Campervan - The new "must have" piece of equipment ?

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22,412
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Phil
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Sorry to side track a little, we bought a camper a few months ago and we are now looking at fitting a cat 6 tracker and wanted to ask if anyone had any recommendations.

The wife gets a bit paranoid when I’m away so she would want to live track my position from home Is this possible?
iPhones.
The ‘find friends’ app, some people find creepy, I think it’s useful that me and the Mrs know when to expect the other home,

There may be Android equivalents.
 
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7,874
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Robert
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iPhones.
The ‘find friends’ app, some people find creepy, I think it’s useful that me and the Mrs know when to expect the other home,

There may be Android equivalents.
I do a lot of travelling each day, and my wife can track my android using her iPad. My phone let's me know when she's checking.
It gives her peace of mind as she can see if I've left the area I'm in that day, and the live tracking shows I'm on the move.
Her dad was killed in an accident years ago, and no one knew where he was for a good few hours, so she understandably worries.
 
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My first motorhome was a secondhand Nu Venture Surf, a coach built conversion based on a Citroen Berlingo van with a 1.7 ltr non turbo diesel engine. This was good for about 35mpg, the later models have the 2.0 ltr or 1.6 ltr turbo diesels and these are much better at around 40+ mpg. Mine suffered from rot on the coach built body and was replaced in 2007 with a new coach built Homecar on a Fiat Ducato chassis, fitted with a 2.0 ltr turbo diesel engine, I still own it. This was much cheaper than any of the VW options at the time and drives very well, but is underpowered and only manages 27-30 mpg. The good - it has central heating, hot water, a shower, fridge and oven as well as a three ring hob and a refillable gas bottle. Plenty of storage space, room for two people and a very large German Shepherd, ready on the spur of the moment to catch the best weather or event. The not so good - this is a big vehicle and needs a decent sized gap to park and some careful control and anticipation on the move, anything with a height barrier is a no go zone, normally I park at the edge of towns and walk in. Last used 2 nights ago when I overnighted in Machynelleth in a free car park. It's been completely reliable so far and only had consumables such as oil, filters, tyres and wiper blades. For my purposes, nothing beats a motorhome as a mobile platform for photography' although occasionally I will use my car to sleep in or go camping with the car or my motorcycle.

Care is especially needed these days for any motorhome costing over £40000, these may be liable under the new road fund licence regime which charges an extra circa £320 per year for the first 5 years! Any motorhome which has an emissions figure falls into this trap, especially manufacturer directly supplied vehicles such as those sold directly by VW. Most coachbuilds do not have an emssions figure supplied so these are taxed as PLG class if under 3.5 tonnes, but really a case of buyer beware.
 
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Ken
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Care is especially needed these days for any motorhome costing over £40000, these may be liable under the new road fund licence regime which charges an extra circa £320 per year for the first 5 years! Any motorhome which has an emissions figure falls into this trap, especially manufacturer directly supplied vehicles such as those sold directly by VW. Most coachbuilds do not have an emssions figure supplied so these are taxed as PLG class if under 3.5 tonnes, but really a case of buyer beware.
You are not wrong https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax-rate-tables

Complicated or what?
 
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Andrew
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I used to have a motorhome, now got a caravan, advantages to both especially camper or motorhome if you want to be more mobile. BUT pitch the caravan and you can be more mobile in the car. We average 70 plus nights a year in ours, so it is well used. Bring on retirement to get more use.
 
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Ken
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70 plus nights is good going if still in full time employment. That would make 70 times 100 quid per year in hotel costs, so £35000 over five years in hotels. Campsite fees in this (expensive) country for 70 nights would be about £8000, and that is worst case. I bet your caravan cost less than £30000 and will be still worth something after five years. The £35000 in hotel bills is costing way more than your caravan, along with all the meals out required for survival. I get it that for a couple of weeks a year hotels or whatever are cheaper, but for those of us who are away a lot, hotels make no financial sense. But of course, a few nights in a hotel is better than 70 nights on holiday.

PS Donnie, like the van. It may not be fast, but will be fun.
 
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1,369
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I went and bought a used campevan over the summer - and I do sports photography for living. And have to say that so far it has saved me lots of money on hotels and made me eat healthier...
It also gives me the space to work and edit my photos/videos in peace after the game.. and have them all edited/filed/etc before starting to drive home. So when I get home, I don't need to sit another two hours on the computer.. but can get straight to walking the dog or talking with the better half.
Yes, of course I will be home later.. but it's a more relaxed coming home, as all the work is already done.
On the eating side, with sporting events the thing is that they start from 5pm to 8pm.. so pretty much the time one would have dinner.. but when I can park outside the stadium... cook up a quick dinner.. and then go to the game. The Welcome Breaks, KFC, Take Away meals that I used to eat, have changed into salads, pasta and healthier choices in general (not to mention how much one saves here as well).
Owning a camper naturally doesn't come for free, it drinks more diesel than our normal car, it's slower so it takes longer to get to places...
But these are compromises that I am happy to make...
Will be a little challenge to see how I cope with winter... when it drops to -25 in the night, might have to wrap up warmly in bed.

