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Today’s my Mum’s birthday, and it’s something I want to celebrate. I’ve decided that as well as giving her a birthday present (not that she wants one!) I’m going to give you, our valued customers, a present to celebrate her birthday too…
For every order over £500 placed through our website in the next week (i.e. before Thursday 7th June) we’ll give you a £25 voucher, redeemable against anything in our shop, valid until the end of the year.(*)
For every order over £1,000 placed through our website in the next week (i.e. before Thursday 7th June) we’ll give you a £60 voucher, redeemable against anything in our shop, valid until the end of the year.(*)
There are no strings attached beyond the obvious:
- You need to make your purchase on or before Thursday 7th June 2012;
- You must make it online through www.CampingEquipmentShop.co.uk;
- You must quote HAPPY-BIRTHDAY-MUM when you checkout in order to get your voucher.
That’s it, all you need to do is say HAPPY-BIRTHDAY-MUM at checkout to get up to 6% of your spend back.
Our product range includes great brands such as:
to name but a few.
Within those brands we have products including:
- Campervan ladders
- Caravan mattress toppers
- Caravan cycle carriers
- Caravan & motorhome vents
- Duvalay (from Raskelf, as seen on BBC Dragons Den))
- Electric motorhome steps
- Leisure batteries
- Motorhome awnings
- Motorhome bike carriers
- Motorhome door locks
- Motorhome roof boxes & motorhome back boxes
- Safari Tents (Safari Rooms & Safari Residences)
- Slide-out caravan steps
And if you can’t see what you want on our website, but still want a voucher, it’s simple:
- Phone us on 01753 41 51 45 and tell us what you want to buy;
- Give us a few minutes to get it uploaded to the website;
- We’ll call you back to confirm it’s there;
- You order online, quoting HAPPY-BIRTHDAY-MUM at checkout; and
- We’ll email you your voucher right away.
But do it before Thursday 7th June, or you won’t get a voucher!
Get ready for the summer, visit our online Camping Equipment Shop now:
If you think others would like to benefit from this offer, you can share it with them using the social media icons below.
* Terms & Conditions Apply: Only one voucher will be awarded per purchase, and items bought after Thursday 7th June 2012 don’t qualify. You MUST enter the code HAPPY-BIRTHDAY-MUM at checkout to get awarded your voucher; if you don’t do this we cannot give you the voucher afterwards. You must spend your voucher before 31st December 2012.
We’ve had our motorhome for a good few years now and been very happy with it, that’s why we’ve kept it so long. It’s nothing revolutionary though, just a Fiat Ducato chassis-cab with a 2.5 turbo-diesel motor and 5 berth bodywork by Hymer of Germany. Simple, good quality, (mostly) solid and reliable, and a vehicle I have no hesitation recommending to any couple wishing to tour in comfort and convenience anywhere in UK or Europe with a single child (or indeed to anybody looking for a motorsport support & tow vehicle, another role our motorhome has performed brilliantly for very many long and extremely enjoyable weekends).
The problem of course is that as time has passed, so our needs have changed. Where “5 berths” once meant a double bed and a single bed permanently made up with sheets and duvets always fitted, and a fixed dining table for 4, it now means either quite a lot more twice-daily shuffling internally and/or somebody sleeping outside in either our Omnistor safari room or a pup-tent, possibly both. And that’s before factoring in our third child born a week ago, plus 40kg of highly-enthusiastic German Shepherd working dog who joined our family a couple of years back.
The inevitable conclusion is that our faithful Fiat/Hymer motorhome has been stretched about as far as is possible, and the time has come to expand into something bigger. The question is simple: what to get? Torquey though our 2.5 Iveco turbo-diesel motor is, I don’t fancy towing a caravan behind a campervan! This realisation does at least help focus the question a little though: what motorhome to have next?
