A motorhome on a Volkswagen T6 - CampRest test
Today I would like to describe to you our motorhome, which will stay in the editorial office and the CampRest family for a long time. It is a motorhome built on a Volkswagen T6, by the Wavecamper company from Poznań, and apart from business and recreational trips, we use it every day for driving around the city.
At the time of this writing, the car has been used by us for 10 months, we made almost 25,000 km and we slept in it for about 90 nights, mainly 4 people (2 adults + 2 children), so we made friends with the car quite well.
In the article below I will describe the individual elements built into this car along with my observations on their operation.
I would like to add that our son Maks named him #BestWagen and that is how I will refer to him sometimes in this text :-)
Ordering and configuring the development
During conversations with many people at campsites or fairs, I was asked where such a car can be bought and what it looks like, I will also describe this process.
The base car, on which the superstructure will be built, may be delivered as used or new.
If you already have VW T5, T6 or T6.1, regardless of the model (Transporter, Caravele, Multivan ...), WaveCamper will prepare it appropriately for the assembly of its body.
However, if you decide to order a new base vehicle in a Volkswagen showroom, I suggest you make this order together with WaveCamper , which will advise you on how to best configure the base car, and thanks to their constant cooperation with the Volkswagen Ciesiółka showroom from Leszno, it is very possible that you will be able to obtain a better price to buy a base car.
The bodywork itself is ordered from WaveCamper from Poznań , which specializes in converting Volkswagen buses into campers. I decided on the CamperFlex Long model, i.e. made on the VW T6 with a long wheelbase.
The basic equipment of this body includes the most important elements, such as:
- like a floor with rails for fixing seats in the rear of the vehicle,
- seat turntables at the front,
- rear pull-out bed system,
- furniture and kitchen furniture with kitchen equipment (fridge, sink),
- motorhome insulation,
- electrics and interior lighting ...
Additionally, you can order things such as:
- sleeping roof,
- additional side or roof windows,
- expand the electrical system with solar panels and converters,
- add parking heating,
- add an awning, toilet and much more.
I decided on the 4-seater version, but you can easily add additional seats and register a vehicle for 6 people.
The entire formal process related to the change of the vehicle's intended use from a truck (in the case of a tin plate) or a passenger car to a special camping vehicle (such a title of the vehicle's intended use will appear in the registration certificate after the body is built) is handled by WaveCamper.
Since we live in the mountains and in winter we often move on snow-covered roads, I decided to use 4-wheel drive, i.e. 4-motion , and additionally I chose reinforced stabilizers to prevent the car from swaying when cornering. This is a great solution, thanks to which I always feel confident when climbing on snow-covered roads or wet lawns at campsites.
I ordered the car with a DSG automatic gearbox , which works great, and the descent assistant allows you to control the speed on steep descents - it is especially useful for descents in winter with a loaded car. The descent assistant, unfortunately, does not work when driving with a trailer, which I consider to be a big minus because when driving with a trailer it would be useful more often.
I must add that I also opted for front and rear LED lights, which I consider to be a very good choice, especially if you drive often at night - visibility with these lamps is amazing, and the appearance of the car itself at night is impressive.
The engine I chose was a 2-liter 150HP diesel , which I think is sufficient. Why? It accelerates quite efficiently and can accelerate the car to 190 km / h, but sometimes with a full load you would like to have a little more power under the foot. I think that with my next order I will choose the most powerful engine around 200KM.
I cannot skip the Active Cruise Control, which is my favorite gadget, especially on the routes I visit a lot. This device appropriately selects the speed of travel to the car in front of us and will also brake if we lose our minds.
A very functional motorhome for everyday use
I decided to buy this motorhome mainly because I need it for everyday driving. Despite the fact that we travel about 4 months a year and need a motorhome to sleep and cook, the car would be unused for most of the year.
In addition, I needed a car that I could sometimes transport larger dimensions without having to rent a cargo trailer or a freight bus. Exhibiting at fairs is always associated with the need to transport many things.
Analyzing the available motorhomes on the market, the WaveCamper proposal seemed to be the best, because this car meets all my needs thanks to its enormous functionality.
The biggest advantage of this car is that it is 2 meters high and can drive into most underground garages, and parking in the city center is easy.
Single seats in the rear of the car , this is what distinguishes this vehicle from other similar motorhomes, which use a double bench that transforms into a bed. Thanks to these seats, passengers can adjust the backrest and increase comfort on long journeys.
