Longer stays in small van

Discussion in 'Continental Touring' started by daps, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. daps

    daps Read Only Funster

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    I note that a lot of these who travel to hotter climates for the Winter usually have largish M/H's Type A or C class.. The question is, would you do it in a small less equipped
    vehicle like 6m or less with little storage.?. You see, I'm having a job persuading the good lady for longer stays other than about 3 weeks.
    .
    Thanks
     
  2. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    In Summer in France and Spain you will see people staying for months on end in the smallest of vans. They erect a waterproof awning/sunshade which quadruples their living area. They live completely outside (its too hot inside) only going in to sleep. When the weather is good, you don't need a large motorhome.
     
  3. GIBLA53

    GIBLA53 Read Only Funster

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    A wind-out awning with a Safari/Privacy room may help probably about £700 all-in this would more than double your space OR a superdooper cooking tent Al
     
  4. yorkshirepudding

    yorkshirepudding Read Only Funster

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    We have a SWB Transit and a drive away awning and are planning a six week trip to France and Italy. We hope to be living outdoors most of the time and so the size, in this instance doesn't matter.
    We plan to go the second week in May and will let you know if we:-
    a) endured
    b) are still talking to each other.
     
  5. savantuk

    savantuk Read Only Funster

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    We often used to go away for a couple of months in our T4 based camper. As suggested above, the awning was our living space, and we only slept in the van.

    We have also, on many occasions spent several weeks away in it during the winter. It was a bit cramped when the awnnig was not used, but the beauty of some of the areas we visited, particularly in the winter, was well worth it!
     
  6. Peter James

    Peter James Read Only Funster

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    Its amazing how small a space you can live in reasonably comfortably, as anyone who has been inside a submarine will know. Although it helps having no windows in a submarine as the walls will be covered in cupboards. Even the captains cabin will be smaller than your SWB transit, and he can't go outside to stretch his legs. Just a matter of using every available space.
     
  7. chesterfield hooligan

    chesterfield hooligan Funster

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    :Smile: Hi we are of to Spain for 8 weeks in our's our's is a van conversion and to be honest we put just about everything in the awning is great and takes no tine at all to erect.We are rearly looking forward to it :thumb:
     
  8. gillr49

    gillr49 Read Only Funster

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    For the past two years have lived all summer (6 months) in an Autoquest 100 while working for a camping company as couriers.
    We bought a cheap gazebo from Argos and 2 sides, along with a small ground sheet and a cheap store tent we had 2 lovely summers. As a previous post said you tend to live outdoors, we used campsite showers (to save emptying bathroom every day) and kept boxes of non perishable food under the van or in the storage tent. Not once did we feel fed up with lack of space apart from me as I love to cook and missed my kitchen worktops it was sooooo strange coming back to a 3 bed detached! We used the over cap bed as storage (kept the curtains shut) and kept any wet coats and boots in the cab area never walking in the van with dirty shoes on. Off again this year for 3 months pm me if you want any more info:Smile::Smile:
     
  9. TDH

    TDH Funster

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    Similar with us. We have a SWB Ducato conversion and have lived in it for weeks on end, mostly in mainland Europe but in the UK as well. It's a bit cuddly at times but any stresses are more than compensated for by the brilliant times we have.

    We have enough room for storage of tins and dried stuff and use fresh wherever we can. We don't have a fridge but do use a 12v cool box which does the trick for us.

    We don't have an awning - we use mostly wild sites and we're a bit edgy about putting up an awning in the places we stop. Luckily, my partner is well organised and things are put away after use.

    Go for it - it's well worth it!:thumb:
     
  10. MrJinks

    MrJinks Read Only Funster

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    Last year we had a lovely elderly couple (he 87, she 85) staying on our CL who were fulltiming in a little Elddis. The overcab storage was their food store. They were quite happy, spent most of the time in the awning safari tent and stored a lot of things in little toilet tent to so they could go out in M/H during the day.

    Suited them as they stayed in one place for a month at a time. Would be harder if touring though.
     
