This subject covers a huge range of things and I am hoping to add to and continually amend this section as we go along, based on our own experiences and that of others.  

 

PARKING

 

When on your driveway, take a length of mains electrical cable and pass it in to the motorhome via a floor level ventilator. Tie it to a block of wood hidden in a locker. Pass the other end in to a garage and again tie the end to a wooden block. The thief doesn’t know if the cable is live, so would he dare cut it?  

Cover wheel clamps with agricultural grade plastic sacking. Until they remove the cover, thieves won’t know what sort of clamp you’ve got and what tools they will need to remove it. 

Carry plastic levellers which can be placed under two of the four wheels to help level the vehicle. This is particularly important when trying to sleep or ensuring the shower water drains away down the plug holes and doesn’t pour out of the bathroom from an overflowing shower tray. 

Carry wheel chocks. We carry a pack of four small rubber chocks. These can be used as a belt and braces means to ensure the vehicle remains in situ, especially if parked on a slope or it gets very windy. If parked up for many weeks in Spain for the winter it allows you to secure the vehicle before then letting off the handbrake to avoid the brake pads rusting to the discs. 

When ‘on the road’ always park in such a way that your habitation door is visible to the public. This is extra protection. It avoids a potential thief from trying to break in down a blind side and unseen. 

When using Truckstops overnight never use an exterior windscreen cover. It will prevent you from starting the engine and moving away from any potentially threatening situation. 

Again at a Truckstop when parking between HGV’s don’t go down to the front of that long parking space between two vehicles, stay down at its bottom end. Leave the top end for another camper or van to back in to. This will maximise the distance between the motorhomes bedroom at the rear and the lorry’s diesel engine which may run during the night. 

Walk round the vehicle and check the security of all doors etc before locking yourself in for the night. ‘See Safety & Security’ elsewhere. 

Except when on a bona fide campsite always lock the vehicle when you walk away from it – trust nobody. A fellow camper will never steal from you, but others might, and with the high number of illegal immigrants on the continent, desperate people may take desperate measures. Having said that if we’re away from the vehicle on a campsite for any length of time we will of course lock it then as well as activating the PIR motion detector. 

FIRE PREVENTION

 

Where possible keep motorhomes 20 feet apart. 

Fit a fire extinguisher and fire blanket. 

Check that the motorhome has a fire alarm fitted as well as a gas monitoring device (see under personal security). 

Keep the motorhome well ventilated and don’t block up air vents. 

If you suspect a gas leak, turn off all appliances and the main cylinder valves. Open all doors and windows, do not smoke or operate electrical switches. 

Make sure you know where the campground fire points are. 

Avoid having any flammable material close to a cooking hob when it is in use.   

LIGHTING

 

Reduce the electrical demand on the habitation battery by changing all interior lights to LED. Go for the newer warmer light as opposed to the stark white light. 

Fit LED lights internally www.leisurepower.co.uk recommended.  

 www.ledbulbs4u.co.uk   

CAB

 

Ensure the vehicles dimensions and weight are clearly visible in the cab as an aide memoire whilst driving. Perhaps use three lengths of Dymo label tape one above the other. These will show the vehicles height, width and length.

Ensure cab blinds are fitted and work properly. This gives you privacy and night and helps to keep the sun out. This can be supplemented by sliding a silver reflective car windscreen internal cover between the blinds and windscreen.

Fit a dashcam. These will offer you some protection and video evidence should be involved in an accident. Go for a high spec unit, you will probably never need it but if you do you’ll need the evidence to be clear.

Be aware that in countries such as Austria and Portugal it is illegal to use dashcams and heavy fines can be imposed if you’re caught using one. It’s all to do with their privacy laws etc.

Fit a satnav. There is not a trouble-free perfect unit on the market, if only there were, but a good unit from a well known brand with a seven inch screen will save you much grief. From personal experience I would not now buy a ‘motorhome specific unit’. You’re paying a lot of money for the built in database of campsites and Aires etc. Just refer to the books you’re carrying it’s cheaper and more up to date. Just ensure that you can feed in the dimensions of the vehicle, although even that isn’t fool-proof.

