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What is it REALLY Like to Live in a Micro-Camper? Renault Kangoo Edition.

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

Mini-camper, micro-camper and stealth-camper are all words used to describe a tiny van or car that you live, sleep or travel in, usually occupied by someone who is on a tight budget or a bit crazy! Truthfully, we are a bit of both! 


Sunset at Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain

 

In this article:




 

Three months ago, Lee and I moved out of our cosy Peak District apartment in England, left our jobs and sold most of our belongings to live, travel and work on the road in our teeny-tiny Renault Kangoo, Peggy.


Our motivation behind committing to such an endeavour derives from our undying love for travel, exploring, adventuring, seeing the world and the way it makes us feel, meeting new people, immersing ourselves in new cultures and capturing our journey on camera.


The unparalleled feeling of freedom that travel rewards you with, is a feeling that we were prepared to give everything we had for, and so we did.

Sunset at Ramberg Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

You could argue that we are avoiding or delaying the duties and responsibilities that usually arrive into your adult life, uninvited in our case. You would be correct, but we believe that travel doesn’t have to be a ‘phase’ or something you should ‘get out of your system’.


 

If your head is nodding along to the above statement, we think you'll really enjoy Kitt's new book, 'Travelling Isn't a Phase, Mom', which is available on Amazon now!

 

We also believe that your life can look any way you want, and does not have to follow a path that society says you should take. Travel is something we want to pursue for as long as we possibly can; until our money runs out or until we drive each other crazy by living in such a tiny space!



If you want to know more about how much money we have and how we earn money on the road as complete beginners, you can check out our recent YouTube video!


 

Why did we choose a Renault Kangoo to live in?


Peggy the Kangoo was originally purchased as a weekend van, to enable us to comfortably explore places in the UK for more than a day without having to splash out on accommodation. Fuelled by Covid restrictions and our desperation to travel by any means necessary, Peggy was our answer to budget-friendly holidays and a means of hiking beautiful areas of the UK. One crazy idea and a few beers later, the seed was officially planted and the idea that Lee and I could live in Peggy full-time was born. 


Heiterwanger See, Austria

Budget

Our main motivation behind choosing a micro-camper as our new home was budget. Peggy cost £1300, and her conversion cost less than £200. An inexpensive solution to travel such as Peggy, meant that we was able to get on the road much sooner than if we had saved for a larger van. 


Stealth Aspect

Weekend trips in the UK made us appreciate how inconspicuous Peggy is, especially when it came to finding somewhere to sleep for the night. Being able to park in residential areas and it be unclear that we are campers, really opened up our options for sleeping locations, which in turn made our lives easier. 


The day we picked up baby Pegs!

Size

Believe it or not, Peggy’s small size is one reason why we LOVE her. Height barriers are no bother for our Pegs, which enables us to park anywhere! In addition to this, a Renault Kangoo is a ‘car derived van’ which means Peggy isn’t restricted by her length either and she can fit in any regular parking space. This has also been awesome when arriving at busy park-ups, as we can squeeze in tight spaces and have more chance of finding somewhere to sleep. 


Insurance/Tax

With budget still firmly on our minds, Pegs was significantly cheaper than other larger vans when comparing the price of insurance and tax. 


Our first trip out in Pegs with a bed frame - Scotland

Simplicity 

To convert our Renault Kangoo from a car into a camper van, it took a day. This required little to no knowledge of van builds, and anything that breaks, wears out or needs replacing is extremely easy to make right. We don’t have comfortable or expensive features that other vans have, but if anything goes wrong it’s usually a simple fix. 



Our day-to-day lives in a micro-camper - everything you wanted to know!


Storage

Underneath our bed, we have 6 x 16 litre ‘Wham’ storage boxes that store all of our food, toiletries, kitchen equipment and medical supplies. We have found ‘Wham’ boxes to be extremely durable and we use them as seats too! Behind the driver and passenger seats, we have 4 x 16 litre Wham boxes (2 per person) that store our clothes. This doesn’t sound like a lot of space, and it’s because it isn’t. Believe it or not, Lee brought a lot more clothes away in the van with him than I did! Recently he has moved some of these clothes into our roof bag, as it’s surprising how few clothes you need to get by. 


In addition to the 32 litres of clothes storage each, we have a large net that hangs above our heads in the front of the car. This is great to store our jumpers, jackets, joggers and any bulky items or clothes we need access to often such as pyjamas!


Keeping Warm

We don’t have a heater, and keeping warm has never been an issue in our little Kangoo! We have camped in Pegs in Snowdonia in December and we’ve slept at 2500m with snow on the mountains with no problems. Truthfully, if I was on my own in the van I would probably need a heater, but the heat from two people inside keeps it nice and toasty. We have a double quilt, a double sleeping bag (which we haven’t used yet), and two ‘Quishion’ throws! Quishions are quilted blankets that fold up to create a pillow when not in use. I didn’t know how much I needed a Quishion in my life until now and we both highly recommend them for any camper, van dweller or even a space-saving blanket alternative for your home! 


