Is This the Ultimate Photography Accessory?

When I first started my photography journey, I was full of hope, excitement, and wonder about what adventure the day would bring me. The challenge for me was that it was just a day before I either had to head home again or find a place to stay, so I could spend more time in a certain location.

The challenge has always been about being in the right place at the right time to bag those banger shots, and when you may not have the flexibility in schedule or the option to stay longer at a location, then it is easy to miss that perfect moment and killer shot. Now, of course, I could always spend some time in my car; there were a few occasions that I ended up sleeping in my car. However, that experience, besides being uncomfortable, wasn’t always guaranteed to work out as the weather can be very unpredictable, and I found even after spending a night in my car, I wasn’t rewarded with the conditions I had hoped for. The solution? Have the ability to spend as much time at a location in relative comfort with as many necessities to hand in a camper van.

If you are seeking the perfect balance between comfort and adventure, a camper van can be a game-changer as it opens up so many possibilities to help you be in that right place at the right time and not feel like you have done ten rounds with Mike Tyson in the process. Let’s explore some of the advantages that a camper van can bring to landscape photography.

Before we begin, my van of choice is a 2016 VW Transporter, a van that I searched for over several months, and while I came close several times, I never quite found the right van for me, either there was too much work to be done, or there had already been too much work done, which was a barrier to my needs. It doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles; it just needs to have enough to act as an enabler as such, and it doesn’t also need to be too big as this will restrict your movements in tight spaces, roads, and areas. It more or less needed to be the Goldilocks of vans for me, not too big, not too small, but just right.

Here are some of the advantages that a camper van can bring you:

Mobile Basecamp

One of the primary advantages of owning a camper van is the ability to carry your living space with you wherever your photographic adventures lead. The VW Transporter, with its compact size and customizable interior, allows me to set up a comfortable base camp at the heart of my shooting locations. This not only saves time but provides the convenience of having all my essentials within arm's reach.

Flexibility in Location Scouting

With a camper van, the entire world becomes my studio. The VW Transporter's nimble size allows me to explore off-the-beaten-path locations, finding hidden gems that might be inaccessible to larger vehicles. This flexibility in location scouting can result in discovering unique and untouched landscapes, giving my photography an edge.

Sunrise to Sunset Photography

The ability to stay overnight at my chosen shooting location transformed my photography experience. I can capture the beauty of sunrise and sunset without worrying about commuting to and from distant accommodations. My VW Transporter's converted interior provides a cozy space for rest, ensuring I’m ready to seize the golden hours without compromise.

Cost-Effective Travel

I can save on accommodation expenses by turning my camper van into a home on wheels. My VW Transporter's conversion offers me a comfortable sleeping area, cooking facilities, and storage, minimizing the need for expensive hotels or rentals. This cost-effective approach allows me to allocate more resources to photography equipment and travel experiences.

Photographing Remote Areas

My VW Transporter's off-road capabilities (limited for sure as it’s not 4x4, but enough that I don’t mind going down rough roads) and compact size enable me to venture into remote and less-explored areas. As a photographer, this means capturing scenes untouched by crowds and human interference. Embrace solitude and let my creativity flourish in the untouched beauty of nature.

Weather-Resilient Photography

Unpredictable weather conditions are part of the photographer's challenge. The converted VW Transporter provides a sheltered space where I can retreat during adverse weather, allowing me to wait out storms or set up for the perfect shot without exposure to the elements. I can also open the side or rear doors and shoot from there if the location allows, which I have done on several occasions.

Equipment Security

Security is paramount for all photographers, especially when carrying expensive equipment, and I am no different. The VW Transporter, with its lockable doors and customized storage solutions, ensures that my cameras, lenses, and accessories are safely stowed away when I'm away from the van. That being said, however, my gear is nearly always with me when I am away from the van as I am predominantly shooting, after all. This peace of mind allows me to focus on capturing moments without worrying about the security of any gear that may be left in the van.

Spontaneous Photography

The freedom a camper van provides extends to my photography style. Spontaneity becomes an asset as I can stop at any captivating location on a whim. Whether it's a breathtaking landscape or an unexpected wildlife encounter, having my entire setup at the ready allows me to seize photographic opportunities that might otherwise be missed.

Connecting With Like-Minded Travelers

The camper van community is vast and diverse, providing an opportunity to connect with fellow travelers and photographers. Share experiences, tips, and even collaborate on projects with like-minded individuals who share a passion for both the open road and capturing moments through the lens. I enjoy not only meeting others while on the road but also having a look at what they have done with their van as I can find inspiration and ideas to use on my van.

Leave No Trace Photography

The compact and efficient nature of the VW Transporter aligns with a philosophy of responsible and sustainable travel. Leave no trace photography is facilitated when you have a self-contained unit that minimizes its impact on the environment. I can embrace eco-friendly practices while enjoying the beauty of nature, and most of all, I can take all of my trash home with me once I am done.


In conclusion, choosing a camper van, particularly a customized VW Transporter, for my photography expeditions opens up a world of possibilities. The advantages extend beyond convenience, offering a lifestyle that integrates with the needs of a passionate photographer. From flexibility in location scouting to cost-effective travel and the joy of creating a home on wheels, the VW Transporter becomes more than a vehicle; it becomes an essential tool in my photographic journey. So, if you want to elevate your experience, consider the freedom your photography and creativity a camper van can bring to your next adventure. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and photography. I have made a van tour video of my van, which you can watch above if you like also.

Have you got a camper van, or have you thought about getting one? Let’s continue the conversation in the comments below.

Darren Spoonley's picture

Darren J. Spoonley, is an Ireland-based outdoor photographer, Podcaster, Videographer & Educator with a passion for capturing the beauty of our world.

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Wheelbase, ground clearance and 2x4 are almost a knock-out criterion for a VW T4. You get stuck pretty quickly off the beaten track. However, I already had the ideal van: a VW T3 Synchro. Unfortunately, my search for a worthy successor has so far been unsuccessful - it has yet to be born :-)

The four motion would be a prefect option then ?

Much better, but still not ideal. When I photographed a project on lighthouses in southern Africa, it would hardly have been possible to get to these places on the coast without sufficient ground clearance and a 4x4 - except on foot, of course. Most of the interesting places are the ones that not everyone can get to so easily. This is true all over the world, whether in Iceland, Tierra del Fuego or Mongolia ...

That was also my first thought. Get an old Subaru, raise it 2", pull out the back seats and put a small mattress in. It ain't the ritz, but it'll get you in AND out of anywhere.

Absolutely ideal for sure

Do you have problems parking? Here carparks have height restrictions. :( I would love a campervan and it would be a VW. When I retire in twenty years! :)

In 20 years you probably can't drive with a fuel car anymore. At least not in Europe.

Most likely alright Leo

No issues with parking at all, it was one of the reasons I went with this van as there’s no height problems and it’s not much longer than an SUV