One Family’s Campervan Adventures and a new Venture

November 7, 2013

This guest post comes from Craig and Karen of Just Chillin Campers. If you never thought a campervan holiday was possible with three kids then think again!

The T5 Campervan and the kids exploring Scotland

We have three kids, Euan 9, Charlotte 7 and Olivia 5 who all love camping, whether it’s a tent, a caravan or camper.

Campervan holidays for us mean the independence to have the holiday we want our way.

They adore the freedom that camping gives them and love the chance to make new friends and explore new campsites as well as returning to old favourites.

Just this year we got our adorable chocolate lab puppy Coco (she has been campervanning twice already!) and we have discovered how easy it is to take your dog with you when you go camping.

Campervan holidays for us mean the independence to have the holiday we want our way.

Not happy with just one campervan

We currently have two VW campers:

T5 'Highland' Campervan in Scotland
Highlander our modern T5 conversion

Highlander has all mod cons and is as easy to drive as any people carrier. She really is a ‘go anywhere’ van.  She is a cool crisp white with a sleek interior with a splash of colour in her handmade curtains!

Rio V 'dub' W Campervan
Rio our retro Brazilian T2 (Danbury conversion)

Rio is a gorgeous, head turning VW with her classic looks in combination with the reliability of a modern van (only 2 years old).  She is a beautiful pistachio green colour with her white pop top roof and coordinating modern interior.

We have kitted out both our campervans with everything needed for a fantastic short break or longer holiday.

Living in a campervan – with a family of 5 plus dog!

Family campervan adventures win the kids
A great advantage of campervans is the ease of setting up and packing up! So much quicker than setting up a tent.

After arriving at a campsite, it’s just a matter of levelling the van with blocks, connecting up the power supply ( we always recommend visiting pitches with hook up, got to keep that wine cooled in the fridge!) and turning on the gas ready for a cuppa.

Setting up the beds later is just as easy, just pop up and secure the roof and the kids are set.  The seating quickly pulls down to make the ‘downstairs’ bed!

We wanted complete flexibility with the sleeping arrangements – here’s how a family of five (plus dog) can sleeping in a camper van:

  • Both vans have ‘rock ‘n’ roll beds which comfortably sleep two adults.
  • The pop top roofs elevate to sleep two. We recommend children in this bed but the maximum permitted weight is 14 stone so could sleep one small adult and one child (Karen and Euan road tested this one).
  • We also have a hammock style bed, which can be fitted across the front cab and can take an extra child.

So inside the vans can sleep up to 5.

In addition, drive away awnings are great for families with older kids. As well as extra space and storage, you can even have sleeping compartments.

Awnings can be left pitched at your campsite whilst you go off exploring in the van for the day.

Life on the road – A Campervan Family Adventure

[pullquote style=”right”]One of the real benefits of campers is being able to camp at anytime of the year[/wpsm_quote]Last year we had a fantastic short break in “Highlander” to the beautiful Scottish Highlands, including the Isle of Mull (see picture above). This was at the October half term!

One of the real benefits of campers is being able to camp at anytime of the year. Both our vans are fitted with heaters so that they are toastie no matter what the weather!

The scenery and wildlife was amazing. We watched otters playing and the kids loved the beaches as well as the colourful town of Tobermory on Mull (home of Balamory). No sea eagles this time but this gives us a good excuse to return!

[pullquote style=”right”]It was a real adventure made possible with our home on wheels.[/wpsm_quote]Not all campsites are open at this time of year but we didn’t have any trouble in finding friendly sites with good facilities. The campervan allowed us the flexibility to stop anywhere we wanted, have lunch or a cuppa in the van (a lot cheaper than eating out and with better views!). It was a real adventure made possible with our home on wheels.

A new venture

After much talking we took the plunge and bought a motorhome in 2012 because we wanted our kids to be able to enjoy the same type of adventures we had enjoyed as youngsters.

We’ve had great holidays in “Bertha” our 7-berth Burstner and we also had a lot of requests for hiring her out. This really got us thinking!!  At 7.35m long Bertha is not the most manoeuvrable of vehicles but campervans at around only 5m in length are. After much research and allowing us to share our passion for VW’s we finally bought our vans (a Brazilian T2 and a T5), and started our own campervan hire business.


We live in a beautiful part of the country right in the middle of the beautiful Suffolk countryside with easy access to either Suffolk / Norfolk coasts. Of course the vans go all over but with so much on our doorstep we felt it was an ideal location to start a campervan journey. We’ve had great camping, caravanning, motorhome and now campervan holidays with our brood and we firmly believe that people of all ages and backgrounds should have access to great holidays in our campers.

Now we don’t just cater for families (we have a whole range of people hiring, couples, groups and even wedding parties) but having a young family ourselves we feel we really know what families need and aim to ensure we provide everything we would want ourselves in a holiday.

We specifically bought vans that have 5 seatbelts (all 3 point proper belts), so a family of 5 can travel safely.

Just Chillin Campers is very much a family venture.


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Karen and Craig Chillin
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Karen and Craig Chillin

If you’re inspired to take your family on a campervan holiday, pop over to Just Chillin Campers to see what Karen, Craig and their family are up to and check out hiring one of their vans.

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  1. When we go out for the day with our dog we can leave her in the car with windows open for a couple of hours. In fact she loves the car, We were talking about getting a camper van as it would make trips nicer but then I read that you shouldn’t leave dogs in one and then I realised you probably wouldn’t leave windows open so wonder what other people do if they want to go shopping or spend short time somewhere that is not dog friendly?

    • We don’t have a campervan but have a similar issue when going away with our dog. One of us ends up dog sitting or we just don’t visit places that aren’t dog friendly.

  2. Hello. Can I ask what awning you would recommend for a family of 5. At the moment our children are still small so would easily fit in the van but want to buy an awning that will allow for us to move into to sleep when the children are older. Thanks.

  3. Hi there, I’m thrilled to have come across this – as a family of 2+2 little ones+a dog, and I’d love a third child in the near future, we have been wondering if we could all fit in a campervan! It is great to hear that is possibly to do so safely and enjoyably! Can I ask, what type of van did you go for, to get the three proper seats in the back, that presumably can fit car seats in them? We have been looking at a VW Cali SE, but the 5th seat seems cumbersome, and also at the Bilbo Celex and Danbury conversions. Any advice gratefully received! Daisy

    • Hi Daisy,

      Here’s what Karen and Craig were using: Rio (VWBrazillian – Danbury conversion) and Highlander (T5 – modern take on an old classic).

      You can e-mail them at [email protected] and I’m sure they’ll do their best to help 🙂


  4. We are just about to buy our 5th camper. Each time getting bigger and bigger to fit the ever growing family and fancy dress collection.
    Love our family adventures together. Nothing like it. Who needs airplanes?!

    • We’ve been looking at campers for years, but never managed to buy one (not sure where we’d put it). We’ve still got our eye on a T5 – though probably just the ‘transporter’ type than a full camper as it could carry all our camping gear 😉

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