Twin Tub vs Site Laundrette vs Service Wash? (+ ramblings!)

Noggin

Active Member
Amanda (wife) says I should change my avatar as it makes me look like a grumpy so & so! Really, it's just a caricature of my favourite canadian singer/songwriter. Don't know how to change it anyway!
365 has been really helpful, especially having followed Big Momma on here and on his blog. That blog has given us a lot of insight into what to expect and the depth and detail provided by Eric is invaluable. Really helpful. Big thanks to Eric & Shazza!
House re-decorating is being rushed through and we hope to have our gaff on the market before the end of February so we've been looking at the type of motorhome we will want for our travels. We've had a few m'homes in the past - Hymer, Ci, Autosleepers, VW's - but this is different when we plan to spend a lot more time 'on the road'. Habitation area is therefore important and we've mulled over (i.e. argued!) various layouts but agreed on needing 2 separate areas in as short a body length as possible. We have 2 small hounds that just about never leave our sides so we need to cater for their needs as well (no high up beds - they sleep at our feet!). Budget will be circa £35k. I am favouring rear U-lounge with drawers between couches + a full dinette up front, Amanda likes island beds and opposing bench seating up front. It will just be making a decision when the time comes as there does seem to be plenty of choice out there. The 'discussions' continue on a daily basis!
Today's discussion was about laundry.
I had noted that using site launderettes can involve big queues and can cost almost as much as it costs to stay on an aire.
Then I spotted that Paul and Lynne (http://www.paulandlynne2011.blogspot.co.uk/) carry a twin tub washing machine - checked those out on eBay and they cost between £40 (used) and £340.
Problem is that Paul/Lynne in one of their recent blogs (Thursday 21st November 2013 –Porto Covo) mention that they had a 'service' wash in Porto Covo. Does this mean these portable twin tubs aren't really up to the job or maybe they're too time or energy consuming. Would like to hear views from those with experience of these. What's the best way to go?
 

PAT4NEIL

Active Member
we have had the twin tub, and it is great, it takes up a lot of space though, and even if you conserve the water useage as much as possible takes a lot of water, so you need to have that too hand. The best aspect of it is the spin dryer, because this is the thing that helps the washing, specially offseason when you have washing trying to get drier. I dont mind the washing by hand bit, so if I was to go down this road again I would probably just by a proper spin drier, would take up less room, but use a lot more power on the wattage than the little twin tub, if you were to go for the twin tub they make slightly bigger loads, our was one of the original one which was 1.5kg if that.

We have now however bought a small euronova washing machine, like they have on boats, its a proper washing machine, but small size, it washes 3kg, its supposed to use less water but most washes range from their 36litres to at lest 60 litres, which is more the normal wash. The best thing though is that it has a 1150 spin speed. I am using it at the moment in my kitchen, waiting for it to be fitted into the motorhome.

Hope that helps
Pat
 

johnnerontheroad

Active Member
I would not get a small M/H remember you will need storage and small vans have very little, look for about 7-8 mts +. You will also need to look for a fully winterized van so that rules out UK built M/Hs, just my opinion.

As for washing, sites can be expensive so you could hand wash and take a small spinner,lots do this, if you have a twin tub in a small van there goes a lot of you storage space.


Dave
 

Noggin

Active Member
Thanks both Pat and Dave. That's helped a lot. Checked out the Euronova, being a biker that's camped a fair bit, I always look for stuff that is as small as possible but still does the job, 50kg on the Euronova seems a bit much for the type of motorhome I have in mind (that could change though!) but your suggestions to use just a spin drier (weighs about 7kg and takes a 3kg load) looks like a good answer. Also, we searched 365 and found a Big Momma suggestion of doing washes using a 'bucket-with-lid' on the shower floor whilst on the move, so spin drier plus bucket looks like a good solution. Plenty of other uses for bucket as well!
On the M/H front, we're really just interested in UK summer and southern europe wintering and one of my check-out points when reading Big Momma's postings has been to see if he had any problems with his Auto-Trail (all seems good) so I've not discounted a britvan. Also read that 2010+ Peugeots are better than older versions but I figured that we'll spend more time parked than driving so does it really matter about having 6 gears instead of 5? Might end up with a Ford anyway - just don't know yet and I'm not buying until I know the house sale is firm.
Thanks again for your help Pat and Dave.
Roy
 

johnnerontheroad

Active Member
It still gets cold in the evenings in southern europe so you need a well insulate M/H saves on the heating. BM has been complaining about being cold in Portugal in the evenings and having to use the heater, when we were there last winter we only had the heating on 3 times and that was when it had rained most of the day so no sun to warm the van. I would do some research on Auto-Trail and other UK M/Hs, search on FUN or Fact or just google them including "Damp" with your search.

