Van – Europe – Nick Howard
869F+X2 Kingsbridge, UK
I retired early due to having multiple Long Covid issues and travel regularly on my own. I’m writing this in Croatia where I am heading slowly home after 2 months away visiting 11 countries.
I am on this site to find someone with a similar van in Western Australia (or Australia) who wants to tour Europe. My twins now live in WA and I want to go and visit them around February 2024 for 3 months. My rough plan is to drive the coast between Fremantle and Exmouth, staying with my twins and other friends on the way.
I’m looking for a similar vehicle to mine, in that it is problem free and allows off grid living for a week at a time. It has to be 4×4 so that I can access places like Ningaloo and wild camp out of sight. I’ve crossed the W Sahara twice in my expedition 80 Landcruiser and am definitely not looking to do the same sort of trip in Aus as I’m 64 now with double detached retina operations. I also collect and restore classic cars, so never abuse a vehicle or mistreat it.
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It is a very rare 2015 316 Sprinter 4x4. It’s rare (especially in RHD) because so few were sold due in the UK due to the price and having so little snow. This one was bought new by a vet in Wales. A friend bought it when it came up for sale and did a cheap conversion in order to keep the costs and weight down. Please note: this is a low roof van, but has a skylight over the sink/cooker where anyone can stand up. Also, it does not have a fixed toilet. So if these are must haves on your list then it’s not for you. But read my bit about travelling in a van in Europe as it’s very different to Aus!
Layout. As you enter the van through the side door, immediately on the right is the cooker/sink/fridge unit. Opposite is a 2 metre long bench seat with lots of storage underneath. To the rear of the van is a raised fixed very comfortable double bed. I’m 1m 83cm and can lie straight if I want to. The distance from the top of the mattress to the ceiling is 1 metre. Underneath the bed is a very large storage area which is about 1 metre high. On the back door there is a gas heated shower with a pole and shower curtain. The two passenger seats swivel around, meaning that 6 people can easily sit in the van (with the bench seat).
Power. A Renogy 100 lithium and an Ecoflow Delta 2 Max with a Victron 30A dc to dc charger sat between. Because of this onboard power I didn’t fit solar panels on the roof. But it’s got a folding 120W solar panel included. The van might be enhanced before an exchange is agreed, but at the end of 2 months away in places you might visit, it works!
Vanning in Europe is very different to Aus. There are so many people now travelling that there is not the capacity of official sites to take everyone. So, the ability to get off road up a track where mobile homes can’t reach is really important. But, every few days you use a camp site and catch up. It works
Give my vehicle the same respect I will give yours