Behold my most treasured possession ever. Of course, it’s Klaus the Knaus my quarter of a century old motorhome that I’ve had for over fifteen years now. My parents were dubious about his purchase . ‘You won’t get enough use out of it’ they cried. Dad reminded me of that conversation the other day and admitted that he might have been wrong. This years we’re scheduled to spend seventy nights away in Klaus even though he gets taken off the road in school summer holidays. We SORN it to save tax in complete months when it’s not in use.
Every so often I have a clear out of things that we don’t use anymore. There’s one in progress at the moment. When Louis was a kid the toybox under the seat was a particular target. The elastic band gun and tin can targets that he asked about recently are long gone. Even now it’s good to review what we need to take away. Our switch to more solar power and a decreased reliance on hook up electricity means that some of the gadgets are going. The halogen cooker doesn’t get used very often at all anymore. It’s had its day. And sometimes other things that seem like a good idea just don’t work out. The hob top pizza oven is being oiked out as well. It all helps towards keeping the weight down and saving fuel.
I thought I’d share my thoughts on kitting out a motorhome, or indeed a camper van. So here’s some ideas about some of the things that we take away that have stood the test of time.
- If you can afford it. buy as much stuff that’s exclusively for use in the van as possible. That way you can make a quick get away without having to load up endless stuff first and then take it all out again at the end of the trip. Kitchen and cleaning equipment, toiletries, raingear, road atlases, foldng chairs, shopping bags and chargers for electrical equipment spring to mind. Oh!… and the corkscrew.
- Buy colour coordinated linen that is different from that used in your non mobile home. Then it’s easier for it to make its way back to the van after being washed. This reduces the chance of finding yourself in a lovely wilderness spot without towels or bits of bedding.
- For the hypochondriacs amongst you who are planning European trips, make sure you carry a stock of your favourite over the counter medication. You may think the nanny state here has gone too far but believe me it’s nothing compared to the restrictions that govern what a French pharmacy can sell. You’ll thank me when you are in need of pain killers.
- Even if you’re not usually too bothered about being green please consider eco friendly cleaning products for the van. You never know where you are going to have to dispose of grey water.
- Minimalist principles apply when you only have one cupboard and a drawer for storing kitchen equipment. In the confined space you’re probably unlikely to be knocking up complex gastronomic feasts anyway. Think carefully about whether you need a pasta machine or a water bath. Also a toasting rack for use over a gas ring might seem like a good idea but, in our experience, they don’t ‘do what they say on the tin’. A hob top cast iron grill has been much more versatile.
- Don’t skimp and buy cheap utensils that don’t do the job properly. There’s nothing worse than trying to cut an onion with a crappy knife or use a cheap cheese grater.
- It’s nicer to have china crockery and real glasses rather than their melamine and plastic counterparts. The man in my life grumbles a bit about the extra weight but I’m not backing down. As a compromise I have cleared out a few bits and pieces this time around. We don’t need ten glasses if there’s only two of us.
- Get away with as few (reasonably decent) pans as possible. We have two sets from Lidl, frying pans and normal saucepans that sit inside each other and share removable handles.
- A basic tool kit is essential especially if your van is a veteran old boy. Mind you, I’ve no idea what’s in our. That’s the old man’s department.
And I know William Morris was all for beautiful things in your home. But beyond a few nice cushions and textiles there’s little room for frou frou in a home on wheels. Just make sure that you park somewhere with a wonderful view!