Well, been away for 3 nights in the van, so thought we’d detail what we have learned just in case people want to copy us
Van / Driving
Well, this is actually superb. The extra weight makes the van feel better, the insulation makes it quieter, and the runners on the passenger seat gives more room. Its comfortable and a really pleasant place to be. Cruise control is great, holds speed on every motorway and A road we’ve been on so far. So the engine is powerful enough.
Rear seats are tight, but expected, and usable.
No squeaks or rattles
And, according to the computer, 54-60mpg…..
The weight, including bike rack, bikes and water, don’t feel heavy and the suspension is fine and (fortunately) doesn’t hit the water tanks!
Electrics / Solar
All electrics work and the batteries and solar system are superb. With the compressor fridge, lights, pump, laptop/phone charger, music, and even heating (yeah it was cold in June!) – the batteries cope superbly. By 10am batteries are fully charged again! The solar controller backs power right off so never been pushed. Hugely impressive. OK – its June, but its hardly been sunny, but even badly overcast is enough for the batteries to stay full
All work brilliantly. We had to turn the pump down to avoid pulsing, but the amount of water is fine (1/2 tank lasted 2 nights easily), waste fine and electric dump works, and loo is surprisingly usable if not the most discreet.
The living area is surprisingly big, with the passenger seat rotated it is spacious, comfortable and not at all tight.
However, in wild mode excluding the passenger seat, it would be tight. We’ve not used it like that, so time will tell – but its likely to be far from perfect without the passenger seat. The rear seat is comfy for one, but for two to sit at for an afternoon – hmmm – probably not. We’d probably end up putting the bed down and lounging, but that blocks the fridge… Time will tell!
Cooking, Sink & washing up
The hob and sink is super – works well, good choice. Hob quick and van does not get too hot. Sink big, tap fast, great. We do need a washing up bowl though. You can cook easily sitting down, and wash up, but not really suitable for 3 course meals. But camper food – fine. Plenty of storage for food, with the only “issue” being the fridge can’t be accessed when the bed is down. Which means pre-planning getting milk before making the bed, and having to put bed away before breakfast or coffee. So no breakfast in bed 🙁
We do need a second “pan” – which is unexpected.
We’ve also designed a tray drawer for bigger worktop – that works well and isn’t finished yet.
Bed / Sleeping
The bed goes down and up easily, and bedding fits perfectly behind. It doesn’t feel small (surprisingly) and is comfortable.
Putting bed up or down in “stealth” mode is tight, and working out how to do it without jamming your hand takes thought! Overall good though.
Surprisingly good things
- The main light is superb, the blue nightlight is fantastic – never expected to use it but for just a glow its great.
- The Ridge Monkey toaster is superb! Didn’t expect it to be so good or so quick – ham and cheese toasties for lunch!
- The rear Bluetooth audio works well, loud and clear, and the 4G wifi hotspot also works well.
Things that could be better
- USB socket would be useful near the loo roll holder so could charge things when in rotated passenger seat – but that was an afterthought we didn’t plan it
- A light over the sink/hob would be useful as otherwise you are in your own shadow.
- The top access to the gas locker is hard to reach – may have been better in the wardrobe? It worked fine till we added headrests to the seat back – oops.
- We need a bin! Err….
Comments about use
- Need to be tidier than normal! And need to plan where to put other stuff – like clothes you take off for bed. Not much space left to dump them.
- Need to sort out wardrobe storage for efficiency
- Condensation has been minimal, light misting only on habitation windows, and no moisture on internal surfaces. Will be better in summer, and we need to see how it is in winter.
- Ventilation is fine, and we’ve been using the side opening windows
- Already, we’ve parked and had people nosing through the windows, and also had someone wait for us to ask questions! So attracts interest!
- You do need to be prepared to share the same space! Pushing past, standing on each other, and getting in the way. So anyone bigger than us or not 100% happy in the same personal space may struggle.
- Some of the locker door trim didn’t fit properly, needed to glue some and modify a hinge.
It works! Its a good car. Its a good weekend campervan. And it’ll be a good holiday van when we’re out and about. It is definitely compromised as a motorhome/campervan compared to a transit or T5, but that is expected and we do get the small stealth advantage we wanted. But, not as big or usable inside as a good transit or T5 conversion.
It will be challenged on our month long trip if the weather is naff as its a compromised campervan, not a motorhome. Getting all the stuff we want to take, and make it accessible will also be challenging. So time will tell….
Watch this space.