In September 2013 we purchased our campervan. We had spent the weekend in Cornwall and decided we wanted to join the vanlife families and finally bought ourselves a camper – a VW T5. We’re a family of five (Our children are 11, 8 and 5) and we love nothing more than a road trip and spending time outdoors
Why a T5 camper?
We purchased our VW T5 camper back in 2013 (when our eldest was just 2), it was a panel van and we had a dream to convert it into a campervan. We did a lot of research at the time to find our perfect campervan. We had looked at numerous other makes and models but in all honesty we knew that we wanted to grow our family and we knew that we needed to buy a campervan that would be great for kids, would grow with our family and would hopefully hold its value.
We considered converting a RV and also buying a motorhome, but we had a very limited budget, and at the time a very small drive. I really wanted a VW split screen, – that was my absolute dream, but I knew that this would be pricey, hard to maintain (with zero knowledge on mechanics and maintenance). We knew that the only way to have our dream would be to sell our car, purchase a VW van to convert that was not too old, with relatively low miles and we could then use our T5 camper as our every day vehicle. So that was our decision made – a VW T5 camper was the one that just seemed to fit the bill.
All about our T5 camper van conversion
Our VW camper van, in all honesty, has been a labour of love. Having used all of our budget on the van itself, we have had to save and patiently wait to turn our van into a camper. We have learned a lot along the way about converting a van into a campervan, and would we do things differently? There is definitely things I would opt for if we did another camper conversion. Ask my hubby and he would go for a full width rock n roll bed. Me? I would opt for tons more storage, and I would have a full kitchen with a campervan hob to cook indoors with ease.
Storage is tight in a camper, and as a result we have really had to think about what we can do to create space, and think about clever packing tips along the way. I also love a vanlife packing list. We are still learning, but we have lots of camper storage ideas to share that would also work for other live in vehicles to really maximise your space.
I have a huge love for home made decor ideas for our camper. I do love boho accessories – you can never have too many bunting flags, or crochet covers in a home on wheels.
A VW T5 camper for a family of five
As I mentioned, we purchased our VW van to convert when our eldest was just two, and in all honesty a T5 camper sleeps one-two children easily. Therefore a T5 camper is perfect for a family of four.
We have had to really think about the sleeping options for our VW T5 camper to sleep five of us. Particularly when we had the varied ages of 6, 3 and 1. But we managed it, and managed it well, and we have truly had the most amazing camper van adventures as a family of 5. We also have to pack well, and only pack the essential items for our road trips
We had to really think about how we sleep 5 in our VW T5 camper. The best thing we did to create more space in our camper was to add a pop top roof. This provided a bed for all three of our children.
VW camper conversion insurance
One thing I learned very quickly is you need to ensure that you have adequate insurance for your VW camper conversion including any work that you are intending to do. There is also a difference depending on if your van remains registered as a van or is registered as a campervan so really do your research here…we have always gone with a company who specialises in converted camper vans.
Another thing to consider is your trips. If you are intending on travelling overseas, not all policies include EU cover as standard so do your research, and make sure you are covered for your trips.
What is our top tip if you are thinking about purchasing a T5 camper
I asked this question very recently to my husband, and he agreed with me.
Do your research.
Visit other families, join Campervan forums, ask those who know and visit conversion companies to really get a feel and understand what you want and what you need.
I would recommend hiring a camper for a weekend, just to get a feel of what works for you as a family, layouts, what you need when planning your T5 camper interiors and what you may not use.
We have a Vanlife with kids Facebook group with plenty of camper and camping tips and hacks for you and lots of advice from other camper and motorhome families.
Why do we love our T5 Camper?
It is our mobile home and has give us so many memories as a family. We love to explore, and we love the fact that we can pack up easily, move on and find a new base. Our camper gives us freedom. We have always enjoyed a road trip and we have the opportunity to travel and really explore an area.
We also love fresh air, time away from screens, spending time outdoors and enjoying the simple things in life.
Our camper is our second home… our home on wheels, and we love it.
So where have we been with our VW camper?
We have been lucky enough to have some wonderful adventures in our converted VW T5 camper van with kids. If you have followed us for some time you will know that we always look for the best campsites for paddleboarding in the UK
Along with our weekend adventures in the UK, we’ve had some fantastic vanlife road trips in Europe:
Covid-19 put a stop to our adventures, but we have loved exploring closer to home with the Lake District, North Wales, and Guernsey in the Channel Islands was an absolute favourite.
Road trip Itineraries suitable for families
If you love vanlife and in particular vanlife with kids, do pop over and join us on instagram! There are so many van life instagram accounts. We are based in the UK, and share our outdoor life, camper adventures, road trips and plenty of tips, hacks and campsite recommendations.
We love to hear from other vanlife families – Pop over and say hi!
Please do get in touch if you are thinking of a T5 camper and have any questions