Even more appealing for many of us, they can take us a long way from home without pitching a single tent or scouring the next town for an empty hotel room. You might even want to forget planning altogether and simply rock up in a new destination every night – although we don’t recommend trying this in peak holiday season.
There’s one thing you really need to check before you leave home however: that’s that the tyres are in reasonable shape for the journey. Or if you’ve already decided it’s time to swap them out, we have some good news here – some camper van experts have already checked out some options and have some recommendations and test findings below.
So let’s park up for a moment and talk campervan tyres.
Some expertise from the Autobahn
Promobil is a leading German magazine, covering all things campervans and motorhomes. They set about testing campervan tyres with the expected, famous level of German attention to detail and efficiency.
They took 7 tyres, all 235/60 R17C, and stuck them on a Volkswagen Crafter and a MAN TGE, both being suitable chassis’ for campervans to be built on. Then they hit the road to take a look at both wet and dry performance. Which is good. Holiday roads can be wet. Or... erm... dry.
Included in the test was:
- Continental VanContact 200
- Nokian cLine Cargo
- Pirelli Carrier
- Michelin Agilis+
- Toyo NanoEnergy Van
- Continental VanContact 4season
- Nankang Passion CW-20
Testing looked at handling, braking, rolling resistance, noise levels and, interestingly, environmental criteria. A maximum of 10 points were on offer and the test was weighted as follows: Wet 50%, Dry 40%, Environment 10%.
Which Tyres Could ‘Hang 10’ and Which ‘Wiped Out’?
The Nankang tyre ‘wiped out’, receiving the only ‘not recommended’ rating, with a rather poor weighted overall score of just 5.0. Performance in the wet was highlighted as being particularly poor.
3 tyres brands all scored between 7.2 and 7.7, gaining a recommended rating. These included the tyres Michelin and Toyo, along with the Continental VanContact 4 Season. It’s worth noting the Continental tyre was the only All Weather Tyre tested so to perform almost as well as a well known brand of regular tyre, such as Michelin, is rather commendable. It’s like trying to use a boogie board to surf and comparing performance against normal surfboards. We think. Although we're not experts in either kind of board.
The Pirelli tyre came in with an overall score of 8.1. It was noted as performing well in the wet and dealing with aquaplaning situations. Where it let itself down was in rolling resistance and road noise. Still a podium finish and a recommended tyre though.
In second place was the Nokian cLine Cargo. It tested very well, impressing with short braking distances and very safe swerving and dry handling characteristics. Aquaplaning was a small issue and a high rolling resistance saw it drop some points. Still, a final result of 8.8 is very good.
Only one tyre made the grade of ‘highly recommended’. Coming out tops is the Continental VanContact 200. Particularly praiseworthy was the Continental tyre's wet grip, handling and low rolling resistance. The only minor detraction was some road noise in the curves.
So there we have it. If you want the best surfboard for when you reach your destination you might opt for the Fireweed Greedy Beaver (or so Google tells us). For tyres, you go the Continental VanContact 200. Surf’s up Dude!