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Last updated: December 22th 2022

Vanlife vs. Camping?

What is the difference between a van and a camper?


We have always liked camping, the freedom, the kind of people (yes, there is a difference between tourists in hotels and campers) and the self-sufficient life was something that we enjoyed a lot.

Originally, we were traveling by car and with a tent. Our country of choice was mostly Croatia, where there are beautiful campgrounds by the turquoise blue ocean and the locals are friendly but not pushy. There is a big downside to camping in a tent though. One is usually stationary, as setting up and tearing down camp is time-consuming and tiring, especially in a warm climate. Also packing the car and once back, cleaning the gear and stowing it away, can take the fun out of the camping vacation. We had a large modern tunnel tent (5 people) and then bought a tent that was inflatable, which was very easy to set up, but still, once the vacation was over, the tent had to be taken down, there was always condensation under the tarp and it usually took several hours until all was stowed away and we were ready to leave. 

A caravan or motor home would be an alternative... We live in Switzerland, close to Zurich, there is not much space for parking either one close by. A caravan was quickly ruled out as it is cumbersome and didn't offer any real advantage over the tent. A motor home or camper would be nice, but again parking at home would be difficult, and it would mean having a second vehicle requiring maintenance, insurance MOT ect. 

Then the COVID-19 lockdown forced us to stay in and think... A van would be cool! A builder van that will fit in a regular parking space and that we can build according to our needs. That's what we need, we can use it as a regular vehicle to transport larger items and use it as a convenient sleeping option for regular weekend parties if we don't want to risk driving if we had too much to drink. From the outside it should be as inconspicuous as possible, so we can spend the night wherever we want. 

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