Fit Milenco cab door locks. These swing across to physically prevent the doors from being opened from the outside, and are then locked in to position. DO NOT travel with them swung in to the locked position. If you have an accident it will make it extremely difficult to rescue you.  

 

HABITATION

 

It is very important to create a comfortable and safe living environment. Anything less will reflect on the enjoyment of your trips.

AIR CONDITIONING

Many campers choose to have an air conditioning unit fitted to the roofs of their motorhomes. That’s all very nice, but they have their drawbacks:

  1. They increase your vehicles height which, if raised to over 3mtrs will increase the charges on toll roads. 
  2. These units are quite heavy and once fitted will alter the centre of gravity of the vehicle. 
  3. They are power-thirsty and will only work when you are connected to mains power on a campsite. You could try using a petrol generator but be warned you will incur the wrath of other campers. I would suggest using one only if you are wild camping with no neighbours. If you carry one then you'll also have to carry a can of petrol, and that's another risk 

Truma products: 

TRUMA AVENTA COMFORT 

https://www.truma.com/uk/en/products/truma-air-conditioning/truma-aventa-comfort.html 

TRUMA AVENTA COMPACT PLUS 

https://www.truma.com/uk/en/products/truma-air-conditioning/truma-aventa-compact-plus.html

 DOMETIC PRODUCTS:

https://www.dometic.com/en-gb/uk/products/climate/air-conditioners/motorhome-and-caravan-air-conditioners?at=rv

 There is one product which interested me and that is the CMC portable air conditioning unit. It has the advantages of not increasing the height of the vehicle, can be taken on a trip or left behind, depending on the destination or time of year, can be transferred from vehicle to vehicle, and costs considerably less than the fixed units. What stopped me buying it was that it needed aminimum distance between the window catches in order that the unit could be hooked over the bottom of the window frame. Ours was too narrow, thus saving me a lot of money.

https://www.roadpro.co.uk/catalogue/03a05-portable-air-conditioning 

 In all honesty – keep it simple, use doors windows and roof vents to control ventilation. Carry a small electric fan for use when hooked up. We use a ceramic combined heater and fan unit. 

 Consider cutting window shades from those raffia mats with one silver side used to roll out on the beach. They can be jammed between the window and blind to reflect the sun and act as insulation. 

 If possible fit an extractor hood over the cooker, not one that re-circulates the air. This way the heat and moisture is removed from the living space.

 Carry a portable heater and dehumidifier for camping during the winter. Such a combined unit would provide heat at the campgrounds expense as well as helping to stop dampness building up in to the living area. 

 HEATING: 

 Continental motorhomes tend to have larger water tanks and are usually fitted inboard. Heating and hot water is usually just gas-powered on Continental ‘vans. Look out for gas & mains electric units sometimes fitted on UK-specific models. 

We carry a ceramic two-speed fan heater. This provides sufficient heating when hooked up. If the weather is cold at night it can be left on and the thermostat adjusted accordingly. If your electricity is being metered then a couple of small oil filled radiators should do the trick.

 ONBOARD RATTLES: 

 Cover all shelves in woven non-slip matting. 

 Cut squares of matting and place between each plate. 

 Consider sliding out the oven grill, remove the wire rack and place a tea towel in the grill before replacing the rack. 

 Place a tea towel between the hob cover and base, especially if the top is kept in place using magnets. 

 Consider placing anti-rattle grommets on the oven door. 

 Place self adhesive rubber pads between doors and cupboards. 

Use furniture wax on door hinges to reduce friction and thus noise. 

 

KITCHEN

 

Consider cutting place setting mats from non-slip cupboard liner to avoid melamine plates slipping around on the table.

 Don’t use steel wool or cleaners that leave a gritty residue.

 Don’t dump salty, soapy, or spiced grey water on the ground. It could damage plants.

Use melamine crockery and acrylic 'glassware' to avoid breakages and save weight.

Tis roll up rack I bought from Amazon has been a real boon. It doesn't take up much space and can be unrolled and placed over the sink. This creates extra working space as well as easy drainage of saucepans etc through the gaps. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00XZXB4RC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

 FRIDGE:

 Clean the interior of the fridge with mild detergent or window cleaning solution.

