camper van / motor home

THis section is for posting about locations and attractions that are dog-friendly. Holiday homes, hotels, campsites and pubs - at home or abroad.
molsp
Posts: 782
Joined: 12 Apr 2013, 19:08

camper van / motor home

Post by molsp » 20 Aug 2013, 14:02

Not sure whether this belongs here or 'off topic'.

Does anyone have a motor home? I fancy getting one but would like to know the pros and cons and whether camp sites are mostly dog friendlly.

Also any info about makes, models etc would be greatly appreciated.

Would like a shower, thats all i know for sure. :?
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kenny&stella
Posts: 22
Joined: 04 Aug 2013, 10:03

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by kenny&stella » 20 Aug 2013, 16:20

hi there , we use the caravan club campsites most have a dog walk area or something near bye like beack park ect , you need to keep dog leashed or tethered on site , we like it , we had a motorhome but it was a real pain / drama as you need to pack up everytime you want to go out for day so we got a caravan and its a million times better , once caravan set up weve got the freedom of using the car and its fitted with dog rack seat covers and other nececary stuff permamently , way more convienient , and mostly more room as motorhomes are more compact / compromised to fit the vans chassis , caravans are way cheaper by tens of thousands and easier to store in winter , no tax mot servicing ect ect
happy travels ,
Kenny&stella

dexysback
Posts: 933
Joined: 15 May 2013, 20:35

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by dexysback » 20 Aug 2013, 16:30

At the moment we have 2 we got the little talbot rambler a year go ,because we had a caravan at first whch was great but just one big bed ,we did think the talbot was small for dexter but we were hopeing he would sleep across the front seats ,no way so we are all together in the big bed ,so we decied to go for bigger one with two doubl beds its a whinnyaygo ,but its had a leak so repareing that first and then we will sell our ittle one ,we are in a little camping club which are fine with dogs ,and most camp sites take dogs.Some o mght have to pay a little but most are free for dogs.We love the fact we can just jump in and go anywere with dexter with us.
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suebedo
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Joined: 23 Mar 2013, 23:40
Location: Denham, South Bucks

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by suebedo » 20 Aug 2013, 17:28

And we have a third option which is a folding camper. Cheaper than both caravan and motor home, easy to put up and plenty of room inside. We have 2 double beds (one is the dining table and sofas) plus a kingsize bed. There is a hob, grill and oven with a sink in the kitchen area and it has hot water from gas or electric . Also has a cloakroom cubicle with a toilet and handbasin.

The shower is unfortunately a tent outside!!!!!! Which did amuse our neighbours at Doodlefest. The newer models do apparently have a shower connection but I think it is on the outside of the bodywork so you would need a tent or maybe the awning to actually use it depending on where it is.

OH refuses to tow a caravan but this tows really easily (I do most of the driving anyway!) and is less obtrusive on the drive.

I think choice would come down to how often you are likely to use it. If you go away for long holidays, or very frequent breaks, it may alter your choice. If you only use a motor home a couple of times a year, will it sit on the drive, unused but costing money in tax and insurance or will you be using it as your normal car (petrol / diesel consumption then has to be considered).

Bottom line is, everything is a compromise and what suits you best, won't suit everyone :D

The Motorhome and Caravan show is on at the NEC 15th - 20th Oct and a visit there may help,you decide what your "best fit" is.
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Harvey Doodle
Posts: 335
Joined: 18 Aug 2009, 18:24
Location: South Devon

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by Harvey Doodle » 20 Aug 2013, 19:26

We have got a motorhome and we all including Harvey love travelling in it.

A caravan was a no no for us as Marion doesn't like towing or even being in a car which is towing. This goes back many years to when we towed a boat, perhaps I didn't ought to have used her car :shock: Boats are harder to tow than a caravan as they don't have the stabiliser system used on a caravan as it wouldn't like being regularly dunked in sea water.

There are 4 main classes of motorhome:
1. Camper vans - traditionally based on the VW van but becoming available on a larger range of smallish vehicles. They normally have an elevating roof, perhaps a porti potty but seldom a shower. Their advantage is that they can be used as the family car as they are no bigger than the base vehicle on which they are built.

