Frother

A good espresso is half way to a good cappuccino. The second half is hot dense milk foam. The easiest way to get that without large machines is the Arendo Milk Frother, another very compact machine which perfectly fits in our small camper van. Now we can start the day with a yummy cappuccino like in an Italian caffetteria anywhere in the world. That’s game changing.

The only disadvantage might be the need for electricity. But either you have shore power from your campsite or off-grid from your AC converter. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/3kPuenW

3. Pro Breeze Mini Ceramic Fan Heater

Of course, our van still features the original Truma gas heater which perfectly works. But there is a better and more convenient solution when parking on a campsite with shore power – especially when power is provided with a daily flat rate anyway.

This 500 watt electric heater easily heats up a small camper van or also a tent. You set your preferred temperature with the control knob…. and that’s it. When the temperature in the van is up, the heater will automatically stop and later turn itself on again.

Pro Breeze Mini Ceramic Fan Heater / Elektrischer Heizlüfter für Camping

It’s super quiet, perfectly for sleeping at night. It’s safe, because the device doesn’t get dangerously hot and will automatically turn off in case that it topples over. And it’s super compact (19x10x16cm), so it easily fits in any small van. 500W are just perfect…. enough to heat a van, but it won’t blow the fuse at the campsite like many bigger heaters tend to do. We have added this heater just recently to our equipment and really regret that we haven’t found this brilliant thing much earlier. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/3h6juiX

4. Bite Away Insect Bite Healer

Being the fave victim of any mosquito coming into the vicinity of our van, this small device is a game changer. I was very sceptical in the beginning, but it definitely works. Applying the heat to a mosquito bite for a few seconds and the itchy terror is gone within minutes. This device is our companion on every trip, not just for camping. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/2EfwWlO

Bite Away Insect Bite Healer for Camping / Elektronischer Insektenstichheiler

5. Fire Extinguisher Stick

A fire extinguisher should be in every camper van (… and any classic car as well), but this innovative stick is so much better than any conventional fire extinguisher. It’s really surprising that nearly nobody knows it.

Fire Extinguisher Stick / FSS - Fire Supprssion Stick / Feuerlöschstab Mini Feuerlöscher für Auto und Camping

This stick has only advantages: Once activated, it works for 50 seconds but only weighs 300 gram! Compare that to a conventional device with 2kg which will only last for maybe 12 seconds.

But there are two more advantages: The stick doesn’t create a mess and is non-toxic and non-corrosive. Plus it doesn’t need service or maintenance. It would only need more promotion from its manufacturer, because really every camper van and classic car should be equipped with one of them. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/3hac2TS

6. Foldable Water Basin for Dish Washing

Space is always critical in a small camper van and this foldable water basin by Naturehike saves a lot of space. It can hold 10 litres of water for dish washing or it’s perfect for carrying dishes from the van to the campsite facilities for dish washing. After that it can be folded to a super small bag which fits in one hand. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/3azgtFj

Naturehike foldable water basin bowl for camping dish washing / Faltbare Wasserschüssel zum Geschirrwaschen beim Camping

7. Foldable Aluminium Table

A camping table has to be stable, easy and fast to assemble, lightweight and, of course, as small as possible when folded. This table is all of that with a timeless design. The table measures 70x70cm and is 70cm high, but weighs only 2.4kg. Folded it’s a handy package of only 70x12x12cm. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/2PXNZvz

Foldable Aluminium Camping Tisch / Faltbarer und rollbarer Aluminium Camping Tisch

8. Foldable Camping Chair

Our chairs should not only be comfortable to sit, but also have a timeless design with a bright colour which matches our Ford camper van. This „Grand Canyon“ camping chair has been 4 years in use on our trips now and proved to be absolutely stable and durable. The folded package is only 75x16x16cm and weighs only 2.8kg. Amazon Affiliate Link*: https://amzn.to/2E9auLd

Grand Canyon Camping Chair / Campingstuhl

9. Foldable Beach Lounge Chair

This lounge chair is the perfect companion for a day at the beach. Very low above ground, but so much more comfortable than just sitting on a plaid. I absolutely love the purple and orange colour scheme in true 70s fashion. Folded it’s a small package of 76x14x14cm with just 3kg which can easily be carried with a strap over the shoulder. https://amzn.to/3h4XogN

Foldable Beach Lounge Chair / Klappbarer Strandstuhl

10. Foldable Beach Lounge Table

Originally we just put our drinks in the sand, but you don’t always have a sandy beach. Sometimes the ground is rough and your drink topples over or the ants discover your snacks faster than you can eat. So we started searching for a really low table to complement our lounge chairs. This aluminium table is just 11cm high and folds into a super small package of only 42x10x7cm. https://amzn.to/2Y9wCvY

Foldable Beach Lounge Table / Klappbarer und rollbarer Mini-Tisch für Camping und Strand

Our Collection of Vintage Camping Equipment

Even more than the new stuff shown above we like our vintage camping equipment. Browsing Ebay for „70s camping“ or „vintage camping“ resulted in some amazing finds like our original 70s flower pattern parasol, our orange thermos jug or this amazing yellow mini fan which surprisingly works quietly and smoothly even after more than 40 years in the field.

70s vintage parasol with flowers / 70er Jahre Sonnenschirm mit Blumenmuster

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Costs to Buy and Own a Classic Camper Van

How much does it cost to buy a classic camper van? How much do you have to calculate for tax, insurance, maintenance and repairs? Of course, every van and every country is different, but in this article I will analyse in detail all costs of 2 year ownership of my 1978 Ford Transit Mk1 Westfalia camper van in Germany. And I promise there will be some positive and negative surprises.

