Which extras are essential?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by DM23, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. DM23

    DM23 Funster

    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Hampshire
    We collected our first MH on Tuesday - she's now sat on the drive waiting for the first outing this weekend :smiley: In the meantime I'm trying to decide how to prioritise the extra things we'll need coz we can't afford to get them all done at once. Would be interested to know what other peoples' priorities are?

    I think my first priority will be a second battery. We have one (new) 110Ah battery and there is space for another next to it - so all I need to do is buy a matching battery and link them up. I assume there is some kind of kit I can buy to link them together?

    An external bbq point is pretty high on the list coz we don't have to carry a separate gas bottle for the Cadac. The gas locker is on the opposite side to the habitation door so I'm worried if this will be an expensive job (will be getting someone to do this for us professionally). I did read though that its ok to take the gas supply from the fridge/cooker area so maybe this isn't such a huge job after all.

    Refillable gas is a must I think - we intend going to France a lot and also eventually Germany, Austria and maybe Italy so being able to top up gas as and when sounds much better. There's already an external LPG fill point and hose back into the gas locker fitted so it should be an easy DIY job to fit refillable cylinders. We have a full 6kg calor in there at the moment and hopefully that should last us a while this time of year as we'll probably stick with campsites with EHU for now until we have the hang of everything so its not super urgent, but I'll want to get it done before next year. It doesn't look like there is much difference between gaslow/gas it/alugas apart from price and weight? Any recommendations on where to get the cheapest 11kg cylinder from?

    And finally we do want to get a solar panel - there is plenty of room on the roof and I guess the bigger the better, so its going to come down to cost and weight - any particular recommendations or things to watch out for?
     
    • Like Like x 4
  2. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,385
    Likes Received:
    10,804
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Congratulations on your new MH ! Have lots of great trips! :)
    There are loads of threads about solar panels batteries and BBQ but I'm sure someone will be along later with help!

    We don't have a BBQ point as I like Rob to do the cooking away from the van! For safety and smoke reasons!!
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. Zigisla

    Zigisla Funster

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2015
    Messages:
    991
    Likes Received:
    1,170
    Location:
    Fareham, Hants
    If you intend to manly use sites with EHU, then Gas would be the only real requirement at this time because of the lack of Calor abroad. Lightest option AluGas, but more expensive, next is Gaslow, more than Gas-it old style and only more expensive than Gas-it plus because of the S/S hoses, Gas-it cheapest set up, but rubber hoses. Adding S/S hoses brings to very much the same price as Gaslow. Gaslow have in built filters, the others don't. 110Ahr battery will last for those few days off grid and by the road side stops etc. An extra one is for piece of mind and when you get that, "I'm gunna go Wilding this weekend" moment, the solar to keep them both topped up in between stopovers if you don't move far as alternator wont put too much back in over short trips.
     
  4. jdk62

    jdk62 Funster

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2014
    Messages:
    484
    Likes Received:
    1,015
    Hope you have lots of great adventures in your van.

    Personally, I would prioritise a solar panel before the second battery.

    Have fun.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Debs

    Debs Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2014
    Messages:
    3,072
    Likes Received:
    14,266
    Location:
    Looking for the sunny side of the street
    Congratulations, hope you have many happy trips together:)

    We were in a similar boat to you so we we got away as much possible in the van for the 1st few months which gave us a good idea of how we actually 'used' it. Being ex-caravanners it was surpising how differently we do things:LOL:

    We opted for a second battery and solar in the end(fitted by vanbtiz) and love the freedom it gives us.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. BwB

    BwB Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    604
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Brandon Suffolk UK
    Don't buy anything until you've been away in it a few times. The priorities will then sort themselves out. Hardly any additional items are "essential" but a few are desirable. It all depends what sort of camping you do - so try before you buy :)
     
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Muddibootz

    Muddibootz Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2016
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    111
    Location:
    North Shropshire
    I think the only essentials we have bought as extras are a bottle opener and a corkscrew (and a standby spare for each just in case) :)
     
    • Funny Funny x 5
    • Like Like x 2
  8. John Laidler

    John Laidler Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2013
    Messages:
    8,567
    Likes Received:
    11,545
    Location:
    Plympton, Devon
    USB sockets are very useful too. You can get adaptors for cigar lighter sockets but a proper USB socket or two will come in handy. I've fitted two double sockets and will fit a third when we get back home. :)

    Not sure about any "kit" for connecting an extra battery as ideally you need to extend one of the existing leads and attach it to the new extra battery. This ensures the load is shared. You might find a mobile vehicle electrician who can do it for you if you hunt around.
     
