A new kind of touring freedom

There is great appeal in the idea of the freedom possible when touring in a motorhome. For those of us who have experienced touring with a car/caravan outfit, the benefits are evident.

  • Much safer driving with no caravan on the back - no danger of 'snaking'
  • Able to drive more quickly than a car with a caravan on the back
  • Quick and easy pitching without having to manhandle the heavy 'van into position
  • So quick and easy to pack up when moving on to another site
  • Your own mobile cafe/washroom while out and about during the day

Of course, there are drawbacks:

  • More expensive than its equivalent touring caravan
  • Not usually convenient to be the family's only vehicle
  • You may find someone in your pitch when you return from a day out
  • You have to tidy eveything away every time you want to drive out
  • Difficult parking bigger motorhomes in car parks while out and about
  • Deteriorates and depreciates more quickly than a caravan
  • Motorhome options

    A Class Motorhome

    A Class

    The king of motorhomes, often in excess of 3 tonnes, beloved of American campers. These vehicles are wide and long, usually well kitted out, and as comfortable as a full sized static holiday home and have all mod cons.
    The biggest drawback is their size - there are not many pitches big enough on UK camp sites, and it is even more difficult to find a car park space in a town centre. That is why they are often seen with a trailer on the back carrying a small car or motorbike for shopping trips and other visits.

    Coachbuilt

    Coachbuilt

    These are built on an existing vehicle chassis and cab. They can be spacious, offering more interior space and facilities than smaller conversions.
    They are usually quite tall, with a sleeping space over the driver's cab. For that reason they can be a problem in some car parks.

    Conversions

    Conversions

    Built by taking a commercial van and converting it to accommodate caravan type furnishings and seating. They often have a high roof added, or a pop-up or hinged raised part in the main body to make them high enough for a tall person to stand upright. The advantage of these smaller motorhomes is that they are easier to park, and may even fit in a normal home garage. They are a more practical option as a family's single car.

    Dismountable

    Dismountable

    Basically this is a commercial pick-up truck with a shaped caravan 'pod' which is secured on the back. When not required as a motorhome, the pod can be removed and stored. It is even possible on campsites to set up the pod as a caravan, and use the pick-up to run around in.

    Micro

    Micro

    This is a smaller conversion, using a car or small commercial truck. Being smaller and lower, they will usually have some form of elevating roof.
    Their main advantage is that they are small enough, and economical enough to be a family car.

    Points to consider then choosing

    • Buying privately or through a dealer
    • If it is the family's only vehicle, is it suitable for day to day use
    • Fuel consumption if touring long distances
    • Cost of insurance
    • Does it have a washroom
    • Number and size of berths
    • Is it suitable for towing a trailer or caravan

    Accessories

    You might think that your expensive new motorhome will come ready to use. Well, you may be wrong! Here we suggest accessories you may need or want to buy before your motorised home is fully habitable on site.

    • Security - having spent so much on the vehicle, you don't want it stolen. Invest in the best security equipment you can.
    • Step - if your motorhome does not have a built-in step, you will need one of these. Make sure it is sturdy and safe.
    • Mains hook-up lead - you will want to connect to the site's electricity to use all your gadgets.
    • Gas cylinder - unless you indend to cook only with electricity, you will need to buy a LPG cylinder and regulator.
    • Awning - to extend your living area, or provide a shaded outdoor seating area in the summer, an awning would be desirable.
    • Levelling ramps - few caravan parks are perfectly level, so you will find it more comfortable in the motorhome if you use a pair of ramps to level it.
    • TV Aerial - if you want to keep up with your favourite TV shows, you may need to install an aerial on the roof. Many parks have aerial points where you can plug in and will hire you a suitable lead.