So far, a happy camper here...
 
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Andrew
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Sorry to side track a little, we bought a camper a few months ago and we are now looking at fitting a cat 6 tracker and wanted to ask if anyone had any recommendations.

The wife gets a bit paranoid when I’m away so she would want to live track my position from home Is this possible?
I used these guys for my tracker https://www.trackershop-uk.com/

They came to me and fitted it. Comes with an app that shows where the van is.
 
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Peter
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I'm hoping to soon buy a 2016 Ford Transit 290 Custom, really clean/mint condition inside & out, 58k miles with one owner, the rere is quality ply lined. Hoping spring next year to deck it out better for overnight trips away to the lovely West Coast of Scotland as it's on our doorstep etc...

Peter
Central Scotland
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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31,294
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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see how I cope with winter... when it drops to -25

Where are you shooting sports (and which sports) that it drops to -25?
 
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I used to work in a place selling them and it put me off for life. Everything associated with them is ludicrously expensive and they can go mouldy / damp and be a problem with rubber cracking / shrinking etc
 

jerry12953

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Jeremy Moore
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I used to work in a place selling them and it put me off for life. Everything associated with them is ludicrously expensive and they can go mouldy / damp and be a problem with rubber cracking / shrinking etc

If you mean camper vans in general, yes, they are expensive but I haven't had a problem with damp in the 10+ years I've had mine. (or the two i had prior to that.......):)
 
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Richard
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I used to work in a place selling them and it put me off for life. Everything associated with them is ludicrously expensive and they can go mouldy / damp and be a problem with rubber cracking / shrinking etc
If it is not used every day would it be practical to run a dehumidifier in it to keep the damp at bay?
 
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Where are you shooting sports (and which sports) that it drops to -25?
I shoot sports in Finland - and where as it probably won't be -25 during any outdoor sports...
It will be easily that during the nights after covering a nice warm basketball game.. and deciding that instead of driving home.. I'll sleep in the van.
So mid-winter the night time temperatures can easily fall that low over here...

It might be -25 during some bandy games.. but I don't really cover that enough to say whether they play those when it gets that cold???
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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31,294
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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Just read a rather sobering tale of a chap who didn't have the right kit and used a gas heater in a tent. At -25, I'd be looking at a nice warm hotel!
 

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
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31,294
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Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
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It was the idea of sleeping in a van at -25 degrees that prompted the hotel suggestion. There should have been a paragraph break between the 2 sentences.
 
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1,372
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Rich
Just had a diesel heater fitted to my T5 and it’s the best money I’ve spent on the thing. Set it too 18 degrees and it sits there all day/night and uses a thimble of fuel and pretty much zero battery power.

It means that camping in below zero temps is a non issue now
 
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4,330
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Paul
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Just had a diesel heater fitted to my T5 and it’s the best money I’ve spent on the thing. Set it too 18 degrees and it sits there all day/night and uses a thimble of fuel and pretty much zero battery power.

It means that camping in below zero temps is a non issue now
Just wondering if this is one with a seperate fuel intake like a small tank or are you connected to the fuel tank? I don't have a heater in the Talbot as the original gas fire was taken out by a previous owner so need to get that sorted at some point.
 
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Haha interesting thread !!!!!

I am a full time photographer & I only drive a camper van! I am my own cliché ;) haha..................... its a normal van that I converted, still ongoing, but its functionally all done, just a few cosmetic bits but its there, sofa, bed, kitchen, loo, shower, power, solar etc all done n ready and been away in it a few times and its also my 'daily driver' (even though I don't commute)

So that's my trade off really, I don't commute as I work from home editing etc saving fuel costs - obviously I drive it to weddings,shoots etc

But the home on the road part of it is invaluable to me, I don't think I will ever have a car again, its so convienient in every way, plenty room to put my gear in, if there is any ever issues getting places (rare I know but if a road was blocked or whatever), iv a comfortable place to be instead of a small car, also I often head to the mountains to edit my pictures in the van - so as a mobile office it takes away the teidous hours of editing if I have a lot to do, also mains/12v electric on the road is great for my business needs - not that I have ever left for a shoot with flat batteries! lol, but just incase, its all there.................iv done 2-3 shoots in a day and put flash batteries on charge enroute etc - now I have all the power stuff installed i get 'free' electric as well.

