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Van conversion or Romahome?

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    Van conversion or Romahome?

    What are the plusses and minuses of each?

    I absolutely adored my Daihatsu Hijet conversion up until Monday when this happened:


    I'm now back on the market looking to replace it, and may as well do a bit of upgrading while I'm there.

    These are the things I loved about my conversion:
    - Good for stealth camping in the city centre or outside gigs.
    - Always a surprise - people don't expect the interior so it has that "cool" factor.
    - Amazing little turning circle and the best vehicle I've ever had for parking (I include my Smart car in that comparison).
    - Pop top means I can always duck under any barrier and still have headroom when camping.
    - I have an awning that fits neatly over the back door.
    - With so many large access doors, it was also handy for picking up some furniture.

    Things that I disliked:
    - My conversion had two single bunks but I'd really prefer a double.
    - I also didn't have any rear seatbelts - again this would be better.
    - You have to be incredibly tidy to keep your stuff in order!

    So I've seen a couple of Romahomes pased on the Daihatsu Hijet pickup, and they look very comfortable with much more space and the option to remount on a new pickup if the old one packs it in mechanically. They also seem to be available for less money. However I also think they're pretty ugly and 'uncool'.

    Would I be making a mistake to do the switch?

    #2
    Hi badger lady, welcome to the forum!! Hope everyone involved in the accident was ok, it looks like the fire service assisted getting you out of the cab, right??

    As for you questions, I can only offer advise about a demountable romahome, ours was on a hijet. Personally, we thought it was cool, especially after we had pimped it in the cab and camper, recovering the seats, pelmets, new curtains, new cupboards doors etc. It was our first camper and the reason we found this friendly forum.

    The bits I didn't like were

    *the driving position, it was a little cramped and I felt very vulnerable to head on impacts.
    *the height occasionally cause parking probs, although not often.
    *lack of rear belts, we didn't need them legally but would never have carried passengers in the back purely due to the risks involved if an accident did occur.

    That said, we loved it!!! The only reason we swapped was we were planning on starting a family and needed more room. Now we have a 11 month old, a 6 berth caravan and full sized awning they still can't get rid of us on this forum though!
    Last edited by glenw; 03-08-2011, 16:53.
    Why not have a look at my latest wildlife photos, habitat projects and general natural world related shenanigans? https://facebook.com/Watsonswildlife

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      #3
      Originally posted by glenw View Post
      Now we have a 11 month old, a 6 berth caravan and full sized awning they still can't get rid of us on this forum though!
      I thought you were going to say "and we still can't get all the stuff in!"

      A warm welcome Badger-Lady, looks like a very nasty accident, glad you survived to tell the tale.
      ______________
      Guardian of the Ducks
      2 2 2 2 2 2 2 Quack!

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        #4
        ooo I was thinking the same thing as Pauleen! that looks like a pretty hefty RTA. I hope no-one got hurt badly.

        Welcome to the forum!

        I had a Romahome demountable on a Bedford Rascal. I found the same things pesky as Glen did as well.

        I don't think you can do better than the C15 Romahomes, the demountables are ok, I loved mine - but I now wish I'd bought a C15 (hi-lo for preference now I know more about these things) and I think I'd still have it.

        I now have a little ancient (or should that be vintage!!) Kip caravan which reminds me of the Romahome I used to have - but it has more room and I don't have two vehicles to tax. I really find towing it a bit of a drag (pardon the pun) though! And the hitching up and putting back on the drive means I would never get up and go on the spur of the moment, which I would always do in my liddle campervan

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          #5
          OWCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHh That was a prang and a half. What a sad end.

          Welcome. Not sure what your budget is but the older models of Romas do not have seat belts in the back... unless somebody tells me different.

          Great to have you aboard.

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            #6
            Thanks all! Yes, it was a head-on collision on the motorway but no-one else was injured at all. I had to be cut out because the front was crushed over my legs but luckily I've walked away with cuts and bruises and now have the luxury of working from my bed at home

            Well I've sort of narrowed down some options from what's currently available, so tell me what you'd go for.

            The insanely practical option - solid, reliable car base, with discreet conversion and a crumple zone at the front!
            http://www.car-sale.org.uk/usedcars....on=messagesent

            ... or the van I'm used to driving with a bit more space and a quirky interior... my Dad can rewire it when I see him in September and we love the coincidence that his boat is named Dougal!
            http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...ry-item-full-7

            Which one is better?

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              #7
              Budget-wise... well the insurance company *should* be paying out £3,000-£3,500 (we'll see)... but I'm willing to go up to £5,000 if it'll save me hassle and worry in the future. I did an awful lot to my Hijet - replacement engine, gearbox, clutch, timing belt, radiator - and feel like I've got the mechanical bit over and done with!

              I normally just camp alone but this September I'm taking my parents with me for a week - I have a bed tent in the awning and they'll have the van. It's nice to have that option to bring friends.

