What Motorhome/Campervan or Caravan do you have? What is good about it? What not so good?

Something posted in another thread yesterday suggested this to me as warranting a thread of its own. So as the question asks: what motorhome do you have? What’s good about it? What’s not so good?

In maybe a couple of years time I intend to buy a motorhome to get in some travelling around Europe after I have retired. It seems to me that there is a primary trade-off related to size, small being much easier to manoeuvre and negotiate narrow roads and sharp bends, and to park; large being more comfortable to live in for any extended period, especially in bad weather, and easily able to take ancillaries like electric bikes. I would never buy new, so it would be interesting to learn what others are using now, and their pros and cons, and indeed the different things people use them for. And I guess there are other members out there also contemplating getting one, or people with one model wondering what another is like.

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Wow, so many issues to deal with here Innocent_Bystander.

The first rule I heard was “buy the smallest one that will do the job for you”

And, “get the layout you want, or at least think you want.”

We have owned an Eriba/Hymer A class (older version) Pay load was limited and it was under powered. Reasonably sturdy but still managed to leak. Good electrics and quality of the living quarters was excellent. Ours only had one door, which might be interesting if there was a fire, or if someone parks right up against that side!

Current Motorhome is an Autotrail C class coachbuilt. made in the UK, so that’s a positive I suppose, support your local workforce. Decent power, keeps up with most things up to 20mph! it is possible to wheel spin a 2.8 litre turbo diesel at the lights. Good payload, (over 600kg), in my experience luxurious vans can have poor payload because of all the fancy fittings and extras. Its a 6 birth so its great for 2 plus a dog!
Base vehicle has been good, (its a Fiat), living quarters, electrics poor, some leaks in the roof around usual penetrations and awning fixings, every thing else is still holding up well after 15 years!

My mantra keep it simple, motorised stuff is nice but it can be troublesome, (don’t forget, it isn’t BMW assembling most these things) and it takes up payload, so you might have to leave some of the bottles of beer and Gin at home!

Going for a heavy van can be limiting in the long run. In the UK they won’t let you drive a vehicle of greater than 3500kg on a normal car licence once you get to a certain age.

Mine is now due for replacement, I would prefer another ‘Hymer’ or a ‘Hobby’ perhaps.

IB & Roog, I think this thread needs pictures. Not knowing what an Autotrail C Class is, I googled it, managed to miss off a t, and got a whole load of pictures of trains.

Looks nice and roomy, with a great view from the bathroom, and it even has a chimney. I’m guessing this is not what you’re referring to, but it was an interesting diversion for a few minutes anyway…

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I like it Richard, but probably better as a Garden building!

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Class A, normally a van chassis but no cab, all bodywork by ‘coachbuilder’ and probably craned on in one piece. Really big ones look like a small coach?
A class

Class C, Van chassis utilising the van cab, (lower cost) living quarters built-in a factory and craned on one piece. Uglier!
autotrail_apache_700_se_coach_built_motorhome_camper_fiat_ducato_6_berth_4160067572791810427

Class B is a van conversion like a VW transporter.

Sad or what?

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Thanks @Roog - really great posts. And thanks to @Richard.Dane Richard for both his suggestion and the rather lovely pic, if possibly slightly less flexible a solution than most people’s idea of a motorhome!

I wasn’t aware of the drop from licences of higher weight driving licence categories with age, though realistically there is likely to be a limit beyond which I would feel increasingly less capable driving a large vehicle.

We did have a fully equipped long wheelbase hi-top Transit motorhome but when it expired due to rust we decided to change our approach. We only ever used the fridge to keep our booze and milk cold and the top grill to boil a kettle - all the oven, water, sink etc. was mostly redundant as we used camp site washing/shower/toilet facilities and ate out apart from breakfast - go on holiday and cook and wash up - pah!
We now have a standard size Renault Trafic crew cab van with the seats removed so we have windows, lights, and lining as well as doors on both sides and at the rear. We also have a drive away awning in which we set up chairs, table, cooker and cool box etc. This means we only use the van itself for sleeping in on an inflatable mattress.
It’s much better for us in every way - rust proof, cruises at 80 on the motorway, over 40 miles per gallon and you can drive away leaving the awning in place so no bugger nicks your pitch. It depends what you want - no good for wild camping and we only do a few days at a time . Best thing is I can get a vintage motorbike in the back to take to rallies. We actually find it more comfortable and roomy than the larger purpose built job. Around £3k all in. YMMV

Just found it,

" if you use the standard renewal procedure you will lose your C1 entitlement and you will no longer be able to drive motorhomes between 3,500kg and 7,500kg."

Perhaps there is an alternative procedure?