 Keep steel fins in the fridge free from obstruction, cover wet items otherwise condensation will settle on the fins and effect performance. Once wiped thoroughly I finish off with a hair dryer.

 Make an awning or sunshade for the area where the refrigerator coils are, so that the unit won’t have to work unnecessarily hard.

 Clip plastic winter covers over exterior fridge vent whenever temperatures are below 10C. 

Rather than rely on used carrier bags to use as rubbish bags I treat us to these tie up bags. They are a practical size and don't cost the earth. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0152HKZR8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

 

BATHROOM

 

Consider fixing a PIR light in the bathroom for night time visits. The amount of time they stay on for can be adjusted. ‘Osram Nightlux’ lamp. These are widely available on the internet or from John Lewis.

I fitted a battery operated PIR light requiring five rechargable batteries. I glued the back of it to the front of one of the steps going up to the bed. The front part holding the batteries is then clipped on to the adhered back. Every time there is movement detected it will activate for a period of time. Which is useful day or night. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01N0AP44J/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

 Cheap conventional toilet paper seems to do the same job as the more expensive camping toilet paper.

 Shop around for branded toilet chemicals and use sparingly, but also keep an eye out for cheaper alternatives. A back-up position, especially if in strange lands and you've run out, is to use domestic laundry products like Lidl Bio Automatic Washing Machine Liquid. They're not as effective, but needs must.

 Don’t buy toilet chemicals which contain formaldehyde.

When looking to buy your motorhome check out the depth within the shower cubicle. This is important if you are parked on a slope. If the water can't run away as well it will build up in the tray, if it is too shallow then you'll get a wet bathroom or lounge floor.

Replacing a cracked shower tray can be very expensive (£1,000). Consider fitting a’Speedliner’  www.speedliner.com/products1 which would cost about £300. The Smith brothers at www.kustom101.co.uk based in Tewkesbury can undertake the work. They also have miracle dent repair, in-house paint mixing plus restoration and stainless steel exhaust manifold fabrication.

I use a dressing gown and flip-flops when going to the shower block, and if it's raining I'll put a mac on top. This saves time in getting ready to get under the shower, and not having to put clothing back on over damp skin afterwards. I also shave under the shower, it saves a lot of time and after all these years I can find my way around my face without a mirror. The flip-flops are a must. I never go in to any public bathroom or shower area, whether campsite or hotel, in bare feet. There's far too great a risk of picking up infections like athletes foot. Never trust the hygiene standards of your fellow man.

 Thetford   https://www.thetford-europe.com/gb  provide ‘Fresh Up’ sets for refurbishing their toilets on used motorhomes. The kit includes a new toilet seat and a black water waste collection tank.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003I5A9RI/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

Whilst I don't really like them, I carry a rechargable battery shaver. It's a Braun series 3 product and I have to say it does a pretty good job. I use this when we're on the road and I want to save time, water and hassle.

If we're low on water when on an extended 'on the road' journey then we'll have a strip wash using wet wipes. Not the cheapest way to do things, nor good for the environment, but very convenient and everything just gets thrown away before we hit the road again.

When it comes to having a shower in the motorhome its amazing how little water you really need to do the job. Our hot water tank holds 10 litres, so a couple of gallons. In order to make it go as far as possible we heat it to sixty degrees centigrade, which is pretty hot, and means that we'll need to dilute it down with more cold water thus making it go a bit further.

Firstly take the shower head off and run the shower head until you have the correct temperature. Many a camper has had a very painful experience standing under the shower head and turning on only to find the water coming out very hot indeed, and due to the confined space, finding it difficult to get out of its way.

Having got the temperature correctly adjusted turn off and replace the shower head in its mounting. Rub shampoo in to your hair, followed by shower gel all over your skin. Now all you need to do is rinse it all off. So water on, no more powerful than you need, and whilst rinsing off rub your hands vigourously all over your body (you could use a flannel for greater efficiency, but that's another thing to get dry). Job done, and you'll be just as clean as if  you'd been at home or on a campsite daydreaming under gallons of hot water. 