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                #8
                hi B/L
                Nice to have you here and in one piece.
                If the choice was mine I would go for Ermintrude,who I think we have met before on this forum. More space and warm and comfy,long life and transferrable to another base vehicle.
                the Roo looks good and they have their own fans,but I prefer Romas.
                good luck for the future!

                Ian
                Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

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                  #9
                  Personally and IMHO, (looking on the same gumtree site) I'd go for this one:

                  http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...s-tax/83658574

                  Not that that's any help to you! It all depends on what youre looking for in a camper. I'd find the Roo too small and cramped, and the demountables do have a very small cab - the engine is underneath the seats and you feel like your nose is on the windscreen! Please go and check and have a test drive, so that you can see what I mean. Not that there's anything wrong with them, but there is no 'engine' in front of you to absorb impact, rather like the one you just had. They are also a lot higher than the one you had and can be unstable in windy conditions. Whereas the C15's all have a bonnet between you and the road.

                  Nice little camper being sold on here by Andy - a Nissan Serena if you prefer a van type vehicle. I think it's lovely and I'd be buying it myself if I had the cash!

                  I would go and have a look around at what you can get for your money - don't make any hasty decisions. Also, wait until after the end of September when the prices come down a lot. At the moment they are at their highest as everyone wants something to go away for the August bank holidays in!
                  Last edited by jayjay; 04-08-2011, 11:37.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Badger_Lady View Post
                    Well I've sort of narrowed down some options from what's currently available, so tell me what you'd go for.

                    The insanely practical option - solid, reliable car base, with discreet conversion and a crumple zone at the front!
                    http://www.car-sale.org.uk/usedcars....on=messagesent

                    ... or the van I'm used to driving with a bit more space and a quirky interior... my Dad can rewire it when I see him in September and we love the coincidence that his boat is named Dougal!
                    http://www.gumtree.com/p/cars-vans-m...ry-item-full-7

                    Which one is better?
                    My vote is for the Roo, like your old one but safer, easy for spares and repair, great for stealth camping.
                    Derek Our Berlingo camping car

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Very sorry to see the damaged Hi-jet but relieved to hear you escaped any serious injury.

                      As a former Kangoo Roo owner I can vouch for these being superb vans, reliable, economical, excellent for stealth-camping and very practical. However I would be wary of the red 'Roo' in Cardiff. I've had my eye on it since last Autumn and am a little suspicious of it - it sounds rather too good to be true.

                      It's a layout I have never seen in any other Roo, if indeed it really is a Roo! (I've seen most of the Roos produced over the last 20 years.) Also it is very under-priced (should be about £11k), has 2 lady owners yet is being sold by a male and is described as garaged yet lives at an address with no garaging in sight.

                      If it is still available, then take a close look at it - if it's what it seems then you could possibly resell it for a lot more than its advertised price. This actually went through my mind...
                      Last edited by karenw; 04-08-2011, 12:41.

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                        #12
                        There is similar discussion here.
                        Based on my experience so far (converted Kangoo) and my personal preferences I would definitely go for something slightly bigger - either LWB version or something like Citroen Dispatch/Jumpy or it's many rivals in the same size range.

                        One thing that puzzles me is all the references to Kango, Hijet or other similarly sized vehicles being "great for stealth camping".
                        For me definition of stealth is being invisible, surreptitious, secret - I fail to see how it is possible in vehicles so small...?

                        Having curtains providing you with some privacy doesn't make you stealthy

                        Chris

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by bambuko View Post
                          One thing that puzzles me is all the references to Kango, Hijet or other similarly sized vehicles being "great for stealth camping".
                          For me definition of stealth is being invisible, surreptitious, secret - I fail to see how it is possible in vehicles so small...?

                          Having curtains providing you with some privacy doesn't make you stealthy

                          Chris
                          I disagree. Externally, an adapted Kangoo (or Berlingo etc) looks just like any other parked car or van and passers-by don't realise it's actually used for ('secret') camping.

                          Camping in a Kangoo is perfectly possible despite its size and at 5'9", I'm not tiny. I've been camping in mine for nearly 8 years (and a Fiat Panda prior to that - but this was cramped). You learn to not take piles of unnecessary clutter and to adapt to the space you have. My van actually feels quite spacious and contains all I need!

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Probably better not to drift too much OT - perhaps we should start new topic

                            Chris

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                              #15
                              Van Conversion

                              HI, so sorry about the accident it looks awful. I dread motorway driving.

                              I don't know anything about Roma home or small van prices etc etc.
                              However, we have a site on the Isle of Wight called WIGHTBAY. Its got at the moment some small vans on it and also a C15 £5000. Interesting to take a look whilst your at home.cannot comment on them myself though. twin 1
                              Last edited by T1; 04-08-2011, 13:29.

                              Comment

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