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Choosing the Right Campervan for the Highlands of Scotland

Following a recent incident on the West Coast involving a Family holiday in a Motorhome, I Wanted to offer some advice on what to look for when hiring a Van to explore the Highlands and Islands.

Embarking on a journey through the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is a dream for many adventurers seeking rugged landscapes, rich history, and unparalleled natural beauty. And what better way to experience this enchanting region than in a campervan? As you plan your epic road trip, there are several essential factors to consider to ensure a seamless and unforgettable adventure.

  • Choosing the Right Campervan

Selecting the perfect campervan is the cornerstone of your Highland adventure. Consider the size of your party, the duration of your trip, and the level of comfort you desire. Opt for a campervan with ample space for sleeping, dining, and storage. While a compact van may offer better manoeuvrability on narrow Highland roads, a larger model provides more comfort for extended journeys.

Traveling across the Highlands is challenging in some places as the Roads are more like dirt tracks and can take longer to get from A to B. Also the road Networks is much smaller so your options to travel to a place may be limited to just one or two. Choosing a Van that can cope with this is critical, as you don't want a Campervan that is simply too big for the Road which you are using. Conversely, you don't want a Van that is too small and uncomfortable for you. Its a delicate Balancing Act.

Volkswagen Transporter based conversions are very popular as they are easy to drive along the route. However, they do not offer much space, so you will need to be organised and put up with a more cramped interior. At Advantures, we use slightly bigger vans based on Citroen or Vauxhall Conversions that are still small enough to cope with the Roads, but offer more space that the Transporters

  • Comfort and Amenities

Comfort is key when traversing the Highlands and Islands. Look for a campervan equipped with cosy sleeping quarters, such as a fold-out bed, ensuring restful nights after long days of exploration. A well-equipped kitchenette with a stove, fridge, and sink allows you to prepare hearty meals using fresh local ingredients—a quintessential part of the Scottish experience.

  • Weather Preparedness

Scotland's weather can be unpredictable, with rain, wind, and even snow possible at any time of year.

Ensure your campervan is equipped to handle varying weather conditions. Look for features such as insulation, heating systems, and sturdy construction to keep you warm and dry during inclement weather.

Additionally, pack appropriate clothing and gear to stay comfortable while venturing outdoors.

  • Off-Grid Capability

While exploring the remote corners of the Highlands and Islands, you may find yourself far from traditional campsites and amenities. That's fine if you planned it that way, but make sure to choose a campervan with off-grid capabilities, including a reliable power source such as solar panels or a adequate leisure battery system. This allows you to venture off the beaten path and enjoy secluded camping spots with minimal environmental impact.

  • Navigation and Communication

Whilst not essential, a campervan that is equipped with a GPS navigation system is helpful. You may consider bringing along a portable GPS device. However most modern smart phone's can pick up a signal in all but the Wildest parts of the Highlands, so using Apple or google maps is an option if you prefer. Fortunately, the road system is not that extensive, so getting from A to B usually means there is only one or two options. So getting lost is not easy to do, so when it comes down to it, you cant beat a good OS map!

  • Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority when embarking on a campervan adventure. Choose a vehicle with modern safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control systems. Familiarize yourself with the campervan's emergency procedures and carry a first-aid kit, emergency flares, and a fire extinguisher for peace of mind.

  • Storage and Organization

Effective storage and organization are crucial for maximizing space in your campervan. Look for vehicles with ample storage compartments, including overhead cabinets, under-seat storage, and exterior cargo boxes. Pack strategically to optimize space and keep essential items easily accessible during your journey.

  • Cultural and Environmental Awareness

Respect for Scotland's rich cultural heritage and pristine natural environment is essential for responsible travel. Familiarize yourself with local customs, traditions, and conservation efforts, and tread lightly when exploring sensitive ecosystems. Dispose of waste properly, minimize your environmental footprint, and leave no trace of your visit. No open Fires, use only self contained BBQ's, ideally gas powered.

  • Flexibility and Spontaneity

One of the greatest joys of campervan travel is the freedom to follow your whims and explore at your own pace. Embrace spontaneity and be open to unexpected detours, hidden gems, and serendipitous encounters along the way. Allow yourself the flexibility to adjust your itinerary based on weather conditions, local recommendations, and your own sense of adventure.

  • Conclusion

Embarking on a campervan journey through the Highlands and Islands of Scotland promises a truly unforgettable adventure. By carefully considering factors such as comfort, weather preparedness, off-grid capability, safety features, and cultural awareness, you can ensure a smooth and enriching experience. So, pack your bags, fuel up your sense of adventure, and set forth on the road to discovery in the land of lochs, glens, and ancient castles. The Highlands are calling—will you answer?


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