  9. DM23

    DM23 Funster

    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Thanks for all the ideas and views - always interesting to see what other people think :) We're not going to rush into anything - we're going to get away for a few weekends and maybe a week in France in September (if we can get ferry/tunnel at the right price!) before adding anything major. I don't think we're going to have time to do any longer trips until next year, so plenty of time to figure out what we want/need.

    Corkscrew and bottle-opener are already packed (and I always travel with a backup one in my makeup bag just in case :sneaky:)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  10. TerryL

    TerryL Funster

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,242
    Likes Received:
    1,239
    Location:
    North East
    How about for free? Tesco vouchers offer triple value for Chunnel crossings, but book early to get best "price".

    (Sorry, avid Tesco voucher fan!)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Minxy Girl

    Minxy Girl Funster Life Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Messages:
    8,503
    Likes Received:
    9,859
    Location:
    E Yorks
    Welcome to the fun house! :D

    As for what to get ...

    Gas - if you are definitely going to be spending a lot of time abroad then a refillable gas system will be pretty indispensable, especially if you intend to go to lots of different countries which have different refillable cylinders - we had just a single 11kg one for 6 years without a problem (no space for a 2nd one in the locker in one of our MHs anyway so it was a vital piece of kit) So just getting 1 x 11kg should be more than sufficient unless you go to very, very remote places!

    Solar & battery - do both together, no point in going to the expense of solar not to then get the most benefit from it.

    BBQ point - unless you really, really, REALLY need it I'd say think again as it will be expensive to have one fitted - at least £150, if not more, so unless you can do it yourself stick with the 2nd gas bottle if you can.
     
  12. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2008
    Messages:
    5,706
    Likes Received:
    3,209
    Location:
    Eastbourne East Sussex
    Refillable gas very useful if touring abroad. Don't necessarily go for two bottles if you have space. We have 2x11kg Alugas but have never really needed the second bottle as its so easy to top up whenever you want to.
     
  13. autorouter

    autorouter Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2016
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    Manchester
    I take it that the fridge/cooker area is on the same side as the habitation door. The main gas line will go to a manifold with separate taps to isolate the individual gas appliances. It's probably in a cupboard near the gas hob. You could easily tee off a pipe to the external BBQ point from there.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Bart

    Bart Funster

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2016
    Messages:
    1,347
    Likes Received:
    369
    Location:
    N.Ireland
    We have not long purchased out Bessacarr E560 and this is the way out BBQ point had been fitted ( either by the previous owner or from the factory , but i think the former ) its like 1-2 meters of copper gas pipe , a few 90 degree bends , a fill point & a shut of valve , easily a diy job , but make sure you leak test it using gas leak liquid.

    Recently when i ordered my Refillable system from Gas IT i had the items in my shopping basket and before i ordered them i thought i would phone Gas it to make sure that all the items in my shopping basket bolted together correctly and that i was not missing anything.
    Well during that conversation it was pointed out to me that i did not need to order the inline particle filter as the filler unit that i had ordered had a built in filter unit , so i removed the filter from my basket saving me something like £20 :)
    Well my order arrived a few days ago and just yesterday i remembered about being told that a filter was in the filler unit so i checked and true enough you can see the filter.
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
  15. SomeoneElse

    SomeoneElse Funster

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    571
    Likes Received:
    375
    Location:
    Cotswolds
    We bought our Approach 625 three years ago. First thing we did was to have a fixed gas tank installed this freed up the external gas locker for bits and pieces like leveling ramps, electrical connectors, water connectors/ bucket etc. We fill up the gas in the UK or abroad when ever it gets low and it is convenient. Then it was a second battery, a battery monitor and a 1500W inverter. The inverter was wired so that it supplies power to the kitchen area. the hair dryer can be used by the mirror, and the microwave is powered. we also have a 800W travel kettle. Then came the solar panels, I went for two 130W polys cos they were cheap. If I was doing it again I would have mapped the roof better with perhaps three 100W panels dotted about. Our panels give us so much power most of the year that we never need EHU and we use the electric kettle for making teas and coffee all the time. We are therefore totally independent.
    Recently I have added a Sterling battery maintainer to keep the engine battery fully charged when the MH is idle for a couple of months over winter. We have a TV with built in DVD but its rarely used. We planned a Oyster dish and free sat box, we have the box still unused as the purchase of the dish has just drifted later and later. Its got to the point where I doubt it will never happen.

