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Motorhome Basics

Detailed articles on  our Adria Twin purchased in August 2009

Previous articles on our Autosleepers Symbol  and  Awnings and Backboxes

see also our  Beginners Tips for Touring Europe  

why is it different from caravanning and camping?

If you enjoy staying in one place for a week we agree that there isn't anything to be gained from using a motorhome but if like exploring areas in a free and easy way, maybe lingering for a while in one place or drifting as you discover new places its ideal. If you have driven miles to visit an attraction why not seek out another site instead of having to return.

friendliness . . .
How many towing caravanners exchange a wave when passing on the road or stop for a chat in a carpark? Maybe a few, but since we've been motorcaravanners we've generally found a great community of fellow converts regardless of the make or type of motorhome.

freedom . . .
As a year round hobby days out are just as easy as a long weekend or an extended holiday. How pleasant to have a warm meal in your own "home" after a winter ramble.

and . . .
How many caravanners  have set up on their pitch and already have a cup of tea or even the dinner on its way within 10 minutes of arriving, or have had breakfast and are on the road for another day of exploring  - leading to who knows where early the next morning?

Here you'll find some basic information for newcomers to motorcaravanning

First some of the terms we like for motorhomes. . . 
Motorhome, Motorcaravan, Campervan
and some others that we've seen and heard but hope not to come across again (often in advertisements and parking restriction signs) !. . .
Motorised caravan, Caravanette, Dormobile (trade names), mobile home, the "bus"
and some oversees names we've met on our travels:
RV (Recreational vehicle) in USA; Camping-car (and Camping-caristes) in France; Reisenmobil, Whonmobil, Kamper in Germany

 Motorhome types :
Van conversions
Using a manufacturer's base vehicle with a side and rear doors giving access. More compact as overall van dimensions are normally less than for other conversions making for easier parking and access to narrow country lanes. Most are built on the Peugeot Boxer, Ford Transit, VW Transporter and Mercedes panel vans. The Renault Trafic and Talbot Express were popular and the new Master vans Trafic are now beginning to be used by some European converters. New van conversions are often more expensive than the budget range of coachbuilts due to the higher labour and materials costs.
Rising or Elevating roof 
Only have useful headroom for some of the floor area when stationary but easier parking with access to places with height barriers. There are popular conversions based on VW transporter vans and a good option if its your only vehicle.  Possibly not for all year round sleeping due to lack of insulation. 

More headroom and useable space such as fixed high level lockers and often bijou washrooms. Making up the beds can be a major undertaking in some conversions.

A caravan style living area built on the cab and chassis of the base vehicle. These range from the bijou such as the Romahomes and the popular Autohomes Bambi of several years ago to the palatial six wheelers with all sizes between. At the lower end of the price range are the budget motorhomes produced to meet the challenge of the good value Italian built motorhomes available. As the price increases the overall size, accommodation and specification of the fittings and accessories improves. There is usually an overcab bed or storage area (colloquially known as a "Luton").

A completely coachbuilt body with a spacious cab area which converts easily to form part of the living area with swivel seats. They usually have a large foldaway drop down double bed above the cab which can be left "made-up". The conversions are mostly continental with French and Italian styling and luxury interiors.

A term from the USA for Recreational Vehicles. These can range from small(ish) coachbuilts to coach sized vans with slideout sides, air conditioning and every other conceivable luxury. Worth a look inside one if you visit a show. We don't even think about what they cost to run and what fun to drive around the UK B roads. However there is a a strong band of devoted owners who hold rallies and meets all around Britain. 

Dismountables (or demountables)
Generally a small coachbuilt body attached to a pickup truck. The living section can be supported on jacks and left on site while you tour around in the pickup or use it for everyday work (perhaps its suitable for builders etc). The driving and living parts are normally completely separate so would only suit a couple! 


Touring Europe - Beginners Tips

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