Hello! I’m Simon from Stafford. I live on a narrow boat on the Trent & Mersey Canal at Great Haywood, just by the Canal Side Cafe. As well as being a Quirky Camper owner I’m also a freelance graphic designer, crew for a hot air balloon company and barista at a local micro-roastery.
How did you hear about Quirky Campers?
I came across Quirky Campers looking for inspiration on Pinterest whilst doing my conversion. Originally I wanted to convert the van to sell it but finding Quirky Campers made me realise I could keep it and share it, allowing me to create a space for others to enjoy, too. Best of both! The images on Pinterest made me want to be a part of this high quality camper family and that was important to me. I wanted Finn to be amongst other quality vans and he certainly is with Quirky Campers.
What was your inspiration for creating a Mercedes Vito camper?
Finn is my 5th conversion and without doubt my best. He’s definitely compact compared to the 7.5 ton Bedford TK horse box I’ve also converted. My aim for Finn was to create a versatile and functional design but not compromising style and beauty. He’s not the biggest van and fairly low key – just one window in the back and one vent and one chimney coming out of the top. I think all of the vans with Quirky Campers are fairly inconspicuous and I love that – really creates surprise when you look inside!
The biggest inspiration for Finn was the stove. It gets a lot of attention when Finn’s parked up as it’s the first thing people see when the doors are open. It’s a real focal point and an amazing heat source to keep you cosy in the cooler months. It’s fairly rare to find a camper of this size with a real stove – it’s such an essential part of Finn!
So, what’s the best thing to cook?!
I’d say fish and veg. Just wrap it all up in some foil with some oil and herbs, pop it on and leave it to cook – easy! Don’t worry though, there’s another stove you can take outside when there’s more of you around.
What’s been the hardest moment?
Converting a van in a freezing February, in a cold barn has its challenges but it’s a nice physical process that keeps you warm. In terms of the van, the curves inside were sometimes hard to work with to get the most out of every inch, which is so important with a smaller van . Finn’s curves meant I had to allow for the stresses in the wood and so demanded more complex way of working to ensure the lines weren’t compromised. The tiny bit of wood that runs along the top of the door and around the door were a bit tricky, to say the least.
What was the best moment for you during the conversion process?
Seeing the stove light up for the first time and making an espresso!
Your favourite adventure in Finn so far?
Finn’s first trip to the Lakes to take me to the mountains. There was snow on the mountains even as late as the May bank holiday! I would say Finn’s an adventure vehicle, those who like to get out and explore all year round: walk, climb, swim, hike, etc. His huge king size bed is perfect for relaxing in after a busy day and drinking your coffee in in the morning when you wake up.
It comes from Finland and their traditional love of cabins, and Finn’s like a mini cabin on wheels. Also the stove was designed for fishing boats originally in northern Europe so there’s a link there, too.
I love their versatility and how they enable the flexibility of life. I love their immediacy and spontaneity – just jump in and go!