You may have just decided to take the plunge and buy a VW California (or another camper van) or you may be just about to take ownership.  Either way, it’s a very exciting time and you’ll be looking forward to planning camping trips away.  At this stage many people start to think: “so what else do I need ?”.

This is the subject of much debate – some of it quite heated – since everyone has their own personal preferences and experiences with camper vans and camping generally.  The bottom line is that you need to make your own choices – but hopefully in this post I can highlight the choices we made and give you the benefit of my own and others’ experiences.

Options for the VW California

If you’ve browsed through the VW California brochure you’ll no doubt be mentally racking up a long options list.  From climate control, parking sensors and leather seats to sat navs, an additional fifth seat and a roll-out awning there are a lot of options available.  But at over £44,000 for a new Cali in the UK you can be forgiven for wondering whether any of thes extras are actually necessary.

It’s true tha the Cali is well specced – you’ll not find the range of standard features on any VW conversion – but it’s also worth thinking carefully about how you’re going to use your new van.

These are the options we ordered on our 2010 Cali, together with some brief observations on why these were important to us:

  • Climatronic: having previously camped in France in 2003 at 42 degrees we see decent a/c as a comfort issue.  We often find  set the system at different temperatures in the front/back of the van – this is a 3-zone system;
  • 17″ Neva alloy wheels: purely aesthetic;
  • Detachable towbar: I’m not a fan of tailgate bike racks and therefore a towbar-mounted bike rack was my preference;
  • Cruise control: comfort on long motorway drives;
  • Front and rear parking sensors: the van is my daily vehicle – parking sensors save my stress levels;
  • Front and rear mudflaps: keeps the mud off !
  • Rear bumper cover: keeps the scratches off !
  • Metallic paint: sand beige was our preferred colour;
  • Privacy glass: I have to say that a Cali just looks strange without this.  I frequently also get changed in the back of the van in a car park or layby when I’m out walking and privacy glass does what it says on the tin;
  • Roll-out awning: my personal view is that this is the Cali’s ‘signature’ – this is a constant reminder that I’m driving a camper van and not a builders’s van or people carrier.  It puts a smile on my face.

You may clearly come to a different set of preferences (leather seats, bluetooth connectivity and an electrically-operated side door also seem to be popular options) but this is what works for us.  I would, however, point out that while towbars, awnings, cruise control, mudflaps, privace glass and parking sensors can all be fitted retrospectively, they’re all more expensive and a big hassle this way and so it’s worth thinking through these things carefully before you buy or place your order.  For 5-person families you’ll clearly need an additional seat – here, an extra rail needs to be fitted in the Cali in the factory and so this needs to be ordered from the start.

Accessories for your camper van

Now this is where the fun starts !  There are lots of gadgets and “stuff” available to improve your use of your camper van and to personalise it.  For example:

  • how will you sleep in it (sleeping bags or duvets) ?
  • do you need a separate driveaway awning (tent) to store your things when on a camping site ?
  • do you plan to carry bikes/kayaks or tow a trailer ?
  • what will you do for cooking equipment (pots, pans, plates etc) and how will you store your food ?

But before you go out with your cheque book in hand, think carefully about what you’ll actually need.  In fact, before we bought our van I read some pretty good advice on the VW California forum: “don’t buy anything at first but live with your camper van for a while“.  While the sentiment is correct (you can be tempted to part with a lot of cash if you’re not exactly sure what you’ll need), with the benefit of experience I can say that this advice isn’t quite right.  In fact, there are a few things which I suggest are essential from day one.