2. Panel Van Conversions - these are normally based on high top panel vans, the converter starts with a normal van; cuts windows in the side and often rooflights and then builds in furniture, cookers, beds, seats etc. There are SWB (Short Wheel base), MWB, LWB or even Extra long wheelbase models dependant on what the manufacturer of the base vehicle has in the range. They often have a built in toilet and shower (on the longer whhel base models) These are normally too high to get into car parks with barriers and will take more than one parking space. They tend to be more expensive than a similar sized coachbuilt. Base vans tend to be Fiat Ducato, Peugeot Boxer, Ford Transit, Merc Sprinter, Renault etc.

3. Coachbuilts - The base vehicle consists of a partial cab and a chassis which may come from the van manufacturer or a third party (often Al-ko)
The habitation area is fixed behind the cab on the chassis. These will vary in length from less than 6 metres up to about 8.5. The longer the vehicle obviously the more habitation space. In more expensive ones the cab seats swivel to allow them to be used as lounge seats. They tend to be better insulated than Panel van conversions as the walls roof and floor are made of a sandwich of either aluminium or fibre glass / insulation / wood or plastic. They offer a variety of layouts with front lounges, rear lounges, mid or rear kitchens, rear washrooms etc. Sleeping will either involve converting the seating or in the larger ones fixed beds. These may be twins, transverse, island, or french (a double with the bottom corner cut off).
There may also be a bed over the cab or in some of the latest a drop down bed over the lounge.
Most will have built in toilet, shower, cooker, fridge or fridge freezer. They have built in fresh and waste water tanks which may be insulated or even heated; also have a built in water boiler and heating.

4. A class may be called integrated - these are like the coachbuilts but don't have the van maker's cab. The converter builds a complete body around the chassis, engine and dashboard. Almost all have a drop down bed over the driving seats and all the luxuries of the coachbuilt as well.

I started with a Swift Sundance with overcab bed and rear kitchen (coachbuilt) and now have an Adria Coral which has fixed twin beds, rear wash room and half dinette (the cab seats swivel to provide the other half of the dinette. This is also a coachbuilt.

You need to check how many travel seats are fitted if there is more than a couple travelling, I've seen 5 or 6 berth vans that can only carry driver, front seat passenger and perhaps two children on the road. Also check the vehicle payload, the manufacturer will quote the MIRO this is the weight of the vehicle as built with furnishings etc, gas bottles, electric lead, 90% fuel, 90% water (some quote a very low water capacity say 20 lt on a 120 lt tank as this helps payload) The principle is that you don't normall carry much water and a 75 kg allowance for the driver.
They also quote the MTPLM or maximum gross weight which mustn't be exceeded. The difference is your payload. But from this you must deduct the weight of any fixed accessories, passengers, dogs etc which may leave very little if any allowance for food, clothes etc. So check the figures.
Also make sure the beds are big enough - I'm 6' 4" tall and wouldn't be able to sleep comfortably in many vans, that's why we sold the Sundance. I don't think I would fit in either a camper van or a panel van conversion so for me it's either a coachbuilt or an A class. Also check how easy it is to make up the beds.

All caravan club sites are dog friendly, as are most if not all Camping and Caravan Club sites, and many commercial sites. The exceptions may be the big commercial sites with entertainment, swimming pools etc, but even then most will allow dogs in some areas. On many sites there will be more vans with dogs than without.
There are also the range of CL's and CS's these are 5 van sites run respectively by Caravan Club and Camping & Caravan Club. Many of these are on farms and may or may not accept dogs due to the constraints of the farm.

We are retired and get a lot of use out of our van, it's a big investment but we think it's worth it. Storage can be a problem, we can almost get it on the drive so can bring it home to load and unload, clean it etc but we have a local storage facility where it's kept.

We use the van in 2 ways, we either tour stopping off for perhaps a couple of nights in each site and covering large areas of the country. For instance the west coast of Scotland from Stranraer to Durness returning via John o' Groats, Inverness, Perth and Berwick upon Tweed (plus stops in England on the way north and the return trip) Immediately follow this we went down to Land End to complete the round trip. If we want to visit we either use the van and hope for somewhere to park or use the bus.

Our other way is to go and stay for a week or so in one place, we then put up an awning and fix ourselves. If the location is relatively close to home my wife follows with the family car or if further away we either use a bus or hire a car.

