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johnsmiley Tue May 15, 2012 10:23 am

I apologize if there is already a thread for this (point me in the direction) as I am new to the site. My wife and I (and one year old) are looking for a '01-03 weekender/camper[/b]. The camper looks to have all the amenities, yet we have the Coleman 2-burner; it has storage, yet we have been comfortable with tupperware for years, etc. My question is: for a family of 3-4 cruising quite often to parks and on long trips, but it will also be used as the towner vehicle, how GREAT are the amenities for camping, yet a burden in town VERSUS how great (or light) is the open seat space of a weekender, but lacking on long trips.
Lastly, we want to trade our 2009 Volvo V50 T5R (~$24K) what is the best deal: a low mileage great condition weekender OR a high milage older model camper that will require work (for which I am willing to put in the time to learn). Thank you for the consideration. John

syncromike Tue May 15, 2012 10:32 am

For me, I love having the option of quickly reconfiguring the van (I have a Vanagon) for whatever the day has in store. I can haul 4x8 sheets of plywood, 5 kids to a scout outing, family of 4 + mother-in-law + 2 dogs on a loooong road trip (no camping in the van), or extended camping as a family of 4 with full kitchen capability.

Having a bigger bed down below would also be a big plus for your little one right now since all 3 could sleep down below easily in a weekender, storing the luggage up top.

The flexibility of the weekender is a perfect fit for me, and would be the way I'd lean especially if it was going to be a daily driver.

shenan-agon Tue May 15, 2012 10:37 am

I prefer the Weekender for all the reasons you mention. Much more interior room, including a larger bed and seating for 6-7. When I camp I'd rather cook outside. Especially for a daily driver, having all the camper gear might be restrictive.

johnsmiley Tue May 15, 2012 12:02 pm

thanks for the replies...I just talked to a VW dealer that said many people come in looking for the full camper, but leave with the weekender after they give it some thought...

berkeleyjack Tue May 15, 2012 12:09 pm

I don't have any experience with Westies/Poptops, but I like my hardtop Weekender for all the reasons that have been listed so far.

When I camp I prefer to do as much as possible outdoor and over the fire pit, and because I do a lot of DIY homemaking stuff I really appreciate being able to haul full-size sheets of plywood and full-length boards and pipes so that I can cut them to fit when I get back home instead of having to cut them at the hardware store.

I think the absolute best van for you would be a pop-top with a weekender interior. That way you'd have all the benefits of the Weekender, but also have the pop-top to store gear or for the kiddo to sleep in once she's old enough. Unfortunately pop-top Weekenders can be hard to come by. :(

buildyourown Tue May 15, 2012 12:41 pm

I sometimes miss the ability to carry more passengers but if you want to camp when the weather is not so nice, then the full camper is pretty sweet. Waking up and making breakfast with the furnace on while it's 40 deg and raining out is pretty sweet. If you are going to always cook and live outside, you might as well be camping with a truck.

r39o Tue May 15, 2012 12:42 pm

johnsmiley wrote: thanks for the replies...I just talked to a VW dealer that said many people come in looking for the full camper, but leave with the weekender after they give it some thought...
Can you now buy these new at the dealer?

Or are they used like the one you are referring to?


I own both. I have a full camper and a pop top mulitvan (weekender.)

From a family stand point, it is the tables and beds that do it for us.

Reefer / cooler high on the list, too.

Cooking not really.

A JetBoil works good enough or a single burner something, too.

We take the Multivan out a lot.

It goes to the beach well and shopping also.

Scouting events for me are a lot easier with the van.

The full camper is nice, but I can put more stuff in the Multivan.

We tend not to need to take the kitchen sink along everywhere we go.

I think the answer is clear.

MarkWard Tue May 15, 2012 12:50 pm

2 people, the full camper for sure. 4 people, the weekender sounds like a better option. The two of us with our our 90 pound dog are cramped enough in a full camper. My wife loves the kitchen of our Vanagon though.

berkeleyjack Tue May 15, 2012 12:51 pm

buildyourown wrote: If you are going to always cook and live outside, you might as well be camping with a truck.

Well, most trucks don't have fold-out beds in them! :)

It is all about personal preference and what you already have.
Since I have a bunch of camping gear from tent camping, a Weekender + awning makes a great indoor/outdoor space for me. But for people who don't have that gear, it is nice to have the additional space and cooking accessories you get with a Westfalia pop-top.

Ahwahnee Tue May 15, 2012 1:26 pm

rsxsr wrote: 2 people, the full camper for sure. 4 people, the weekender sounds like a better option...

I agree. For just to 2 of us it is sure nice to start the coffee before getting out of bed and to be totally self contained in cold or wet weather... but the OP has a 1-year old (soon to be a 2-yo & will be a 10 yo before you know it) more space and more outdoor living may be the practical choice.

vanagonjr Tue May 15, 2012 3:21 pm

rsxsr wrote: 2 people, the full camper for sure. 4 people, the weekender sounds like a better option.
x2!

shepherdsond Tue May 15, 2012 3:39 pm

Quote: rsxsr wrote:
2 people, the full camper for sure. 4 people, the weekender sounds like a better option...
X 3 for the reasons mentioned and because we like to camp in the winter snow and in the wet (PNW). Being self contained does not mean that you don't go outside, just that you have the choice. For me the Westy (or hightop Westy conversion in my case) gives you so many more options for camping comfortably in any weather in the widest variety of places (including trailheads and even parking lots if neccesary). You can't beat the convenience and you can't beat coffee in bed!