Dave
 

John and Joan

Well-Known Member
We just look for Laundrettes when we need to do a wash. Joan rubs the odd thing out by hand but most of the time it is kept in a laundry basket in the shower. A visit about once a month is all we find we need at about £12 to £15 for a wash and dry. We have seen laundrettes on the Costas as well as in France and the UK.

We have a 7m Hymer with a fixed rear bed and captains table with 2 swivel seats and a long bench. This suits us fine for full timing. We have been on the road now for 4 years.

We are at Almerimar free camping for New Year having had a week in a "prison camp" near Vera over Christmas. The EHU meant we could watch as much TV as we liked as the weather was not good. Christmas dinner under the awning in rain with another UK couple. We did a wash there as the wash was included in the 8 euro a night charge.

Last month we did a wash at Los Delores Camper stop near Cartegena for 4 euro a load. We did 5 loads that time.

Brian & Jan asked about Laundrettes last year and they were told there were non in all of Andalucía but there were some on Gibralta.
 
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PAT4NEIL

Active Member
I personally would get an european van and one that has a double floor, as they are truly winterized. Also a lot warmer as the cold seem to come up through the floor, also badly fitted doors etc.

I must admit my new vehicle has so much insulation, because I feel the cold a lot, I have also splashed out on lots of heating but at the moment it is coping very well with a 800w heater on for a few hours in the evening, and that in England.

I do think english vans looks great but definately in my opinion not as good as the europeans, although the new european ones arent of the standard of a few years ago, because everyone is trying to keep them under 3.5ton.

I also agree that 7-8metres is the best length our other van was 7.15metres, and was big enough for two, but if you have an island bed you would have to go to at least 8metres I would think, also not many continental vans go for the u shape lounge, and if you go for a dinette type too, dont forget you would have to make the bed up every night, which for long time touring is a right pain. Having a fixed bed in my opionion is a must.

Yes the euronova is a bit heavy for a normal size motorhome, but we felt that with our proposed lifestyle it would be a worthy addition.
 

PAT4NEIL

Active Member
I must admit when we were touring germany and not using proper campsites, just aires etc washing was our biggest problem, specially bedding and towels. I used to have a very big dirty washing laundry bag, as couldnt find any laundrettes, unless campsite use. I think aires etc, it was frowned on if we had too much washing hanging out, a odd t shirt or something, which is easier when washing just a few things. Its more the bad weather getting things dry that I find the hardest. So a 2,800 rpm spin drier would save a lot of the time it takes to dry.

Everyone to their own and John and Joan have fulltimed for 4 years and have managed doing their washing once a month.
 

Noggin

Active Member
Many thanks for the replies, have done as Dave suggested on googling damp and britvans and found.....
This is a minefield! There does appear to be a consensus that britvans aren’t as good as, say, german vans. BUT, this has to be viewed against other criteria e.g. over 70% of m’homes in the ‘Google UK’ view are britvans and therefore you will get a higher % of problems reported – in some cases it may be down to who shouts the loudest. There aren’t any stats available showing damp problems as a % of market share.
I know very little german, but, based on ‘feucht’ being german for damp, there are german motorhome manufacturers with reports of ‘feucht’ problems. Again, there are buyers ‘screaming from the rooftops’ (found in english) about how bad their Hymer, Burstner, etc. is, and how they have been let down by the manufacturer. I can only guess that ‘Google Germany’ has fewer britvan damp reports. I didn’t find a single Auto Trail that was ‘feucht’. I did only view a few pages though.
The only conclusion I can reach is that all motorhomes are potentially ‘fuecht’.
Surely technological advancements like Baileys Alu-Tech bodyshell are helping to minimise ending up with a ‘fuecht’ motorhome?
Does look like having a double floor is worthwhile but I’ve got to trade that off against having what looks like a ‘comfier’ interior in a britvan and extra heating costs. My thinking was to have either the dinette or the U lounge set up bed-wise for the duration of each ‘park up’. I felt this layout gave us more options. Don’t like those permanent beds (french or rear transverse?) that don’t have bedside shelving. Have seen a Hymer with rear lounge and front dinette but those drop down beds are just wasted on us, maybe I could just rip it out to save weight. Lots of Auto-Trail, Bessacarr and Swift with similar layouts but I’m probably wasting my time on all of this as the ‘silent majority’ will give me free rein right up to when the money has to be laid out and then it’ll be for an island bed van! I just never learn.
 

johnnerontheroad

Active Member
You will not find any Britvans for sale in Europe the europeans will not touch them because of the build quality as one German said to me after viewing an Auto-Trail very pretty inside but old technology for build quality. With a fixed bed life is easier no bed to make up every night and a more comfortable sleep on a mattress no cushions digging into you in the night. If you have a dinette your lounging will be restricted have a look at bench seats along the side of the van with a table in between. At the end of the day it is personal choice.

