Possible newbie with several questions

Sep 3, 2014
62
9
Funster No
33,165
MH
C Class
Exp
Since 2015
Hi. After camping and then owning a caravan for a couple of years we are thinking of buying a motorhome. Neither hubby or I enjoy the hitching up, steadies, etc of the caravan and find it quite hard work. We have fairly young kids who we want to enjoy the freedom of camping and we have our own business and find it hard to get away so we are looking to make things as easy as possible. We are planning to hire a MH for a weekend before we buy but what I'd like to know is the following:

Are they really easier than a caravan - do you just drive, park up and that's it or is there more to it? And what about leaving site?

Is it a pain to pack everything up every time you move off to another location? Presumably, you just get stuff out as you use it so it's not like unpacking a caravan and getting settled. Our caravan is stored elsewhere, as will be MH, but I currently have to take a boot load of stuff down before we go, then spend time getting it all stacked, then unpack it at the site, then pack it all up to go home. I was thinking with the MH we could park on the drive the day before, load it up and then drive off.

Obviously, it depends on the size of the MH but how limiting are they - hubby is convinced we won't be able to get about. We are thinking of 7m ish overcab (Chausson Flash 3 plus is what I'm planning to hire) or similar. Are height barriers widespread?

Till confident we would probably use some bigger campsites but really we like quiet sites. Thought we could go to Scotland for a fortnight next year and partly wild camp. But, what about waste from the loo? It seems to me that most MH have cassette loos like the caravan - is this correct? If so, with two kids, we'd have to stop daily at sites as it needs emptying daily. Do only the big RVs have black tanks?

If you have a cassette loo, does it leak when you drive. We empty the caravan's one before leaving site but presumably one plus of the MH is that you have all your facilities with you all the time.

MH wise, I'm after fixed bunks for the kids and fixed bed for us - overcab is fine. Looking at Chausson and a few others, all have similar layouts. Any advice on these? Planning to hire from Landcruise in Chichester - any good anyone?

Have read some great advice in the other newbie threads and would appreciate some help. Sorry if the questions are daft!
 

phase3begins

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Jul 1, 2012
280
317
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21,735
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van conversion
Exp
5
Not a terribly original answer but I would recommend a visit to one of the rallies (Events - dark blue bar above)
Loads of vans but more importantly loads of owners. Most of us are delighted to show people our vans and can bore for England on the finer points, plus usually a good time to be had.
Warning- you will get multiple answers to every question.
Good luck
 
Nov 6, 2013
6,806
40,768
East Sussex
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28,906
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Swift Bolero
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7 years (tugger for 20)
Hi Rosemary,
As phase3begins said you will get many answers that will conflict due to personal preferences.
Yes you do drive, park up and that's it. No awning to swear at, no fetching water, no setting out the waste collector, no winding down the steadies. Just put the kettle on.(y)

For us, the move to MH from caravan was the best thing we ever did.
We do pack things away before travelling but that just makes us more tidy. (the caravan was a mess;))

We have a 6.5m but soon to change to a fixed bed 7m. We have come across a few height barriers but there is generally somewhere else to park like a supermarket.

The loo will only leak if something is wrong or someone has forgotten to close the flap.:doh:
We empty ours when we get home. If it needs emptying before there is always public loos as long as you clean up after you.

phase3s advice re rallies is sound. You will be able to get the answers to all your questions and many more that you have yet to think of.

I thing that the layout is the biggest question. You really have to get in and try it for size. Lay on the beds, imagine cooking and eating a meal (inside and out). There is so much to consider but I wish you well and hope you decide to join our happy band.
Good luck.
John
PS No question is stupid they all have relevance.
 
Nov 30, 2009
7,297
30,089
West Yorkshire
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9,521
MH
PVC the PUG
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Since 2009
Rosemaryd, you'll find a Motorhome so much easier than a caravan. We had 3 before getting this Motorhome, plus we got it right first time because of the experience of owning caravans. Knowing what layout is best for our family.

