Imagine going on holiday without a timetable or agenda. Within reason, go where you please, when you please. Booking not always essential. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re tired, sleep. If the weather’s poor, go somewhere better. Sounds attractive? These are some of the reasons why more and more people are taking control of their leisure time and buying a motorhome.
Whilst purely touring with a motorhome can be an immense pleasure in itself, many people also use one as a means to enhance their enjoyment of a favourite pastime. How about being able to take as much gear as you want rather than stuffing the car to the gunnels before finding the suitcases won’t go in? A motorhome with the right storage combination can swallow all the golf, fishing, walking or photographic equipment you might like to take without having to compromise in the wardrobe department. And, because you have all your facilities to hand, you can enjoy your pastime for longer, without the need to return home or leave in search for somewhere to get a meal. Large events like airshows, music festivals and motor racing can be enjoyed for whole weekends, starting as early and finishing as late as you like at relatively little expense in terms of accommodation. For some real-life examples of how a motorhome can enhance your leisure and pleasure, click here.
This is the all-round appeal of the motorhome. It facilitates holidays with infinite possibilities at all times of the year, from a weekend a few miles away to a year off touring Europe. Shorter trips require little planning once you have the basic equipment - it really is possible to just ‘get up and go’
Where do I start?
The key to an enjoyable motorhome experience is that the body type and layout suit your needs. Once these elements are decided then all other considerations will follow. Something that looks very attractive in the showroom can be a costly lesson if the bed is uncomfortable, there is not enough storage on board or there are not enough seatbelts. So, think hard about what the motorhome will have to do to accommodate your personal needs and interests.
Let’s start by getting to grips with some terminology about body types:
Body Types and ClassesThere are numerous names given to motorhome body styles however below are the most popular terms:
Micro: As the name suggests, these are the smallest motorhomes. Usually converted from a small van chassis, for example the Citroen Berlingo or the Fiat Doblo. Facilities usually include mains hook-up, heating, fridge, water supply (not always hot), plus a simple bed arrangement. There may not be a washroom or toilet on board. Despite their small size, they can provide comfortable accommodation for two, which can sometimes be enlarged by attaching an annexe.
Van conversion: Starting life as a complete vehicle, the motorhome manufacturer converts the body adding windows, a high fixed roof or pop-up roof, plus seating, cooking and washing facilities as appropriate for the model. Being larger than a Micro, this popular type of motorhome can provide a good combination of usable space, storage and a comprehensive range of equipment.
Compact: The latest class of motorhomes to emerge from manufacturers and currently enjoying good sales both in the UK and abroad. Usually under 6 metres in length they are look like either a mini low profile or ‘A’ Class and combine the attributes of the van conversions’ manouverability with the layouts and facilities of their larger coachbuilt and ‘A’ class siblings.
Coachbuilt: This is a motorhome where the living area, including the walls floor and ceiling are built upon a chassis cab. The most popular chassis used are Fiat, Ford, Renault, Iveco and VW. The roof of the cab is cut away and a bed area is built over the cab. Sometimes these motorhomes are also called ‘overcabs’.
Low-Profile: Essentially built in the same way as a Coachbuilt but with one significant difference - no overcab bed. The low-profile, as its name suggests, has a lower roofline than its coachbuilt counterpart. The bed is usually at a lower level and fixed rather than made up.
‘A’ Class: The entire motorhome body is built by the motorhome manufacturer including the cab. Only the motor drive unit and dashboard are sourced from the chassis supplier. Often the chassis is also modified to allow extra weight, length and storage. The manufacturers have significant scope to design stylish body styles with practical features such as insulated double floors, garage style storage areas and roomy lounges. As they are often built to order, customers have more options to personalise their motorhome with additional equipment. Therefore, size for size, these are the most expensive motorhomes to buy.