The essential accessories …

  1. Seat covers:  first, unless you’ve got leather seats in your van, you’ll find that the light grey cloth seats aren’t exactly the most practical colour.  Irrespective of how careful you’ll be, you won’t be able to avoid small stains (eg water drips on to the driver’s seat from the awning on a wet morning) and if you have messy kids or dogs (or both) then seat covers are absolutely essential.  In the UK there are basically two choices right now: Inka make very functional (waterproof) grey covers (these are very similar to the VW covers but cheaper) and Brandrup make close-fitting fabric covers matching the actual seat fabric pattern.  I personally didn’t want my van looking like a builder’s van (and don’t have a dog, and the kids are old enough not to spill stuff) so deliberately avoided the Inka/VW covers, and managed to get some Brandrup covers secondhand on eBay.  They’re great and so close-fitting that you’re unaware that you actually have seat covers.
  2. Gas: second, you’ll need a gas bottle to cook on, connected up in your rear cupboard.  For the Cali you’ll need the Camping Gaz 907 bottle), about £30 from Go Outdoors (or other camping shops).
  3. Hook-up lead(s):  you’ll need a hook-up lead to get 240v power while on site.  Get a long one (30m), which ideally winds around a drum to it’s easy to put away again.  (Note: you’ll also need a hook-up lead adaptor so you can connect the lead from the into a 13A socket at home.  This is advised if you’re not using the van for a period of time so the engine isn’t charging up the leisure batteries).

The ‘nice to have’ accessories …

So that’s about it on the ‘essentials’ list, but what about the other accessories you may need or want ?  In no particular order here’s a list of the various things that we’ve acquired over the last couple of years, with comments and observations on our experiences of actually using them.

But before we move on, let’s just stop and think for a minute.  A camper van signifies freedom, the open road, going where you like, and taking off at a moment’s notice.  If like us you’ve previously got so fed up with the amount of “stuff” needed for just a weekend’s camping trip in a tent, why would you want to repeat the same mistake ?  Too much stuff equals unnecessary weight taking up valuable space in what is inevitably a well-designed but compact camper van.  Do you really want to have so much stuff to take that it becomes a chore ?  (And – horror of horrors – do you really want to join the caravanners and take to the great outdoors simply to watch TV inside your camper van !!).  So my advice would be to go lightly and pack smartly since you may regret bad purchases later on.  Anyway, enough of my lecturing, what’s in my van ?

Sleeping:

  • Duvalays:  our number one purchase.  Forget sleeping bags.  Now that you have a camper van you can afford some comfort and luxury so go for the convenience of an all-in-one duvet and memory foam mattress.  They roll up and we fit four on the rear parcel shelf alongside our coats
  • Waterproof roof cover:  you’ll need this not only to keep heavy rain off the elevating roof (almost waterproof anyway) but more particularly to keep you warm ‘upstairs’.  The ‘upstairs’ bed is a few degrees cooler in cold weather than ‘downstairs’.  There are several makes available including the Vanorak (which we have but I don’t know if it’s still available), the Khyam Camper Cosi, the Cali Topper (the current favourite among many Cali owners) and the Mutze cap (imported from Germany and slightly more expensive).  Brandrup also make a goretex inner liner (all of the others fit externally on top of the Cali’s roof) which can be left in situ when the roof is lowered.  The Cali Topper seems to have the upper hand in design terms (using bungees rather than straps) and has improved the design weaknesses of some of the earlier products.  [In the picture below you can see the Vanorak (nearest on Lydia), then the Khyam Camper Cosi and then the Cali Topper furthest away.  Note that the Cali Topper is available either with or without windows].

Scottish Cali meet

Driving:

  • Carpets:  similar to the light grey seat fabric, the standard Cali carpet in the front is also light grey.  You’ll quickly want to get a more sensibly-coloured additional carpet.  We have a good quality, dark grey carpet that’s a very neat fit in the cab (from QTM) which is highly recommended.  They also do carpets for the main living area of the van but we just use an offcut from one of our house carpets for the meantime which I cut to size and does the job admirably
  • Seat back organiers:  essential for keeping pens, notebooks, kids’ toys and handy nick-nacks.  Those with style and lots of money will go down the Brandrup route; others like us will buy perfectly functional seatback organisers from Asda for £5 !(similar to these)
  • Headlight protectors:  this is more a nice-to-have rather than an essential buy.  We bought headlight protectors when we go to the continent, having already fitted headlight beam deflectors to them.  It’s difficult to see where the beam deflectors fit on the Cali’s headlights but the protectors have markings on and are easy to fit (and save the hassle of having to remove the glue backing from headlights afterwards)
  • DVD players:  we already had DVD players in our previous car which strap to the front seat headrests.  On long journeys we’ve found these a godsend so reduce the “are we there yet” pleas from the back seat.

