Checking my phone in bed, I see google reckons I am interested in camping and motorhomes, so Google is telling me this is the first day of the Camping, Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC. Quick decision, we decide to go. Good idea to see what is changing in this area.
The entry we walked into was the end with the camper vans. There were several companies who did conversions, mainly VW, but also Fords and other makes. Most of the conversions were similar to ours but different in small to large ways. There were oddities in many conversions, some blocking half of the sliding door entry with cabinets. Many cabinets were thinner than ours to get in a wider bed or leave a little more space around the bed, or even leaving horrendous metal tracking on the floor so the rear seat could move. So yes, we came away from there pretty pleased with our van’s conversion. R informed our convertor, CJ Vans.
I was interested in the electrics area and always wondered why with our conversion, we ended up with a lead-acid battery and not a lithium one. A lithium battery is long-lasting, lighter and you can discharge it down to less than 10%, making it far more powerful than the equivalent lead battery. You can also take more power out of it, and run an Inverter, running electric Induction hobs of over a kilowatt-hour. Using solar cells, a lithium battery and an Inverter you can go off-grid camping. Ha, the reason why is the cost. The battery is more than a thousand pounds, and when I had our van converted it was probably a whole lot more than that.
While we are on things to change, I still would like an external gas connector for a BBQ in the fender of the van. Saw one at Download a couple of years ago, and there seem to be people doing it on campers. I suppose using a gas BBQ will use up the gas, our small tank is still going strong after 3 years, more than 160 days of camping.
We took a look around the large vans, enquired about road permits for Switzerland, had a coffee at the Camping and Caravan Club. Decided not to buy the ACSI membership from the ACSI stand, it seemed a lot more expensive than getting it through the CCC.
We checked out the Eriba stand, the little vans are quite cute, though Eriba seems to be doing bigger vans these days. On another stand, there was a life-size Lego caravan. At first glance, I did not notice it was Lego, just thought one window was a rather odd plastic.
R and I studied the different awnings on show. We are not too happy with the ‘Shed’, rather large and difficult to get back into its bag, takes up a lot of space in the van when not being used. We might have been better off with one of the roll-out awnings, the trouble is we have a track in the place where we would have to attach the roll-out awning. Also looked at how similar awnings to the ‘Shed’ attach to campervans, took photos of the way the connecting tunnel connects to the van. Have I been doing that wrong? Not sure! Came away with a Thule catalogue as well as some lithium battery ones.