One of the most stressful parts of any hiking holiday can be sorting your kit and squeezing everything into the boot of the car. Enter the campervan, which allows you to take all of the gear you need and more, so you're prepared for any weather or scenario the hills can throw at you.
The Live for the Outdoors team has combined campervanning and hiking on many memorable trips over the years. And although we like to think we know a thing or two about where to walk and how to do it safely, we're certainly not the experts when it comes to choosing your campervan and planning that aspect of your trip.
So we've teamed up with Goboony, an online platform where campervan owners rent out their vehicles to other outdoor enthusiasts. This gives everyone the chance to hit the open road without having to shell out tens of thousands of pounds to buy their own campervan.
Goboony's experts have put together their top tips for taking a campervan on your next hiking holiday, so you can plan challenging walking routes knowing you'll return to much-needed comfort. Like a real bed and a hot shower! Here's how to make it happen...
Choosing the right campervan
First, consider which destination you’ll be heading to and the type of roads you’ll need to take. If you're not sure about how narrow and winding the roads could be, it’s advisable to choose a more compact campervan so you won’t be caught out on any roads you can’t pass.
For example, a Volkswagen T5 or T6 has all the space and features you’ll need, while still being small enough to drive comfortably on narrow roads. Also, consider how many people will be joining you. Will you only need a 2-berth or something with a pop-top to create an extra bed?
In general, look for a vehicle that is suitable for off-the-beaten-track adventures. A hiking holiday isn’t the best time to test out a cute vintage VW, as they tend to struggle with long distances or off-the-beaten-track roads and are much smaller inside.
Consider your must-haves
On top of the basics that you’ll look for, consider how you’ll spend your trip and what extra amenities you would benefit from. If you plan to do some cycling as well, you’ll need a bike rack.
Off-grid amenities such as solar panels and longer battery life are ideal for anyone looking to wild camp or stay on remote sites. During cooler seasons when hiking, a heater and hot water will be a welcomed relief after a long day. If you’re not staying at a campsite with facilities, consider if you’ll want a shower and toilet to make your stay more comfortable.
And if you’re bringing your dog along for all your outdoor walks, pick a pet-friendly campervan!
Where to go on your road trip?
Whether you’re just dipping your toes into the hillwalking world or ticking off all the peaks you can, deciding on your location is one of the most exciting parts. Consider how many hours a day you want to be hiking and how much of a challenge you'd like it to be.
The Lake District is known for its variety of walks, but the options to just park up at the base of a mountain and spend a night away from other campers are limited. Despite covering 912 square miles, the sheer volume of visitors can often make the Lakes feel overcrowded – particularly in peak seasons – so make sure you book a campsite before you go. The same advice applies in other popular walking areas such as Snowdonia, the Peak District, and the Yorkshire Dales.
If you really want to get away from it all, head to Scotland. It's almost as though the North West Highlands was designed to be explored by campervan, with a seemingly endless collection of mountains, lochs, and glens to discover. The most famous areas such as Ben Nevis, Gen Coe, Skye, and the NC500 route can get very busy. But if you're prepared to get off the beaten track you'll be treated to singletrack roads that wind through ancient pine forests, with plenty of remote and deserted laybys to park up and spend nights in the wild.
If you are planning on wild camping rather than booking a campsite for the night, please do so by making as little impact as possible. Choose your location carefully, ask for permission from the landowner, try to make sure you arrive late and leave early, and always take all of your rubbish away with you.
Security is key
If you’ll be away from your campervan for hours at a time while walking in the hills and mountains, it’s important to make sure it’s secure. Ensure the windows are covered so nobody can see in, and that all windows are shut and doors locked. The alarm should also be activated.
If the vehicle you choose comes with any added security, make sure this is also active before leaving. And if you’re planning on leaving the vehicle unattended for hours, don’t leave it in a wild camping spot – instead opt for a more secure car park or campsite.
What to pack?
Having a campervan means you don’t have to worry too much about overpacking, because for once you'll have plenty of space to bring anything extra you might need. Consider the season and pack plenty of clothes for all weather – after all, British summer is always unpredictable.
Take a first aid kid with blister plasters and other basic medical supplies. Create a list of all the hiking gear you’ll need and use packing cubes to separate the clothing so it’s easy to find on a daily basis. If you need some advice and inspiration for your walking gear shopping list, check out the reviews in our hiking section.
Now get going!
Once you've decided when and where you'll be going on your campervan hiking holiday, the only thing left to do is book your vehicle. With Goboony, you can rent a unique campervan easily, safely and affordably from a local owner.
Visit Goboony's website to find out how it all works: www.goboony.co.uk