Spotlight on... Bumble Campers
Bumble Campers has been specialising in affordable campervans for a decade. With the company celebrating its tenth birthday this year, we caught up with MD, James Kelly, to find out more...
- When did Bumble Campers start out?
- How has the campervan market changed since then?
- What do you think makes a great campervan conversion?
- What sets Bumble Campers apart from the crowd?
- How has the brand evolved over the years?
- Have you got any exciting new developments in the pipeline?
- What advice would you give to someone thinking about buying a campervan?
- What’s the most unusual question you’ve ever been asked by a customer?
- What’s the best campervan trip you’ve personally undertaken?
- The Bumble Campers range
- Contact Bumble
Photos by Bumble Campers
Q: When did Bumble Campers start out?
We’re just entering our tenth year of business at Bumble Campers. We started the company in January 2012 after a trip to (and around) Australia in a rented camper got us slightly obsessed with smaller campervans! We offer sales and conversions, but also have a large rental fleet, too.
Q: How has the campervan market changed since then?
I feel like we’ve always been a little different to the mass market here at Bumble Campers, as we buck the trend by using older Toyota vehicles, rather than the more common options. We based our business on affordability, with the original versions of our Bumble Bus camper conversions being offered from as little as £2,995.
Our market has changed slightly since then, as we now import vehicles from Japan, too. This way, we can offer great-value conversions on newer, lower-mileage vehicles.
Q: What do you think makes a great campervan conversion?
A great campervan conversion, in my opinion, makes the best of the space available, even if that is a small space. Using certain parts of the camper for multiple purposes is a great way to save space.
For example, the table in our Bumble Bus camper can be used inside and outside, as well as for creating the bed base. The designs of our conversions are based on our experiences as campervanners as well as on feedback from customers who have been using our vehicles over the last 10 years.
Q: What sets Bumble Campers apart from the crowd?
Aside from our bright yellow branding? Joking aside, our sales vehicles don’t have to be branded! We pride ourselves on providing the best possible vehicles to suit customers’ needs and our stock usually includes vehicles priced between £2,995 and £16,995.
What’s more, our Bumble Bus and Bumble Luxe campers are easily used as a daily car, too, due to their size, so you can use your campervan full-time with no need for a second car.
Q: How has the brand evolved over the years?
It’s fair to say that we’ve had to adapt over the Covid pandemic, but who hasn’t?
Over the lockdown periods, we decided to bring forward the retirement of our rental fleet and replaced them with much newer, lower-mileage vehicles that have exciting new features, as well as our brand-new kits that increase the available storage.
Q: Have you got any exciting new developments in the pipeline?
Our Bumble Luxe is new for 2022 and this is available for rentals, to buy fully converted, or customers can bring their own vehicle along for conversion only.
We also offer sourcing/ordering of vehicles from Japan and have a number of options such as the Nissan Elgrand and Nissan Serena en route, too.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about buying a campervan?
Research, research and research some more! Then, once you think you know what the right campervan is, try it before you buy it.
So many of our sales customers come from our rental business, as they hire one first, fall in love with our campers and then go on to buy.
Q: What’s the most unusual question you’ve ever been asked by a customer?
I genuinely don’t have an answer for this! Off the top of my head, I can’t think of anything really peculiar – I think our customers must be quite sensible folk!
Q: Q: What’s the best campervan trip you’ve personally undertaken?
All my best trips have been in campervans. I’ve explored vast amounts of Australia and New Zealand in hired campers, as well as doing a road trip through Big Sur in California.
I’ve also done many trips in our own campers – the best (or craziest) was visiting 10 European countries in nine days!
Q: What new developments have you been working on?
In response to customer feedback, we have launched new colours, together with an online, easy-to-use visualiser tool. We’ve taken the interior of a standard, side kitchen layout Volkswagen campervan and supplied the colours and finishes as a swatch underneath the picture.
Just scroll through our collections and click on the colour swatch you’d like to try. The image will update with your choice of finish to illustrate what it looks like in context, so the tool helps our customers to visualise how different finishes will work in an actual, realistic campervan setting.
This allows customers to try before they buy initially, and we’d always recommend asking for a sample.
The Bumble range
We can offer conversions on a range of vehicles, but the focus tends to lie with those that have proven themselves to be the perfect campers through our rentals – the Toyota Estima (also named Previa) and Toyota Alphard.
They are the size of an estate car, so can easily be used as your daily car-cum-campervan. We do also have a bigger camper option, aptly named the Bumble Biggie.
This is available as a five-seater, two-berth campervan, or four-berth with the addition of a Gritt Outdoors roof tent – offered in Lite or Adventurer2 options.
The Bumble Bus campers are available to rent or purchase, so don’t forget to try before you buy (from £29 per day).
Price from: £8,995
Brand-new for 2022, this latest conversion is on the slightly larger Toyota Alphard. The extra space inside the vehicle allows for either a two-seater, two-berth side kitchen set-up, or five seats with a rear kitchen.
The Alphard is also optionally available with a pop-top or fixed high-top roof. The rental version (from £49 per day) will have a pop-top for standing room and so you have the option of sleeping up top.
Price from: £11,995
The Bumble Biggie takes the simplicity of the smaller campers but applies it to a vehicle in which you can easily stand up, cook inside and have the full-length bed permanently made up. Inside, it’s stylishly wood cladded and has plenty of storage.
In the past, the Biggie has been based on Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer and Citroën Relay but, new for 2022, we are looking to introduce a Japanese platform, too. Hire from £69 per day.
Price from: £14,995
Contact Bumble Campers
Bumble Campers (Peterborough):
6 Mancetter Square,
Bumble Campers (Manchester):
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