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    New vans

    We have seen that a lot of new vans are being designed with an emphasis on electrification. On a couple of occasions we have met folk who have bought vans with compressor fridges which they have been assured will cope for a few days using the battery. Of course this is not the case even with solar panels and extra batteries. One particular lady had bought her van with the intention of using the non facility sites most of the time and ended up having to move to a convenient hook up but away from the rest of the group on the meet.

    Others have told us that even caravans now have a microwave as standard and electrical flushing loos . I know you need to make sure that any van will suit the use you want it for but it is worth noting that some modern vehicles and vans may not be very convenient for wild camping or rallying for any period over a few days. Most CCC meets do not have facilities or hook up.

    #2
    I have seen very little evidence vehicles being designed according to customer's wants (maybe with the exception of Romahome). The trend seems to be to add as many stylish bells and whistles as possible, with little regard to payload or power consumption and then bedazzle customers at trade shows!

    I really did not want an oven in my van but was constantly told that UK customers (unlike those on the continent) always demanded an oven. Luckily our fridge works on gas as well as electric (although it was a bit of a shock just how much gas it uses!)

    Also, I dont think people really know how they will use their van until they have had a bit of experience and tried out different sites. EHUs have their uses, but we are becoming less reliant on them, and now enjoy doing without.
    Last edited by Vanderella; 28-12-2011, 23:51.
    Mary

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      #3
      I do dislike personally this move to excessive electrification as it takes you further and further away from camping. I enjoy using my gas stove and find even on a hook up I prefer to use my little gas stove. It sounds daft possibly but using a kettle on the gas stove just reminds me I am on holiday. People say we use the electric kettle if on a hook up because it saves money after paying for the electic..... but I just like using my gas stove. At the end of the day the money saved by boiling a kettle using the electric is really very small in the scheme of things. I am not sure what it is about the stove but it just feels a bit magic. (Yes I am probably in need of medication).

      I end up on a hook up because of having no heater in my van but actually I find it a bit of a pain because if you want to go anywhere for the day you have to roll up the hook up lead and stow it and the plug it back in on return... when it is always for me in a tangle. It is great fun going out for the day in my batmobile... lunch/evening meal different location every night if you wish....

      The other problem for me is often the most peaceful pitches are well away from the hook ups, which is useful in the summer so you are away from the crowds. Often if you are prepared to go further away from the facility block you are rewarded by the more peaceful field and the more scenic views.
      Last edited by Tentpeg; 29-12-2011, 07:30.

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        #4
        The only things I use EHU for is a fridge, an electric kettle, a table lamp and my tv occasionally. In cooler months, I use an oil filled bambino radiator for warmth. I never lug an electric hob around with me, the gas cooker is what I have and what I use. I don't even have an electric water pump, it's a lever pump. gravity fed and hand operated! I will use EHu if available, just for the fridge really, but I'm looking forwards to going to a few of the C&CC THS sites this year and see how I get on without EHU over the summer. The most I have ever done without EHU is three nights so it should be interesting!
        Last edited by jayjay; 30-12-2011, 09:07.

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          #5
          I think its mainly the small van converters using the compressor fridge the main reason is that it can be fitted it what in their opinion is the best place for it as it does not need external venting and therefore can be virtually placed anywhere. When buying a new van all these things must be thought out if you are going to wild camp or use CLs a 3 way fridge seems essential the electric toilet flush uses a negligible amount of battery capacity but the battery size now becomes an item if not using hook up, most smaller vans used by the smaller converters lacks space for large or even 2 batteries some we have seen even have the leisure battery in the luggage area

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            #6
            I have yet to use the EHU option! Presumed it was necessary to operate the little oil-filled radiator that I've bought.

            Like Vanderella, I was astonished at how quickly the gas cylinder emptied - in previous years the cylinder literally lasted for several summers, when being used just for cooking. So I guess the gas-operated fridge option is to blame. But, by judicious use of pre-frozen ice packs and frozen casseroles, I hope to reduce the need to actually have the fridge switched on all the time.

            Not too sure why people need to take tvs, computers, lamps, microwaves, etc with them when CAMPING, but I guess the tent psychology is very deep-seated with yours truly still. Everyone to their own, and all that.
            Carpe diem! :)

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              #7
              I find it fascinating that some fridges (like mine) use very little gas once up to temp when on gas, and others use a lot! Must be to do with the make of fridge,perhaps or how modern it is.... Mines an old thing I bought second user, and small. If you freeze the food you'll be using the next day or the day after that helps to save gas as it keeps the temp down, as do frozen ice packs, which I travel with as I don't use the 12v option whilst in transit.

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                #8
                Fridges are essentially a heater that works in reverse & is on all the time unlike a cooker. So yes it will use juice/gas.

                Would not entertain a compresser fridge because you would then be tied to an EHU for sure.