Sorry this is a bit long but I hope it helps you in your decision.
Ken, Marion & Harvey
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suzi23173
Posts: 1016
Joined: 22 Dec 2012, 15:40

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by suzi23173 » 21 Aug 2013, 07:24

I want one! :D
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Suzi and Tess.
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Vincento
Posts: 654
Joined: 26 Apr 2009, 22:15
Location: Norfolk

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by Vincento » 21 Aug 2013, 09:46

I think all the technical questions on having a Camper or Motor home have already been answered :) Great Stuff Everyone.
I will try and look at in other ways.......we have owned a Caravan and Three VW Camper Vans over the last 18-20 years purely based on the fact that we wanted to take our dog on holiday with us. Got a Camper a the moment. The choice of Camper/Motor Home will be purely based on your lifestyle, how much you intend to use it, where it will be parked when not in use and probably the deciding factor how much budget you have. Also remember insurance/tax on a Motor Home can be more because of what it is, value/emissions etc. Camper's tend to fall in line with Car insurance wise except you may have want to take extra out for what you take with you. Our Camper is currently on a Fully Comp limited mileage which helps. Insurance for them is a specialist market as most are only interested in cars under 15 years old....best to buy a Camper & Bus or Motor Home magazine for info.
For us a Camper is good as a second car and we use it a lot for days out in the winter ie: Dog walking on the beach, back to the camper for Soup and Crusty rolls etc..... you can't beat it and not easy to do in a Motor Home. We also use it to transport stuff to the tip/pick up stuff etc. I even helped my Mum and Dad move house with it :)

Re Camping ...there are some camp sites with the no dog option which I fully understand not everyone likes dog's :( Rule of thumb is to make sure your dog is catered for (most important) and that there are nearby sites for walking ie woods/lanes important for that first walk of the day at least. We have arrived at some sites advertising a dog walk (after a longish trip) only to discover it's a 50ft x 10ft strip of land fenced off to one side ...sorry but people do lie.


All in all camping with a dog is great fun for them and you. once you get sorted have a look at the... UKCAMPSITES.CO.UK lots of great campsites and there's no need to join a club to start with....also have a look at their forum lots of good advice on everything camping/caravanning. Lots of dog friendly campsites understand that you wouldn't be bringing a nasty/troublesome dog with you anyway and are very relaxed about their dog rules. Vince is very laid back and just chills out but I always make sure he doesn't bother anyone. Good Luck on what ever you decide. :) :) :)
Last edited by Vincento on 21 Aug 2013, 10:03, edited 1 time in total.
Vince doodle ...you will always find him in the kitchen at parties ......

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Vincento
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Location: Norfolk

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by Vincento » 21 Aug 2013, 09:55

kenny&stella wrote:caravans are way cheaper by tens of thousands and easier to store in winter , no tax mot servicing ect ect

Kenny&stella
Hi Kenny and Stella, Don't want to put a damper on your camping but did you know that the good old EU is asking the UK to bring in the MOT system for caravans (like they already have in Europe) to include Brakes,Tyre's, Chassis,Gas Lines etc and possibly could be yearly like cars......going to be discussed in the Autumn parliament apparently. I read that in the C&C Club magazine. Rae
Vince doodle ...you will always find him in the kitchen at parties ......

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kenny&stella
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Joined: 04 Aug 2013, 10:03

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by kenny&stella » 21 Aug 2013, 10:11

hi yes we have been following it but not too worried yet as we don't see it happening one half the country gets complaining , if it happens we will still use ours as its the easiest option for us , cheers Kenny&stella

Maggie111
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Joined: 20 Feb 2012, 12:45

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by Maggie111 » 21 Aug 2013, 14:08

What a great thread thank you for starting it!! :D

I've been having this conversation with Hubs as I grew up with a static caravan but he fancies a portable home (be it motorhome or caravan to trail)... Personally I find the idea of towing or driving a caravn quite stressful, but will definitely show him this thread!
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dexysback
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Joined: 15 May 2013, 20:35

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by dexysback » 21 Aug 2013, 15:53

We loved our caravan ,it was good that you could drive off with car,but it was sressfull when towing ,since owing it jon backed nto a skip ,sratced the side with bushes and hit a post when getting off drive,plus it was all the hooking up and things ,saying that if you can afford one you can get a motor mover which are good.But i feel better in camper cause you can reverse better ,if you only get small one you can drive most places .It depends on how many times you want to go ,we go every month even in winter ,but if just want to go in summer ,the trailer tent sound fine.
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Liz!!
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Joined: 07 Oct 2012, 15:22

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by Liz!! » 21 Aug 2013, 17:03

*Feeling rather interested all of sudden in campers, but worried by one thing...*

Are they warm in the winter?
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Harvey Doodle
Posts: 335
Joined: 18 Aug 2009, 18:24
Location: South Devon

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by Harvey Doodle » 21 Aug 2013, 18:40

The latest coachbuilt and A class vans are well insulated and have high powered heaters.