Camping:

  • Levelling blocks: if you park on a slope of even a few degrees you’ll notice it.  Not only will you slide down inside your Duvalay/sleeping bag but your wine won’t look steady.  We’ve used our Fiamma chocks reasonably frequently and I wouldn’t be without them.  They stay permanently in the van in the little space underneath the rear bench seat.
  • Driveaway awning: we inherited a Khyam awning (now discontinued) which we only really use when we’re on a site for more than a couple of nights.  We find that it works in certain but not all conditions.  It’s best in hot weather (all four sides can unzip and roll up), if it’s warm but wet (somewhere to eat or stretch out in) or if we’re wanting to have somewhere to store our bikes on site.  But it does take up quite a bit of room so we don’t bother with it for a weekend.  (Note:  I’m keen to buy a large tarp-style awning, either in cotton or preferably sailcloth, which will be very flexible.  They’re popular in Holland and unfortunately almost impossible to get hold of in the UK.  These would easily be my preferred awning for European holidays but Scottish weather isn’t quite as kind …)
  • Spirit level (or iPhone app):  the easiest method to check you’re level is to pour a glass of something cold.  However, assuming you’re not cracking open the wine while still maneovering into your parking space (it’s been known, though …), I would recommend the TiltMeter iPhone app.
  • Portable stove:  don’t make the mistake we did and cook smelly fish in the camper van when it was still new … instead, go to Go Outdoors and buy a cheap single-burner stove and cook smelly and fatty foods (sausages, bacon) outside to save your interior.  It uses butane gas canisters, available in packs of three.  Ours just stays in the boot until needed.
  • 3 piece saucepan set and frying pan:  ours came from a second-hand shop
  • Kettle:  there’s nothing to beat a kettle with a whistle (even if the ‘whistle’ keeps falling off the spout !).  The silicone Wacky Practicals kettle is now becoming popular which is a neat design, and I see they also make buckets and bowls
  • Plates, bowls, cutlery, utensils, mugs etc.:  not forgetting essentials like tin opener, veg peeler, bottle opener / corkscrew, kitchen knife, wooden spoon, sporks, chopping board, tea towel and a metal stove-top coffee pot (still the best design for good, strong coffee).  Our melamine plates/bowls came from Cath Kidston, the coffee pot we already had for camping and everything else is best bought from Ikea
  • Collapsible colander:  collapsible silicone designs are great space-savers.  Ours came from Amazon
  • Orlieb waterproof carrier:  this was our star buy last year.  It always seems a hassle to get your dishes washed after a meal – what do you stack dirty dishes in to take them to get washed ?  We spotted someone on a campsite in Holland with one of Ortlieb’s large 20 litre waterproof buckets and immediately wanted one.  It’s so versatile and folds down really small.  According to Ortlieb, “it can be used for a whole host of chores including doing dishes, washing clothes, berry-picking, as an outdoor aquarium, feeding animals or even bathing young children
  • BBQ:  we have a simple and classic bucket BBQ from RE that works really well.  I don’t think they sell it anymore but others are available

Miscellaneous:

  • Bike rack:  as I mentioned above I think that a tailgate-mounted bike rack (the VW one is most commonly purchased) not only impedes the rear view but also lowers fuel economy.  Instead, we have a towbar-mounted rack which I only fit when I need to (the detachable towbar literally takes minutes to fit).  We use the Thule bike rack I used on my previous car which unfortunately doesn’t tilt backwards enough to allow the rear tailgate to clear it completely.  This is a minor hassle given that I need to take the bikes off before I can open the tailgate but acceptable given how frequently this happens.  However, from what others have said I think top-of-the-range Thule bike rack and the Atera Strada rack tilt back much more and so it you’re buying from scratch these are the ones to go for.
  • Odds and ends box:  in the boot I keep a plastic lidded box with various items for camping such as the hook-up leads plus the continental versions, a 2-person tent (in case of ’emergencies’ or surprise visitors !), BBQ utensils, a short piece of hose with a funnel on the end to fill up the water tank, tools and gaffa tape, and a crab line and hooks.

The accessories we haven’t found or needed (yet) …

While these are the accessories we have, I’m aware that there’s a lot of discussion about other accessories that other Cali owners rate.  These include:

  • Silverscreen windscreen covers:  while the internal windsreen cover cuts out most of the light and retains some heat on cold nights, it’s not that great at reducing condensation.  The Silverscreen fits on the outside of the windscreen (attached by looping around the mirrors and two front doors) and I’m told is very effective in reducing condensation.  (See the third Cali from the left in the photo above).
  • Rubbish bin:  more organised campers have a bespoke rubbish bin (we use plastic bags !).  Ikea make a bin (the narrow ‘Rationell’ waste sorting bin) that fits neatly behind the front passenger seat
  • Cobb BBQ and/or Remoska cooker: others swear by these convenient and flexbible additional cookers … I guess we just haven’t felt the need.

I hope you find this useful.  I’d stress once again that much of this is down to personal preference – I’m only providing our experiences and highlighting others’ choices.  Enjoy accessorising your camper van and remember: accessories are only a means to an end, so the most important thing is just to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors !

 

Postscript:

For those interested in buying an awning or canopy for their camper van you may be interested in my Buyers’ Guide (posted August 2013).

29 Comments on “VW California Options and Accessories

  1. Thank you so much for the time and effort you have put into this!
    We are about to pick up our Cali on Friday and are very excited. Your blog has really helped us to clarify what we need to buy and don’t.
    One question – have you any thoughts on the usefulness of the official VW “shower” tent that attaches to the rear? The “drive away” ones look a little large for our needs as a couple.

  2. Hi Barbara,

    Thanks for the feedback – glad to hear our experiences are of some use. I bet Friday can’t come soon enough … exciting times !!

    That’s a good question about awnings. To be honest, I haven’t seen the VW tailgate tent – do you have a link ? I see a few other manufacturers sell them also.

    I think my advice would be to wait until you get the Cali (and some better weather!) and then just find out for yourselves how you’re using it and what would suit you. There are so many options that it really comes down to personal choice suited to your own requirements. Even better, go and have a nosy at other awnings on site – people just love to show off their gear and talk about camping stuff !

    We have a standalone awning which suits us just fine for stays of 2/3+ days. Ours doesn’t ‘attach’ to the van as do driveaway awnings such as the popular Khyam Motordome Classic. I would personally find attaching the awning a bit of a faff – plus I like lots of light to get into the van. From what I’ve seen online (I haven’t actually seen one ‘in the flesh’) the tailgate awnings all look pretty small. And I wonder how practical they would be given that you’d need to leave the van to access it and have the tailgate open all the time (cold draughts this time of year) ? Depends what you want to use it for I guess.

    Have you seen the front/side panels for the Cali roll-out awning ? [see http://www.california-accessories.com/vv_california_side_panels.html%5D They might be a quick and flexible option. I would personally want lots of windows in these so as not to exclude light but I like the flexibility of these. Although as I said in the article, a large tarp with a couple of extendable poles gives you all of this and more for a fraction of the price.

    I’d be interested to know how you get on …

  3. Thank you for your job!!! I am going to buy a Cali and your help is really appreciated!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Luca. Congratulations on deciding to buy a Cali – I’m sure it’s the right decision !