    In short, top of my priorities now would be gas, solar and inverter, with a second battery as a BTW to the inverter.
    Your priorities may vary. Good luck with the MH we really enjoy ours.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  16. GeriatricWanderer

    GeriatricWanderer Funster

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2015
    Messages:
    867
    Likes Received:
    3,141
    Location:
    Now back in Sarfend for a couple of months.
    In my opinion, for what it's worth, the answer to your question is None.

    I've been motorhoming for many years in an assortment of units and have finally found the one that fits my lifestyle perfectly - and it has none of your planned accessoriies.
    We all have different lifestyles and "accessory" needs.
    Rather find out from your own experiences what your needs are than try and guess what they are. Accessory costs can add up to big bucks.

    As others have already said, try it first and you will quickly find out which extras you really "need".

    Otherwise, I hope you have a large and empty garage/loft to store unused "essentials" while you wait for your next local bootsale.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
    • Like Like x 1
  17. mitzimad

    mitzimad Funster

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,962
    Likes Received:
    3,300
    Location:
    walthamstow east london
    use it first and find out what doesnt work for you then fix it. In the first few months we all think we need but in truth a lot of it is just vanity , buying bragging rights
    You dont need solar or extra batteries if your always on sites with ehu or only doing one night of grid
    out of your list for immediate use i see the bar b que point being the most usefull
    of course it also depends on how you want to use your van some people want it to be the same as being at home big tv exspesso coffee hair dyrer etc.
    we prefer it to be diffent to being at home we dont have a tv in the van if we are away we want to be out of the van as much as possible not doing what we do at home
     
  18. DM23

    DM23 Funster

    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Hampshire
    Thanks for your thoughts everyone - interesting to see how different people see things.

    We're just back from our first weekend away - am pleased to report that things pretty much went to plan...no major hiccups :) We were only away for 2 nights and we didn't move the van as we had our bikes - I think that will probably be our normal pattern: stay somewhere for a couple of nights, explore on the bikes and then move on. Unless its somewhere with lots to do, in which case we might stay for longer - how lovely it is to have the freedom to do that :-D

    Our major discovery was that we can't fill up the water tank using a normal hose - we need to either use the Whale pump in a container or a special Whale hose (workaround: hose in through the window and fill the tank up from the hatch under the floor). Also that small campsites don't always have a tap you can attach a hose to if you need to top up (oops hubby ran out of water in the shower). I have a Whale hose on order and I think a small aquaroll is going to the next purchase so we can top up the tank when needed.

    External BBQ point is now the first priority on our list - we love cooking on the Cadac and not having to carry a second gas bottle will free up valuable locker space.

    An extra leisure battery is in 2nd place right now - we haven't used the van off hook up yet, but we do prefer smaller more basic sites so I think this will be a valuable addition and better to get one earlier rather than later so its the same age/condition as our current one.

    Solar and refillable gas: I still want them - but they're going to have to wait a while. We're going away for a week/10 days in September to northern France so we'll take a full 10kg BP Gaslight with us and see how we go usage-wise before making a decision on that. Solar is a no-brainer (we have them on the house) its just a case of saving up the pennies to do it.
     
  19. Hymie

    Hymie Funster

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2013
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    674
    Location:
    Essex
    A pair of levellers may be a good purchase, some fridges don't like too much of a tilt and you don't want the sink not emptying cos your pointed the wrong way on a sloped pitch.

    I know you can usually turn round but that would not stop the kettle sliding off the hob, if your wilding it may prove useful.
     
  20. DM23

    DM23 Funster

    Joined:
    May 29, 2016
    Messages:
    79
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Hampshire
    We got a set of levelling ramps included in the purchase - which was fortunate as needed them at the weekend. We weren't quite totally level, but were close enough :D
     
Loading...

Share This Page