WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY?
Following our experience of motorhoming here in the UK and Europe, there are some things
I would do differently if the clock could be turned back:
We are very happy with ‘Freddie Fendt’ in that it is a quality German
vehicle based on a Ford Transit chassis, the combination I wanted. The ‘Fendt’ brand is owned by ‘Hobby’ motorhomes.
Because ours is a European internal layout we do have to carry a small
electric oven in the large back locker or ‘garage’ as they don’t have one fitted in the kitchen. This is because European vehicles tend to have smaller kitchens to reflect the European lifestyle which is to eat out at restaurants in the evenings,
therefore there is little need for an oven. European manufacturers do however make internal layouts aimed at the UK market. These will include a gas oven and an electric microwave oven built in to the kitchen area. The huge advantage of a gas oven is that
you can cook a meal anywhere and not have to rely on an electrical hook-up point.
So if I were starting out now, looking for a vehicle to last me ten years or more I would look for something like a Hobby Van with
a UK internal layout.
I had a bracket mounted on the back of our vehicle to take the spare wheel, my thinking being that if I needed to have
the wheel changed I wouldn’t need to unpack the rear locker area in order to get to the wheel. This resulted in our having nowhere to carry bikes other than in the rear locker, so we had to buy folders which are not as easy or comfortable to ride as
full-sized bikes (you never see anybody riding a small-wheeled bike 'no hands').
If I were to start again I would carry only a spare tyre, as that’s the part that can be hard to obtain locally should you need
one. That way I can save on the weight of the wheel itself. I would have a padded bag made for it and carry it in the rear locker. On the back of the vehicle I would buy a bike rack which fits on to a tow bar. This would enable us to buy proper full-sized
bikes, electric ones if funds ran to it. By having a tow bar mounted bike rack it can be removed when the bikes are not needed on a trip, moved between vehicles and avoids the need to drill holes in the rear wall of the motorhome to mount a conventional rack.
We do have to be mindful of the electrical power we use when ‘on the road’ and monitor the leisure battery regularly. I wish now
I’d bitten the bullet and had solar panels fitted to the vehicle roof. I hesitated because I didn’t want to have holes drilled in the roof.
A portable generator would give us electrical power whenever
we needed it when away from campsites with hook-ups. However they are frowned upon by fellow campers who object to the noise they make, even the quietest of them all made by Honda are not welcomed. Then of course there’s the problem of carrying a can
of smelly inflammable petrol to power it, probably stored in the locker below where you sleep. There are some portable generators which can be converted to run on LPG (liquid propane gas), which would be my preferred option, but it doesn’t make them
any quieter to use.
With modern battery technology, should I be starting out now I would look at a bank of solar panels, probably about 300w worth, though I’d be guided by the experts, people like www.roadpro.co.uk
These would charge one, or if funds and space permitted, two lithium batteries which are the same size as car batteries but unfortunately cost about £1000 each. I would then connect my internal mains power sockets to this battery through a 3000w pure
sine wave inverter.
All of this would be expensive, but if I’m looking to keep the vehicle for, say, ten years then the cost can be spread over that many years. This would allow us to use all 240v electrical
items wherever we were.
I’ve wasted a lot of money over the years buying accessories which in the end weren’t need or didn’t
get used enough to justify their expense. Of course it’s not just money, the weight and space these items needs to be factored in.
My advice to anybody starting out would be to keep the accessory buying to
a minimum for the first year. Find out what it is you really do need to have based on your experiences during that time. That way you’ll know what you’re looking for and what to spend.