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One Family's Campervan Adventures and a new Venture

Posted by Karen and Craig Chillin.
First Published Jun 2013; updated May 2023.

Campervans are cool! But they are also small. However, Craig and his family of 5 have no problem, and they can all sleep in the van. They loved their campervans so much, they started a campervan business.

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

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:

Highlander our modern T5 conversion

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

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

One of the real benefits of campers is being able to camp at anytime of the year

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!

It was a real adventure made possible with our home on wheels.

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.