Nothing is as big a turn off – on any level – as a caravan. Their sad, beige contents are usually flimsy, they smell of chemical toilets, and they make your car handle like a combine harvester. You’re unwelcome everywhere you go, except for authorised caravan sites where you can mingle with your balding peers and bicker about the latest outrage in the news.
Why anybody would voluntarily do this is beyond me, but a camper van – now that’s an entirely different proposition. For a start you’ve got a vehicle which drives like a car, reverses like a car, and fits in a regular parking space. There’s leather, alloy wheels, a rack for your surfboard and a towing hitch for the trailer with your dirt bikes. Could this be the ideal mix of camping adventure and home comforts? We rent a VW California and take it for a lap of Britain to find out.