Our layout would be perfect for you. Fixed bunks and king size over cab bed. We've 3 children ,( 2x18 and 1x20 ) that don't come with us any more .
Plenty lounge space , large separate shower cubicle ,big fridge ,cooker grill , plenty storage etcetcetc.
Shame your wanting one now as we are downsizing , but not looking to sell ours till we have the new conversion done. Probably the beginning of next year some time .
Just be careful of eBay scams. Don't part with any cash till you've seen it , no deposit etc.
Also There are a lot of very smelly sheds out there , being sold at a premium , even at dealerships.

We started out with a budget and doubled it........don't be put off with dated upholstery or soft seats.
Like us you can get it totally refoamed to your taste and reupholstered to your more modern taste.
Think about the seat belts . Lots of older vans don't have them in the back. Also look at the payload. Lots don't cater for a family , weight wise. Even though they are 4/6 birth models. You'd be overweight by the time the family and water was on board. Without the rest of the paraphernalia a family takes away with them.
Good luck , enjoy hiring one .
 

musson

Free Member
Dec 25, 2013
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168
grantham
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since Jan 2014
Hi
We change from caravan in Feb 2014, up to now would not go back to caravan, arrive on site
fill with water,find pitch back on,plug electric in Job done (sometimes you have to level with wedge)
I take MH back home the night before and load up.(storage 9 miles from home)

Toilet no problems empty same as caravan, it uses water from main water tank.

Our MH is 7mtr fixed bed.
I would visit shows and look at layouts,you may be able to get a hire before you buy deal if you look around.

Make sure it has four seat belts.
My only issue sometimes is I miss the car when on site,having said that we use electric bikes and I have justed checked to hire a car from 8am to 8am next day £30ish through CC club Paul
 

pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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do you just drive, park up and that's it or is there more to it? And what about leaving site?


Not exactly that easy but very close.

Arrive on pitch.
Level using levelling ramps if you need to be level.
Connect hookup lead if you want electrickery
Turn on water pump to fill kettle....or just open a beer or wine.

Leaving site is even easier....

Unplug hookup
Drive iff ramps and stow away
Secure wine bottle
Drive away.

Of course, if you want awnings etc t takes a little more time but nothing like as long as a caravan awning.
 
Mar 22, 2009
616
529
Moray Firth
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6,007
MH
Bessacarr 484
Exp
Since 2004
Hi Rosemary,
Yes you do drive, park up and that's it. No awning to swear at, no fetching water, no setting out the waste collector, no winding down the steadies. Just put the kettle on.(y)
Hi Rosemary

I would just like to point out that John has missed out one step on the above description. After parking up (getting everything level, of course) you realise that you forgot to stop at the tap to fill up your water tank :(. You should learn from experience but this keeps happening to me

As others have pointed out, it's all down to individual taste. We have a 10 year old Chausson that is over 7m long and we rarely have any problems going out for the day. You'll get into a routine of what needs to be where, are all the cupboards closed, etc. We have a driveaway awning so a lot of the day-to-day stuff can be left in there, meaning less to put away.

Good luck in your search and don't rush it. We only found our ideal layout on this our second van - I know others have taken longer.

Phil
 

pappajohn

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Aug 26, 2007
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Hi Rosemary

I would just like to point out that John has missed out one step on the above description. After parking up (getting everything level, of course) you realise that you forgot to stop at the tap to fill up your water tank :(. You should learn from experience but this keeps happening to me

As others have pointed out, it's all down to individual taste. We have a 10 year old Chausson that is over 7m long and we rarely have any problems going out for the day. You'll get into a routine of what needs to be where, are all the cupboards closed, etc. We have a driveaway awning so a lot of the day-to-day stuff can be left in there, meaning less to put away.

Good luck in your search and don't rush it. We only found our ideal layout on this our second van - I know others have taken longer.

Phil
But then you use the hose you carry for just that purpose.....you do carry a hose dont you ?

Of course, if it isnt long enough there will be a friendly motorhomer who will lend you another one.