BEDROOM

 

Purchase clothes hangers designed to remain on the rail during transit. 

 www.hangermate.co.uk        www.lockonhanger.com

 On these I slide a piece of rubber tubing on the hanger to stop the trousers from sliding about.

 If the mattress needs replacing consider the purchase of a bespoke mattress. The Bed Company (Wales) ltd is recommended  www.freedomis.co.uk  

We use a duvet in the motorhome with a combined warmth value of 15tog, it comes in two parts, 10.5 tog for winter and 4.5 tog for summer, with the added benefit of being able to join them both together for 15 tog should it get really cold. We also carry a complete set of spare bedding, along with the spare duvet sealed in a large special plastic bag from which the air is sucked out with a hoover to reduce its volume. After that it is placed in a plastic box and sits on a shelf I built in the the garage storage area. Given a hot sunny day we try and wash, dry, air and put back the same bedding we took off. This saves us the hasle of digging the space bedding out whilst still having to find somehwre to store the damp bits we took off the bed. It's just good to know we have a back up position if things don't work out. 

EXTERIOR LIVING AREA

 

Avoid buying cheap awnings & gazebo’s because they use heavy steel poles. Buy one that uses lightweight aluminium or GRP/carbon fibre flexi-rods.

 If the awning tie-down straps vibrate in the wind, put a full turn on each end of the strap to create a spiral up its length to the awning.

When stopping for longer than a couple of days will normally put down a mat appropriate for the size of the vehicle. These are easy obtainable in various sizes from caravan accesory shops. To keep it in place I use steel groundsheet pegs which can be knocked in to the ground through the eyelets in the mat. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B06ZZ4L98F/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

BUGS & INSECTS

 

Rather than spend lots of money on fancy fine mesh for motorhome windows and doors, consider purchasing plain white net curtaining and using that. 

 We couldn’t get a fly screen door retrofitted to the habitation door due to the curve of the bodywork and so The Chef cut and hemmed a piece of plain, fine net curtain which fit in the doorway and then sewed large round Velcro pads to the top of it. I then glued the opposing velcro pieces above the habitation door, so that when we wish to put it in place it simply slicks to the wall and hangs in front of the door. Oh yes and we put a run of weights in the bottom hem which can be bought from haberdashery departments.

In our anti bug armoury are the following items purchased after many an uncomfortable and irritating night. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B076CC8YC4/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00VAGK1RU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B014MI6CXE/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

CLOTHING

 

To give you some idea of what to carry, I personally take along five of everything, 5 x long sleeved shirts, 5 x short sleeved shirts, 5 x pairs pants, 5 x pairs socks 5 x ‘T’ shirts and these sit in plastic boxes on the shelves in my wardrobe. Then it’s 3 x pairs trousers, waterproof mac and leggings, dressing gown, thick fleece, thin fleece, 2 x sweatshirts, waterproof coat, flip-flops, two pairs shoes, one pair sandals, sun hats, swimming shorts and trunks, 2 x pairs shorts.

 Where ever possible in the past I’ve bought ‘travel wear’ which are easy to wash and dry because of the high nylon content, however I’m now moving away from that because such clothing marks easily, and once grease gets on it – stained. So now it will be cotton clothing as items are replaced.

 I have a laundry bag in the bottom of the wardrobe to hold my used clothing ready for washing and make every effort to wash the clothes before I get too low.

I use coathangers that are designed for life on the road. Not cheap at nearly three pounds each, but they are small and narrower than normal hangers making it easier to hang in the confines of a motorhome wardrobe, plus they have a clip on the hook to prevent the hanger from coming off the rail. 

https://www.lockonhanger.com/

To avoid the trouser hanging bar on the coathanger, which is thin, from making creases across the trousers I cover each hanger with a length of small bore insulation foam. Just cut it to the correct width, cut a slit along it to enable the foam to be slipped over the hanger rail, then glue it in place using something like UHU glue. One length of foam covers three hangers. It's cheap but does take a few weeks to arrive from China. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B074W57S2M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1  

LAUNDRY

 

Personal hygiene and cleanliness is very important in a motorhome environment, and so we make an effort to keep on top of things rather than run short of clean clothing.