  11. geoff1947

    geoff1947 Read Only Funster

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    LWB Panel Van

    wife and I spent 11 months touring in LWB Panel van and have spent months abroad in it.
    Now have a slightly larger van but enjoyed the other smaller van.
    Organisation is the key. We had a detachable sun room and it provided loads of room

    Go for it!!:thumb:
     
  12. froghopper

    froghopper Read Only Funster

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    whats small

    hu there, we had a citroen c 15 romahome, with a small trailer, put a 50cc scooter in that, alomg with awning, chairs, table extra gas bottle and a black bag with wellies, and wet weather gear, most of which we never used, then same with autosleeper rambler van convesion, but carried 125 m.bike on a carrier, never a problem, even did 2 weeks in holland, dec 19, till jan 5th, minus 13c, wild camped all the time,, now we have whats called posh,, shower etc, ye, great, but is it as much fun ??? go for what you can afford,, a van with a matress and a bucket will do,, its who you go with that counts , travel well, and wave, good luck,, froghopper,,
    citroen c15, always hopping over channel,, hence the name,,,,
    and you thought we were just silly:thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::Cool:
     
  13. sostas

    sostas Read Only Funster

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    We have only ever had panel van conversions. For the past 7 years we have toured Europe and Scandinaia - spring and autumn for 7 weeks at a time. I find a panel van easy to drive, easier to park and we regularly obtain 30+mpg. At present we have a Devon Conversions Monte Carlo on a Renault Master.
    We only ever use an awning when staying at a site for 4 or 5 weeks - this is usually in Spain during the autumn months. We use a free standing one so that we can easily drive off site when we want to.
    We take all that we need for a comfortable and enjoyable holiday - chairs, bikes, outside table, parasole, awning, b-b-q, electric grill, paella pan plus all the essentials. :Smile:
    We use all types of sites - all singing all dancing, basic, aires, sostas etc.
    So I would say try it. You can always cut short the holiday if you find that it realy is not for you. :BigGrin:
    Sostas
     
  14. activecampers

    activecampers Read Only Funster

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    You should take a look at my site (sig in blog)

    Very happily use a 4.8m van on 6/7 week trips (200+ days last year). OK I have a back box on the tow bar, but we could live without. That contains loads of clothes & spare bedding (could wash/dry in a day); snowboarding stuff; power kite; loads of food etc.

    Easily doable if you can compromise a bit
     
  15. optiminx

    optiminx Read Only Funster

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    Organise it carefully

    We lived for a year in an old Sherpa Newlander (living space about 8 foot) on the driveway of a house we bought to renovate. The house was a shell, no facilities whatever, there was a water tap down the garden but we found fresh water from the burn tasted better and seemed to give us more vitality! We had an old drive-away awning that came with the van, which we erected separately facing the back door of the van about 7 feet away, using it for storage and also to park a motorbike in.

    We would run the engine to charge the batteries and take it out for a trip from time to time to keep it working. The rest of the time we used the seats in the cab to store two boxes of fresh food - one for fruit and one for veg, having parked it with the cab to the north to keep it cool.

    I minimised whatever equipment I could, for instance there was no grill pan with the two ring hob, so I used a steel frying pan which my round cake cooling tray just fitted nicely in, also trebling as a pan stand for hot pots etc.

    Almost all our cooking was from basic raw ingredints too, but using recycled foil trays for most baking purposes (keeps the weight down for travelling) except for one 19cm (deep) cake tin also used for bread, corn bread, souflees and even cheescakes by double lining it so they were easy to turn out.

    One of our sons came to stay with his tent, bringing a girlfriend who fancied some Pizza but can't eat tomato or cheese! That was a challenge but some wild sheep sorrel made a tasty acidic layer and wild muchrooms from the woods for a topping sauce, baked in a foil tray in the little oven - I have to say I wouldn't have a motorhome or camper without an oven! Ours did Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes and everything we'd make at home, by putting afforementioned cooling tray (it's fourth use) in the bottom of the oven as an additional shelf.

    Laundry got done in a bucket and rinsed down the garden under the tap, we learned to soak things from the night before to make it easy. So you see we kept busy, which helped us not to feel under each other's feet as I'm sure we would have done if we'd bought all our meals and used a launderette.

