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To buy or not to buy?(!)

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    To buy or not to buy?(!)

    Thinking about buying a small motor home but not sure if I will get enough use of it to warrant a sizeable investment. Also, e:confused::confused:njoy the idea but not sure whether to take the plunge just yet - esp given the state of the economy. Any suggestions/thoughts?

    It all depends on your particular circumstances but the best thing about small motorhomes is that you can use them as a sole vehicle. So if you have a car you could get rid of it and buy a small motorhome, so you haven't got the expense of running two vehicles.

    Small motorhomes and Romahomes in particular tend to keep their value well and there is always a second hand market for them so if you bought one and it didn't work out you could always sell it again.

    Why not try renting one first from these people try it for a couple of days and see how you get on with it then take it from there.

    If you do hire one please mention the small motorhome forum when you book.
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      If you're keen on camping and travel but unsure about making a large investment, how about doing a simple self-build using a basic panel van which you kit out to your own specification. This way you can obtain the van you want in your preferred layout but for a fraction of the cost of a ready-built model.

      I have just done this for less than £400 on an old Kangoo van I already had, although this is a VERY basic fitting which wouldn't appeal to many - but for even a small outlay, it is possible to achieve your dreams!


        To buy or not to buy?..............never really a problem for us. No matter what the economic climate, the cost of fuel, dwindling income, evaporating savings, lack of parking, insufficient leisure time..... The yearning for a motorhome grabbed hold and just would not go away. Tried to get by on reading Motorhome magazines and lurking in chat groups- that got us through a couple of years, but the solution to the problem was inevitable, unavoidable and wonderful!!


          We had a 94 Hylo for 3 years to see if we would get the use out of it. We did! We sold it for pretty much what we paid for it and then sold my car too and bought our current Outlook. Just like Vanderella, I had spent hours with magazines, I wish I had done it years earlier. (Although my 3 dear, delightful children were still holidaying with us then, so might have been tricky).


            To buy or not to buy?(!)

            We have just completed a 3000 mile trip around Germany and Belgium - trouble free in our 1995 Citroen Romahome Hylo. We have a Quechua tent as an extra for storing bikes, a table and chairs and the portapotti.
            We would definately recommend buying one - you can get bargains around £6000 and the Citroen diesel engine will give you 10s of thousands of miles of happy camping.
            A big advantage of the Hylo is that it is under 5m in length and under 2m in height with the roof down, so you can buy a return ferry trip Dover to dunkerque for under £50. Ideal for short trips to the Continent - and the tax savings on the couple of cases of wine you buy in Dunkerque will pay for the ferry trip.
            What a pleasure


              I did briefly consider buying a small motorhome, but the expense seemed disproportionate to the use in my case. I also had other forms of transport In the form of a classic car and motorbikes I did not want to part with. So sole motor vehicle was out of the question. Thogh the thought of being able to tow a 'bike behind a motorhome was appealing.
              In the end I bought a small (Romini) caravan with similar size and facilities as a small motorhome. At a huge saving.
              Watching others trying to level motorhomes on site and needing to pack everything away travelwise for a day off site convinced me to keep the Romini (because I'm lazy?). Though I suppose it is nice to pull-up somewhere nice for a cuppa.
              My classic car is inevitably the tow vehicle and is only prevented from going as fast as motorhomes by the speed limit and that is only by 10 miles an hour.
              Horses for courses I suppose, but I am glad I did not buy a motorhome.

              Please, Please, Please don't throw me off Pauline or Graham. I do so love your Forum.

              Last edited by Twolitre; 02-04-2011, 16:29. Reason: Addition.
              Keeping people waiting is stealing a part of their lives.


                I made the opposite choice to Jim and after a horrific journey where a speeding coach made the caravan snake and then a wrong turn on Dartmoor was "interesting" with narrow stone bridges and a 37 point turn. :eek: It was then time to say Goodbye to my lovely fixed bed caravan and Subaru twocar. Now have a small motorhome which is a pleasure to drive and has removed the "stress" factor from holidays.

                My C1 runaround is not as much fun as the Subaru but without the caravan had no good excuse to keep it especially with current fuel prices.

                Also if you like to explore places off the beaten track like any of the moors, West Wales or Scotland you can brew up and have full facilities available for use wherever you park.



                  Originally posted by Twolitre View Post

                  Please, Please, Please don't throw me off Pauline or Graham. I do so love your Forum.
                  Well we've had an emergency board meeting and decided to let you stay on the forum but only because you begged.
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                    Hi Fred, I have had this debate for 5 plus years and finally have taken the plunge and am shortly to take possession of a secondhand R20. My thoughts for what they are worth.

                    1. I do not call it an investment financially it is a luxury that will depreciate the moment I have it BUT it is an investment in myself for my enjoyment

                    2. I really love the idea but not tried it before - I hired a motorhome from the excellent rentaromahome to find out if the layout (which has not changed very much from the old ones) suited me and did I enjoy it. I found that very informative as it almost I think does not matter what motorhome you take out it just gives you an idea of what is important to you and it is surprising it is different to what you had thought or it was for me.

