Mad Campers – MAD1 Review

This blog is my review of my time in the MAD1 campervan, by Mad Campers. New Zealand’s first and only solo campervan! 

Full disclaimer, I did work with these guys with my time in New Zealand. However, this and like all my reviews, will always remain unbiased.

The Company and Service 

Mad Campers is an energetic and locally owneed business in New Zealand. They build innovative campervans for adventurous travellers, who want a slice of luxury, but basic living essentials on the road! 

Their campervans have been well throughout, and they’ve used the ‘KISS’ method, meaning that their campervans are simple BUT very efficient for living on the road! 

Customer Service at Mad Campers is like no other rental company I’ve used. They will help you with any questions or problems you have on the road. While getting back to you with a very quick response time. I had a few unfortunate window chips on my travels, and Mad Campers organised everything to get my windscreen replaced, while fitting into my schedule! As soon as I called them about the issue, they had me booked into a repair centre within the hour. 

The walkthrough while picking up your campervan was very informative, and I liked how they take the time to walk you through each feature, not just leaving you with a booklet and some keys. Honestly the customer service was a 10/10, and the crew at Mad Campers really want to make sure your travels go smoothly. 

Picking up the Campervan

Picking up the campervan was as smooth as smooth can be. I arrived at the deport at 9am and had the keys in my hand, ready to go by 9.30am. I received a walkthrough, telling me about all the features of my campervan, as well as a friendly chat about my travels. 

From first impression, you could tell that Mad Campers look after their campervans, and customers! I was pointed out a few wear and tear marks which had already been on the campervan and saw that it was already noted on my paperwork. I love this because it means you know they aren’t going to try get some money out of you when you return your campervan, for damage you didn’t do. 

The van was spotless at pickup and made me feel like I was the first to drive this it. 

Dropping off the Campervan

Likewise to picking up, dropping off was quick and easy. I simply drove to the deport, told them how many KM’s was on the odometer and dropped off my keys. I didn’t have to do anything special to the campervan to drop it off. Mad Campers simply ask that you leave it clean, but you don’t have to vacuum or wash the sheets etc, just tidy (no mud, dirt etc). You also need to leave a full tank of fuel and gas cylinder. That’s it!

The Pricing

These guys are considered on the cheaper side of campervan rentals in New Zealand. Day rates start at $48NZD for low periods and $76NZD for peak periods (for the MAD1). If you want a similar car with another company, you are looking at anything between $120-150NZD per day. 

This was excellent for me, as I had the campervan for a total of 41 days, so prices could add up over that period! 

Please note: prices are subject to change at any time without any notice. Prices vary during seasons, and don’t include extras or insurance. 

Mad1 – Mad Campers review 

The MAD1 campervan is perfect for solo campers. I instantly fell in love with this campervan, as most companies aim their vehicles towards 2-6 people. As a solo traveller, I never need that much space, and honestly wouldn’t know what to do with it. This also means renting a campervan can be very expensive, as their prices are usually based off the number of people they can fit. It would have been unaffordable for me to rent a large campervan, I actually saved over 3k renting with Mad Campers! 

The Size

The MAD1 campervan is actually a car! Which after my first day driving in New Zealand I was stoked about. It made driving on the roads and parking very easy. New Zealand roads are very windy, and coming from Australia, where everything is a straight line, I wasn’t used to this. I was instantly thankful I got a small campervan over a larger one! 

I was able to whip around those mountain roads without a hassle, which is another pro to renting this campervan. Although this is a car, there is so much space inside. I was able to sit up fully on the bed without a problem, which I haven’t been able to do in some more expensive campervans. I liked that I had a space to hide from the elements if needed. 

The Layout

Sleeping Arrangements

The MAD1 has a fully set up single bed on one side of the campervan. This bed in permanent, which means you don’t need to make/remake your bed every time you wake up or go to bed. I love this! Saves so much time in the mornings and at night. 

The bed is very comfortable, and I never had a bad night sleep in it. I am 5’5 and had about a ruler’s length of space left. The pillows, blankets and sheets are included, so you don’t need to bring any sleeping gear with you! The mattress was a good thickness, as well as the covers. If you are travelling in the colder months, you can also add on a fleece blanket for a few dollars a day to your rental. 

