Living during the holidays or for a longer time in a motorhome requires a real adaptation, doesn’t it?
Why travel in a motorhome?
When the traveler imagines life in a motorhome, his vision is often distorted, closer to myth than reality. He can imagine himself with his little van sleeping in the middle of nature in the most beautiful spots in the world. He may also be frightened by the image of the large, bulky truck parked with its fellows in areas without charm.
And in the end, none of this is totally true or totally false.
The large family of leisure vehicle travelers (camper vans, vanlifers or other adventurers in converted vehicles of all kinds), brings together a multitude of people from very different universes, with vehicles at the antipodes of each other and whose comfort goes from the most spartan to the greatest luxury.
Whatever the choice of vehicle, everything is never perfect or appalling, some will find it useful, others never. Only experience will decide.
The freedom to come and go?
The first reason for buying a recreational vehicle, whatever it is, or for setting it up yourself is often the fact that you think you can go where you want, when you want.
It is true! But not all the time… Can we leave anytime?
Yes, without a doubt. Carrying around your own roof offers the immense freedom of being able to go on an expedition without having to book months in advance. Is the weather nice this weekend? From Friday evening, we put the whole family in the vehicle, some clothes, the leftovers in the fridge and off we go, off to the adventure!
But can we go everywhere?
For the youngest or the adventurous, nothing better than the small van, no bigger than some big cars, allowing you to sneak around and therefore blend more easily into any setting.
We are free to go where we want when we want, provided that we agree to choose our destination according to these constraints: size and range of the vehicle, municipal regulations, tourist season, infrastructure of the country visited. This limits the possibilities. It is better to be aware of this so as not to be disillusioned from the first getaway.
Because, even when you are motorhomes used to looking for a bivouac, the pleasure of adventure can be wasted when you find yourself in a country that is not very receptive to this mode of travel.
For example, the eastern United States is not the easiest destination to travel by motorhome if you don’t want to go camping every night!
The comfort of having your home on your back
First of all, you don’t live in a converted vehicle like in a house, despite all the technical improvements that new technologies have brought about.
The interior space of the van is more suitable for travelers alone or as a couple, the level of comfort and autonomy is limited and travel in cold regions is often complicated, the insulation in this type of vehicle being closer to the tent canvas. No shower, portable toilets stowed in a cupboard, little storage space. The Vanlife spirit, very popular these days, therefore also has its drawbacks even if its image is rather enticing.
Furnished vans and other compact motorhomes have volumes that make it possible to enjoy more pleasant comfort, such as the toilets and a bathroom, sometimes larger beds and more complete kitchen equipment. Some can even adapt to a family, although it may feel a little cramped.
Capucine motorhome diagram
We can also move on to higher and longer categories such as over-cabins, not the prettiest to look at, but so interesting for families due to their volume, the large low-profile or full-size vehicles which are very popular at the moment thanks to their numerous equipment. which sometimes border on luxury. But the larger the vehicle, the more difficult it will be to make trips off the beaten track.
If you are a fan of the daily shower, or even twice a day, you have to drop the van or agree to settle in a campsite every night. Of course, you can find outdoor cold showers from time to time, especially by the sea and in high season, but in the long run, you will have to opt for the G.I. cut to adapt. Study the best rv resorts on the path of your journey so you know where to stop when needed.
By opting for the van, the low profile, the overcab or the full, the comfort of a small bathroom with a shower is already a luxury.
There is no question of basking for a quarter of an hour in hot water twice a day, especially with the family, unless you plug the tank directly into a tap. For example, an economical shower head in a house can consume only 6 liters of water per minute. Taken from the perspective of a motorhome, fifteen minutes in the shower divided among all members of the family would be the equivalent of sacrificing a water tank of around 100 liters! Since most vehicles are often only sold with a single tank of this size, the washing time should therefore be greatly reduced and optimized as much as possible.
But with a little discipline and experience and by inflating your reserves to reach 200 liters of water, you can gain a certain peace of life and ensure autonomy for up to five or six days for a family of 4 people.
We are entirely dependent on 12V batteries which supply the cell with light, turn on the heating, provide water in the taps, operate the electronic card of the fridge which otherwise stops, not to mention the various and varied recharges of all the electronic devices that haunt our daily lives.
So yes, while driving, the engine’s alternator partially recharges these expensive batteries, but as soon as you land for a few days, watch out for the breakdown.
Solar panels are now installed on all trucks, but their power is often limited – around 100W in most cases. To keep it simple and not to get into obscure and convoluted calculations, this element allows you to hold a load when the weather is good, the days are long and you are not too energy intensive.
On the other hand, in winter, if the weather is overcast, the heating is on full blast and the children have played a little too much on their screens, it may happen that the morning wake-up call is in a cooler, the entire electrical system s ‘being put on hold.
The engine must then be started in order to be able to restart the survival elements to a minimum, then quickly hit the road to run the alternator or find an electrical terminal to connect the vehicle to it. This does not happen very often, but it does happen, it is also a priority to opt for a second auxiliary battery in the truck, in case of failure of the first and above all, to increase its energy capacity.