Campervanning with a Toddler

Tales from the Love Campers people

It’s widely accepted that doing anything with a toddler other than surviving until the end of the day (or night) with your basic faculties intact, is a pretty extraordinary feat.

Why therefore would anyone try to go anywhere with a toddler, let alone in a campervan? We run a campervan company and we have a toddler, and if there is something we love, its combining the two.

Our two year old daughter loves our vans so much that she has already managed to start the ignition on both of them. And recent updates to our camper include covering the window handles with cardboard and removing all the knobs for anything gas related.

Love Campers Sprinter Conversion - Kitchen

But the real question is, would I recommend campervanning with a toddler? And can it be done safely and with lots of fun for adults and the little ones too?

The answer to all of these questions is a genuine and emphatic yes.

Full disclosure: we do this a lot. We go on trips involving sleeping over in the van for a night or two with our daughter very frequently throughout the year. This May we spent almost a month in the campervan and in July we went away for a week touring the Channel Islands. We have a four or five night trip to Dorset planned for September and we are campervanning up to Scotland in October.

Love Campers Sprinter Conversion - Exterior

We mainly use our large, longwheelbase Sprinter for our family trips, but when we went to the Channel Islands we took our microcamper, the Mitsubishi Delica L400. You can read about the reasoning for this here – campervanning in Guernsey.

The Pros

For me, these centre around having quality family time and being close to nature.

Love Campers Sprinter Conversion - Interior Beds

You might think that being in a confined space – essentially a metal box – with your toddler for days on end, would be a real challenge of your patience and their ingenuity. But somehow, it’s not. In fact, what I like most about campervanning with the whole family are the evenings we get to spend together in the van. There’s truly something really special about being in that enclosed, cosy space together. It means that Darren (Mr Love Campers to you) and I have to talk to each other rather than swapping in and out of childcare duties.

Obviously though, you don’t want to be too confined. Furthur is relatively spacious, meaning that if for some reason, such as the weather, we can’t be outside, then there’s space for our daughter to play. We have a very large platform bed at the back of the van where we can all sleep. In the evenings, it’s a good base for stories and chill-out time.

Alternatively, if you have a smaller van, then a drive-away awning or an additional tent, like we used in the Channel Islands, could give you that extra space that can sometimes be necessary for the preservation of everyone’s mental balance. Just because you are a campervanner doesn’t mean you can’t also be a camper, after all!

For me the main pro though, is being out in the countryside and close to nature. With a toddler, relatively simple things keep them occupied so finding a campsite with a few little extras such as a playpark or woods close by, is perfect.

We were worried, of course, about the nights but we have always found that our daughter sleeps better in a campervan or tent with us, than almost anywhere else. So sleep is unbelievably another pro for us.

The Rain

Obviously with any camping or quasi-camping holiday, especially in the UK, there is a possibility of rain. I grew up in Scotland so I really don’t care about rain. I’ll also throw in the well-worn sentiment here that there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

I’ll just end by saying that campervanning in the rain is a very different experience to camping in the rain. I’d even go so far as to suggest when you’re lying in a campervan at night with the heating blasting and a sleeping toddler beside you, listening to the drum of rain on the roof, that feeling of total relaxation and contentment, is priceless.

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