We take our own favourite washing liquid with us using it sparingly. The less you use, the less you have to rinse out, and the longer it lasts.

 In the past we’ve relied on a long length of plastic covered wire washing line to hang between trees etc to provide a washing line, and use metal clothes pegs, oh how I hate those plastic ones that keep breaking and falling apart.

 The clothes line is now supplemented by a free standing clothes airer so that the washing can stand on that. Firstly because sometimes there’s nothing to hand the line to, but more importantly it can be used at the back of our parking space when parked on an Aire or Camperstop parking bay. 

AIRER 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B071K5FQYN/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

PEGS 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07C117W44/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

I also carry one of those adjustable rods for hanging net curtains on. This allows us to place it in the bathroom between two suitable points which allows us to hang wet clothig from. If hooked up we'll then up the bathroom skylight and put the fan heater in there closing the door as best as possible.

We use microfibre bath towels, two each in case we can't get one dry, which is very unlikely as that is the great advantage of such towels. Mountain Warehouse shops sell them at a sensible price. We also carry a couple of the hand towel size for the bathroom. 

LOADING

 

Keep the amount you carry to a minimum. Additional items cost money to buy, add weight and thus increase fuel consumption & tyre wear adding further costs.

 Avoid taking lots of tools, most jobs can’t be completed at the side of the road as they require replacement parts.

 If additional weight must be carried consider putting everything in to a trailer and towing it.  

MAINTENANCE

 

Use olive oil to remove traces of tape glue from surfaces such as polycarbonate.

 Frost products www.frost.co.uk now offer the Fast Patch kit, a self-adhesive repair material designed to quickly repair tears, holes and other damage to plastic parts. When heat is applied to the patch, it can be formed into the shape of the repair area. Once cool, the patch material hardens into its new shape to provide additional support to the repair. This is an American product so remember to convert the temperature setting otherwise you will overcook the product and although it will shape it will not adhere. A Fast Patch kit contains a 5”x8” piece of patch, two sets of preparation wipes, and detailed instructions. Costs c£32.

 To clean windows and help hide small scratches use ‘Clear View Plexiglas’ used in the aviation industry. £12.99 for 13oz can, code 3565 from www.transair.co.uk

 How do you stop sticky rubber seals around windows? - Use silicone spray, talcum powder or chalk, polish the window itself, Autoglym Vinyl rubber care, olive oil and Thetford toilet seal lubricant were among the suggested remedies.

 Methylated spirit is good for cleaning a windscreen and it’s often added to vehicle washer bottles because it is slow to freeze. But NEVER use it on a plastic window. Initially it gives a shine but some weeks later, tiny, incurable ‘crazing’ cracks ruining the pane.

 Before using a motorhome cover make sure the bodywork is clean as a flapping cover in the breeze once fitted, could damage the bodywork.

 Do not use cling film to protect windows. The cling film’s chemical coating is thought to cause crazing cracks.

 Deeply scored marks on windows can be removed with Farècla Industrial Finishing Paste. This is often used on cabin cruiser windows. Similar products are sold by Seitz (now part of the Dometic Group) and there’s also Fenwick’s Windowize Scratch Remover.

 Where there are filters that can be washed or changed, be scrupulous about it. Don’t forget the air-conditioners, cooker exhaust, and boiler. Clogged filters cost energy. 

If you are plagued by continually breaking plastic door catches for keeping the habitation door open then take a look at this. I fitted one and it works a treat though it doesn't come in white unfortunately.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07FNQYHP6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 FRESH WATER TANK

I used to use used citric acid (powdered lemon juice) solution to clean my fresh water tank but stopped when I noticed that it had stained the internal surface of the filter housing of the water pump.
I now use Puriclean.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0018331N6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 
 

I use half of the container of powder in our 100ltr fresh water tank. And no matter what others say it IS chlorine based. Close your eyes having mixed it and you could be stood on the edge if the pool at your local swimming baths.
Maybe the secret lies in how and when its used.
On returning from a trip all I do is drain down the fresh water and boiler tanks, I leave the valves open so that any vehicle movement results in water still remaining in the tank draining out.
I don't treat the tank until the next trip. My routine is:

Close valves on tanks.

