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Camper Vans - A Brief History

By Stephen Thomas

Hiring a camper van for a vacation is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those seeking new adventures. The lure of the open road and freedom to roam wherever you please is an appealing thought for many. Knowing a little about the history of the camper van can give you that sense of belonging whilst out on the road.

A traditional camper van has a folding roof that pops up to provide room for the sleeping quarters. One of the favorite makes of camper vans has been that of VW. The VW camper van based on the VW Beetle, made its first appearance at the 1949 Geneva Motor Show and the basic design has held the test of time. The vans do around 25 miles to the gallon and offer plenty of internal space.

The VW camper is a firm favorite with the surfing community. It has remained a popular choice for the young at heart for decades and has become a symbol of free spirit for many. Often seen with a new paint job featuring large flowers, these vans have long secured their iconic status and a place in history.

Another of the iconic camper vans were those created by Wally Byam of the Airstream company. Airstream started off in 1936 with a trailer called "the Clipper". Using aircraft technology to reduce wind resistance and provide optimal strength to weight ratio, the Airstream has become a true American icon.

The first Airstream branded motorhome called "the Classic made its debut in 1979. The company continues to innovate and produce camper vans to this day and has a 10,000 strong international membership of the Wally Byam Caravan Club. Over 1000 rallies are held each year by the club.

Camper vans have evolved into what we call motorhomes. As the name suggests, the objective is to create a "mobile home from home". Motorhomes come in all shapes and sizes and are generally classed by the distance between the front axle to the rear axle. This measurement is called the "wheelbase length and is termed as short, medium and long.

When hiring or even buying a motorhome you should try and arrange a test drive first so that you can decide which style best fits your needs. My personal preference is to use medium wheelbase vans as they tend to offer the best compromise between size and comfort. Whatever van you choose it's sure to be an adventure.

About The Author

Stephen Thomas is a developer and writer for a number of online travel websites, including the UK Away Travel Directory where you can find a comprehensive list of motorhome and camper van hire companies at http://www.ukaway.co.uk/index.php?t=26.


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