The Living Room

The ‘living room’ is part of the bedroom space. They have left a chair in the back of the campervan, which also has a table set up. This is a great little space to sit and eat or do some work if you work remotely. 

The Kitchen

The kitchen is in the rear of the campervan. Everything you need can be accessed via the boot. In the kitchen you had a water tank, sink, two-burner stove, fridge, and pantry. All your cooking utensils such as, pots, pans, cups, and cutlery, are included. They also include salt, pepper, dish washing liquid and oil! 

The fridge is on the smaller side, but it is defiantly enough for one person. I was able to fit meals, drinks, and snacks in this fridge. You may need to do a bit of organising, but it does work. I used the section next to the fridge as my pantry, which was able to hold enough food for me for 1-2 weeks. 

The two-burner stove connects to the large gas bottle, located in the cupboard. The bench is set up using the cupboards, which is a clever design feature! I loved that it had a two-burner stove with it, which makes cooking very easy. I don’t even have a two-burner stove in my Pajero! 

The water tank held enough water for me to drink and do my dishes for about 1 week. I did use a water jug as well for drinking water, so this may differ depending how much you use the tank. The sink connects to a grey water tank, which will need to be emptied. 

Storage

If you are thinking this van won’t have a lot of storage space, then you are wrong! There are two places you can put your bags, one under the bed from the living space, and under the bed on the passenger side. 

I took two massive bags with my travels and was able to fit both in there without a problem. I took out my clothes and placed them under the bed, while putting my bags on the seat area. 

Bathroom

There is a portable toilet located underneath the bed. This is what you will need if you want to freedom camp in New Zealand. I personally never had to use this, but it’s good to have there if needed! They do also include some cleaners for the toilet. 

Power Supply

One thing that I loved about this campervan, was that it had a dual battery system. Not many budget campervans have this. As I travel with a lot of electronics, this was excellent news. The power system has a 12VDC and 2 USD points. This is at the back of the campervan, located near the kitchen. 

The power board as has 4 switches. One for the water pump, internal lights, internal music, and fridge. The internal music feature was a pleasant surprise! This meant I could play music or a movie through the sound system while the car was off. Cool right? 

There is also a battery monitoring button, which allows you to check how much percentage you have in your dual battery. 

Other Features

The MAD1 has an alarm system, which is great for extra security. You receive washing power and a bath towel included, which was a nice touch. There is a Bluetooth stereo, so you can play your own music on the road and a phone holder. The MAD1 is also completely automatic, which makes it very easy to drive. 

Fuel Efficiency

I found this campervan to be very efficient on fuel! I found that roughly at the 400-500km mark was when the empty light would go on. This meant I could drive for a few days, and even a week without having to fuel up. 

Fuel is always going to be the most expensive part of a road trip; however, I ended up spending less than my budget of $1500AUD for 41 days, with this campervan. I did a lot of driving too!

My Experience

I absolutely loved my time in the MAD1 campervan and would book it again in a heartbeat. It was the perfect size for me, I never felt like I didn’t have enough space or crammed. I loved the fact that I could sit upright in it and complete work and hide from the rain. 

The whole set up was well throughout, which made moving around and living in the campervan very easy. Driving the campervan was very easy, and very enjoyable. 

I was very sad when I dropped off my campervan, as I fell in love with this tiny home over my time in New Zealand. 

Even though I did work with Mad Campers during my time in New Zealand, my opinion is unbiased and this was by far the best campervan I have even rented. 

Thanks for reading!

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Comments (2)

  • North Island, NZ – 2 Week Itinerary – TREKwithBECK

    17th February 2023 at 5:01 pm

    […] I went with Mad Campers for my 7-week road trip through New Zealand, and they were excellent. The customer service, the campervan and everything in between was wonderful. I travelled around in their MAD1 campervan, which is the only campervan made for solo travellers in New Zealand. You can read my full review here.  […]

  • How Much to Budget for New Zealand – TREKwithBECK

    6th April 2023 at 12:03 pm

    […] You can read my full review of my time in this campervan here.  […]

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