Red Shoes says Hello... and can you give advice for our first MH purchase.

Feb 5, 2018
48
719
Colchester
Funster No
52,278
MH
Globecar Campscout
Exp
Minimal, but learning fast.
Hello all.
I've been looking at the forum for a few days now and finally decided to join.
We (Hubby & I) are looking to purchase our first MH/camper... if only we could decide what to get!
We usually holiday in the West Country, Wales or Scotland and take 2-3 weeks to travel around by car using short stay self-catering accommodation. The logical next step seems to have our own traveling accommodation to make this easier. We think we want a vehicle as small as possible, but one we can still stand up in. It must have a loo, and probably a shower too, as we hope to do some wild camping in the Highlands and Islands. That also means solar power, leisure batteries, and hubby wants LPG, and diesel powered heating. So it needs to cope with the cold, and the midges, and be comfy not cramped for those rain soaked days of summer! I often have migraines when traveling so somewhere to nap is essential, and like the idea of twin singles which convert to a large bed, but then we wouldn't have a garage that a fixed bed would provide. Are we likely to need bicycles (for transport, not simply the joy of riding), and therefore somewhere to store them, or is a bike rack secure enough? As you can see we really need some guidance. Does anyone have any useful advice for us. Maybe anything to avoid too. Obviously we have a budget, of probably £15-£20k, hopefully less as we don't expect to find the perfect van straight away. Unfortunately we seem to live in a area where MH dealers are scarce which doesn't help, so we are going to the NEC show in a few weeks. Thank you.
 

magicsurfbus

Free Member
Oct 11, 2010
4,685
10,158
NW England
Funster No
14,057
MH
Bessacarr Coachbuilt
Exp
Since 1997
Solar power with a suitable charger and the right type of leisure battery for living off-grid sound like a major consideration. A refillable gas cylinder adds to the flexibility, as do 12v & USB electrical accessories (ie chargers, TV) rather than 230v. Provided you don't go mad with gas usage you'd probably take close to a month to bottom an 11Kg refillable cylinder.

If you're needing a nap and don't want to be messing about with making a bed from scratch then consider a fixed bed. Over cab works up to a point if you're not claustrophobic but it makes the vehicle less easy to handle on corners and in strong winds. As you say, a rear bed may give you boot space below but it would have to be pretty high up to fit bikes underneath. Our bikes only just fit in the boot under our rear bed with their handlebars turned downwards. Racks are less secure and add to the vehicle length, but they work.

For rainy day comfort definitely look at swivelling front seats to make best use of space.

The other thing is available payload (ie the maximum weight of extras you can carry without exceeding the vehicle's stated limits) - pay very close attention to maker's smallprint. We recently bought a 3500Kg vehicle with 395Kg payload and the two of us were struggling to keep within it, just with basic accessories, a few modifications and a couple of bikes. In the end we converted it to 3850Kg at extra expense. If you have a C1 driving licence consider getting a vehicle over 3500kg from the word go - for starters the tax is cheaper.

With regard to budget - it may surprise you to find out that Panel Van Conversions (ie Transit van type campers) will often cost more than the larger coachbuilt (ie big white box on wheels) types. Do shop around.
 

big map

LIFE MEMBER
Mar 8, 2009
4,592
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5,855
MH
A Class
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Since 2009
Welcome love your experience!!!

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OP
Red Shoes
Feb 5, 2018
48
719
Colchester
Funster No
52,278
MH
Globecar Campscout
Exp
Minimal, but learning fast.
Thanks Magicsurfbus. Your helpful advice is most welcome.
I probably should have said that we are both mature enough to have C1 licenses, though I hadn't realised there was a tax difference.
Quite apart from claustrophobia, and altitude sickness, an overcab won't really suit the roads we intend to travel on... or the weather we inevitably travel in !! They seem so unwieldy and I'm glad you have confirmed my suspicions. (The older one's we can afford also look hideous!)
We are looking at PVC's as a preference (through not a transit because of their poor security issues), and have indeed found the prices much higher. We are also wary of older coach builts because of potential damp concerns. How does anyone actually get off the starting blocks?
 
Feb 5, 2018
510
1,189
PLYMOUTH
Funster No
52,279
MH
BENIMAR MILEO 282
Exp
Since 09 2018
We looked at various layouts and decided on rear lounge.Most of the time one would be outside in good weather!!!!but still have space inside throughout to chill(beer/wine)I am sure others will have different opinions and experience but we felt that we would like a home from home.

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Feb 2, 2015
1,931
5,634
Staffordshire
Funster No
34,975
MH
A motorhome!
Exp
we are still learning
98636c6ee64925a19858f8a491d300d2--smiley-emoji-emoji-faces.jpg
Hi Guys. Hope you find what you are after.
Kev and Carolyn
 
Jan 23, 2016
1,252
3,311
Dumfries and Galloway
Funster No
41,432
MH
Rapido A class
Exp
1 year
:HelloThere: And :WelcomeFlag:

To get started we too researched and then made a list of essentials for us and then visited loads of dealers until we stumbled across an elderly vehicle which satisfied most of our requirements. It’s very scary the first purchase - such a lot of money! We bought our first (with the vast experience of a two van owner:)) via a dealer as not confident to buy private. Good luck in finding your vehicle - the lifestyle is addictive:D:D

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OP
Red Shoes
Feb 5, 2018
48
719
Colchester
Funster No
52,278
MH
Globecar Campscout
Exp
Minimal, but learning fast.
Thanks Rosemary1 for your helpful advice. We too are wondering whether to go via a dealership or private sale. Either way its a scary amount of cash we'll be handing over, and no idea what we'll actually be receiving for it. Now that I can do so, I've been looking at the classified adverts on this site and still don't know what to do. The older vans are clearly in our budget, but how reliable will they be.
Can anyone suggest a brand/manufacturer we should be looking at? (or avoiding!). In an ideal world we'd like a WildAx or Vantage, but neither are volume producers so the older vans don't appear much, and we certainly can't go for a new one from them.
 
Jan 19, 2014
6,855
16,980
Derbyshire
Funster No
29,757
MH
Elddis Accordo 105
Exp
since 2014
Once you've been to the motorhome show you'll know what layout you fancy. We went for a narrow low profile coachbuilt with rear toilet/shower, this enables bench seats behind the (swivel) cab seats so you can lie down and have a read or kip during the day. (y)

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Dec 24, 2014
5,098
24,443
Hurstpierpoint. West Sussex.
Funster No
34,553
MH
Compass Navigator
Exp
Ever since Mother was a lad.
Welcome!

My m/h has an overcab bed but I only used it once as I can't sit up in it and I do like to sit in bed with my first brew and enjoy a view whilst waiting for basic speech to return. It is very handy for storing light stuff; bedding etc.
I have a dinette to starboard which I can convert to a double and a 6' 6" single settee to port which is perfect for snoozing (aka making plans!).

I browsed many dealers' offers on t'internet and probably travelled hundreds of miles for viewings. I realise they are not very near to you but if you venture across the river I can thoroughly recommend the exceptional Johns Cross Motorhomes at Robertsbridge from where, 5 years ago I bought my immaculate Compass Navigator; one owner, very low mileage, 1994, 6m long first m/home for £12k and which has taken me nearly 30,000 faultless miles all over U.K. and Northern and Southern Europe. The only downside is that my G/F says the froo-froo upholstery makes it look like a tart's boudoir but it doesn't worry me, (being a bloke ;)), and it has always done what it says on the map.
Have a look at their stock on their website first.

http://www.johnscross.co.uk/

Big pic at Johns Cross.jpg
Looking to rear.jpg
Overcab double.jpg
 
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