Yeah brilliant, i'd not change it for the world.
 
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1,372
Name
Rich
Just wondering if this is one with a seperate fuel intake like a small tank or are you connected to the fuel tank? I don't have a heater in the Talbot as the original gas fire was taken out by a previous owner so need to get that sorted at some point.
Mine is plumbed directly in to the main fuel tank so should always have a good supply. There are some cheap Chinese heaters on eBay but I went with the Russian branded Planer which seem to have great reviews. Got it with a 7 day timer too so can set it to come on 30 mins prior to driving the van on those frosty winter mornings and she’s fully defrosted and warm by the time I leave the house
 
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4,330
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Paul
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Mine is plumbed directly in to the main fuel tank so should always have a good supply. There are some cheap Chinese heaters on eBay but I went with the Russian branded Planer which seem to have great reviews. Got it with a 7 day timer too so can set it to come on 30 mins prior to driving the van on those frosty winter mornings and she’s fully defrosted and warm by the time I leave the house
Yeah, seen the chinese ones, extremely variable quality though and lots of issues with them coking up.
 
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1,372
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Rich
Yeah, seen the chinese ones, extremely variable quality though and lots of issues with them coking up.
Seems to be the case

I spent a good amount more but got 3 years warranty from the guy who fitted it so any issues I just take it back and he will sort it. Last thing I want is for the heater to fail during a mid winters night in the depths of the Scottish highlands, and from what I have read about the cheap Chinese ones, they wouldn’t instil much confidence in reliability in me!
 
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My Fiat Ducato motorhome is heated by the standerd fit thermostat controlled Truma heater which is very efficient, consumes no electrical power other than an AA battery for the Piezo lighter and is fed from a large Gaslow refillable LPG cylinder, this is refilled at LPG pumps in Petrol Stations for typically half the cost per litre of unleaded petrol. I also have an old D1L diesel heater but never felt the need to fit it. In extreme cold conditions, the gas heater will stop working whilst the diesel heater carries on regardless, subject of course to it continuing to be fed sufficient amps to do its job. The start up procedure on diesel heaters can demand some serious current feed before settling down to typically 1 amp.

I wonder if those diesel heaters fitted with a separate tank could legally be fed with red diesel or kerosene, it would certainly bring down the running costs compared to the heavily taxed road diesel?
 
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Peter
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I've to make a decision by noon tomorrow regards buying a 2016 Ford Transit 290 Custom Van (one owner - 58k miles - really clean in/out - immaculately ply lined in the rear) or not, I think it would be more practical and purposeful for our needs right now.

My wife drives a car so a van would come in handy, and we can slowly kit it out over a period of time.


Peter
 
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4,330
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Paul
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I looked at the build your own, buying a new one, buying a small car/van ie Berlingo to have a "bootjump" (self build) http://www.amdro.co.uk/products/boot-jump-camper-car-c-10_15.html etc etc.
you get to a point where there are too many options and your head starts to spin!

However, when I was at the height of my "I'm going to build one from scratch phase" I'd narrowed it to the Vauxhall Movano / Renault Master and a Transit was at the bottom of my list mainly as they seem to get a lot of break ins, suffer terribly from rust and there's been a big increase in them getting nicked in the last 6 months! Yes there's lots of spares but Ive been down that road before with a car and would rather have something I can use more and repair less, than the other way round :-/

Oh also, ply lined is not insulation, don't make the mistake of thinking it's going to be any warmer than a non plyed van :-(
 
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tonybassplayer
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Tony
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Looks like things may be moving on a little (or a lot even)

We did a bit of a financial review recently and came to the conclusion that as much as we love our house its pretty much now stopping us from working less, taking more holidays and buying a camper van etc so we have decided to down size.

We have found a beautiful cottage in the same village that will release a reasonable amount of equity plus take less out of the coffers every month so apart from it being smaller its a win/win situation (I really do love our house BUT at nearly 60 I'm not prepared to let it stand in the way of "bucket list" opportunities)

My wife has also taken another step forward with regard to her stance on camper vans (she is no fool, she knows I want to be heading to the hills. lakes and coast with my camera gear at every opportunity !!) and said that if we are to get one she wants it to be something decent that we can both use.

To this end I have pretty much decided on a Nissan NV200 (no, I had never heard of them before either) but after 6 months research I think it will give us the combination I want (small van, economical modern diesel, reliable, great value for money and many other things)

House on the market next week so just keeping my fingers crossed now.
 
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