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To pop top or not to pop top? That is the question…

So you’ve decided on a campervan conversion and now need to make the decision of whether you want the added pop top roof. The answer depends on many different factors, all important when you are considering whether to fork out $8000 for an extending roof…

Your camping style – Do you plan on travelling or spending any time staying in cooler weather? If you actively avoid the cold weather and have an aversion to cooking inside your van then you need to have a think about how much time you will spend standing up inside your campervan. If your cooker is portable and you can sit down to prepare/cook food inside the van or don’t plan on cooking or washing dishes inside the van then you may have no need for the additional height a pop top will give you.

Your age – Without being ageist, I am going to make the assumption that the older you are, the more issues you may have with your back and the more likely you are to require the ability to stand up completely straight while moving around inside your campervan. Similarly, someone young might not mind walking the few feet from the bed to the door with their stooped slightly.

Your health – As per the above, if you have issues with your back you will most likely need a pop top roof.

Your height – Although this doesn’t have to be a deciding factor, if you’re over 6 foot you might decide the additional height is a must.

Your budget/alternate options.- If the additional $8000 for a pop top roof is going to break the budget but you’d like a bit of additional height consider the alternatives.

Re-sale – How long are you planning on keeping your van? Vans without a pop top roof are harder to re-sell as the majority of people assume they require one (even though they may not!).

The VW Transporter is also available in a mid roof. Although you’ll need to check on the internal height of your garage if you plan on keeping it inside, this is often a good option if you don’t want to pay for a pop top. Keep in mind that you can’t stand up completely upright in one of these unless you are quite short. They will however, give you that extra bit of height which will make the van feel more roomy inside and also give you additional storage space inside the roof above the front seats.

VW mid roof and low roof

VW mid roof and low roof

VW Campervan with pop top roof.

VW Campervan with pop top roof.

A motorhome/larger size van such as a Mercedes Sprinter or Fiat Ducato (think ambulance sized!) are larger sized vans both in height, length and width. This means you can stand up inside and also have more room for campervan features. On the downside they may be that tiny bit too big for those living in cities and built up areas or who aren’t the best parallel parkers…

Camping Resources – a guide

So you’ve looked at caravans and campervans for sale. You’ve bought your beast. Now comes the fun part – planning your trip! After years of camping around Australia and talking to fellow campers we’ve compiled the ultimate list of websites, apps and books to help you plan where to stay and just as importantly find a good place to stay when you haven’t planned.

WEBSITES

  • This Airbnb style website for campers is new so check back soon as more and more members/campsites are being added daily home-camp.com
  • If you have a Facebook account, it’s always useful to join a camping group relevant to the state you’re in. You can ask questions regarding areas you are planning to travel and get advice and recommendations from likeminded campers and friendly locals.
  • A great website for finding a campsite close by when you’re already on the road http://www.findacamp.com.au
  • If you are looking for a last minute stopover or somewhere you will go unnoticed for the night, try searching your intended location on Google Earth and zooming in on the area. You can then work out areas that are less built up and even pin point dead end streets or carparks near a cliff, beach, bush area etc.

APPS

  • We have had lots of great feedback on the Wikicamps Australia app, which can be downloaded to your smartphone or iphone.

BOOKS

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  • The best camping Australia publisher has to be Explore Australia. If you love National Parks check out their ‘Explore Australia’s National Parks’ book. It’s big in size but has great info on walks, wildlife, camping and everything in between.
  • A good all round campground directory to have is Explore Australia’s ‘Camping Around Australia’. It’s a large book and doesn’t go into a lot of detail on each campground but is a great directory to keep in your campervan.
  • If you want something more specific and are only going to be visiting one state or stretch of coast Explore Australia have a ‘best of’ for each state which go into much more detail and are thankfully a lot smaller in size!
  • (Again, Explore Australia) have a great ‘foodies’ guide to road tripping Australia. It’s called ‘Gourmet Touring around Australia’ and covers off all things food from farmers markets and stalls, take away shops and cafes to five star dining.

If you know of a great camping resource that we haven’t covered here please share it with us. Email info@achtungcamper.com.au

Happy Vanning :>