When we think about owning a campervan, a big part of the charm is the ability to travel to far-flung places, see glowing sunsets, meet new friends and wake up somewhere new every day.
If the freedom and flexibility to hit the open road and travel on your terms appeals to you, then the thought of owning a campervan may have already occurred to you. It’s not just a vehicle, it’s a lifestyle, and it’s your home for as long or short as you step inside.
Owning your first campervan or motorhome is a big step. Beyond choosing the right RV for you, you’ll no doubt have a few questions about motorhome ownership and everything that it entails. From getting a handle on the driving to operating your interior, thinking about where you’ll park your campervan to how often you should maintain your vehicle, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our ultimate guide to campervan ownership, and everything you need to know to get started.
Campervans are relatively compact in comparison to the larger RV-style motorhome. This means they’re easier to manoeuvre, and you won’t need as much space when you’re parking your camper to go shopping at the supermarket, exploring popular reserves, or parking up for the night.
But you will still need to consider its size, and make sure there’s plenty of room for others to get around you, and you don’t block traffic or walkways.
When you’re not using your campervan, you need to think about where you can store it. Many of the local parking regulations don’t allow campers to be parked up within the city limits overnight, and some rest areas also have restrictions if the vehicle isn’t self-contained.
If you don’t have space on your property, check with friends and family whether they have space for your camper, otherwise you’ll need to look at caravan parks or even storage facilities.
When you’re on the road, you’ll have plenty more choices of where to park. There are designated free camping spots right across Australia, as well as caravan parks and holiday parks. This is a great budget-friendly way to explore.
If you’d like to build your confidence to drive your motorhome, check out our guide.
One of the best things about owning a camper is being able to travel with all your home comforts. And that includes a kitchen. It will be small but it is designed to be practical.
While you can still use communal kitchen facilities or BBQs, having a kitchen onboard means you don’t have to. When it’s raining, you’ll be so glad you don’t have to step outside in the wet while others around you struggle to get the BBQ started, or have to make a mad dash from the kitchen.
If you’re a foodie and cooking is something that’s important to you, consider choosing a campervan with a layout that prioritises room for cooking so you have maximum space for crafting cuisine on board, and the prep that comes with it. Plan ahead and get a collection of recipes together you want to try while you’re out on the road and have them handy to whip up in the motorhome.
Ditch the esky and install a fridge in your camper to enjoy a cold one after a day of exploring, or keep your fresh meat and produce cool. Make sure you turn it on overnight before you pack anything into it so it’s nice and crispy from the outset, take care not to overload it to keep the air circulating, and keep heavy stuff to the bottom or remove it when travelling so your favourite bottle of wine doesn’t bump around and break.
Consider buying food as you go so you have less waste, and can support the local communities by getting your meats, fruit and vegetables from the farmers markets and local stores.
To make cooking hassle-free and maximise your storage space, look for compact cooking equipment and food storage containers. It’s incredible how much space can often be saved by removing food from their original packaging.
While you’ll love seeing the wildlife on your travels, there are some you won’t want to attract. Keep food contained and covered to avoid insects and unwelcome guests.
When your camper isn’t in use or you’re storing it, thoroughly clean out the fridge and leave the door ajar to keep it fresh.
Batteries and chargers aren’t created equal, so you’ll need to make sure you have a suitable battery and charger for your particular campervan.
You should choose your power system based on the type of travel you plan to do. For example, if you plan on going off the beaten track for an extended period of time, you might want to choose something you don’t have to charge on a daily basis.
Plan your trip so you have stops at powered sites along the way. This will keep your motorhome interior charged.
Even when your van is parked up, you’ll need to consider power, even if it’s a trickle charge. You can do this by hooking the camper up to power, or removing the batteries and having them hooked up to a portable charger.
When you’re on the road, it’s still possible to enjoy a nice warm shower after a day of exploring as many of our motorhomes are fitted with shower units. To use the shower, you need to keep the water flowing so it’s ready when you want it.
Your water tank might take around 20 minutes to heat so plan ahead and ensure you switch it on well in advance.
If you don’t want to run out of water, fill up your water tank every 1-2 days. You can connect it to fresh water sources at most of the holiday parks and campgrounds. This may not be suitable for drinking, so carry bottled water with you to stay hydrated or clean your produce.
For more information on how to keep the water running in your camper, check out our guide.
Your motorhome isn’t just your accommodation for the night, it’s your transport and safety on the road too. Keeping it maintained and serviced regularly isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a must.
Servicing a motorhome is different to a car. Rather than how many kilometres you’ve done, a motorhome is about time, so a service is recommended once every 6 months. Or more frequently if it’s getting used regularly.
You should get your camper serviced by a motorhome expert, not just any mechanic. They’ll check everything - brakes, lights, tyres, suspension, oil, filters and more.
If your motorhome isn’t used for long periods, you’ll need to check the tyre condition. If they’ve been sitting in one place without use, they can deteriorate and the rubber can go hard. Things like brake fluid and coolant are time-sensitive rather than distance travelled. Brakes can get sticky and the discs can rust. Where you store your camper will have an impact too. For example, parking it up near the beach will get salt spray on it, making it more susceptible to rust damage.
All KEA campers come with a minimum 12-month mechanical warranty, but ensure you have roadside assistance in case of an emergency.
It’s also very important to have a backup plan if your vehicle is suddenly taken off the road overnight or for an extended time. You don’t want to be stuck without anywhere to go for the night.
If you’d like to chat to us about purchasing a new or used motorhome, would like to upgrade a current one, or looking for the best way to explore Australia, we have you covered.
Start by thinking about what you want or need from your motorhome, and we can show you new and used vehicles within your budget. Some of the things you’ll want to be thinking about are:
Kea Motorhomes are built tough for local conditions and designed to last the distance. We have more than 30 years of experience in life on the road and would love to help you find your perfect RV.