We’re in the fortunate position of being ‘in the trade’ and speaking with numerous motorhome-owning customers every day. Better yet, we’re often speaking with our customers about what needs to be improved, or fixed, on their own motorhomes following an extended period of real-world use (i.e. travelling and living). So we have a very good idea of what works well, and what doesn’t. And of course when we go to the various motorhome and camping shows every year, we get to see more new and customised vehicles than you can shake a stick at. Literally!
So we do at least have a fairly good idea of our ‘must have’ requirements (i.e. anything that doesn’t meet all of these requirements has no chance of being selected):
- 4 fixed berths (1 double and 2 singles) minimum
- Fixed dining/lounging area for 6
- 2 occasional berths (preferably 2 singles)
- Fixed travel seating for 4 (minimum) in driving cab, with lap & diagonal belts
- Occasional travel seating for 4 in living area, also with lap & diagonal belts
- Standard, unmodified diesel engine (definitely not petrol with LPG conversion!)
- Base vehicle designed for long-haul driving, not local deliveries (I want to be fresh after an 8 hour drive!)
And a fair few ‘should have’ items as well (i.e. our ideal motorhome will have most or all of these features):
- Rear wheel drive (pref with diff-lock to further reduce risk of getting stuck when towing off-tarmac)
- Left hand drive
- Adequate working surface in kitchen that doesn’t interfere with seating/dining space
- Large cupboard space
- Dishwasher & washing machine
- Oven, grill & large fridge-freezer
- Minimum 5 days & nights independence from mains-electric supply
- Good size externally accessible garage
- Cab able to be securely locked-off from living accommodation, both for dealer servicing and somewhere for dog to sleep
And we’ve even defined some ‘nice to have’ requirements too (i.e. in the unlikely event that more than one motorhome meets all the above, these will be the deciders):
- All wheel drive, either 4×4 or 6×6 (we’ll eventually be heading into Africa, India and beyond)
- Substantial fuel & water autonomy
- On-board generator
- Large garage, 2+ cubic metres
On interior finish, we have no interest in the “ostentatious luxury for the sake of it” style of some motorhome manufacturers, and would prefer something that is simple, easy to clean and above all durable. We really don’t want beautifully polished wood, that will simply add cost at the outset and eventually wind up scratched, scared and looking tatty anyway. Such are the needs of a typical family, travelling and camping with active children of various ages and a big working dog.
The problem then comes because we’re struggling to find a motorhome (at least in the sense that most people use the word!) that meets even the ‘must have’ requirements, let alone anything more, mostly because of our desire to have the whole family in the cab so we can easily talk on long journeys, and because we don’t want to be forever making beds up and breaking them down again.
There are some Ducato-based vehicles that can meet our sleeping/eating needs by virtue of a tag-axle and long body, but their traction is woefully inadequate when trying to move across wet grass with a car-trailer on the back (I’ve got our current motorhome stuck crossing a mate’s field to camp there even without the trailer), they don’t have sufficient in-cab seating, and they’re not really relaxing long-haul vehicles (being built on a base vehicle that was originally designed for comparatively local journeys).
With some of the US imports it’s arguable that everybody sits ‘in the cab’ when travelling, and they’re certainly comfortable on the long-haul, but even if they nominally have sufficient berths too, the American propensity to waste space for the sake of it means that they’re not fixed berths and need to be constantly made up and broken down, which rules them out for us. Many US RVs brought into UK also have petrol engines with LPG conversions, and while I won’t go into the technicalities here that is definitely *NOT* a reliable or durable solution, and will most likely end up costing more in the long-run when it breaks than simply running on petrol would.
All of which points towards a European truck base (as opposed to van base) for our ideal motorhome. Many trucks are designed for long-haul rather than local distribution, and unlike the US market the EU ones are designed with an eye on fuel economy too. They’re obviously not front wheel drive and are thus unlikely to suffer traction problems towing across a wet field. And with an extended/crew cab there’s even space for our children to join us up front, and enjoy the scenery as we drive. I’m perfectly happy to take a LGV test to drive the thing if necessary, no problems.
