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Changing gear/lifestyle...

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by Fat Controller, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. Sandy Ground

    Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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    Just to make things difficult, a couple of comments on the spread sheet in regards to space.

    Our previous camper was a 4 berth "integrated" or A class. The big problem wih that was it had too much space in one sense. Only 3 people could eat at the table at one time, and to do that meant not only swivelling the drivers seat, but also moving it to allow it to swivel. A fourth person could not even reach the table. Our current one is a 2 berth, but will in reality, sleep 3. Added to that, 4 people can eat at the table easily. Therefore, by my way of thinking, and I can understand those that have the opposite opinion, sometimes less really is more.

    Virtually every Camper I've seen, and certainly all I have owned for the past few years, have an awning fitted. Sides can be added to these, and that more than doubles available space as it becomes a kind of tent. Perfect for dogs, teenagers and added privacy. Of course, caravans can have the same thing...which only complicates things.

    Not wishing to be controversial with this opinion.
     
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    • Fat Controller

      Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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      That last camper I linked sort of proves that theory to some degree - it is small enough to fit on our drive and has to be one of the smallest that has popped up in a good while, but has clever packaging to have sufficient space (and the awning) that we would all fit quite happily I think. The only fly in the ointment with one like this would be day touring/exploring as we would have to pack literally everything away each time.
       
    • Sandy Ground

      Sandy Ground Total Gardener

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      If the choice was only between the two that were linked to, I'm not sure which one I would go for. The Fiat based one has the 2,8 JTD motor and I'm guessing a 5 speed box. That will need a cambelt change at regular intervals, and its an interference engine, so that cant be missed. There is a known fault on 5th gear, which is an easy fix, but should have already been done. The big plus is that Fiat based vans are more common, therefore better known at dealers.

      Mercs have a good reputation, but they can be expensive to service and repair...

      One bad point with both. Over cab beds may or may not be easy to access, and vans with that body style can be very susceptible to strong side winds. As for all of them, including caravans, dont forget that dampness is an expensive enemy if they suffer from it.

      Have PVC's (Panel Van Conversons) been taken into consideration?
       
    • pete

      pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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      Surely unless your going away every other weekend, you're better off with a caravan.
      The down side is storage but for the majority of your time spent driving around all year, you're only driving a car.
      Camper vans can be hired I think for a once or twice a year trip out.
       
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      • Fat Controller

        Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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        They have - generally too small. I have even considered converting buses/coaches as believe it or not there are coaches slushing around for not a lot of money (saw a B10M the other day for £2k, and could probably get a few quid back for removed seats!) - but, those are too big really.

        All of this is very much a pipedream without the finance to back it up anyway, so still plenty of time to prod all the options.
         
      • Fat Controller

        Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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        That is essentially where we had arrived. Caravan offers more space for less money and less maintenance. The downside being storage (which to be fair I haven't really researched properly locally yet) and having to fit a towbar to the car. I think we would use either option for the odd weekend away and not just when we are on holiday, but it is not going to be every weekend that we would go away.

        Hiring them is stupidly expensive (£1500+ per week, although admittedly that was this year, so Covid tax would apply); caravans can be had for that and less if you are willing to do a bit of DIY.. But, that is not easy when it is not stored at home and as @Sandy Ground noted, if they develop damp or a leak, it can be a sod to sort.
         
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        • WeeTam

          WeeTam Total Gardener

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          If I was handy with woodwork id be very tempted to buy a Merc van and convert it. Some of them on youtube are amazing.
           
        • Fat Controller

          Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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          It is tempting, but I am nowhere near handy enough with woodwork (or metalwork for that matter) to be doing a conversion. There are tons of half finished ones slushing around which suggests that there are an awful lot of folk who have been tempted then realised it is harder than they first thought it would be.
           
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          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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            The size of some of the smaller campervans makes me wonder if you wouldn't be better off with a small trailer and a big tent.
            Once you start having to add awnings you basically living in a tent anyway.
            Mind you, that is only really a summer option I know.
             
          • Fat Controller

            Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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            That is the merry go round right back at the start where I said to the girls that we were going to have to consider camping as it was the only way we would afford a holiday.... if looks could kill. In fairness, I am not overly fussed about an awning as such - it would be nice to have a shade to sit under, even it it were without sides. No way would it be slept in, that I can guarantee.

            The upside of a camper/caravan is that you could go off to a site at the weekend in late November for example and have electric heat to keep you warm, whilst still getting away for a few days.
             
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            • pete

              pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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              I just cant imagine trying to live out of one of those smaller vans, standing up in some of them is impossible unless you have one of those opening roofs.
              You would probably come home looking like the hunchback of Notre dame, and need three session with a chiropractor.;)
               
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              • Fat Controller

                Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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                Indeed, and I am not the best health wise either which is a big factor. The Fiat camper posted earlier is something of a fluke in that it would fit driveway and would almost certainly see us quite happy. But, by the time you take into account the purchase price, insurance, tax, MOT (plus the rise in car insurance from the car being displaced out of the driveway), it looks to be a non-starter of an idea. I suppose what I should do is explore locally what storage capacity exists. I know where I could park a bus/coach, but that isn't cheap. Once I know those sort of costs, it will at least give more of a representative view.
                 
              • pete

                pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                My sister and B I L, have had a caravan for years, they keep it in a compound over winter and when not in use in summer, its not cheap, I dont think, and would probably cost more in the area where you live.
                I didn't realise you were keeping the car as well.
                 
              • Fat Controller

                Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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                If we went for a camper, then we would have to keep the car purely for the sake of getting to work each day - don't think it makes sense to run a campervan as a commuter-mobile; besides, it would be a sod to park. Now, it may not be this car - potentially go for something cheaper as a buzzabout and use the camper for weekends/holidays. A cheap car could sit quite happily on the road overnight, leaving the drive for a camper (assuming the camper fitted) - of course, if the camper didn't fit then we would be back into storage again unless of course the camper sat roadside which I don't think is a great idea.

                If we went for a caravan, then we would need a car that was capable of towing and reliable to do so as well as being suitable for commuting and that in turn would make it a bit daft to change the current car - the majority of caravans (if not all) wouldn't really work in our driveway firstly because of available space, but secondly the space available on the road to be able to get a caravan negotiated in (it can be hard enough with a car some days!) so we would definitely be backed into storage.
                 
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                • Fat Controller

                  Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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                  Storage so far is £65 per month, regardless whether that is caravan or camper. How that balances up with the cost of a camper that fits in the drive etc remains to be worked out.
                   
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