      • Hello, nice to meet you.
        We have a California Van vw, we would like to buy two maitress and sleeping bags for it, which ones do you suggest us with the right sizes?(one for the upper tent and for the bed downstairs).
        We can’t find the right model on the duvalay website, if you suggest the links or the correct names of the products it should be very appreciated.

        Thank you very much. Waiting for your kind reply.

        Luca e Federica

      • Luca and Federica, hopefully I can help you out with the Duvalays. They all come in a standard size (190 x 66cm) but there are three different thicknesses and an integrated ‘summer’ or ‘winter’ weight duvet. We have the 4cm thick mattress toppers (it’s good quality memory foam which gives a really comfortable nights’ sleep) together with the ‘summer’ weight duvets – and I would highly recommend this combination http://www.duvalay.co.uk/Boats/Memory_Foam_Duvalay/Summer_Duvalay_4cm. If you want real luxury, go for the 5cm thick memory foam mattress.

        We find that two Duvalays (just) fit side by side on both the ‘upstairs’ and ‘downstairs’ beds in the Cali. The bed is slightly wider upstairs but they do fit OK downstairs too, where the wardrobe makes the bed just a little bit narrower. If you want an exact fit, tell Raskelf when you order them because they have a precise template of the Cali downstairs bed and they’ll cut the memory foam mattresses so that they’re a perfect fit downstairs. We didn’t do this since we often swap our Duvalays around left/right and upstairs/downstairs depending on who wants to sleep where – plus, we often use the Duvalays in our house when guests come to stay.

        We also have the storage bags to keep them clean but you could always make these yourself or find something else (from Ikea?) if you wish. We have four Duvalays and can put them side-by-side on the top shelf in the boot of the Cali.

        I hope this helps !

  4. Hey Barbara,
    Hope you enjoyed your first spring with your new cali as we did.
    (also this year … we already put a little more than 12k km on it)

    Maybe I can help out with some personal impression about this shower tent.

    We saw the so called tent on an camper fair last autumn. We would recommend you forget about it. Its not much more than a curtain. Very bad designed connection to the car and it is open to the inside. So if you try to have a shower inside you will also shower the entire back of the van with everything packed there. From my point of view you better invest your money in a well tailored tent with a van connection tunnel for the sliding door side. (Outwell, dwt or vango) … or if you really want it for having a shower, there are some standalone solutions on the market much cheaper and more useful than this way too expensive curtain.

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  6. We hope to pick up our new Cali camper any time now. I just wanted to tell you how appreciative I am that you have taken the trouble to give out so much valuable information. You have saved me so much time and effort. We have had a T4, T3 and a T2 before, the last one in 1979 when the boys were younger and the dogs still with us. We now look forward to a bit more space without them. Having said that the grandchildren have expressed an interest in coming along some times. I can’t wait to try the Duvalay having been a bit cold before. We never had a topper and never experienced any wetness despite heavy rain and thunder storms. Were we just lucky?

    Anyway thanks again.

    • Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your kind words – only too happy to be able to pass on some knowledge and enthusiasm. You’ll be looking forward to getting out and about in your new Cali (and I’m sure others in your family will be wanting to borrow it too ..).

      Only once did we have wetness at the base of the roof canvas, during 30mph+ gusts on the West coast. It wasn’t a calamity, just damp to the touch, so we moved bedding away. However, I really wouldn’t be concerned about this since the canvas fibres apparently ‘close up’ after they’ve got wet once or twice which improves their water resistency. I think the main advantage of the roof topper is the added warmth ‘up top’. Waterproofing is a secondary benefit since unless there’s a driving wind, you’re unlikely to get much rain on the canvas.

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  8. Interesting article and certainly mirrors most of our experiences. We have a 2013 Cali and use it _a lot_ even with an 11mth old baby. While we are nn NZ just now we are coming ‘home’ mid this year and will bring ‘Brian’ with us as he is one of the family.

