Our VW Campervan hire Story

Inspired by trips down under

Our campervan hire story starts on the other side of the world! Following long camper van road trips up both East and West coasts of Australia, avid traveller Matt was inspired to set up Active Kampers. The aim was to bring a high quality, friendly and relaxed camper van experience to UK travellers.
At that time in the early 2000s modern UK campervans were few and far between and nothing like that offered down under. Those campers available were basic, with simple kitchens in the boot and no heating or vintage and prone to breakdowns. Then in 2006 the VW California SE was launched and changed that. This was the first campervan directly made by a vehicle manufacturer in their factory. The compact ‘Cali’ drove like a car, with fantastic fuel efficiency with most of the comfort of a motorhome and ideal for hiring.
We bought our first Cali in 2010. Our first van Bertie was delivered at 10am from the dealer and we were waiting with packed luggage and left on a trip to Europe an hour later! It wasn’t until a year later that we began hiring. During a 2011 trip around New Zealand, Matt wrote the first Active Kampers website in the evenings. Next, our second van Charlie was bought whilst on a beach in Bali, in between visits to internet cafes to get prices.  Then we were ready to go!

Happy campers for over a decade

Set up in 2011 in Brighton with just two VW California vans running from our drive in central Hove. A year later the business moved down the road to a commercial garage unit under the impressive Preston Road viaduct. At one point we grew to six vans and it seemed we would never stop cleaning them! In late 2015 we decided we wanted to live a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle and bought some ramshackle farm buildings with enough land for growing food. The dream was to be able once again run Active Kampers from home, this time in the beautiful Sussex countryside of Wilmington.  In 2017 we finally migrated the business from Brighton. We now have three of the latest VW California Ocean vans.

Applying our campervan experience

Matt and Petra have travelled the UK and much of Western Europe extensively in their vans, so can offer road trip advice – see our useful Itinerary page for more information. For example our 2020 trip was two weeks in the Italian Lakes of Como and Lugano, mostly spent walking, paddle boarding and finishing with relaxing BBQs, highly recommended. More recently, in 2021 our big trip was to The Gower peninsula and Pembrokeshire in Wales. We walked the Coastal path, surfed some great waves, enjoyed amazing dog friendly beaches and great welsh hospitality.

We are always happy to help answer your campervan or roadtrip questions. Just contact us!

VW Campervan Hire – Sustainability

At Active Kampers we believe that being sustainable is not an option but a necessity in today’s world.
We are conscious that our vans are diesel powered, which is something we are not entirely happy with. Unfortunately electrical vehicles still have some way to go before they are viable campers and give the quality experience we need. Hopefully that wont be long with progress being made by VW in new designs.

A new efficient and low emission VW Campervan hire is still a great way of reducing your holiday carbon impact and benefiting local communities. It also means campervans are being used and not sitting on a drive most of the year! All of our new VW Campervan hire fleet recharge their leisure batteries as they drive, which means you can use them for several days without electric hook-up.

We wash our vans by hand and use Ecover cleaning products and include these in our welcome pack. We provide a re-usable recycling bag to assist your recycling efforts and are happy to take-in recyclable items at our base when you return.

Our new VW Campervan hire fleet offers fuel efficient campervan holidays that are less damaging to the environment than taking a short flight, as less carbon is emitted, which contributes to global warming. The graph below compares the carbon emissions impact of travel for a family of four.

VW Campervan hire emissions

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