Initial Investment:

Purchase price 2 years ago was 7,300 €. The van was a one-owner car in good condition, but I had to invest 1,460 € in restoration which should be added to the purchase price, because other than later repairs it belongs to the initial investment, in my eyes.

Together with 40 € of registration costs, that’s a total initial investment of 8,800 €.

Regular Annual Expenses:

Annual tax in Germany is a flat rate 191 € for a car older than 30 years, if it qualifies for historic plates. The annual insurance (fully comprehensive) is 216 €. The mandatory technical inspection (TÜV) is 163 € every second year. I had to pay 125 € for a valuation to determine the current market value, which is necessary to get the agreed value classic car insurance. Finally I pay 40 € per month or 480 € per year for a covered parking space in the barn of nearby farmer.

Maintenance costs are made up of one bigger service which included work on the carburetor and a new water pump and a small service which was more or less just an oil change for a total of 614 € in 2 years or 307 € per year.

In total my regular annual costs were 1,338 €.

Repair Costs:

I had three repairs within 2 years or 10,000 km. The two smaller ones were a broken distributor arm and a defect device that controls the charging of the battery. Both together were just about 200 €.

By far the biggest repair was replacing the spur wheels of the camshaft for 570 €. These Novotex spur wheels are a weak spot of Ford’s V4 engine. Total repair costs in 2 years of ownership were 784 €, that’s an annual 392 €.

Fuel Costs:

Fuel consumtion is 10.7 l/100km or 26 mpg (UK)  or 22 mpg (US). Additionally the Ford Transit needs an additive to compensate today’s unleaded fuel. And the engine consumes about 0.4 litre of 15 W40 oil per 1,000km.

Gas, additive and oil in total is 140 € per 1,000km or 700 € per year, because usually my road trips cover about 5,000km per year.

Total Annual Costs:   2,430 € (including gas for 5,000km).

That’s now really all costs for the camper van, but I haven’t yet calculated the costs for the campground. My average costs were exactly 26 € per night so far.

For my annual 5,000km of road trips we usually stay about 25 days on campgrounds, that’s another 650 €. All in all, I have paid 3,090 € per year in total for the pleasure of 25 days of holiday travelling…. quite a lot of money and not really cheap holidays!

But there is still a joker in my calculation: Classic camper vans have risen in value in recent years and part of my annual costs have been compensated by appreciation.

If you want to know more details about the costs of my Ford Transit Camper Van and how appreciation over the last two years resulted in „nearly free“ ownership and holidays, check out my latest Youtube video:

https://youtu.be/7o7DmMROVU4

1974 Ford Transit Mk1 Dormobile sold at auction for 18.400 €

Ford Transit have long been undervalued compared to VW Bus T2 Campers, but this 1974 Transit Dormobile fetched a good price at Historics Auction in Brooklands Museum on September 23, 2017.

This charming camper van with 109k miles on the clock had an estimate of 9.000 to 14.000 GBP, but finally sold for 16.240 GBP or 18.400 EUR! This clearly shows that original Transit Mk1 Campers are rising in value (finally).

Historics described the car as follows:

„Originally registered in 1974, it was owned and enjoyed by the same gentleman for some 28 years until his passing. We are told by his son that his father was a manager at the Ford factory and that he ordered the van with specially selected panels and put it through the paint shop three times giving the body as much paint as the chassis. He also had a two litre, Essex V4 engine fitted with a beefed up diesel gearbox, flywheel and diff which is believed to be the same engine as in the vehicle today; this would explain the log book not giving an exact engine size but instead listing it as 9999cc. It has been enjoyed by many families including that of the current vendor’s.

PCR 793M has recently been restored to its former glory including fresh paint. The interior was kept as it was when originally ordered and recovered in the same style fire retardant cloth; it also offers a working electric sink, gas hob and grill. Sleeping two in the roof and two below and in all original specification, we are told this vehicle drives as well as it looks and has an MoT test certificate valid until May 2018. Compared to the similar VW Camper this is epic value and we think, given the rarity in this condition, slightly cooler.“

Link to Historics Auctions:

https://www.historics.co.uk/buying/auctions/2017-09-23/cars/ref-51-1974-ford-transit-mki-dormobile/

Wie sah Luxus-Camping in 1954 aus?

Dieses Mikafa-Wohnmobil muss in 1954 der Inbegriff des Luxus-Campings gewesen sein. Voll ausgestattete Küche mit Kühlschrank, Bad samt Toilette und eine gemütliche Wohnlandschaft. Kein Wunder, dass man zum gleichen Preis von 27.500 DM damals auch einen 300 SL Flügeltürer hätte kaufen können. Heute gibt es für den Mikafa wohl gar keinen Marktpreis, weil der Wagen so selten ist, dass schlicht keiner auf den Markt kommt. Umso schöner, wenn man ein so liebevoll restauriertes Exemplar einmal zu Gesicht bekommt.

Basisfahrzeug ist ein deutscher Tempo Matador mit 1500 ccm / 48 PS Motor. Für die beachtliche Grösse, immerhin 5,60 m lang, 2,00 m breit und 2,35 hoch, ist das ziemlich überschaubar. Die Höchstgeschwindigkeit liegt damit auch nur bei beschaulichen 80 km/h.