The last RV meet at Oswestry the 'contributed' top-up hoses totalled over 150ft in length
 

phase3begins

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Jul 1, 2012
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Pappajohn has accurately described worst case scenario.
Since we don't use EHU best case scenario is:
Park on flat bit, put kettle on.
Leaving, drive away

Just a thought...
 
Nov 6, 2013
6,806
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East Sussex
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MH
Swift Bolero
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7 years (tugger for 20)
Hi Rosemary

I would just like to point out that John has missed out one step on the above description. After parking up (getting everything level, of course) you realise that you forgot to stop at the tap to fill up your water tank :(. You should learn from experience but this keeps happening to me.

Phil
We always travel with a full water tank for 2 reasons:
1/ We don't usually book sites so wild camp abroad or BritStop in the UK
2/ when we did use sites we kept forgetting to fill up on entry. :doh:
I know it uses more fuel but I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. ;)
 

Spidey

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Jun 16, 2013
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We changed from a fixed bed caravan to a chausson 510 in May 2014. We went away on holiday for a week staying in 4 different sites. It was so easy :), if it was raining we would drive onto the pitch and swivel the seats around :). The when the rain stopped just level and plug in. We are tidy in the MH and just put the kettle and toaster away before driving off. We watched a caravan take a good hour messing around before they could leave. It took us 10 mins max.

So far no regrets and ours is only 6m, so a lot less room than our caravan. We have a 14 and 20 year old. Only been away with the 14 daughter, but the eldest has said she would like to come next time.
 
Sep 23, 2013
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Since 2008 (started in a VW T4 campervan)
<snip>
But, what about waste from the loo? It seems to me that most MH have cassette loos like the caravan - is this correct? If so, with two kids, we'd have to stop daily at sites as it needs emptying daily. Do only the big RVs have black tanks?

If you have a cassette loo, does it leak when you drive. We empty the caravan's one before leaving site but presumably one plus of the MH is that you have all your facilities with you all the time.
<\snip>
Some people extend their off-side time by buying a spare cassette. You do need a suitable locker for storing the full one while the second one is in use. No - they don't leak - you will know from your caravan days that you can tip them on their side & wander across the site without spilling a drop. :)

Yes, the luxury of never being more than 4 steps from a loo is something you do come to appreciate! (y):D
Particularly if you take too much advantage if never being more than 2 steps away from a cup of tea, a beer or a glass of wine.
 

Puddleduck

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Jan 15, 2014
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:welc:

Can't add much more to what has already been said.

The big things are layout, number of seat belts and berths - and payload.

We have a "pre-flight check list" which basically says to make sure all loose stuff is away, collect leveling blocks, close and lock all hatches, lockers etc. Unplug ehu lead, visual check from outside - sorry the order is all jumbled up but it is correct on my list.

What I really love is that you can pull into a lay-by at lunch time and make a decent meal, get a good break and then drive on. You don't do that if you have pre-prepared sandwiches.

Our 26 year old is insisting she comes with us on our next trip!!!!! She was also asking how easy Buffy was to drive and I just gave her one of those looks.....:whistle2: She did help me wash her this afternoon though.
 
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OP
rosemaryd
Sep 3, 2014
62
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33,165
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Since 2015
Thanks everyone, lots of good advice. Will definitely hire now and continue my research into suitable models.
 

iceni

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Dec 3, 2007
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Lowline Coachbuilt
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27yrs
If you have kids and have the extra room you can buy a spare waste tank for the loo so you can go longer between emptying.
Welcome to the forum by the way
 
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OP
rosemaryd
Sep 3, 2014
62
9
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33,165
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Hi Ralph and Bev
Thanks for your advice, what MH have you got? It sounds perfect!
Cheers
Rosemary
 
Jul 5, 2013
7,458
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Tunbridge Wells
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26,797
MH
A class
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Since 2013
Lots of good advice that I would echo, but one thing that has not been mentioned is the question of how you are going to use the motorhome. It you intend to drive to one place and then leave it for a week or two, then the caravan will probably be better. Unless the site is superbly located you and the kids will get frustrated with not being able to just pop out somewhere in the car.