Also if you are spending a lot of time in Europe with a European van there are lots of dealers, there are no dealers for any Britvans so you would have to come back to UK if you had a major problem with the conversion part of your van.

Do some research on this site www.mobile.de

Dave
 

PAT4NEIL

Active Member
Good luck in your search, personally I think you have got it wrong, european vans are still better than british.

Make sure youre dinette can make up to a full bed as some of them are a bit short, also not that wide.

We know lots of people with problems with autotrail, we have many friends who have now moved on to european vans after them and havent looked back.

We have been living in Germany on an off for a year and they would never have an english van.

Everyone has free choice.
 

aikidoamigo

Well-Known Member
Wow that is some video.... I guess Mr Bailey would pay you to remove that from the forum! Lol

Have to say we were on Anglesey for the last few days in howling gales, no heating on overnight and to be honest felt very warm indeed (granted it was not a sub zero week).

Buy German would be my recommendation for build quality and dealership support within Europe; same applies for base vehicle... Who has the best networks for where you plan to be most of the time?
 

Noggin

Active Member
A picture (or video in this case) tells a thousand words Dave, all I can say is that Bailey should have sussed that earlier and turned it into a feature for water storage! My head does tell me to buy German, had a mate over at my house yesterday and he's on his 3rd Burstner and swears by them even though he had a damp problem on the first one. He's an HGV mechanic so he knows what he's talking about (good with bikes as well).
The bit that niggles with me is that I worked for 2 british vehicle manufacturers - one doesn't exist anymore (BL) and the other (LandRover) is now owned by an Indian corporation - I do like to buy british if all else is close to equal. Reading the Bailey splurge and then seeing this video does nose the german vans in front. We aim to spend 4-6 months Spain/Portugal/France and the rest in the UK, not bothered about further afield, we've travelled quite a bit in the past and have lived in the U. S. of A. Our dogs will dictate the 'field of travel' we can do!
Have seen some Hobby vans with big lumps taken off the price so they seem like a bargain, maybe it's just the time of year and they'll be gone by the time we get a sale on the house. We shall see. Thanks for the advice all. I am listening!
 

johnnerontheroad

Active Member
No matter what van you look at take a damp meter with you and check around all the seams and floors and smell. You can smell damp and if the dealer or pearson selling will not let you walk away. Did you look on www.mobile.de ?

By the way I would love to bye British but they are not good enough, Auto-Trail are French owned:D

Dave
 

Noggin

Active Member
Yes, spent some time on mobile.de, a lot of possibilities there. I presume the gross/net figures are with VAT/without VAT. Don't know if a UK resident has to pay the german VAT. Need to do more checking on UK/Mobile.de prices. Will certainly check out 'the chosen one' for damp, etc. A few years ago I wouldn't have had too many qualms about laying out this sort of cash on a vehicle but times change and things are different today. I need to make a wise purchase that will last - hopefully for the duration of our adventures......many thanks for the info Dave.
 

Noggin

Active Member
Good idea! Takes me back to watching Mum using one of these in the 50's!
There are some things that you can't really put through a wringer though, like some zips and buttons but worth having for towels, etc. Maybe an idea to have both a spinner and a wringer.
Just found one on eBay - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Best-Hand-Clothes-Wringer-for-DIY-Laundry-Washing-/251209190387?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a7d3c0bf3
Expensive though at about £100 and nearly £60 for delivery from America.
It does say 'Note that it may take two times through to get the job done the best, and buttons, zippers and snaps can be problematic to get through with the wringer rollers tightened together. Using a wringer takes a good amount of work!
 

snail

Well-Known Member
yeah you are right we have had a few button casulties! but overall quite good results and only £25 from ebay and a bit of work making the wooden mounting block

have a search it took me a while till i found a half size compact one

we have also changed all our toweling to microfibre ones, dry much quicker, but don't be tempted to buy cheap ones and get the same sizes you use for ordinary towels
 

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