Our VW Campervan Story

Following camper van road trips around New Zealand and Australia, avid traveller Matt was inspired to set up Active Kampers 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. The compact ‘Cali’ drove like a car, with fantastic fuel efficiency with most of the comfort of a motorhome and ideal for hiring.

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.

Matt and Petra have travelled the UK and much of Western Europe extensively in their vans, so can offer useful 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.

When not running Active Kampers, Matt may be found using a California as a surf day van or for kayaking or mountain biking, or even attending the odd festival. He just loves his vans!

VW Campervan Hire – Sustainability

At Active Kampers we believe that being sustainable is not an option but a necessity in today’s world.

A new efficient and low emission VW Campervan hire is 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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