Mix half the container of Puriclean with fresh water in a watering can.

Pour in to the fresh water tank.

Top up the fresh water tank.

Pump the solution through the system to fill the boiler tank and all tap and shower points.  Don't forget to also liberally flush the toilet.

Leave in the system for 48 hours.

Pump the solution through all taps in to grey water tank.

Leave for 24 hours (to clean the grey water tank)

Drain the grey water tank.

Flush through the entire fresh water system.

Refill with fresh water and away you go

........take the other half of the Puticlean tub with you for use in an 'emergency'

CAMPING

 

From our own experiences when arriving at a campsite only book for one night, but suggest it is likely to be more. That way they might give you a decent pitch hoping you’ll stay longer, but more importantly if having spent one night there and you really don’t like it you're free to leave that morning. Believe me that’s an awful lot easier than trying to get a refund out of them.

It's also acceptable to ask to walk around the campsite before you commit yourself. You may even be invited to pick the pitch you want whilst doing so. If you don't like what you see then climb back in your vehicle and leave.

 Produce a laminated check sheet to cover after-arrival and pre-leaving a campsite to ensure nothing is left behind, damaged or not stowed properly and that the vehicle has been checked as ready for the road. Believe me it’s too easy to drive off with the roof vents still up.

 Avoid parking in a pitch next to one of those small campervans if you can avoid it. Most don’t have room for even the most basic of toilets, and even if they do it will be trapped in a cupboard once the bed is put together like a jigsaw puzzle from available seats and cushions. This means that every time an occupant wants to use the loo during the night you’re going to get the slamming of the sliding side door as they make their way to the toilet block and return.

 If you use your wind-out awning wind it back in at night or when you go out. These things are a marvel of engineering in that so much can be stowed away in such a small unit. I don’t like using them personally. They’re rather like the sail on a yacht and can quickly fill with the wind and try to take off. You can buy kits to secure them in to the ground – and I have some, but in the end concluded that it was easier and safer to stow it away when not in use. Just think what a strain it puts on the mounting point to the vehicle when the wind gets under it and bounces it around.  

For cheap security of the cab doors buy one of those personal alarms which is a small unit which can be kept on a keyring. It is activated by puling out the pin, rather like a hand grenade. Tie a length of string to the key ring and another length to the pin. Now tie each length of string to a door handle, then safely locatedthe alarm somewhere it won't fall from. Tighten the string to take up the slack. Bingo, if anybody tries to gain entry through the cab doors the pin will be pulled out once the slack has been taken up in the string, setting off the very noisy alarm. 

 

WILD CAMPING

It's difficult to quantify exactly what 'Wild' camping is, as it means different things to different people. I suppose the most obvious would be camping alone in an isolated srural location. Sadly there don't seem to be too many such opportunities to do that these days, though I believe you can still do so in Scotland. Sadly this privelege has been removed by many local authorities over time due mainly to it being abused by many motorhomers and caravanners. They've dumped their black (toilet) waste where they shouldn't have, left litter around after leaving having been rather reluctant to leave in the first place.

So I consider 'Wild Camping' to be parking and overnighting somewhere without any facilities provided. That would include a Truckstop or lay-by. So if you do intend to do a lot of wild camping then consideration needs to be given to how you can best extend any such stay.

FRESH WATER

Arrive with as much fresh water as you will need. Don't forget water weighs one kilogarm per litre. Use it sparingly by perhaps having strip washes rather than showers.

GREY WATER

Strictly speaking you must only dump your grey, soapy water at an appropriate dump station. But if you're using your fresh water sparingly then you shouldn't be generating too much of it.

BLACK WATER

To conserve your fresh water be very careful how much water you use for flushing the chemical toilet. Much of the hard work is done by gravity. Many folk carry a spare toilet cassette. This allows them to swap to the empty spare once the main cassette is full, thus doubling your capacity.