                    3. There are always reasons not to but do I want to look back and regret trying it... I may be dead tomorrow sort of thought live for the day with one eye on tomorrow.

                    4. I wanted an R25 but would have to buy new and then would take a hell of a hit if did not enjoy motorhoming. Had some minor possibly reservations about gel batteries rather then wet acid ones and sorting out the inevitible snags in new models... They need to sort the spare wheel problem out and fit a wet acid battery.... (Romahome hope you are listening out there).

                    My solutions are in post number two as this is a long thread


                      Hi Fred ( I hope this is not boring you and is useful your position of course is unique to you and you alone)

                      I took myself to one of the few straightforward dealers in the business, Ant at Bristol.... there are otherones but Ant is king of Romahomes.

                      Under his guidence have gone secondhand and purchased a secondhand R20 which is a lovely vehicle and gives me most of my hearts desires and I can then use this a few years and see if it suites me. I may well be happy with just this... If it does not suit me I will not lose the packet that you would on a new vehicle. It is very economical and can be used as an everyday car.

                      I do not use the word investment as I do not feel it is a financial investment it is something for me. At the moment I feel sick when I think of the money involved and estatic when I think of picking it up and sharing it with my family. Overall I am glad I have taken the plunge even if it does not work out I will at least find out if it is for me otherwise I will always look back and regret the fact I did not try it.

                      What is right for you only you can decide... make a list of your needs and match them against the vehicle you want. But also remember you only live one.

                      I hope I have not bored you to death with this, it may or maynot be helpful.

                      Again I highly recommend you rent a vehicle for a few days and rentaromahome are great.... but do remember their vehicles are old models and the modern ones are a dream to drive... it is the layout you will be sampling. Mind you the engines in the old ones I have to say are wonderful reliable things.


                        Tentpeg's advice is spot on, having 'travelled the journey' herself.

                        Like most people, buying and owning a motorhome was a huge investment for us, and if viewed only in terms of financial outlay, we would never have gone there! I think when you're assessing the investment in a motorhome 'quantitive' is necessary but 'qualitative' has to be an important factor too - after all, that's what most of us buy them for - improving our quality of life. If a motorhome doesn't do that, to my mind there is little point in owning one. Like Tentpeg, we had an R20, a lovely vehicle, which after a year of ownership we realised was just a bit too small for 2 disorganised adults and a dog. If we'd been sensible, and hired a Romahome as Tentpeg did, we might have made a different decision re Romahome models in the first place. As it is, we now have an R25, which is ideal for us and the dog - more space to be disorganised in! It is my sole vehicle, as was the R20 - this was an important part of the financial considerations for us.


                          Originally posted by Tentpeg View Post

                          3. There are always reasons not to but do I want to look back and regret trying it... I may be dead tomorrow sort of thought live for the day with one eye on tomorrow.

                          4. Had some minor possibly reservations about gel batteries rather then wet acid ones and sorting out the inevitible snags in new models... They need to sort the spare wheel problem out and fit a wet acid battery....

                          I think you definitely have the right attitude in 'live for today' - who knows what tomorrow may hold...

                          I'm curious re your observations re the battery though. Given a choice, I would opt for a gel leisure battery over lead acid any day due to the minimal gassing. Could I ask why you would prefer the latter instead?


                            Gel batteries are much slower to charge and by my understanding wear out morequickly and much more expensive. They are designed for situations such as boats where they may be turned upside down a lot.. again by my understanding.

                            The dangers of 'gassing' by my understanding come down to ensuring that you ensure that the battery is 'health and holding a charge'. People may correct me but one thing I am goingto do is ensure I know how to correctly maintain a battery and checking voltage on a battery is not difficult you just get a little metre and put a clip on each of the terminals and check the measurement.

                            They are still the leisure battery of choice for most leisure situations and most techy people I talked of were very dismissive of the gel and that is the polite version.. but I am prepared to be corrected.
                            Last edited by Tentpeg; 05-04-2011, 19:19.


                              Gel batteries are definitely more expensive but I understood they have a longer-life than lead acid or calcium for deep-cycling.

                              My interest in them is due to their minimal gassing and reduced chance of any explosion. I'm planning to carry a leisure battery of some sort and as it will be charged in the van while it is occupied, it will need to to be correctly vented to allow the hydrogen to escape. I'm proposing to run tubing through one of the internal plastic side panels, into the sill and out through a drainage hole which I'll unplug. It won't be a permanent fitting or permanently sealed, but will be lifted (or lugged - it's heavy!) out as required and connected up for each use.

                              I still feel that, given a choice and budget, gel are the safest for use in a small campervan, particularly if it's also used for cooking with a naked flame just a short distance away (although I won't have any gas installation).

                              I always kept a close eye on my leisure battery voltage in the Roo and considered a volt-meter an essential piece of kit - and will use this again with a future leisure battery, especially as I'm using my Wavebox microwave which drains about 15-20amps per use.


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