The motorhome is ideal for real touring. Spending 2 or 3 nights in a place and then moving on when you have seen enough or get bored. You will probably need to think about getting some bikes for you all and a bike rack on the back of the motorhome.

Scotland and wild camping go together well, although you may need your passport soon! But you will need to think about power. Cooking and fridge can be gas, as can be the heating. And fitting LED lights (if not already there) will cut down power use. But the blown air (or pumped water) system of heating does to take a fair bit of power and I suspect you may want the TV for the kids if not yourselves. Therefore think about getting a second leisure battery and one or two solar panels. With those you can make yourself self sufficient for most of the summer months.

With regards to the loo I have seen a second cassette with a box holder that fixes to the underside of the floor of the motorhome, so no storage needed. Can't remember exact details but I am sure dealers like Johns Cross (very active here) will be able to give you info.

Finally when touring in this country there are a lot of great small non-commercial sites that are licensed by the big clubs. The CC call them CLs and the C&CC call them CSs. I would recommend those rather than using larger sites.
 
May 16, 2014
694
740
Ammanford
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31,503
MH
Coachbuilt Swift Bessacar
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since May 2014
We are now in our 5th month of MHing after more than 35 years of caravanning - should have done it a lot sooner. It's not quite as simple as turn on the ignition and drive away but it really is not far from it. If you are keeping your MH away from home you will still have to bring many of your fresh (or fozen) food supplies from home OR you may drive the MH straight into the nearest supermarket and put the stuff directl into the fridge on board - far easier!

As regards waste water, we always drop it (at the proper place of course) if we have been on site for more than 2 days even if we are only going out briefly - it saves being caught full. The fantastic advantage here though is that you don't need to lug a waste carrier across the site to do it - you just drive there open the tap over the drain and chat to your partner/friend/etc.
 
Jan 10, 2013
5,047
4,590
Near Uttoxeter and Crete
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24,227
MH
Frankia i740 Plus
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Still trucking and learning
Hi Rosemary

I would just like to point out that John has missed out one step on the above description. After parking up (getting everything level, of course) you realise that you forgot to stop at the tap to fill up your water tank :(. You should learn from experience but this keeps happening to me

As others have pointed out, it's all down to individual taste. We have a 10 year old Chausson that is over 7m long and we rarely have any problems going out for the day. You'll get into a routine of what needs to be where, are all the cupboards closed, etc. We have a driveaway awning so a lot of the day-to-day stuff can be left in there, meaning less to put away.

Good luck in your search and don't rush it. We only found our ideal layout on this our second van - I know others have taken longer.

Phil
Do this every single bloomin' time!!! Why don't we ever learn??
 

Cal54

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Apr 25, 2014
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Autocruise Alto PVC
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I agree with everything said previously, however I suspect that with young children it will not be the quick set up that most of us benefit from. I travel alone, have clothes that live in the van, carry only nominal amount of water in my tank, have both hose and 12v pump/container for filling water tank on site, have 2 leisure batteries fitted, have a collapsible bucket for emptying waste water regularly and empty my cassette before leaving site. I can be off within a couple of minutes if necessary as there is a place for everything and by keeping the place tidy makes for a quick exit. I do think that peterc10's comment about how you use the van and keeping the children occupied is extremely important, even with a small van I am conscious of where I go and when.
Good luck, it is a great way to holiday and hope to see you at a rally/show sometime.
 
Feb 5, 2009
538
395
South Essex
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5,558
MH
A Class
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15 in MH, 20 in Caravan
I echo Peter10c's comments... Our upgrade from caravan to MH means we spend our daytimes driving round doing all the things we want to, as we did with the car from the caravan. Then in the early evening we decide on a site for the night and ring up & book (or just turn up if its a french aire). We then repeat each day, starting with a water fill up & waste/toilet dump...
We sold our first MH because we didn't get on with it coz we used it like a caravan ie. stranded on site with no transport.
Once we twigged and started touring each day we love it and wouldn't go back...
 
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