    Spec
    We went for the manual 4motion, mainly to aid getting out of fields etc and so far so good, we had a cracking example where no 2wd and quite a few softroaders were stuck. We got in, started him and and drove straight out then towed half a dozxen people out ! Also the roads here are chipseal and slippy so we prefer to have AWD vehicles generally
    We went for the same options – climatronic, privacy glass, mudflaps, towbar etc Only thing i would add would be delete the electric door is at is a PITA (beeps when closing and wakes the baby up !) and add electric folding mirrors for getting into tight spots.
    Bizarre thing is the NZ spec has heaps of options that UK vans are add-on like bluetooth, mfsw etc but no remote on the night heater – odd. Also comes with UK plug in it. To comply when we return all i need to do is recode the dash to think it is in the UK and i will have a large MPH speedo display which meets the requirements, odo etc in miles already.

    Bike racks
    If you want a budget option that works really well the Thule HangOn tilt racks are spot on as you can put 2/3 bikes on and tilt them down then open the boot really easily. Much cheaper than the EuroClassics.

    Looking forward to getting back and getting into the hills again.

    • Hi,

      Thanks for these useful comments – great to hear of your experiences. While we don’t have the electric door everyone seems to moan about how loud the beeper is first thing in the morning on a quiet campsite. The electric folding mirror is standard on UK spec Calis but as you say, bluetooth and the multifunctional steering wheel are both options. There are still some options which would be standard on many other manufacturers’ vehicles.

      Let me know how you get on with transporting ‘Brian’ the Cali back to the UK later in the year.

      PS I recognise you from the UK Cali Forum … can’t be too many Cali owners relocating from NZ to UK (Scotland even?)

  9. Hello and thank you for all these very interesting comments One question about the duvalay mattress you recommand: do you put it directly on the seats or do you Have something underneath? If you dont put anything, is the mattress good enough So that you dont feel the “bad spots” of the belt hanger between the seats while sleeping? Nicolas, Switzerland

    • Hi Nicolas,

      The Duvalay memory foam mattresses come in three different thicknesses – 2.5, 4 and 5cm. We have the 4cm thickness duvalay sleeping bags and they are very comfortable just to lay on top of the California’s seats/existing mattress. You don’t feel any bumps at all. (And in fact, you can easily tuck the seatbelts to the side and underneath the seats when they lay flat so you don’t lie on them at all). Hope this helps !

      http://www.duvalay.co.uk/Campervans/Campervans-Memory-Foam-Sleeping-Bag

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  11. Your blog is so interesting and really helpful. We have just spent our boys’ inheritance, sold our T4 Multivan and bought an ex demo California Beach. We like the extra space without the cooker and sink – we can use a cartridge cooker on the table for short trips and on longer journeys find that the Decathlon pop up Base Seconds tent http://www.decathlon.co.uk/base-seconds-pop-up-living-area-camping-shelter-green-id_8208602.html is just brilliant – it really is a throw up tent, and takes a couple of minutes to fold down. It’s tall enough for my husband who is 6’2″, and has 2 doors and 4 windows. We’re really pleased that our new T5 Beach has an awning as this will be great keeping the rain out of the gap between tent and door, and in better weather will be the cooking area.

    One thing I don’t understand in VW’s manufacturing, is the way that the Beach doesn’t have the front plastic window in the cloth ‘bellows’ when the roof is up. That’s the only thing that I feel is missing which the SE/Comfortline has – I wonder why no window in the Beach. Such a shame!

    Like you, rather than expensive VW styled bags to go on the back of seats, we’ve gone for canvas messenger bags from Amazon. The most expensive accessory we’ve bought are sailcloth, washable, waterproof seat covers by Jackyards in a beautiful turquoise with white piping.

    Thanks for all your tips and ideas – all really good to read and helpful. Hope this gives a few more!

