I’ve surveyed a Facebook group of almost 8000 microcamping owners & enthusiasts – asking them this question:
What is the most important thing for you on a micro camper?
Here are the results of the 376 responses the survey has received – what do people value in a microcamper conversion candidate the most? How do they choose the perfect car for a microcamper conversion?
1. Boot length
21% of responses
The longer, the better – more room for your feet when sleeping and for storage. Shorter boot length means you will have to push the front seats forward – reducing the storage space you could use them for. The best cars in this area are VW Caddy Maxi and VW Sharan (Seat Alhambra), Ford Galaxy, Chrysler Grand Voyager, Renault Grand Kangoo, Peugeot Partner (L2 – Long). This shouldn’t be the only criteria of course – some of these cars are long, but disappoint in other areas (consumption, comfort, reliability).
3. Boot height
12% of responses
Headroom – you can sleep in any long car, but the taller the boot, the more comfortable it gets. You can sit down on your bed. You can store more underneath your bed. You can get in and out easily. The highest cars are Chrysler Grand Voyager, VW Caddy, VW Sharan (Seat Alhambra), Peugeot Partner, Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo.
8% of responses
As opposed to a barn-door (double door) style boot door. A tailgate doesn’t get in the way when you walk around the vehicle + acts as a roof & shade + you can attach a car/suv tent to it easily. Hence it’s understandably preferred by many microcamper enthusiasts. Most of our top picks for car camping have a tailgate – VW Caddy, VW Sharan (Seat Alhambra), Peugeot Partner, Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo, Skoda Roomster.
5. Sliding doors
7.2% of responses
The last thing you want to be doing when camping in your car is always walking around the open side doors. It seems trivial, but believe me, it does get in a way a lot. Not a problem with sliding doors – you won’t know they are there, it’s easy to enter the front and the middle section of the car. Most of our top picks (usually the newer models) have a sliding door: VW Caddy, VW Sharan (Seat Alhambra), Peugeot Partner, Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo.
You should definitely make sure your future microcamper has all these features if you want to make the most of it and save yourself some gray hair.
Additional favorite features people voted for:
- multifunctional (6.9% of votes) – this wasn’t defined specifically, it could mean the everyday use we have above (reversibility), but it could also mean that the car has better multifunctional equipment – i.e. more 12V chargers, better storage, better seats folding options, a swivel front passengers seat etc.
- comfortable drive (5% of votes) – because you don’t just sleep in the car – you will still use it mostly for driving. You want something that isn’t just a good camper, but also a good car for long journeys in the driver’s seat. Look out for interior comfort features (armrest, AC, good driver’s seat) and also drive quality (good suspension, noise reduction).
- self-sufficient and inconspicuous (5% of votes) – the self-sufficient part is related to having your own electricity source, light source (be it small battery powered LEDs or car battery powered lights), a kitchen (gas stove, water, some like a sink, cutlery and utensils) a fridge. The inconspicuous part fits the microcamper category very well – you don’t want to advertise “hey, I’m camping here for the night!” to every passing car and person. Microcampers look just like any other parked car (unless you have a car tent next to it), so you won’t raise suspicion as much as a caravan or a big van would. You can sleep in the middle of a city if you have a toilet solution…
People voted boot length their top feature, but at the same time, in a separate survey about what car they converted to a microcamper, they voted Citroen Berlingo or the Renault Kangoo at the top – which aren’t the longest cars in the MPV category (it’s VW Caddy or Chrysler Voyager). The Berlingo’s Long version boot is 176cm long with the seats down / out, the Grand Kangoo is much better – with a 221cm long boot (and Kangoo standard 180cm). See our microcamper comparison table for all the measurements and other cars. Presumably, there are other factors that also play a role:
- price – a used Berlingo is easy to get at a much cheaper price than a Caddy, Sharan or a Voyager (2015 used Berlingo average price is 8500 GBP / 9800 EUR, whereas 2015 used Sharan average price is 12500 GBP / 14500 EUR, used Caddy is 10000 GBP / 11500 EUR
- availability – the 67 used 2015 Berlingos on offer are more than the Sharan + Caddy offers combined for the year 2015
- another thing at play is the availability bias – you see many Berlingo or Renault Kangoo DIY conversions, forums, images – so that’s the car you pick too. It’s a good car – but make sure it fits your criteria, as different people have different criteria (for me it wasn’t the best option in terms of drive comfort, noise reduction, interior comfort and length).
- vans – there’s an MPV Berlingo and a van Berlingo. Presumably many of the Berlingos people convert are the van versions (no seats at the back, easier to convert). If you don’t want a van but a normal 5-7 seater, then there are better options for you – like the VW Caddy or Sharan, but also Renault Grand Kangoo.
Do you agree with the top voted features of a microcamper? What are yours? Let us know in the comments!