Monthly Archives: July 2017

What we’re made of…the stuff we’ve added.

If we were to buy another motorhome, just for arguments sake, I wanted to list the changes, adaptations and gadgets we would replicate. The first few 1 – 6 we think, are ‘essentials’. The other stuff is optional, it depends what we would have in mind, where we’d want to go & what style of camping we would like to do. Why would I need an electric frying pan for? Well, it depends on if you have plans to got to Morocco for 3 months where LPG is not freely available.

OK, the ‘must haves’…

1, Solar power. We currently have 2 panels on Charlie, 1x 160w (I added) and 1x 100 watt (came with him) I suspect the 100 panel is around 5 years old now and not kicking out what it used to in it’s younger days, but apart for the odd succession of cloudy days, we seem to have ample amounts of power. The 2 panels are connected to a 30 amp Tracer MPPT controller, and then on to  2x Varta silver Dynamic 100ah batteries. I have added extra 12v power outlets to the top of the dashboard to feed GPS etc. another cluster to feed the sound system media player and WiFi gear, another unit each side of the captains chairs for PC’s/Kindle and all things hand held. Aprox cost £550.

Two panels on the roof.

 

2, LPG  (Liquefied petroleum gas) system. Out go the swap bottles (which could cost £’s to refill) and in comes the re-fillable under slung system. LPG is cheap and available in nearly every European country. It runs the heating, the fridge (when parked and off-grid) the external BBQ and the 3 ring cooker-top. Will also need the 3 European adaptors to connect to the different European gas pumps, the system suppliers will know what you need. Aprox cost £500

Gas It 38l tank, just prior to installation

3, iBoost WiFi signal antenna. It’s purpose is to collect and boost free WiFi signals. The most impressive examples of which are:- We’re parked 3 miles away from Bled Castle and receiving a very strong (free) signal. Nearly every time we pull up on ramps the MoHo WiFi booster is deployed and connected. It’s proved to be a very reliable item and worth every penny. Aprox £160 – more info: https://www.motorhomewifi.com/home

The WiFi booster locked onto a signal more than 3 miles away

4, A pair of ‘Milenco’ ramps (the yellow ‘Firma’ set I had collapsed) and as important, a watering can. The ramps, because it’s almost impossible to park level. As it happens, we like the nose up (the front end) , this drains the water down the plughole in the shower and the bed-head end also up a bit, this drains the blood towards my feet not my head. Even if I feel I’m slightly ‘feet-up’ I may have trouble getting off to sleep, it’s just a mental thing. The watering can is so handy for topping up the fresh water tank when it would be a pain, or not possible to get the hose out. Aprox £30

5, Ear plugs. Car alarms; Crows; Cockerels; distant, but constant dogs barking,; Pigeons; Blackbirds; the Spanish; idiots in pocket rockets in a car park late at night,,, all manner of disturbances will attempt to either keep you from sleep or wake you up before your ready. Walls are thin in a MoHo (aprox 75mm of foam and plastic), and noises that would not normally not bother you if you were sleeping in a house, will almost certainly bother you in a MoHo. Good solid fitting ear-plugs do help. We’ve only had to move a couple of times to escape constant noise, so far. Aprox £5 pa.

6, Spare loo cassette. We do like getting ‘off the tourist trail’, this sometimes involves a week away from the nearest loo emptying point, a problem when the loo normally fills up in 3-4 days. So we keep a spare 20l cassette in the boot. As far as I can remember, I’ve only needed it about 4 or 5 times in 2 years, but when you do….it’s a great relief. We keep the spare (clean) cassette inside a small wheeled suitcase in the boot, which is also handy if you want to jump on an aeroplane at any point during your travels. Aprox cost of the cassette £30.

The ‘Sog-Bog’ in the pog,

One in the boot too, inside a suitcase

And now other stuff that just makes life easier or makes for a more pleasurable experience:-

a) A moped or scooter, great for zooming off shopping or delivering you into the heart of a city without messing about with trams or buses. There’s the weight to consider, Frankie is 70kg inc. a full tank and the licence requirements (full licence required if you want to go ‘2’s-up’). The initial cost, insurance, maintenance  and the MOT. It’s not for everybody, but we just love zooming about on foreign roads and wouldn’t be without one.

Our Frankie- 45 Mph  flat out! (down hill)

 

b) Full lay-back out-door chairs, ones you can nod off in. For those afternoons that come with a beer & a book.

Afternoon nap

c) Bicycles, we have 2 mounted on the rear at the moment, but are thinking of exchanging either one, or both of them for E-Bikes stored in the boot. Cycles are great for short trips on hot days and great exercise too, but Angie has a bit of trouble with her knee joint, so difficult terrain or long routes are out of the question at the moment. An E-Bike stored in the boot could be the answer for her, but at £650+ 100 insurance + extra security….not cheap. We’re still thinking about it.

e) Outside BBQ, more precisely a Cadac Safari Chef. Plugs straight into the LPG take-off point, nice long tube so you can position it anywhere around the bus. Great for fish, burgers, pizza or a full English.

Me murdering fish in Morocco

f) A 2 person Kayak. We love Kayaking. On a nice warm day, somewhere on a river in France, there’s nowt better that just floating about. It’s a bit of a lump, it takes space in the boot and it weighs about 30kgs. It can take an hour to inflate/deflate, and a day to dry out, but on a good day..we love it. £200 second hand.

Ready for the Amazon

g) LED lighting. All the (10w G4) lights in Charlie have been replaced with LED lights. This saves a packet of 12v energy, so your not constantly thinking of switching them off.

h) Gas Top Toaster: Heat diffuser used as a toaster does a cracking job. £3 from a ‘Chinese shop’

Makes great toast.

I) Deep Iron skillet: Great for Jacket spuds, warming up pre-cooked bread, pastries & flans, or just keeping things hot.

Cast Iron Skillet

j) 240v Electric Frying pan: For saving gas when in Morocco.

240v Frying pan.

And that’s more or less all the ‘major’ additional equipment. If you have any other great ideas or ‘must haves’, please let us know.

Cheers…Wayne.