0to60in6min Tue May 15, 2012 4:32 pm

The weekender suits my needs better than the westy.

are you thinking to get a Eurovan or Vanagon?

debbiej Tue May 15, 2012 5:09 pm

I like the full camper because everything is in it's place and ready to go except for food, water and clothes. our westy has complete sets of towels, dishes, cookware, etc. and it stays packed. the kitchen is very convenient. my sons each have large camper/trailers. without exception all 5 grandchildren are in my camper, all the time. door open, awning out people sitting under our awning, kids playing in the van. upstairs, behind the seat, playing restaraunt at the sink.... makes not much sense, but it's true. two kids and two adults travel comfortably in westy, but it's true weekender has more room for non camping.

there is a long thread about this here somewhere.

(eek. volvo/vanagon)

climberjohn Tue May 15, 2012 5:46 pm

Here is a similar thread:

Full blown Westy or Weekender?
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=138670

While a few folks here have had the good fortune to own both, I bet that the bias of the one model you actually have will shine through here and you will not get a very objective answer.

-CJ

vanagonjr Tue May 15, 2012 7:14 pm

One thing to keep in mind here is the different ideas, or versions, of a "Weekender". The official Weekender, (AS best as I can tell) was a hard top van with rear sofa bed, flip-out table and curtains. Same as Eurovan MV Weekender

However many people, including myself, refer the Westfalia basic camper as a "Weekender". This model has the pop-top, flip out table, rear facing seat behind the driver with storage underneath, rear cabinet and an overhead cabinet. Also has screens and curtains. The rear seat is full width, so this van seats 6. Makes a bed with a bit more shoulder room as is it wider in front of the rear cabinet - I love that extra space. I call mine a Westfalia Weekender. These are mid-80's only.

Then there is the Multi-Van; pop-top, sofa bed, flip-out table, two rear facing removable jump seats. (edit) has the same rear cabinet as the Westfalia Weekender. The multi-van are late models only. seats 7

None of these have swivel front seats.

I have had both a Full Westy and currently a Westfalia Weekender. As I have said in another thread, it depends on how, and where, you camp and the size of your family. For 2 people always on the move, the full Westy is really nice. Camping with other people in one spot and tend to cook together outside - then the inside kitchen does not get used often. Have 2 or 3 kids? The Weekender wins. Travel with friends and the kids want to ride together? The Weekender wins here as well. Tend to cook lunch while on the road, or need to heat up baby formula - then the Full Westy wins. The weekender table is easer for 3 to eat at, and with a camp chair, 4 can eat together when needed

I think you cannot go wrong with any model, really. Hard tops make nice campers as well - and without any rear cabinet, the rear bed is huge. Easy to fit roof racks and shorter height makes it easier to load boats or bikes up top. Add a roof top storage box and you can keep the inside of the van more clear, The big bed is great for larger folks, those who want to spread out, or with young one's (or dogs) sharing the bed.

I'm sometimes surprised at singles focused on getting a full Westy when on a strict budget. A hard-top is more than enough for 1, or 2 people, but certainly if you can get a pop-top, you won't regret it. I met a family of 5 and a large dog doing an extended trip out of a hard-top with side awning! 2 would sleep outside under the awning. Heck, maybe this is why, at times, I have felt somewhat foolish or odd, when I camp in the van alone when I know I could get by quite well with my backpacker tent.

Remember if you can't get the van you love, love the one your with. Man, I should write that into a song :lol:

shepherdsond Tue May 15, 2012 7:41 pm

As CJ says I expect most of us are biased to what we have and I have never owned a true weekender. Having said that when I purchased my syncro it was a tin top 7 pass (with fold out bed) which I slowly converted to Westy interior and then hightop. One thing I can say about the tin top (whatever the interior) is that when you get to be a little more experienced (OK older) the bending over entailed in living in a tin top rather than pop top (and even better, high top) gets tiresome.

snowsyncro Tue May 15, 2012 7:48 pm

vanagonjr wrote:

Then there is the Multi-Van; pop-top, sofa bed, flip-out table, two rear facing removable jump seats. No rear cabinet I believe. The multi-van are late models only. seats 7
:lol:

As you described, but my Multivan (1990) has some cabinets too. The 'wardrobe' cupboard from the seat back driver side, but in the Multivan case it is not a wardrobe. It has a more convenient side door, and shelves inside. The full camper style door would be blocked by the full-width seat. It also has the full width ceiling cupboard ( the one with the speakers) over the back seat.

RonC

Doug White Tue May 15, 2012 8:52 pm

I've had several campers and currently have a 91 Multivan. It does have the factory rear cabinet. I've come to prefer the Multivan over the camper, though all that cabinetry in the camper does offer a range of essential rodent habitat.

vanagonjr Wed May 16, 2012 3:31 am

Doug White wrote: I've had several campers and currently have a 91 Multivan. It does have the factory rear cabinet. I've come to prefer the Multivan over the camper, though all that cabinetry in the camper does offer a range of essential rodent habitat.

I almost spit out my coffee on that one. I'll edit my post post above regarding the cabinet



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