ELECTRICITY

Lithium batteries appear to be the answer for those who intend to wild camp. They are very expensive coming in at over £1,000 each. The huge advantage you have is that they provide power to mains supply standard through an inverter, allowing electrical items to be used without being hooked-up to a campsite power supply.

This battery could then be kept charged by a suitable array of solar panels on the motorhome roof, though do take professional advice on this. Folk like www.roadpro.co.uk can proviode these items.

 

ACCESSORIES

 

This is a big one, and in a way close to my heart. Oh how I’ve been seduced in to buying all manner of gizmo’s and goodies, only to regret it later.

 I would strongly advise any new motorhomer to buy only the most basic of accessories before setting out on their first adventure. Then only add additional gizmo’s when you have found a need for them, and only then if you can convince yourself that life simply wouldn’t be worth living without the acquisition of a such-and-such gizmo. REMEMBER – accessories mean additional space and weight which means extra money. Base you decisions on personal experience not fancy promo’s.

 So here would be my suggested basic list of accessories:

 SATNAV

 I wouldn’t leave home without one. It doesn’t need to have a fancy database, just a good sized screen and a reputation for reliability. We all have our favourites. We have a ‘Snooper’ but when it goes kaput I’ll go back to Garmin, my personal preference. Others may turn their noses up at that and insist it simply has to be Tom-Tom. We all have our own ideas and preferences. Before setting out on your first adventure ensure you have used the satnav in your car to ensure you are confident in finding your way around its menus. Do also make sure you know how to punch in GPS co-ordinates. Practice. Go on to Googler Maps, get the co-ordinates of your house and then punch them in to the satnav on your way back from the shops and just see what happens. Better to get it wrong at that stage than at some tricky point on an adventure.

 DASHCAM

 Covered elsewhere but a great way to give you protection from some scam or other or evidence following an accident. We have a good quality unit and I also carry blank DVD’s so that if necessary I can download the appropriate files from the camera in to my laptop, then burn a disc of the evidence to pass to the authorities.

 Needless to say if I was in the wrong those images would quickly disappear, like by pressing the ‘format’ button. 

 LEVELLING BLOCKS

 Plastic ramps basically, allowing you to level off your vehicle by driving on to them. I place a ‘T’ shaped spirit level on the dining table behind the driver’s seat and then refer to that as to when I’m as level as I can be. We’re not too fussed we don’t walk around with spirit levels and stuff, but if you’re too far out of kilter you’ll find yourself walking uphill to to bed and maybe sliding out during the night. Add to that the possible drainage problems from the shower tray and the fact that your fridge likes to be level, then you can see the desirability of it all, but don’t get too sucked in to it all, we can all adapt. Only buy the small plastic wedges. If you need more correction then you need to ask yourself if you should be parking there at all.

 DUCK BOARDS

 I cut four oblong pieces of plywood to fit under the wheels each about 60cm long and 20cm wide, painted green to waterproof them. These are stowed in our rear garage area. Too often we’ve had problems when parked on wet grass and then found that the wheels have left indents in the grass making in very difficult to get on to terra firma when the ground is very wet.

 WHEEL CHOCKS

 We have a pack of four rubber chocks, again stowed in the rear garage area. These are used whenever I want to ensure the vehicle cannot move when on a slope or in windy conditions. When parked up for long period they also allow for the vehicle to be secured before letting off the handbrake.

 HOSEPIPE

 It is seldom used these days. I find that a plastic watering can with a wide-bore plastic pipe on the end works far better. It holds 10 litres and after ten fills my tank is full. Low technology and works every time. However if you’re in France particularly, some of the Aires offer water for sale. It is metered from a machine at the dump station. Having inserted the correct amount of money, usually €2 it will proceed to dispense 100 litres of water whether you’re ready or not. Imagine trying to use a watering can to catch that lot. So a flat hose pipe on a reel with the appropriate adapters is on hand for just such occasions.

 MAINS ELECTRIC HOOK-UP LEAD

 Invaluable, and comes in two lengths, ten metres and twenty-five metres. Go for the twenty-five metres and a plastic reel to store it on. If you’re going on the continent then carry euro two-pin plug adapters as well as a way fo reversing the polarity of the power source. I use a lead in which I’ve reversed the positive and negative wires.

