Unless you’re the world’s lightest packer, it’s a simple fact that there’s just never enough storage space in a motorhome. Or, if you do have plenty of cupboard space, those cupboards never really seem to be quite the right size and shape to get the most out of them. Add to that the size of the kitchen work surfaces in most motorhomes, and it’s easy to see that you have to think a little crafty to really make use of every last inch of storage in your van. This round-up of nifty space-saving ideas should help:
Stacking Stainless Steel Tea & Coffee Canisters
Every camper needs easy access to the tea and coffee facilities – save work surface space with these unbreakable stacking canisters. Get them here for around £16.00
Stacking Melamine Mugs
No matter how many times you try, those overhead lockers don’t store many cups – this might be the answer.
If you read this blog regularly, you’ll know that I’m partial to hunting out camping accessories that are on the stylish side. More often than not, they turn out not to be camping accessories as such, but so long as they’re practical and sturdy, as well as stylish, then in my book, it doesn’t matter if it’s not a bona fide piece of ‘camping kit’.
Enter the gorgeous red thermos flask from Normann Copenhagen. It’s made of thermoplastic, so it’s got a tough exterior that’s perfect for camping trips. Like any thermos flask, it does have a glass inner, so you do need to be careful not to drop it. But it’s proportions are great for camping, as it’s much more squat than an ordinary thermos flask, meaning it will be less likely to get knocked over during an on-the-road lunch break.
It might not seem like it, but barbecue season is almost upon us. I know some die-hard barbie fans will say that barbecue season never ends, but for most of us, it’s time to start thinking about Saturday evenings in the garden, or preferably on a campsite, grilling something tasty over those hot coals.
If your old barbecue is looking a little bit like a health and safety scare story, then maybe this year is the year to go for gas. Gas grills have all the outdoor fun of traditional barbies, but without the warm-up time, the inconsistent cooking, and the argument about who cleans out all the grotty old coals the next day.
The Fyrkat gas grill from Bodum has to be about the most stylish grill I’ve seen. It’s even got a cool name – Fyrkat, which I’ve taken to be Scandinavian for FIRE CAT!
I ought to write about how my Rab jacket has seen heavy-duty action hiking up mountains and sailing across icy waters. I confess, I can’t claim to have really, truly put my Rab to the test in this way. But I can still vouch for it being one of the best bits of kit I’ve bought in years.
As you may gather from this blog, I’ve just got back from touring Europe in a motorhome. Hardly extreme sports or adrenaline-pumping alpine adventure, I know – but it still gets quite cold along the way. Even holed up in the Algarve for the winter, the nights in particular can be pretty chilly. My Rab has kept me snug and warm all through those winter evenings, and on a fair few daytime trips too.
This isn’t some lightweight fleece cardigan affair, it’s a serious jacket to keep you seriously warm.
Keeping your motorhome’s tyres inflated properly is a challenge at the best of times. Manoeuvring a big vehicle into the tiny air bay at the petrol station can be a trial, then stretching the air line right round the van to try to reach the furthest wheels and I tend to need a lie-down in a darkened room by the end of it. Add to that the fact that quite often, you get the van lined up neatly at the petrol station, then find that the air machine is either out of order, or doesn’t actually go up to 80 psi!
So when we swapped our Hymer for a 31ft RV, I knew I had to find a better way to keep those tyres properly inflated. After all, I now had 6 tyres to worry about, and the four at the back are quite a long way from anywhere near where I can get the air line.
Even if you’re the most fair-weather of campers, a good pair of wellies makes sense in the UK. I’ve lost count this summer of the mudfest days, and we’ve been towed off quite a few pitches due to waterlogging. In a country where wellies are a necessity, then we might as well produce fabulous ones. Hunter, of course, make the very best wellington boots in the world. Ever. Somehow they have managed to take this most mundane item of footwear, and turn it into a luxury brand. Kudos to Hunter for that.
Kudos too for taking the humble welly and making it so much better. More comfortable, more sturdy, more stylish, more fun…more everything, in fact. These unisex original Hunter wellies are at the entry-level end of the Hunter range – their “luxe” boots can cost several hundred pounds for a pair!
Now I do like a bargain, and they don’t come more bargainous than these pretty floral melamine tea plates from Dunelm Mill. I popped into a branch in Lincolnshire last week, and couldn’t believe that these plates were on offer at just 25p each. And lo and behold, that amazing price is available online too.
Since melamine dinnerware takes quite a battering, it’s not surprising that it doesn’t last forever. So topping up supplies with some really good value plates is just fab! I’m working that eclectic mix and match look with my on-the-road cups and plates…and so far, it’s looking pretty funky! These are a great addition.
We’ve tested them with a rather fine Victoria Sandwich, and they’ve passed the initial visual and usability tests! For 25p, what more could you want?
Until last week, we hadn’t watched, or wanted to watch, TV in several months. We made a conscious decision not to buy a TV for the van, and we didn’t miss TV at all when we were away. But as the Olympics drew closer, we both kept mentioning how cool it would be to see the Olympic Opening Ceremony at least. But with no TV, there was a hitch…
We rustled up three options…buy a TV, go somewhere where there was a TV (bar/hotel/friends or relatives) or try a TV dongle. The Hauppauge WinTV Stick was the easiest and least expensive option by far, but we were sceptical about how well it would work.
We needn’t have worried, because it did the business with no trouble at all. The kit comes with a typical looking USB dongle. One end goes into your laptop and the other attaches to a dinky little digital aerial, which you position manually to get the best reception.
If you follow @campingly on Twitter, you might have read that I dropped my Snooper Ventura sat nav a couple of weeks back. Predictably, the screen shattered, and whilst the unit would still power on, the touch screen functionality had gone for good. I phoned Snooper who said that they could repair the screen at a cost of £139.99 and with about a 2-week turnaround. Neither of these were great news, but the 2-week turnaround was a no-no for me, because I needed to make several long-distance trips that week, with no navigator.
So the decision was made to buy a new sat-nav, and since we were on a budget, we decided to see whether we could survive without a motorhome -specific one. Snooper Ventura sat-navs allow you to enter your vehicle’s height, length, width and weight, and then they calculate your route with this info in mind.