Each seat has the ISO-FIX system , which allows for quick installation of child seats, but the most important thing is that we can remove each of these seats very quickly, or place them one after the other and get additional space for luggage without giving up on seats.
The rail system used in the Camper Flex floor allows for quick installation of various holders that will help secure the transported load or mount a bicycle holder dedicated to this system.
The only drawback of these rails is the collection of dirt in them, but the car has to be vacuumed and cleaned from time to time, so it is not a big problem.
The floor is not carpeted, which at the time of ordering the car seemed a downside to me, but I quickly realized that the floor in this form is perfect because it is much easier to simply sweep it than vacuum it, especially during vacation trips, during which sand from the campsite is applied quite a bit intensively.
SCA sleeper roof - bodywork
The SCA company is a renowned manufacturer of sleeping roofs , which has specialized in this subject for many years and provides its products for serial installation for leading brands that build motorhomes.
I chose the Comfort model, which is characterized by quick opening and closing of the roof with one clamp in the middle of the roof. It works very well and the roof closes without any problem and the necessity to close it several times.
In addition, I decided to use the Panorama function, which allows you to fully open the front wall of the roof and enjoy the views without restrictions from the roof of the car. So far, I have opened it maybe 3 times and mainly for photos, also this function was not very useful to us, but maybe because we traveled with our car mainly in the off-season. We would certainly appreciate the possibility of airing the car in the middle of summer.
Before buying, I was afraid that the car would heat up significantly through the glass fiber roof, but now I know that it is even better insulated than a regular sheet metal roof because there is also a mattress between the roof with the inner ceiling, which acts as an ideal insulator.
Before I started using this roof, I was wondering if I would be able to leave the sleeping bags on the mattress and close the roof, because there is quite little space there, but without any problems our down sleeping bags from PAJAK (veeeeery much recommended!) Can compress so that they do not take up practically no space and the roof can be closed without any problem.
I was also wondering if the car would not be too loud and you would not hear any annoying whistling due to the fact that the sunroof is an additional element added to the serial design of the car. I must admit that when driving in the car it is not louder than normal, but to be precise, I would have to drive the same car in different conditions without the roof attached, but it seems to me that it is very good.
A very important element used in SCA roofs is the front spoiler integrated with the entire roof and a very good fit of the whole, which largely affects the very limited noise when driving at high speeds, unlike cheaper roofs with a front spoiler in the form of a rubber gasket.
After some time from the building, one of the locks started to make some knocks after hitting a larger hole in the road and I was supposed to come to the service for adjustments, but the knocking disappeared by itself - the roof was probably still laying.
Now, when the temperatures drop to zero or lower, you can sometimes hear a slight crackling of the gaskets, but it is not bothersome and it will probably disappear after applying silicone to the gaskets.
SCA sleeper roof - sleeping comfort
Most nights in this camper van I slept upstairs with our 4 year old son and I sleep very well there. It may not be the most comfortable mattress I have ever slept on because it is about 5 cm thick, but you get used to it. Before our first, longer trip, I bought a self-inflating mat because I was convinced that after a few nights I would not want to lie on it, but I ended up using the mat only a few times during longer stops at one campground.
The tent can be very well ventilated thanks to the possibility of opening 2 windows with a mesh to prevent insects and we were never too warm at night (June in Italy and in the south of France)
However, the problem at that time was the cold. At a temperature of about 5 degrees at night, it was necessary to have a warmer sleeping bag, which was handled by our Quest 4 Two double sleeping bag from PAJAK . If we are going for a winter trip with this motorhome, I will definitely decide to buy special thermal mats that are put on the outside of the tent, which allows you to keep warm inside - apparently such mats give comfort even in severe frosts.
Another disadvantage of sleeping on the roof that I noticed is greater ambient noise , which is probably due to the fact that you are high up, the tent has no insulation and nothing is blocking the noise from the area. This can be a nuisance on campsites where guests do not respect night time.
Swivel seats in VW T6
The standard equipment of the Camper Flex body also includes seat turntables, which work very well and are mandatory in motorhomes of this size.
Thanks to the rotation of the armchairs , we gain additional space and comfort in the apartment inside.
The passenger seat swivels without any problems and it can be done very quickly, but the driver's seat has to be played for a while due to the obstacles in the form of the steering wheel and the handbrake applied.
If the brake is on, it is unlikely that you can turn the chair, and you need to lower it - a patent from larger cars, such as Sprinter or Transit, would be useful here, where the handbrake lever can be lowered without having to release the brake - it will certainly make it easier to turn the chair when we are on a hill .
