Before you buy a motorhome it is important – in fact vital – to think about the kind of travelling you intend to do.
If you will be away for long periods of time then you need to think about how often you are prepared to pay for entry into a motor park.
If you really plan to go to a lot of parks then this is in contrast to “free camping”. It’s not just called free camping because you don’t have to pay, but you are really a free agent because you are so self-contained.
All motorhomes, even the big boys, reach a limit to how many days or weeks the can remain self contained before it’s time to dump the toilet, top up the fresh water tanks, and so forth.
In fact one of the first things is the washing – boring as that might be, but one of the facts of life. You can of course have a washing machine on board but the cost will be in space, fresh water consumption, and power consumption.
Once you have decided if you can accommodate a washing machine and run it you can work out how many days you can free camp based on power and water consumption. Of course without a washing machine the power and water on board will go a lot further, but the dirty laundry piles up so you can see it’s a bit of a balancing act.
With consecutive days free camping worked out you can now figure out how much power and power generation you need (and what kind) and how much fresh water/grey water capacity is required.
Look, some motorhomes are just toys. They look good, but are rubbish on paper. A serious motorhome is a rig: designed to do a job.
Figure out first what the job is, and please don’t buy a toy.
Unless you are careful your first motorhome is really for your enemy! Your second motohome is for your friend, and the third? Well that’s for you!
So please cut this expensive and painful chain short and get the thing right the first time. Koolah Kampers have the experience to make sure you get what you need, want, and can afford. The first step is lots of talking, questions, answers, and lists.
A coach based motorhome stands the chance of at least being really solid; not a flimsy piece of rubbish destined to fall apart.
We consider motorhomes to be land-yachts. Think about what a yacht has to go through: pounding seas, weeks from shore, inclement weather. Now you’re on the right track. Fitouts needs to be seriously built to put up with pot holes, speeds bumps, sudden braking. You get the idea. And forget all about cupboards and cupboard space. The serious motor-homer (read: experienced!) knows that draws are the answer, and cupboards kept to a bare minimum. One swerve and everything in cupboards is piled up on one side, the tomato sauce leaking through the ripped open rice packet………..
If you travel around you will run into all kinds of weather, and all kinds of temperatures – you need to plan for this. How are you going to heat the home in the dead of night when the temperature plummets? How are you going to cool the home when temperatures soar?
Remember, the name of the game here is to not buy a toy, but build a motorhome that is thoughtful, well built, and well suited to your personal needs.
Size limits, and licensing.
You also nee to consider the limits to your driver’s licence.
If you are on a car licence only then the maximum all up weight cannot exceed 4500kg GVM. That is not the vehicle weight on the scales (that’s the tare weight) but the vehicles plated limit before it is considered overloaded. It is the GVM that dictates the licence required. If the GVM is over 4500kg then you will need an LR (Light Rigid) licence; and if the GVM is over 8000kg then you will require a MR (Medium Rigid) licence. It stands to reason that your tare weight must always be less than the GVM or you are overloaded.
Now the fact is you are pretty limited in reality as to what you can get away with on a car licence. A Toyota Coaster for example will come so close once finished you will need to very careful not to slip over the 4500kg mark, and the GVM will need to be lowered from the original which is more than 4500kg to begin with. It can be done, but a light weight fitout will be critical and how much you put in (including yourself!) will be a bit restricted.
You know the old saying “it adds up”; well the stuff you might want to take with you “adds up” and you can find yourself over the GMV which is asking for trouble. If you are weighed at the side of the road you will be stopped in your tracks, and of course you are running foul of insurance and road laws.
Koolah Kampers always recommend plenty of fat between the tare and the GVM so you are not running scared, and have the licence to suit. States around Australia are cracking down so expect to be checked.
The ever popular RB Hino is a wonderful choice, and in spite of what other companies say you cannot do an RB Hino and squeak it in on a car licence. They weigh 4000kg totally stripped, bare naked! They will end up around 5000kg, give or take.
A lot of big name motorhomes are not actually legal in overall width or weights so look out! You do not necessarily get protection with a big name! Your maximum width (not including mirrors) is 2500mm and this is also being checked roadside. Awnings count!
Gas/electric fridge or just gas, just electric? Gas cooking (yes) but oven or no? Pull out BBQ?
Parking, turning circle, towing?
Awning, solar, what kind of toilet?
Out door (extra) shower?
The list of questions goes on. You really need to cover all bases and think ahead before you get started. Another big one is re-sale; you may want to sell one day and the sleeping arrangements and colours will play a big part in that. That electric purple interior with yellow stripes you love so much may only have one lover, ever. You! It may be sale-proof.
Our experience will really help here too, what can be hard to sell, what is easier at re-sale time.
If you are dealing with us you have friend in the industry that’s on your side. We have no interest in selling something that’s not going to be ideal for you.
We invite you to communicate openly and honestly and with the lines of communication open we can match your needs and budget to something perfect.