When size matters and becomes an issue .... ?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Alistair33, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. Alistair33

    Alistair33 Read Only Funster

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    Hi Guys,

    We are in our 50's ( hate to say that ! ) and going looking for our first motorhome, destination Dusseldorf this weekend.

    While we are trying to decide on layout, I do appreicate that it will likely be a trade off in some departments.

    The question that keeps coming to mind is, what length is practical to use in the Uk and in and around our small towns streets ?

    Getting into our drive will limit us to 7 -7.5m with out an modifications, maybe up to 8.5 max with a gatepost moved.

    While I'm sure the larger may well be fine on 'A' roads and even small country roads, are they best avoided for manoeuvring around town & parking, perhaps also on campsites ?

    Thanks in advance

    Alistair
     
  2. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

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    Wow going to Dussoldorf for your first van! It's absolutely massive I understand!! Almost to much choice!!
    We have a 6 metre had a 7 metre previously but I'm sure that loads on here with bigger vans will say it's doable.
    Layout is key! Good luck and enjoy!!
     
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  3. Derbyshire wanderer

    Derbyshire wanderer Funster Life Member

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    Someone once told me that if the bin lorry can get there then so will most motorhomes. Ours is 7.6mtrs and have never had a problem yet. Most journeys will only have a very small part involving areas that need extra thought and care to get through.
    Do not buy one because it's small unless that is the one with the layout that's right for you.
     
  4. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    Welcome to Fun, I'm sure you will have an amazing time at Duseldorf this weekend every conceivable lay out/size will be there, obviously the larger 8meter plus vans are not as convenient in towns and cities but many do have larger ones and manage well.
    :welcomesign:


     
  5. Baycott

    Baycott Funster

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    Hi from us in East Sussex and
    :welcomesign:
    We have a 7mtr van but wouldn't want to go much bigger if staying mainly in the uk. Parking can be a problem and lots of the smaller villages would be difficult.
    I'm sure there will be others that say different and maybe it's down to your own confidence in driving a bigger vehicle. Good luck with whatever you decide on.
     
  6. Cavs

    Cavs Funster

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    With our 8.5 metres it's usually width, not length, that creates any problems, and it was the same with our previous vans at around 7.3 metres.
     
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  7. injebreck99

    injebreck99 Funster

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    Ours is 6m and usually don't have any problems, a lot of PVC's are longer than ours, if we were away for more than a month, a bigger van would be better, but at the moment, ours suits us fine.
     
  8. mikebeaches

    mikebeaches Funster

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    As Cavs has mentioned, width is often more significant than length for ease of negotiating villages and country lanes.

    Everyone has their own preferences, but we have just changed from a 6m coach built (2.3m wide + huge mirrors) to a 6.4m panel van conversion (2.05m wide). Currently enjoying the delights of France and can't believe how much more comfortable it is to go exploring in. One foot less wide makes all the difference. Also travels faster on the autoroute and feels much more sure-footed at speed than the coach built.

    For us, the added bonus was being able to get fixed twin single beds in such a short van - don't think there are any coachbuilts less than 6.4m that have proper fixed singles.
     
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  9. MH 55 FUN

    MH 55 FUN Funster

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    :hiya2: & :welcome3::):)
     
  10. Spidey

    Spidey Funster

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    :HelloThere::pink:


    Our first van in 2014 was a 6m to scared to go bigger. It was a lovely van and had loads of living room. We were told at the time to not restrict to 6m. We change a couple of months ago to a 7m van and to be honest havent noticed mutch difference in driving or road handling. The width is the same as our old van. We do appreciate the space though and the storage on the new van. I think layout and payload is more important than length. We love a big lounge and a fixed bed :)
     
  11. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    11Mtr 36ft
    Stratford upon Avon Town Center on Market day;)
    very doable
    He shouldn't stack crates of Oranges on the pavement :doh:
    9 Mtr tag axle for the tight places:Eeek:
    Parking is a challenge not a problem(y)
    G
     
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  12. scotjimland

    scotjimland Funster Life Member

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    well, you won't find many bin lorries parked in car parks.. or in beauty spots where space is tight..

    also when buying my RV was told if a bus goes there, then so can an RV.. all very good if you stick to bus routes.. I soon found out that there were many places a bus couldn't go, nor could my RV .. it also severely limited the number of places we could park and sites that we could use.. both in the UK and abroad.

    all that is nonsense.. common sense say that the bigger you are the fewer places you can park.. the longer you are the more difficult it can be to manoeuvre in tight places..


    size definitely matters .. it's just how much you want to compromise in access and parking that will dictate the length you buy ..

    present van is just under 7mts.. it can go most places but will struggle in tight car parks..

    it's all compromise, would prefer a 6 mt PVC for driving and an 11mt RV for living ..
     
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  13. funflair

    funflair Funster Life Member

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    We have 8.5 metres as our first van although I have done about 20 years towing a caravan and am a confident driver, we have not found this size to be a problem but we have been saying that when we change we will look for under 8 metres as that seems to be the magic number that many campsites say "motorhomes up to". I will also say that once you have had the space it is difficult to give it up so we might end up with another 8.5 or even bigger:LOL:.