The only problem then is that the biggest truck chassis I can see in use for motorhome construction in Europe is the MAN TGL 8.210, which being plated at 7.5 tons is still small enough to drive on a car license (not that I care) but even then it’s seemingly only built as a motorhome with the basic day cab (meaning there’s only one row of seats – why???), and the very few motorhome manufacturers using that chassis appear to major on the “ostentatious luxury for the sake of it” style of interior that we’re keen to avoid.
The inevitable conclusion then is that it looks like we’re heading towards a self build motorhome here, but if you know otherwise do please share your thoughts either as a comment here or by email. And if you know anybody else that may be able to help us in our search for our dream motorhome, please share this post with them using your preferred social media mechanisms.
The Motorhome Caravan & Camping Show will run from Tuesday 14 to Sunday 19 February 2012 inclusive in London at ExCeL, Royal Victoria Dock, London, E16 1XL.
Located in the North and South halls of ExCeL, the opening Times on Tuesday through Saturday are 10.00am to 6.00pm, closing earlier at 5:00pm on Sunday, presumably to give the exhibitors and organisers a chance to pack up and get home.
Tickets start from £7.00 in advance (plus a transaction fee!) and include a show guide. Group tickets are also available. Kids go free although, having been to ExCeL many times before, I’m struggling to imagine mine enjoying a day out there!
Car parking is included in your ticket cost, although only if you buy tickets in advance (which is cheaper too). However, there will not be a temporary campsite facility at the show, presumably because space is at a premium in London. The ExCeL venue was designed with disabled visitors in mind, so if you have limited mobility don’t let that put you off. And if you are in a wheelchair, needing a carer, then another adult can get in with you for free.
To learn all the detail on the ExCeL Docklands venue itself, opening times, ticket prices, car parking, nearby campsites etc go to the organisers’ website:
According to the organisers, the Motorhome, Caravan & Camping Show will be the only place in the spring where the major motorhome and caravan manufacturers and dealers will be displaying their latest season’s models.
Hundreds of caravans will be on display – from entry-level family tourers through to luxurious 6-berth fifth wheelers. There will also be hundreds of new motorhomes, from compact 2-berth campervans through to luxurious (and expensive) 6-berth American coach-builts, on display across both the North and South halls.
Visitors will be able to compare all the new model layouts, interiors, specifications and innovations. Whatever your requirements, the exhibitors clearly hope that you’ll find the perfect motorhome or caravan for you at the show.
Caravan manufacturers exhibiting include: Adria; Airstream; Bailey (Orion, Olympus, Pegasus, Unicorn); Carlight; Coachman (Amara, Pastiche, Laser and VIP); Elddis (Xplore, Crusader, Avante, Odyssey); Eterniti Caravans; Lunar (Ariva/Quasar, Stellar/Lexon, Clubman/Delta); Stealth; Swift Group (Swift, Sterling, Sprite).
While camper-van and motor home exhibitors, both manufacturers and converters, include: Adria; Auto Campers; Auto Trail; Bailey, Bentley Motorhomes; Bilbo’s, Chausson; CI; Concept Multi-Car; Elddis; G & P Campers; Murvi; Romahome; Swift Group; Timberland; Vantage Motorhomes; Wheelhome; Wildax.
To see the full list, because that really is only a sample, go to the show’s website:
Close to our hearts there will be thousands of motorhome and caravan accessories, all aimed to make your time in the outdoors more enjoyable, on offer throughout the show. From the latest range of caravan awnings and motorhome porches to satellite systems, caravan movers, covers, cleaning products and security devices.
Of particular interest to caravan owners, all the latest awning and porch ranges will be available from leading brands including Isabella, Bradcott, Hillview and many more. For motorhome owners, while Omnistor doesn’t appear to have an official presence at the show, we’re always happy to sell you an Omnistor awning if you’re in the market for one.
So don’t miss the opportunity to pick up a bargain at the show’s Accessory Megastores where you will find sleeping bags, water carriers, outdoor furniture, tableware, BBQs, toilet chemicals and much more …including many show-special offers.