    I found it so enjoyable I didn't want to bother renovating the house, just get a bigger better van to have fun with instead and sit on the property as an investment, but my husband wasn't so keen as me so we did up the house and eventually moved in.

    That was twenty years ago but I still hanker after living in a van again, I don't love housework and I could wash the entire interior of the van including the ceiling in not much more than an hour, and that was my cleaning for the week all done, bar a daily sweep!

    So if you want to spend longer in a small van, then as well as the excellent advice already given by others, I would say think about how you will be spending your time and make sure you each have enough to DO so you never get bored. You won't have time to focus on the privations if you're filling it all up with enjoyable or productive activities.
    Good Luck!
     
  16. violet

    violet Read Only Funster

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    Hi Dabs
    We have a T5 SWB and it is fine, though every couple of weeks we tell ourselves we'll go to a nice hotel and stretch out ... but we haven't done it yet!!
    It's worth remembering that a lot of lovely places are further away than you can get to in three weeks there and back,and they are worth going to.
    best of luck
    violet
     
  17. vwroamer

    vwroamer Read Only Funster

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    We have SWB VW T4 and often go away for 2 months or longer. No problem, if you can manage 2 weeks then you can manage 2 months, just find sites with washing machines occasionally.

    Beauty of being small is that you can get to many places the big boys avoid and you can drive around the little villages in France and especially Spain without coming unstuck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  18. Bulletguy

    Bulletguy Read Only Funster

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    Maybe.....but just how far do they actually tour around? Not very much!
    Big mh = big running costs = not used very often = stuck in one place for a long time = limited travel.

    When I was away last year I met an elderly retired couple from the UK who had long wanted to tour Europe. Living on just a small works pension they couldn't afford anything expensive to run so opted for a Citroen Romahome (about the same size as an MPV) with diesel engine. They had been all over the place! Oh....and his wife was disabled so it also carried the wheelchair as well!

    If they can do it.....so can you!
     
  19. superk

    superk Read Only Funster

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    For 4 years we wintered away for six months at a time in our 32-foot RV plus towed car - although we got to see lots of places in the car we did feel restricted as to where we could get to with the RV. Plus Gail wasn't licensed to drive the RV.

    We decided to go to the other extreme and bought a 5.64-metre van:

    [​IMG]

    We spent six months successfully touring France, and Italy including Sicily mostly wild-camping then we did Morocco and Portugal. We took the van everywhere and used it to the full - showering daily in the van (it has a separate shower) a 150-litre water tank, 100-litre waste, two 11Kg Gaslow bottles and we've added a Self-Energy EG-20 LPG powered generator (it is fixed underneath) and 2,000-watt inverter. There is a a pull-down double bed, dining area for four, compressor fridge and plenty of storage - all-in-all a mini RV :Laughing:

    Now we have sold our flat and are waiting to complete on a house - guess where we are living? - in the van at Abbey Wood where we've been since Xmas.

    So it can be done if your sufficiently organised :thumb: but it may not be for everyone - however we wouldn't change now and there's nothing in the van we can think of improving - the flexibility to go where you want and stop where you want is what makes it so enjoyable.

    Interestingly, a number of longer term, longer distance travellers have downsized and even Barry and Margaret Williamson http://www.magbaztravels.com/ who have been full-timing and travelling throughout the length and breadth of Europe and beyond in RVs have now switched to a Sprinter van although I think hotels also figure in their plans somewhere.

    Final advice - don't force a partner to do what they don't want to :RollEyes: in a small van could bring things to a head faster than you'd like :Eeek:

    Good Luck
    :Smile:
    Keith
     
  20. daps

    daps Read Only Funster

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    Many Thanks for your replies and suggestions. Have copied and pasted your replies for her to look at and digest. Hopefully, living only a few miles from Peterboro we are hoping to go the show next Month and look at some of the awnings/add on pieces which might persuade her even more.. Its beginning to look more positive with talk of her re-newing her passport.
    Health wise she's not the fittest and the cold and damp weather over here is playing its part so a few Months in Spain may help the old bones. I'm certainly up for it, even more so after reading your replies and encouragement.
    .
    Thanks again.
     
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