Barn Doors vs Tailgate. What is the best option for me?

Custom Design Campervans

Tailgate vs Barn Doors

One of the big decisions when choosing your donor van is what type of back door you want your VW Campervan to have – essentially how do you want it to open.

There are two main types of rear doors:

Barn Doors – These are hinged on the side of the van and rotate about a vertical point.

Tailgates – These are hinged on the top and rotate about a horizontal point.

Barn Doors are a standard feature for medium and large panel vans, tailgates are more widely used on car derived vans, kombis and minibuses, but can often be chosen as a no-cost option on the larger panel vans.

Pro’s for Barn Doors:

·        When using the van for work and you are carrying materials, sometimes you need that extra bit of space hanging out the back of your van so you can close one door and leave the other strapped open.  This is legal so long as the number plate is on the door that is shut.

·        When travelling for leisure in your VW Campervan and you have packed up your van full to the brim, once you arrive at the site, you don’t have to struggle opening one big door and trying to stop everything falling out the back as it will have moved in transit. You can open one door first, securing 50% of your items, and then unload from the open door.

·        If you’re a builder and are having pallets loaded in your vehicle via forklift, you don’t have to load via the side door as you have no restrictions in head height at the rear of your vehicle. The tailgate on the other hand, is at a height where the forklift cannot load in the rear.

·        You don’t need as much room behind the vehicle to access the rear of the van.  A tailgate you would not even be able to open up in a multi storey car park.


Pro’s for Tailgate:

·        The tailgate gives a better view out the back unlike Barn Doors, as there’s no central pillar in the rear window, which means wipers are often also included.

·        They can give shelter from the rain when stood under it (providing it’s not too windy).

·        The twin door is quicker to get something out the back in really bad weather without soaking or blowing everything and everyone around inside.

·        They’re also less likely to get bumped, as it lifts up and out of the way of people and materials, whereas Barn Doors often get caught in the way which results in scratches and dints. However, the flip side to this is when the van is parked facing uphill, or on a slant, the tailgate could be held at a ‘head hazard’ height.

As you can see there are plenty of pros for both types of van – it really does come down to how you intend to use the vehicle.  We would recommend where possible that you hire 2 different types of VW Campervan before you commit to a purchase.  Getting the spec of the van right is the most important step in the design phase of customising your perfect VW Camper van. 

Still not sure?  Give one of our donor van specialists a call on 0121 679 2528. 

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