    I think it really depends on where you are going to go with the van and what you want to do with it.

    Martin
     
  14. Jim

    Jim Ringleader

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    You often here people say "if the school bus or the bin man can get there, so can I" That is very true, trouble is, most problems I've had have been when I've met head on, the school bus or the bin man. :)

    I've driven an RV through medieval French villages where they've had to close bedroom windows so we can get through. In Spain I've had waiters wind in awnings so we could pass. I've been in streets in Portugal so narrow that my wing mirror once put a woman's fag out. All these "Incidents" were caused by WIDTH not length. It's width that will give you grief, mostly length just follows obediently behind.

    Thats said, Go over 8 metres and you really need to think about it a little. Travelling won't give you a problem, if you have any problems at all it's when parking or pitching. even the most stingy pitches will accommodate 9m but if it's tight or busy. it's getting on to that pitch that can be a pain. All the time you'll be looking for parking spaces that will keep your wheels in the bay but space for your back end to over hang, 9 times out of ten you'll find such places easily and you get good at spotting these places. Mostly those long vans have big overhangs and they do pose a problem until you are used to them.

    I would say for peace of mind and ease of use; go as small as you can comfortably live in. some vans, especially A-Classes pack a lot of living space into a short length.

    As for the show, my advice DO NOT BUY AT THE SHOW large shows should be used for research only. Read the Motorhome Buyers Guide and you'll understand why. Best of luck (y)
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
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  15. Paul an Jane MK

    Paul an Jane MK Funster

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    Buying a motorhome all seems to be about compromises and what features will benefit you the most.

    Our first motorhome is 6.4 metres long and 2.3 metres wide. We chose it for the open layout and rear L shaped lounge but This length seems to have worked for us as we like to travel off site in the van visiting beaches and bueaty spots nearby which means we have all our facilities on board and if we have stopped for an explore when we get back to our van we can make a cup of tea or a bite to eat etc.

    We have used lots of car parks and as long as they do not specify "no motprhomes" (only once) and found somewhere really nice and quiet further along the road or height barriers we have managed to fit in them without too much trouble.

    Some people prefer to leave there motorhome on site and travel by bike, foot or a towed car so can have a much bigger more spacious van.

    The downside for us is that we have to make up a bed each night, but it only takes a few minutes and we feel the benefits outweigh the small inconvenience.

    Not everyone will agree with me which is why there are so many different layouts.

    Enjoy researching and window shopping but take your time lots to consider and easy to buy the wrong layout and then regret.

    Paul
     
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  16. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

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    I think it might also help to decide what vehicle to buy if you have some idea what you are going to do with your MH.

    If you think you are going to use a lot of campsites then you may find you have to call sites before arriving to check they have room for you if you are much bigger than say 7.5m. I think in the UK you will be fine on places like the Caravan Club but in Europe a lot of sites have narrow access roads and small pitches.

    If you intend to spend the winter in Spain then bigger is probably better.

    We like to explore and drive down narrow roads in our 6m PVC and rarely have to worry about access.

    It's all a compromise - but there does seem to be a correlation between the smaller the MH the more it gets used! :)
     
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  17. jezport

    jezport Funster

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    As Jim mentioned earlier, its width that's the issue we have owned an 8M+ van for years and never found length a problem. Width slows you down through roadworks, narrow roads getting in parallel parking spaces, parking on narrow roads and negotiating residential streets with parked cars.
    The only restricting thing for long vans can be finding a parking space in busy towns, and its just a case of looking a bit further out.
    We have just changed to a long wheelbase panel van conversion.
     
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  18. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

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    @Jim has pretty much summed up my thoughts ... don't be tempted to buy at the show (especially with the exchange rate as it is now!), do a LOT of research into different layouts, types of vehicle etc and most importantly decide HOW you want to use it first as that will inform your final decision.

    If you want to visit lots of little villages, going down narrow streets in various places etc, then the thing that will limit you is width unless you get a long one. We had a 2.3m x 6m Chausson and the width was the issue, we now have a PVC at 2.1m x 6.36m and it is much, much better/easier. The problem with going wider is that the mirrors stick out a heck of a lot so you're not so relaxed driving when there are vehicles coming the other way at speed on narrow roads.
     
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  19. awg

    awg Funster

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    I think most things have been covered. Ours is 7.5mtr and I don't have any issues with the length. However I've had lots of "fun" with the width. Tight twisty mountain roads with hairpin bends have not been a length issue but meeting a coach coming the other way often makes me wish our motorhome had been on a diet.
     
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  20. Steve and Kat

    Steve and Kat Funster

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    Can't agree more with Jim on some of his points.. That said, we bought at the NEC and got a cracking deal on our 2016 AutoTrail Apache. I think you have to be sensible when deciding, and you must do your homework. If you have cash, then I think you could get a good deal, but be prepared to walk away if you don't. The width thing as Jim and Minxy girl above state IS the issue, it's not length. We've just traded in our 7.5m van for an 8.73m van, and driving it is no different to our previous van, you just have to watch the oncoming hedges and other wing mirrors, especially down narrow lanes. Good luck with your potential purchase.
     
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