Insulation, heating and air conditioning in a motorhome
Cars built in WaveCamper are very well insulated with a special mat that acts as thermal and acoustic insulation. Such insulation is provided on the walls, floor and ceiling (if no SCA roof is installed).
Thanks to the insulation in the car, it is really quiet even at higher speeds, and most importantly, it does not heat up in the sun and does not cool down so quickly in winter.
As for the air conditioning in the standard base car, in the front we have a standard climatronic air conditioning with cold air distribution through a special tunnel to the rear of the vehicle - it is very important because in such a large car the lack of cold air vents may turn out to be discomfort for the rear passengers.
Heating in the rear part of the car while driving provides additional Volkswagen airflow in the trunk - this solution provides adequate thermal comfort when traveling in winter.
Regarding the parking heater , I chose the Eberspaecher Airtronic D2 air heater because I had already used the same heater on the Opel Vivaro before and was very pleased. The new generation of the stove, however, is much quieter than its predecessor, so I am even more pleased.
This heating is powered by diesel fuel taken directly from the car's fuel tank and does not need any electrical connection.
I decided to order this heating control using my smartphone, which is possible thanks to the Easy Start Web module - this is a new solution from Eberspaecher and initially I had problems with starting or turning off the heating.
It was caused by some problems with the server and a message was displayed that the connection between the server and the smartphone could not be established, but I have not received such messages for a long time, and since the winter started, I use this facility much more often, also the problem has been definitely solved .
The parking heater itself works well not only when overnight in a motorhome, but if we use this car on a daily basis, it is here that it works very well because we can heat the interior of the car in the morning or afternoon after work and defrost the windshield - I use this winter functions almost every day.
A bed in a van converted into a motorhome
The bed at the back of the WaveCamper is very comfortable and can be folded out very quickly. The base of the bed is located in special rails on the sides of the car, and when not in use, the three elements of the base are simply pushed onto each other, and the mattresses are placed on top of them.
Under such a folded bed, we have access to the trunk all the time. To unfold the bed, it is enough to put the backrests from 2 armchairs, move these armchairs a little back, stretch the base of the bed like a harmonica and unfold the mattresses.
Such a system allows you to quickly create a bed with dimensions of 195x125 cm on which two people can fit. The mattresses are comfortable and the covers can be easily removed to, for example, be washed.
Electricity in the WaveCamper motorhome
Our BestWagen, apart from the standard battery in the engine section, has an additional battery that supplies power to all appliances and lighting in the residential section, together with the parking heater. This way, I never worry about the fact that it will discharge the battery and not start the car later.
The parking battery is an AGM battery with a capacity of 80Ah, which powers the Dometic CRD50 compressor refrigerator, plumbing, LED interior lighting, all USB and 12V sockets in the living area, and a 1000W Dometic SinePower DSP 1012 sine wave inverter .
The battery is charged using the Dometic Perfect Charge IU1012 automatic charger, which manages the charging of the battery while driving or when the car is connected to the campsite electricity supply. The battery is additionally charged thanks to a flexible 100W solar panel mounted on the roof.
Since we mainly go camping and we usually connect to electricity, I have never had problems with discharging the battery to zero. I must also add that it happened that we stood at the campground for 4 days without being connected to the electricity and the capacity of the battery calmly allowed us to continuously power the refrigerator and lighting inside the car while recharging the battery using the solar panel. However, it cannot be taken as an oracle because factors such as external temperature (the warmer, the fridge needs more electricity) + parking places (standing in the shade is unlikely to help recharge the batteries through the sun's rays).
The converter in the motorhome works very well for us and we use it practically all the time . Most often we use it while driving to recharge the battery in laptops, cameras or drones, but it happened more than once that we started a toaster and made warm sandwiches during the trip. When stationary, it works just as well, but you have to watch the battery charge level.
The only downside to installing the converter is that it is connected to only one 230V socket, which is located behind the passenger seat. It would also be nice if the other sockets installed in the car could be powered by 230V when the car is not connected to the mains.
Kitchen area in the Camper Flex building
Of course, a kitchen area cannot be missing in the motorhome. In our BestWagenie, the kitchen is equipped with a Dometic sink with a glass lid , a 20-liter clean water tank and a 20-liter dirty water tank, a portable gas cooker for cartridges, a Dometic CRD50 compressor refrigerator and several cabinets.