    • Thanks very much for your kind comments. I hope you enjoy your new Beach as much as your T4 – and the boys get to also enjoy their inheritance now before you kick the bucket !!

      I’ve heard other people rate the Decathlon Base Seconds pop-up tent highly also – the last thing you want is a heavy awning that takes ages to put up, so it sounds ideal. The Jackyards seat covers have only been produced after I wrote this article but they look pretty snazzy (and functional) too.

      The California SE just has zippable covers (with mesh insect screens behind) for its three window, in the same canvas material as the rest of the roof tent. You’re perhaps looking at a picture of my van with the Vanorak on top of the roof (ie it’s the Vanorak that has plastic windows) ?

      Thanks again.

      • Just a quick personal response.

        You are impressive at keeping up with all your correspondence on your blog. Many thanks for your quick response.

        I think that the Jackyards covers are probably the best available now – I researched for ages. Small company still but great range of colours and personal service.

        The roof canvas on the Beach is sadly lacking the front window (sorry if I was confusing – I didn’t mean the canvas covers) https://www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk/range/camper-vans/california-beach/ – not an accessory, more a built in issue! Now that we have a wonderful van with built in heater and leisure battery (T4 was great and my husband fitted a side elevating roof but it didn’t have internal electrics) we are likely to do more all year round so might invest in a roof cover for extra warmth. Do you find that there is more or less condensation with a cover on?

        One day we will make it north of the border to your beautiful country if Scotland is where you live. We’ll study the midge months carefully and avoid them!! Love all your cycling info and links too – we take our bikes with us.

        All the best,

        Liz

        Oxfordshire

      • Hi Liz,

        I didn’t realise the Beach doesn’t have a roof window at the front … strange, when they all come out of the same factory. I haven’t actually seen a Beach in the flesh, just in a showroom.

        I think a roof cover is pretty much essential this time of year and will greatly improve the heat retention. If you’re planning to do a lot of cold weather camping I would definitely invest in one. We have a Vanorak which is great and very warm; the Comfortz roof cover is a little thinner I think but a better design and easier to put on and off. The downside from having a warmer van inside is that yes, there’ll be more condensation. You can of course reduce this by buying an external, insulated windscreen cover (sorry, yet another accessory ..!) but the good news is that unless you’ll be doing a lot of winter/spring camping I think this is more of an optional extra (we don’t have one).

        We live in Central Scotland, just a short hop, skip and a jump from great places to camp, walk, cycle etc. I wouldn’t worry too much about midges; yes, they’re mildly annoying (sometimes) but there are lots of other mildly annoying things in life too … I wouldn’t change any plans because of them.

      • PS

        Which category is your blog under in the Trespass Blog Award? I’ve been through a few but not found yours to vote for!

        Liz

      • Have explored the blog a bit more and voted on the Camping section!

        Lots more to read…. great stuff.

        Liz

  12. We are looking at buying a camper, have seen a few poor built conversions. But yesterday we spent 3 hours in the vw van centre. Looking/playing in a Cali. What a piece of kit, it ticks all the boxes that my wife and I are looking for.
    A few minor issues , but its not a car.
    Your blog certainly puts our minds at ease. Cali purchase happening very soon. Both very excited.

    Thanks top job!!

    • I hope you’ll be pleased, Robert. A Cali will certainly get you out and about and is easy to drive. Just make sure you treat the ‘camping equipment’ with some care since it’s not bomb-proof.

  13. Hi. Love your blog. I know I’m a little late to the party, but our down stairs bed is only 114cm wide so I’m worried whether two duvalay’s will fit side by side. Do you have any overhang, or folding of sides?

    • Hi, if you have a Cali then there will be about 3-5cm of folding at each side downstairs but the Duvalays will fit perfectly upstairs. We don’t find it an issue at all and not modifying the Duvalays gives us the flexibility to ‘mix and match’ our own Duvalays in any bed position. Hope this helps!

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