To learn more about what’s on offer, before committing yourself to a trek into London, just visit the official website:
And if you can’t face London, buy online at the Camping Equipment Shop instead
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The prices for all Omnistor products will soon be increasing for 2012. It’s not as bad as it could be, thanks to the Pound being strong against the Euro, but we know prices from the Omnistor factory in Belgium are still going up, which will of course affect us here in UK too.
Something else to be aware of is that Thule, who owns Omnistor, has decided to stamp its identity more firmly on the brand in 2012. This not only means that such household names as the Omnistor Omni-step may suddenly become the Thule Omnistep, but also that the vast majority of product codes will be changing too.
This is a huge pain for anybody like us who runs a website where the products are identified by their product codes, but it’s also a huge opportunity for you, our customers…
The really good news is that our primary supplier for Omnistor products, the main UK wholesale-only importer, has agreed to continue selling us Omnistor products under the old product codes and at the old prices while their stocks last. So, for a while at least, this means we can sell them to you at the old price too. As long as either we or they have stock of the genuine Omnistor product under the 2011 product code you can still grab it at the 2011 price.
Don’t miss your opportunity, order now before stock runs out and the price goes up.
If you wish to alert others to this opportunity by sharing this blog post with them, please use the social media sharing icons below…
We sell a lot of Omnisteps: slide-out, single step and double step; 12v and manual. It’s a great product: good quality and with a long service life. The Omnistor Omni-step is a fast-moving product for us, and the good news is that it’s very easy to fit, even the 12v double Omnistep (a favourite on taller motorhomes) and versatile 12v slide-out Omni-step (a favourite on van conversions). It almost always works straight out of the box too, with substantially less than 1 in every 100 we sell getting returned.
The most common cause of problems with the Omnistep is poor installation: it really is as simple as that! As with anything else, if you’re not either qualified or sufficiently experienced enough to do the job yourself, then it’s worth getting somebody who is to do it for you.
But suppose you’ve already fitted an Omnistep to your motorhome and it doesn’t work? What do you do now? How can we help you with basic troubleshooting? I’ll share our most common Q & A with you:
Question: “My Omnistep is extended and it won’t retract.”
Camping Equipment Shop: “The two most likely reasons why the Omnistep won’t retract are:
1) The first most probable reason is a blown fuse. In this case the solution would be replacing the fuse and hopefully it will solve the problem. You can buy replacement fuses from your local motor-factors.
2) If replacing the fuse doesn’t solve the problem (or if it continues to blow) another possible option is to check the switch. Although these don’t often fail, it’s far more common than the Omnistep itself which often lasts 10+ years.
If the switch is faulty and you’ve only recently bought your Omnistep from us we’ll send you another switch immediately so you can replace the faulty one the next day. If you’ve had your Omnistep somewhat longer and the switch fails, then we can sell you a replacement Omnistep interior switch.
It’s worth noting that the vast majority of people who buy a replacement Omnistep from us do so because they drove off with their existing motorhome step extended, not because of a problem retracting it beyond (by their own admission) the simple fact that they forgot to do so. This failure, on the part of the motorhome driver, most definitely isn’t covered under warranty so please don’t post the mangled remains of your old motorhome step back to us!
Fortunately there are two easy ways to prevent this problem:
- Every new Omnistep is supplied with a switch for wiring to a warning light and/or buzzer on your motorhome’s dashboard. Hopefully the combination of a bright light and a loud noise will alert the driver to the imminent damage in time to prevent it;
- For those who like everything to be automated though, Omnistor also produce an Omni-step Safety Relay which automatically retracts the step if the motorhome’s engine is started with it extended. UPDATE: An ignition-controlled auto-retract step safety relay is also available for Project 2000 Electric Steps as Project 2000 Safety Relay and Mapa Tecno Electric Steps as Techno Steps Safety Relay.
If you’d like to add any advice to help others, or share your experiences with motorhome and/or caravan step, please use the comment link to do so. And if you’d like to share this post with others, please use the social media icons.