Campervans Vs Tents: Which Is Better?

18 June 2021

Campervans Vs Camping: The Just Kampers Insurance Guide

A staple tradition of the British holiday, camping in any form whether motorised or not – has been around for years. For just as long, the argument as to which is better, camping or campervanning (and even caravanning) has created healthy and lively discussions by those passionate for the outdoors.

Here at Just Kampers Insurance, we have a reputation for being passionate about campervans, particularly classic or modern VWs, and most of our staff own at least one kind of VW camper. However, we’ve put aside our passion of VW campervans, and are looking at the wider outdoors market to provide you with the essential knowledge you need to accurately decide which you’d prefer.

A Brief Overview of the Classifications  


Often when we discuss campervans, the likes motorhomes and other luxury touring vans can seem interchangeable. But to simplify this guide, we’re expanding our definition of a campervan. Therefore, any vehicle where the living space and driving space is combined can be considered a campervan in this article.

In fact, there are differences between campervans and motorhomes, such as speed limits, or the kinds of equipment available.


Tents are now highly engineered, precision bits of kit. For many years, they have been popular amongst explorers and adventurers, those wanting a space-saving way to go on holiday, and people who enjoy the simpler things in life.

Camping vs Campervan: Best for Mobility

When on holiday, the last thing you want is a lot of work and hassle before you can settle and rest. The level of mobility you can enjoy from camping or campervanning will vary depending on your preferences. But it will also be impacted by your confidence as a driver, as tents can be easily stowed in the boot or backseat of a car, whereas a camper requires careful driving, especially on winding roads.

Mobility of a Tent

If you’re on a long trek or a holiday where you’re moving around a lot, and not staying in one location for long, a tent will be your best choice. Once established, a tent doesn’t need much more care. Instead, you can set-up your campsite, and you won’t need to pack it away again until you move on.

Certain high-performance tents weigh less than 2kg and can be packed and stored into units smaller than a water bottle (excluding poles). For mobility purposes, you can be as flexible you need. You can even save space when you travel with a tent, because this piece of kit is often lightweight and highly portable.

Mobility of a Campervan

Campervans are fantastic for their park up and unpack ability. You can simply park your campervan and then enjoy the convenience of having your living essentials, including food, stored in the back. Even better, the time taken to set up your camper is often minimal if you’ve prepared it beforehand.

The only drawback is, when you drive off to explore the local area, you will need to ensure everything is secured down and packed away before leaving. Depending on how much supplies you travel with, this process can be painless.

To overcome this, some families choose to take a car with them as well and park their campervan at a campsite separately. Travelling with another car can make off-site travel easier, especially for those with young children that may need additional car seats.

Tents with horses in a field (1)

Tent vs Camper: Privacy and Security

Campsites are often located in wide-open spaces, such as fields, potentially with no protection from wildlife or the outside world. For those camping in the New Forest, for example, might discover that wild animals, including horses, will be roaming around on-site.

However, the other side of this debate is the matter of privacy.

Privacy and Security in a Tent

When in a tent, it can feel daunting at times as you are very exposed to the outdoor environment. This fear is compounded when protection seems limited, or restricted, to a couple of zipped access points. However, most official campsites are managed with honour policy, meaning campers will look out for, and respect, one another.

After a few overnight stays on a campsite, you’ll quickly realise how safe and reassuring a tent can be.

Similarly, privacy can be easily achieved with the help of visual aids, such as windows or curtains that zip and close. Yet, if you don’t want people overhearing your daily conversations, you may want to choose a camper, which offers even more layers of privacy.

Privacy and Security in a Camper

The main difference of a campervan when compared with a tent is the ability to securely lock doors and fasten curtains over windows. This makes them a popular choice for single campers, as well as young families. They tend to be more secure by design, which makes them the first consideration for some people.

The only disadvantage to a campervan is the large windows that, to be private, must be covered and this often removes all-natural light from the cabin.

Tent vs Camper: Initial Costs

When looking to buy a tent or a campervan, an initial stumbling block for many is the setup cost. A brand-new Volkswagen Camper California 6.1 starts on the market from £54,665. Classic models can be secured at lower costs, but this depends on market rarity, condition and the availability of what you’re after.

In comparison, a brand-new top spec tent, such as the Vango Oakmere TC 600XL, which is a six-man polycotton tent, has a cost of £840.

But which offers more value?

Initial Cost of a Tent

The initial cost of a tent isn’t just for the tent itself. You’ll also need to buy sleeping bags, sleeping mats, camping kitchenware and so much more. As you’re sleeping in a thin fabric dome, your home duvet isn’t very practical. Even the warmest sleeper will get cold once the sun goes down.

While you won’t need specialist kit, investing in good quality items from the get-go will last longer and keep you comfier.

Initial Cost of a Camper

Campers are slightly different. As you’re buying a car and caravan combined into one, the initial cost will be higher. However, you can use a camper like a car, whether that’s for a holiday, or a trip into town. Therefore, the cost per use may be lower.

However, there is maintenance and roadworthiness to maintain. Regular costs for a camper may be higher, as the parts cost more. But you also have unique benefits, such as a mode of transport and a warmer living area, along with greater security.

So, which is better?

The answer is… it depends on your preferences, lifestyle and what you’re looking for.

If you want a packable option that offers more openness to the outdoors and the ability to pitch and go anywhere, then a tent is better for you.

However, if you want a more luxury approach that acts as a second vehicle, or even as a home on wheels, then a campervan is simply perfect.

If you’re looking for insurance to cover you in a camper while you try it out, Just Kampers Insurance has a Hire Insurance policy for you. Or if you’re looking to get expert-led insurance for your campervan, get a quote today.


For more information about tailoring insurance policies to your campervan or motorhome, whether you’re after affordable premiums, or something with that little bit more protection, consider coverage from the experts at Just Kampers Insurance.

Written by: Jason Sims

Jason is a Marketing Executive at Just Kampers who is a fully-fledged VW enthusiast, with over 20 years’ experience in keeping Volkswagens old and new on the road, he currently owns a 69 Cal Look Beetle, and enjoys attending VW shows and Camping with friends and family.

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