This is an example of a very popular smaller Class C RV in the U.S. This is great if you like to travel, like we do. If you are staying at one place for months, most people preferr a large Class “A” or a “5th” wheel. My opion of the RV industry in the U.S. is not good. Pooe quality control and no inovation in sub systems like heaters or A/C. Using the same systems they have used for 50 years. We bought ours “NEW” and it had 30 defects. Had to take it to the factory to get them corrected. Local dealer did not have the skill or desire to do it. Really like the looks of some of the European RVs. TerryIMG_3338

We don’t have a motor home - we thought about it but bought a little caravan instead. The one thing that I didn’t like was having to make up the bed at night, and to have to put it away before being able to have breakfast if it was too cold or wet outside. So in March we bought a slightly larger model with a fixed bed. Of course we have only been camping on the drive but the large bed with sprung wooden slats is lovely. You should also think about what you will be doing on holiday. If you want to stay somewhere for a week or two and travel about, would you be happy taking a large vehicle into tiny villages? That’s where a smaller one has a lot of advantages. A lot of people with motor homes seem to stay only a few nights and go out on the bikes, if that’s you then a larger one might be ok.

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On our 2nd motorhome now, 1st was an auto trail scout, was ok but not great when it was very cold, but now have an A class, la Voyager and very nice it is too.

My parents had one of these 1969 (I think) , we holidayed in it on numerous occasions, I had my own accommodation. …a tent!. My dad , with ultimate patience, let me practice my driving in it before I passed my test. th (1)

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I’m not sure I’m comfortable towing a caravan long distances - quite tiring. I had an, erm, interesting experience once with a trailer in windy conditions, and have seen the after-effects of same on caravans a couple of times. Otherwise indeed better as you dan’t have to take your home with you going out somewhere too far to cycle, so I have wondered…

Another option of course with a motorhome might be a motorbike, small for payload reasons although not so nice to ride. Of course as well as push-bikes or electric bikes for ageing people.

The age is 70, and the easy way to renew your licence is online in which you self-certify your medical fitness and the new licence comes without C1.

The alternative is that you have to fill in a paper application and a medical report form, including eyesight, has to signed by your doctor. Then the renewal includes C1.
Best

David

That’s handy to know, thank you David

Pros and cons, most of my ‘camping friends’ are ‘tuggers’ as opposed to ‘chuggers’ and the freedom of having your tow car once on site is nice, just not quite so easy to shop enroute, etc. Alternatively the motorhome allows you to bring everything to the seaside, the down side is that you have to bring everything with you on every journey with security being a concern. Easier to manoeuvre and reverse is a viable option in a tight country lane! Motorhoming has encouraged us to cycle more and use public transport more, because driving the motorhome into towns cities is a pain. Very convenient to just set off when the mood takes you, it is like a big car. Great for those impromptu trips or flitting between sites. Extra cost of insurance, maintenance, servicing and MOT are a down side of motorhome ownership. Parking when visiting towns has to be a bit more planned.

Just my take on things, I’m sure that there are lots of other things that influence people’s choices. I’d be happy with either solution, I guess i started with a motorhome because we used to take it to motor races and we kind of fitted in better, plus I wasn’t too keen on towing.

Modern caravans are easier to tow with anti snaking devices built in . Even my car can detect if a snake develops and correct it hopefully. So if you’ve done your sums right and got a van thats no more than 85% of the cars kerbweight then towing should hold no fear.
We love our little 2 berth with central heating it’s nice and cosy.Plus solar panels on the roof so really don’t need a hook up and keeps the battery charged all winter so can leave the alarm on.
I agree reversing can be a problem with lots of folk but if you get a motor mover fitted then you don’t need to reverse with the car if you don’t want to.

Just wish we could use it this year. Can’t even visit her because storage site in lockdown

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I wasn’t suggesting you get a caravan, merely recounting the tale of the fixed bed. This also affects the layout: fixed bed will be at the back, which means the kitchen is further forward. My wife’s sister has a small low profile motor home and the bed gets made up across the middle. It’s whether you can be bothered with the hassle. On site some people really struggle with a drive away awning and can take literally 20 minutes fiddling about driving to and fro getting the position needed in order to make the attachment. A wind-out Thule Omnistor is a great option. You need to remember that because you are taking everything with you that the journey isn’t exactly peaceful unless you have everything strapped down.

Yes, recognised benefit of fixed bed - and we do sometimes wonder about caravan as an alternative, so any caravan contributions are certainly welcome!

Thanks all for contributions so far. This has brought out more than the simple comparison of motorhomes I was thinking of which is great - better indeed as a no-holds-barred discussion of all variants of mobile home for touring/holiday purposes. It would be nice to have more details of pros and cons of specific models of motorhome, and indeed caravan, and pictures, too!