 TOOLBOX

 Don’t get too carried away. You’re not an engineer. Mine is more for habitation repair I would never lift the bonnet and attempt any kind of work. But it’s reassuring to know that you can deal with most minor repairs. Not only is it convenient to fix it yourself it’s also cheaper.

 LPG ADAPTORS

 If you cross the channel with a refillable LPG system (I do recommend it despite the cost) then you’ll need the appropriate adaptors. These can be supplied by the same people that fitted the system.

 COMBINED TV & DVD

 We all have the image of long hot sunny days where we’re sitting outside our motorhome supping something cold and nice watching the sun go down. Truth is of course it often pee’s with rain or it’s too cold and miserable to go out. Hence the need for some entertainment. These Avtex tv’s   https://www.avtex.co.uk/ are market leaders and though not cheap do a great job. They can run on 12v or mains power with minimum power consumption. You can buy cheaper brands but then have to sit and watch as the habitation battery level goes down and down. Carry a load of DVD’s decanted i to a DVD carry pouch to save weight and space, and you’ve got a means to entertain yourselves.

These can be supplemented by a good TV aerial   

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008MIBCCC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 If you wish to join the black art of satellite television you can buy free standing dishes quite reasonably. If you’ve won the lottery, then you could treat yourself to a roof mounted £3000 automatic dish unit, often mounted inside a dome. I believe these are preferable to the systems which raise the dish which is stored lying down and then moves around seaking a signal. I don't like them as on a windy day there must be huge stress placed on the vehicle roof mounting position. Think windsurfer and you'll get what I mean. the drawback with such permanent mountings is that they raise the overall height of the vehicle, and as a consequence end up paying extra at a toll booth, or you find yourself on a campsite on a pitch under a tree and can’t get a signal.  Personally I prefer a cheaper portable version:

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/Maxview-MXL012-65-Precision-Satellite/dp/B00E5I3M0S/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2HOQSG6I70GVZ&keywords=maxview+portable+satellite+dish+kit+for+caravan+or+camping&qid=1565363481&s=gateway&sprefix=maxview+satellite+dish+portable%2Caps%2C385&sr=8-1 

 TABLE & CHAIRS

 Easy on the size and luxury with the chairs. A lovely thick padded reclining chair will be awfully difficult to get dry if its inadvertently left out in the rain, plus it’s extra space and weight. But I must confess they’re lovely to sit outside in when the sun’s a’shining. Buy a table that can double as a stand for the BBQ, a worktop for food preparation, and a table for sitting a glass of something nice and cold on.

SOLAR PANEL

I know it makes so much sense to have at least one solar panel on the roof (minimum 100W), they keep the habitation battery topped up, this is very desirable when touring and essential if wild camping or the vehicle is in storage for the winter, but I just can't bring myself to have a hole drilling in the roof for the cabling. I've taken the cowards way out and bought a folding solar panel which is only 60W but I couldn't get a bigger one as I needed to sit it across the dashboard facing oout of the windscreen. If you're interested the take advice from the professionals.

My folding solar panel: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01A6X4OGG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Control box: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0117XN4SS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

BOOKS & GAMES

We carry reference books covering any countries we are planning to visit, personally I prefer the 'Eyewitness Travel' range as they are easier to work with. The 'Rough Guides' range are far more informative but are a haevy read. Added to these will be our individual choice of reading during the trip. The games, maybe travel versions to save space come in useful on long dark evenings or when it's too wet and miserable to venture out. 

HOOVER

To be practical it has to be small and rechargable. We used to have a small, cleverly designed Black & Decker unit, but eventually it developed asthma and didn't hold its charge. So now we have a Dyson. Pricey but vastly superior.  

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B079TZZF8S/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 

OTHER

These are a few of the shops who can provide you with many of the accesories you may wish to buy 

 

https://www.caravanaccessoryshop.co.uk/category/caravan-accessories/15?page=all

https://www.thecaravanshop.co.uk/caravan-accessories/cat_66.html

https://www.towsure.com/caravanning-equipment-and-motorhome-accessories

https://www.camperite.co.uk/