The sink is sufficient to wash a few dishes or rinse vegetables or fruit, but several times it also acted as a bathtub for our youngest son :-)
The water is not heated, but portable tanks for clean and dirty water allow you to pour hot water in various publicly available sanitary facilities. The removable dirty water tank is also a nice convenience, because we don't have to move the motorhome at the campground to empty it.
I chose the Dometic CRD50 drawer fridge because I find it much easier to use it with food in and out from above, especially if the fridge is mounted at floor level.
The Camper Flex housing may not have as many cabinets in the kitchen area as large motorhomes, but they are enough for storing basic dishes and food. If we need additional space to store food, we use Robusto boxes , which we keep in the trunk - this solution works perfectly because you can sort all things properly.
A very nice solution is a pull-out stove for cartridges . Thanks to it, there is no need to have a gas installation, in which you have to do additional inspections and worry about gas tightness and availability. If we do not want to cook inside the motorhome, we simply pull the cooker outside and cook it on the table under the awning.
Outside shower in the motorhome
There is also an exit to the outdoor shower in the trunk, which will work well at stops outside the campgrounds. The water, as I mentioned, is not heated, but we used it many times to rinse children's feet after walks on the beach or to cool them down on hot days.
Toilet in a small Camper Van
There is also a small portable toilet from Fiamma in the building. It is especially convenient when traveling with children and stays on large campsites, where you sometimes have to walk to the toilet.
The table hidden in the door of the Volkswagen T6
I recently installed an additional external table , which is stored in the sliding door during transport. I was a bit concerned that the table could make noise in the holes but it fits very well and you don't hear any annoying knocks.
At a stop, you can quickly take it out, spread your legs and sit down to eat or a delicious jackdaw.
The Camper Flex body is equipped with one more table as standard , which can normally be mounted in front of the seats in the second row while driving, but it can also be folded and hidden behind the driver's seat. At a standstill, it can also be used outside thanks to a special tripod that must be attached to a single leg of the table.
However, it is not too big and it would be difficult to eat dinner on it for 4 people, but it works great as an additional table.
Removable sleeping system
The rear bed described above has one more important advantage - it can be easily removed.
By unscrewing the 4 screws, we can completely pull out the bed structure , which consists of 2 plates. One person can easily do it without the help of others. In this way, we get a lot of space to load the trunk to the height of the entire car. Only the width is limited by the furniture on the left side, which cannot be disassembled in this model.
Storing things in a camper van
Storing things in small camper vans is always a challenge. In addition to the cabinets in the kitchen area, there is also a large wardrobe for clothes at the height of the bed, closed with a roller shutter . It is surprisingly very capacious, but in keeping order a lot is helped by removable boxes from IKEA, which fit there as if they were designed to size.
There are 2 other shelves in the trunk under the wardrobe locker, but access to them is a bit restricted, especially when the trunk is loaded. We keep things there that are just less useful.
A nice thing that I did myself is a frame made of aluminum profiles , on which I have 4 ROBUSTO boxes. This convenience allows us to take full advantage of the trunk and at the same time properly sort all things and facilitate access to each box.
Awning for Volkswagen T6
The awning I have chosen is the Fiamma F35 Pro . I believe that it is perfect for such a small car, especially due to its compact dimensions.
With small campervans , the large, high casing made of standard awnings somehow does not suit me in proportions and, above all, increases the height of the car, making it impossible to enter some underground garages.
It is not an automatic awning, which you can expand yourself with a crank, but you have to unfold it manually into 2 people, but it really does not cause any difficulties. I had the same awning in the previous van and I sincerely recommend it.
Lighting inside the motorhome
LED lighting installed in the motorhome gives very nice possibilities to adjust the light to your needs. On both sides of the vehicle, 2 tapes are mounted in the ceiling, which can be freely darkened or brightened. In addition, there are 2 lamps by the upper roof bed and a very cool LED strip mounted on the floor under the cabinets - this gives a very nice light that can be turned on all the time while driving and does not disturb the driver.
A motorhome built on the Volkswagen T6 is the perfect solution for those who want to use one car every day and for holiday trips.
Such a motorhome allows you to quickly cover the distance on the road and gives great fun to drive and use.
The superstructure made by WaveCamper is very thoughtful, functional and made with the utmost care, which can be easily placed next to the iconic models of Volkswagen California or those built by the Westfalia brand.
You can see the full offer of the WaveCamper company on their website: https://wavecamper.pl/
The film presenting our BestWagen
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