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                  #9
                  I agree with Jenny about the magic of camping, its that which keeps me out in all weathers.I use gas mainly,especially as I now rally a lot with the Romaclub and most of the sites they choose do not have electricity, but in winter it is essential for me,it keeps my van warm and dry.I have also noticed as Jayjay has,the difference in gas usage between different fridges,my previous van required its own connection to a gas well,that fridge had several flame settings on gas,small,medium,and high.this one has only one,on or off,and seems to be economic.Roll on the day when I can get a small see through propane bottle to replace the steel that I use now,they are coming in and getting smaller.That will take the guess work out of gas usage.I once hired a narrowboat with fitted gas lighting,kept the place warm at sundown.
                  Probably banned now by health and safety.Had gas lights in my childhood home too,I was fascinated by them and loved the warm light and the gentle hiss they made - Ah well,they say we progress,now I have flourescents I cant read by.
                  Last edited by Ian.C.S; 29-12-2011, 13:19.
                  Young men sow wild oats.Old men grow sage.

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                    #10
                    My Mum and Dad's first caravan had gas lights... I remember them being warm and well - light! I also remember my Mum cursing when the mantles disintegrated!

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                      #11
                      The luxury part of my "camping" holidays is eating out for one cooked meal per day. Part of my holiday. With no preparation and leaving no washing up.
                      The practical side of this is that I have little use for a fridge. Most perishables I buy frequently and in small quantities as convenient. And my milk I buy two pints at a time from a refrigerated stock and immediately transfer it to a 2pint thermosflask. Which keeps it fresh for at least 3 days even in summer.
                      As a result I have no trouble lasting a week or more without EHU, using my battery only for lighting (mostly LEDs) and occasionally the radio. I have a TV, but I only take it with me if I know there is a programme I MUST see.
                      I do have EHU facility, but it has been used only once in two years. And the only at Chertsey where EHU seemed to be compulsory!
                      I'm too mean to pay for electricity I can manage without!
                      Jim.
                      Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Ian STOCKLEY View Post
                        .Had gas lights in my childhood home too,I was fascinated by them and loved the warm light and the gentle hiss they made - Ah well,they say we progress,now I have flourescents I cant read by.
                        -------------------
                        Gas lights on the steam trains as well We even had them on Witley station - was fascinating the way you pulled down one end of the 'string' to light it, then the other to put it out. Oh, brings back memories of our journeys to school...was just like on the harry potter film

                        and then there was the gas poker to help the coal fire to light, not to mention the real candles on the real Christmas tree.
                        Carpe diem! :)

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by NomadSue2011 View Post
                          -------------------
                          Gas lights on the steam trains as well We even had them on Witley station - was fascinating the way you pulled down one end of the 'string' to light it, then the other to put it out. Oh, brings back memories of our journeys to school...was just like on the harry potter film

                          and then there was the gas poker to help the coal fire to light, not to mention the real candles on the real Christmas tree.
                          An elderly retired friend of mine back in the early days was a Gas lamp lighter during his first job on the railways. He used to start work just before dusk and get on the train and light all the gas lamps at the stations untill the end of the line. He'd then wait in the pub (and have a few!) then travel back and extinguish them. He loved the job until the advent of electricity and left shortly after they gave him a propper job to do.

                          Peter

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                            #14
                            I had a compresser fridge in a previous van and loved it for the convenience of turning it on at the start of the holiday and not touching it until it was turned off when we reached home. We had a 110ah battery and could certainly do a couple of days without EHU, longer if we were using the van to visit places, so no, you do not need to be hooked up if you are using the van in this way. But, of course, on many occasions we did use EHU and the fridge simply continued to work on 12 volt without any intervention, and without depleting our gas reserves, particularly important on the Continent if you don't want to keep buying expensive Gaz bottles.
                            The other problem I have heard about the compresser fridge is the noise it make being intrusive at night, I can honestly say we never noticed it at all, but other makes may have been different.

                            Now I must congratulate Tentpeg on introducing us to the Superkettle at the Autumn Squelch. This remarkable electric urn kept us all in hot drinks at any time of the day. We have since bought one for home use and it is paying for itself as opposed to using the ordinary, expensive electric kettle. I don't know how many times a day one of us used to switch the kettle on and go away to do something whilst waiting for it to boil, forget about it, go back later, switch it on, go away to - - -you get the picture. With the Superkettle it's instant drink and a measly 45w to keep it simmering. And over Christmas it was transferred to two parties for instant drinks for any guest. Wonderful !! And we will probably bring it to future meets to provide another refreshment tent in our new awning, (of which more later when we have it). And a Happy New Year to everybody!

                            Colin

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                              #15
                              I bought the superkettle originally for when I was tenting so I could rig up a shower with a hot water pump on a site which had a hook up but no showering or loo facilities. We were on the site for a fortnight so we would have been very smelly. However it has since proved useful for making cups of tea for lots of people.....

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