Sunrise at Passo Gardena, Dolomites, Italy

In addition to our quilts, we also have window covers that I made out of insulation foil, with magnets sewn around the edges that attach to the metal van wall. These window covers provide us with extra insulation as our van isn’t insulated at all! 


Kitt’s home made window covers!

Keeping Clean

Keeping clean whilst living in our Renault Kangoo has been tough! We purchased a portable shower that is pressurised by plugging it into your car lighter port, however we haven’t used it once since we left the UK three months ago. Generally, the weather has been quite cold on our trip and this nifty little shower requires a hot day (in my opinion) to fully enjoy the icy spray. Also, on these hot days we have been using lakes and streams to wash ourselves, which is much more fun and doesn’t use up the water in our tank!


Morning swimming in Sweden

Truthfully, baby wipes have been our best friend. It’s not glamorous living in a van. On average, we tend to find a shower once a week and these haven’t been easy to come by if you are reluctant to pay to stop at a campsite like us. Our showers have been at campsites who have let us pay for a shower only (this requires you to look for nearby campsites and call around to see who will allow you to use their facilities), and public shower facilities which are not common. 


We hoped we would be able to find showers in service stations, but this has been extremely rare. Although we haven’t done this yet on our trip, another way you can find a shower is to pay for a pool pass/day pass at a leisure centre. So in conclusion, I would say we are still figuring out how to stay clean effectively on the road, especially in the colder weather. 


Cooking

Cooking in our van has been super easy! We have a camp stove that takes disposable gas canisters, 2 mess tins, 2 enamel mugs, 2 plates and some cutlery. We don’t have a fridge! A typical day of food for us looks a little like this:


Dinner with a view in the Dolomites

Breakfast:

Granola with milk and a banana.


Snack:

Cereal bar.


Lunch:

Tuna/cheese, salad and mayonnaise wrap or sandwich. Crisps and a piece of fruit. 


Dinner:

Tomato pasta with olives and cheese.


We tend to stock up on microwavable rice packets, tinned curries, tinned chilli, soups and pasta sauces for our evening meals. They definitely do not contain as much goodness as our diets at home did, but they are easy to store and cook on the road. 


We stick to one-pot meals and also tend to cover a mess tin in foil before we cook. This reduces food sticking to the pan and makes cleaning up a whole lot easier! Believe me, it’s a game-changer! One thing I was always worried about being able to do properly on the road was washing up. One way in which we reduce washing up is by eating out of the mess tin that we cooked in together, instead of using individual plates. It sounds bad but it’s actually really cute as we sit at the back of the van together and it feels like a tiny table!


The way we clean our dishes/cutlery is by using antibacterial cleaning wipes. We use these in addition to water and use these sparingly to keep our waste to a minimum. The way we justify using these wipes is to compare the amount of waste we used to produce living in our house, to the small amount now. 


Sleeping

Our Peggy Kangoo has memory foam laid out on a 6 foot bed frame. Lee sourced this huge piece of memory foam from a bloke on Facebook Marketplace who was getting rid of it for free. The piece was brand new, and Lee cut it up into sizes that fitted our bed frame. After this, I bought myself a sewing machine (on Facebook Marketplace also), and watched YouTube for a million hours to learn how to sew my own cushion covers. In conclusion, we find her to be very comfortable! 


Pegs with freshly covered cushions! Courtesy of Kitt

At night, we crack a window slightly to reduce condensation. We don’t have any problems with damp in the van and the window covers mentioned above help to reduce any moisture as well as helping us sleep easier by keeping the van at a comfortable temperature. 


Toilet

A hot topic in the van-living world is toileting! In our van, we have a collapsible, portable toilet that we use for emergencies. It is designed whereby you place a bag inside the toilet like a bin, and basically do your number 2 in there! Some privacy is gained by pegging a towel from one of the open car doors to the van itself! Like I said, this is for emergencies! 


We almost always use public toilets and will drive further for a park-up that has a toilet. Of course, in many cases that isn’t always possible to find and in these situations we will take a walk to do a nature wee, always ensuring we leave no paper on the floor! Nature poos are a different story - these are extremely rare (my grand total in 3 months is just one) and we will avoid this encounter at most costs! The experience isn’t awful, but we will always do our best to find a toilet! 


If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to nature poo, the correct ‘etiquette’ (I know, right?) is to make sure you are at least 200 feet away from water, trails and campsites. You should dig a hole in the ground 6-8 inches deep, do your business and then cover it with sticks and leaves afterwards. You’re good to bury your toilet paper too but try to use as little as possible. 


 

We hope you've found this article interesting and we hope some of your burning questions have been answered!


Living in a tiny camper isn't easy, but we want to travel in Peggy for as long as possible, and we wouldn't trade Peggy or our new life on the road to go back to our old lives!


 

Some of the links featured in this blog are affiliate links. This means that we may make a few pennies if you decide to make a purchase through them, at no extra cost to you. This is one way in which we are trying to sustain our new life on the road and provide you with exciting content! Thank you!

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