My Adria has a combined electric and gas powered boiler/blown air heater; it's kept us warm enough. The fresh water tank is inside the van (under one of the seats) and the waste water tank is insulated and the warm air system blows air into the void between the waste tank and its insulation as well as into the lockers (which are below the beds)

We don't tend to use the van in the depth of winter - it's too much of a shock opening the door to come out on a frosty morning, but a lot of people do.

A lot of info can be found in motorhome magazines; such as Which Motorhome, MMM; Practical Motorhome etc. There are also a lot of motorhome forums.

It's useful to visit motorhome shows to see what is around, the NEC exhibition has been mentioned, there are also outdoor shows, Newark (31/8 - 1/9) Shepton Mallet (13/9 - 15/9) Lincoln (20/9 - 22/9)

There aren't anymore outdoor shows (that I know off) until the Spring when there will be another at the NEC plus the National Motorhome Show at Peterborough in April.
Ken, Marion & Harvey
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travis
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Re: camper van / motor home

Post by travis » 21 Aug 2013, 21:45

This is one of our favourite topics. We've had caravans in the past, years ago spending 12 months dragging one round Europe, but we have also had motorhomes and camper vans.
There are pros and cons to each but overall we prefer motorhomes and hopefully we will get another before long.
When the kids were young we used to drive through the night arriving at a beach in the early hours while the kids slept in their bunks, waking up to their day out. On long journeys if you get stuck in traffic (I say 'if' but I mean 'when') you have everything you need with you (toilet, food etc) whereas with a caravan you have everything with you but you can't get to it. I think it is fair to say that a motorhome can be more versatile. We used to go sledging in the winter where you can warm up with a hot meal without leaving the enjoyment. (I'm getting quite nostalgic - happy memories). A caravan doesn't really work for days out.
The biggest downside to a motorhome being the fact that if you need to nip to the supermarket you do have to secure everything and risk losing your plot on a site if you don't mark it out. (Hence the large number of motorhomes towing a small car behind)
It all depends how you intend using it and who will be using it.
Recently I've twice spent the best part of an hour stuck in a traffic jam on the motorway due to overturned caravans. From that point of view a motorhome is much safer.
My ex neighbour spent around £35,000 on a new motorhome and if he went out in it 4 times in 3 years I would be surprised. On the plus side when he sold it he virtually got his money back because they hold their price so well.
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Vincento
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Location: Norfolk

Re: camper van / motor home

Post by Vincento » 21 Aug 2013, 22:01

Liz!! wrote:*Feeling rather interested all of sudden in campers, but worried by one thing...*

Are they warm in the winter?


Camper's can be warm in winter. Our's for instance has a Webasto heater in it that runs directly off the petrol tank all night if needed (that's the same type of heater that lorry drivers have in their cabs for overnight stops) and you can have insulated curtains or buy insulated panels that attach to each window (some campers do have double glazed windows too). We don't use our's in the depth of winter but we know lots of people that do....masses of camp sites in the UK stay open all year round and over Christmas/New Year so someone must be using them.

I think our winters recently have been far too wet and cold for hardened winter camping ....imagine your big hairy Doodle all cold, wet and dirty in that small camper space to get clean even with an awning up :roll: :roll: If you've just got yourselves to consider and keep warm I think it would be OK. There's two hot water bottles in my camper all the time some of those summer night's gets chilly too :wink:

Travis... I think your neighbour was lucky to get his money back on his Motor home when he sold it. They tend to depreciate like Cars/Caravan's and the only people that make are money generally the dealers ....unless it's something like a VW Splitty Camper Van 35 plus years old that sell for stupid sums.
Vince doodle ...you will always find him in the kitchen at parties ......

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