Suitable vehicles for Fulltiming ?

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#1
Dave (Johnon the road) raised a subject that has raised my curiosity and interest. He commented that, of course just his personal opinion, that "Autotrails were not built for fulltiming' ? and he may well be right. He also made a comment that there was no European support network for Autotrail. What support network is required, the base vehicle is a FIAT (Italian), lots of FIAT dealerships around Europe. The internal fitments are not Autotrail but from Manufactures such as 'Thetford', Dometic, Truma etc. etc. so again, a European network who supply fixtures and fitting for several make of vans not just Autotrails. And if there was something Autotrail specific they have an On-Line Parts department that will post things out to you (UK or Europe, as long as their is an address to send it to).

But my wider question, beyond Auto Trails, is just what is the perfect fulltiming vehicle ?

In my personal opinion I do not think that any 'European' built Motorhome were initially designed for continuos full time living but just for extended travelling, but with more and more people retiring and taking to the road these vehicles have now started to have additional features fitted to cater for the 'longer term travel'.

I imagine that purchase of our chosen vehicles is based around the depth of our own pockets, the type of lifestyle and travel we want to do. After all, what is it that we need the vehicle to be able to do to enable extended living. For us we felt that after having 3 vans which varied from Overcab to Fixed Bed layouts that we wanted an 'Island Bed', a central Galley and a lounge area that offered the side bench seats. Obviously with onboard water & waste tanks, a reasonable sized Fridge/Freezer and a cooker. The Auto trail fitted our requirements perfectly. Yes there were other vans that would have met this specification but not perfectly, e.g. European vans such as Hymer, Rapido, Burstner etc only had 3 burner hobs, no separate grills and no ovens. Many of the European vans offered only the 'Dinette' style of lounge and of course the European vans were generally more expensive, or the ones we looked at certainly were. You could of course elect to buy a pre-used van but again this is a matter of personal finances and in some cases compromise.

So the subject is not to actually to criticise the make of anyone's choice of van as we all have our own reasons for having what we have, but more interestingly to try and answer the question, what sort of van do 'you' need to be able to fulltime in the manner which you yourselves want ?
 
#5
You will need a dealer net work if you require warranty work carried out, and looking at other forums that is a lot with Autotrail;)
While in Portugal we have come across loads of fulltimers one is now packing up his british van to return to UK to sell it, they are feed up of being cold on an evening not having a garage for storage ect. They are going to buy a european A class like a N+B, Concord,Burnster or Hymer off to Dusseldorf at the end of Aurgust to have a good look with money in thier pockets.
Most people in Portugal at the moment are in A class vans that are fulltiming from all over europe, I have never seen so many N+B Clou liners not just German owned but French too. The money down here in motorhomes is unbelivable all parked up on car parks that look like refuge camps.

Dave(Johnnerontheroad)
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#6
But the question is/was, what is it that you need to fulltime ? We could go on for a while discussing what is the best van but that, a lot of the time is down to personal preferences or how deep your pockets are. I just think that the vehicle is the means by which you will travel and as long as it has what you require then surely that is all that matters. The cold is a good point because no matter where you are, it can get chilly at night, even in Spain/Morroco :thumb: But that is a case of effectiveness of heating (as well as insulation). Also how you fulltime e.g. if you like to stay on a campsite with EHU then heating should not be a problem unless you have a draughty van :D If however, you Wildcamp or use Aires (without Electric) then you will be reliant on the effectiveness of your Gas heater (or in some cases your Woodburning Stove). So a good point to add to the list of what you need is "Effective Heating" as this makes life a lot more comfortable :thumb:

So moving on from what make/model of van, what is it that you need to be enable you to fulltime in your van (Open question to all forum members), this can be based on the way that you choose to fulltime or in general ?
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#7
While in Portugal we have come across loads of fulltimers one is now packing up his british van to return to UK to sell it
Sorry Dave but I had to smile at your above sentence, it hardly proves your argument :rolleyes: Loads of fulltimers but just one with a UK van who is returning to sell it :D Sorry mate, couldn't resist ;)
 

snail

Well-Known Member
#12
payload,payload,payload! tag axle or preferably twin rear wheels,(shorter more payload) fixed bed, full cooker, gas fire so you don't need to run blown air fan all the time,(kills batteries) lounge with long bench, not just a dinette, european made, because they are made to live on aires, not campsites?
if i could choose again...... Hymer s700, hobby 700,:thumb: only my opinion though, i must admit Autotrail make good layouts, and would be 1st if wanted uk built, like BM's but with a transverse rear bed, more kitchen space
snail
 

BigMomma

Well-Known Member
#14
These are great responses so come on you other members, tell us what you need for your fulltiming lifestyle :thumb:

I think that one of the points of this thread is that it will show that everyone has different needs and requirements, there is a vast choice of size of vans, layouts, payloads to suit almost everyone. Nothing is ever perfect so we do have to make some compromises. Does it matter if your van is older/newer, small or large etc. We all have preferences and there are things that will dictate what we end up with but for me the 'vehicle', whilst it has to be comfortable and practical, it is just the means to travel, the fulltiming bit for me is being out there and experiencing new places, different people and cultures, different landscapes and as long as the vehicle gets me to those places then I will be a happy chappy :thumb:

Big Garage space is not so important for me as it would be for someone who wanted to carry a motorbike or a mobility scooter. However, we do have a smaller 'Garage' type space that runs the width of the rear of the van and can be accessed at both sides and with 3 other external storage lockers we have more than enough space, although we do have to fit an external cycle rack to allow for space for our portable genny and inflatable kayak. We like to use our onboard facilities and so the fact that the Autotrail Comanche had a separate shower was a bit of a bonus rather than a necessity as it meant that the toilet/washroom could still be used. The central galley is 'L' shaped which allows for a clear passage from Front to Rear (or vice versa) so no traffic jams or shuffling about if someone needs to get through. And the front side bench seats allow both of us to stretch out and put our feet up. But the biggest reason was the Island bed, Yes ! it means that one person isn't squashed up against the side wall, there is no stupid cut off weird shaped mattress, we both have our own wardrobes and bedside lockers and we have our own space to get out of the bed, does it for me :thumb: As a bonus, the rear bedroom can be closed off so that it is a bedroom with ensuite and dressing area :thumb::thumb:
 
#15
Well after living on the narrow boat the main thing we wanted in a rv was space so we went for 36ft with a slide (the wood burner is vital - being based in the uk through the winters) storage is handy as well never too fussed by petrol costs as we running on lpg. As i said on another post insulation is vital. other than that fridge freezer is handy, this thread will show we all want something different from our trucks, i am sure, its quite a expansive subject bm i could write a book lol. ;)
 

aikidoamigo

Well-Known Member
#17
While in Portugal we have come across loads of fulltimers one is now packing up his british van to return to UK to sell it, they are feed up of being cold on an evening not having a garage for storage ect. They are going to buy a european A class like a N+B, Concord,Burnster or Hymer off to Dusseldorf

Dave(Johnnerontheroad)
You didn't mention Carthago:mad:
 

aikidoamigo

Well-Known Member
#18
The only thing I would like more of is 'off road' capability.... 4wd, greater ground clearance & better entry / departure angle, ability for larger wheels, breather for fording rivers etc..... guess I am missing our Jeep!:cry:

There are not enough true overland vehicles with luxury available at a price that the average people can afford. The ability to drive on in tougher terrain is the one thing I think I compromised on and even then only to some degree IMO.... Huge water tank, Big battery capability, triple heating systems - all needed.

I read that redundancy (in systems - not jobs;)) is a good thing... if you have an alternative available should one or more systems break down, then, as a rule, I believe you are in good shape for most eventualities.
 

bigtree

Active Member
#19
Aiki, You are starting to sound like a polititian,overland,luxury,average,redundancy,blah blah blah.If you wanted an overlander you should have bought one and not a German cushion.;)
 
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