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IS IT ME OR JUST THE TIME OF YEAR

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calibeach76

VIP Member
Messages
122
Location
shropshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Forgive me Father for I have sinned...

I have recently found myself looking at "Big Whites" again... I've owned several motorhomes previously, ranging from panel van conversions from Auto Sleepers through to an A Class Dethleffs. However, as much as I love the Cali and trust me I really do love her (wife can vouch for that..!) I am struggling with the lack of year round useability especially with a 2 and 4 year old. Using her in the sunnier months all is well but in the off seasons we are struggling. Now we don't have a diesel heater so we are massively hampered by needing pitches with hook up which IMHO defeats the object of a Cali. I have spoken with planar Pete among others and know for less than £2k this can be sorted but I am looking at some lovely motorhomes around £50-£60k thinking should I stick or should I twist...? Thoughts and therapy please... Am I missing something? If I stick I need to us the Cali year round to justify as this is a 4th vehicle for us not a daily driver.
 
356DNA

356DNA

VIP Member
Messages
20
Location
Sunny / Snowy Scotland
Vehicle
T5 SE 130

Get the aux heater working / fitted. Problem solved.
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
14,569
Location
Cowbridge
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Forgive me Father for I have sinned...

I have recently found myself looking at "Big Whites" again... I've owned several motorhomes previously, ranging from panel van conversions from Auto Sleepers through to an A Class Dethleffs. However, as much as I love the Cali and trust me I really do love her (wife can vouch for that..!) I am struggling with the lack of year round useability especially with a 2 and 4 year old. Using her in the sunnier months all is well but in the off seasons we are struggling. Now we don't have a diesel heater so we are massively hampered by needing pitches with hook up which IMHO defeats the object of a Cali. I have spoken with planar Pete among others and know for less than £2k this can be sorted but I am looking at some lovely motorhomes around £50-£60k thinking should I stick or should I twist...? Thoughts and therapy please... Am I missing something? If I stick I need to us the Cali year round to justify as this is a 4th vehicle for us not a daily driver.
Get the Parking Heater and be FREE.
 
BeagleMum

BeagleMum

VIP Member
Messages
354
Location
Wirral
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Forgive me Father for I have sinned...

I have recently found myself looking at "Big Whites" again... I've owned several motorhomes previously, ranging from panel van conversions from Auto Sleepers through to an A Class Dethleffs. However, as much as I love the Cali and trust me I really do love her (wife can vouch for that..!) I am struggling with the lack of year round useability especially with a 2 and 4 year old. Using her in the sunnier months all is well but in the off seasons we are struggling. Now we don't have a diesel heater so we are massively hampered by needing pitches with hook up which IMHO defeats the object of a Cali. I have spoken with planar Pete among others and know for less than £2k this can be sorted but I am looking at some lovely motorhomes around £50-£60k thinking should I stick or should I twist...? Thoughts and therapy please... Am I missing something? If I stick I need to us the Cali year round to justify as this is a 4th vehicle for us not a daily driver.
We have a Beach with a heater no children but 2 dogs who take up space! The heater is great, even if it’s not needed it’s reassuring to know it’s there.
For us we are willing to make other compromises because of the ease of parking & being less obtrusive. Definitely Cali over Big Whites for us, but it’s very much a personal choice / need.
 
clarinetbcn

clarinetbcn

T5.1 Beach 140
VIP Member
Messages
626
Location
Barcelona, Spain
Vehicle
T5 Beach
I use my Beach intensively year round, 30,000km a year. It gets heavy use through the winter for ski tour outings, spring and fall my mountain bike gets a constant workout, and in the summer my boots, crampons and ice ax have me more often above 3000m than below. I never would have considered buying a Beach without a heater. Have one installed, and you will discover the real reason these vehicles exist: freedom. Without one you are living Van life in black and white...you need to break through into full color. I occasionally touch down at a campground to wash clothes and restock, but the total freedom to go anywhere is what this is really about, and you can do that year round with a heater.

Edit: the Beach is my only vehicle. I never use it in the city, go everywhere by bike.
 
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sapto

sapto

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Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,677
Location
Central Switzerland
Vehicle
T5 SE 130
All said above, I do understand you. Totally. We (fam of three with a 2 years old) are lucky to have a heater and did wintercamping on campings and solo camping on parkings "next to the slope". Now go on and get that heater, sell another car and you can manage the extra money?
Happy camping - even in Winter!
 
CannonDale

CannonDale

VIP Member
Messages
421
Location
Lymington
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Forgive me Father for I have sinned...

I have recently found myself looking at "Big Whites" again... I've owned several motorhomes previously, ranging from panel van conversions from Auto Sleepers through to an A Class Dethleffs. However, as much as I love the Cali and trust me I really do love her (wife can vouch for that..!) I am struggling with the lack of year round useability especially with a 2 and 4 year old. Using her in the sunnier months all is well but in the off seasons we are struggling. Now we don't have a diesel heater so we are massively hampered by needing pitches with hook up which IMHO defeats the object of a Cali. I have spoken with planar Pete among others and know for less than £2k this can be sorted but I am looking at some lovely motorhomes around £50-£60k thinking should I stick or should I twist...? Thoughts and therapy please... Am I missing something? If I stick I need to us the Cali year round to justify as this is a 4th vehicle for us not a daily driver.
My heater is being fitted by Planar Pete in a couple of weeks time, can’t wait.
 
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calibeach76

VIP Member
Messages
122
Location
shropshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
All said above, I do understand you. Totally. We (fam of three with a 2 years old) are lucky to have a heater and did wintercamping on campings and solo camping on parkings "next to the slope". Now go on and get that heater, sell another car and you can manage the extra money?
Happy camping - even in Winter!
I think I need to sell another vehicle because I've got too bloody many! in all seriousness it isn't the cost to get it done it's whether it is worth it and will transform our experience v moving back to a big white. I would add we mainly use our vans (of whatever variety in Europe not in uk) so we have never experienced an issue with the size of a big white as European countries tend to be more RV friendly. V grateful as always for all views!
 
Keith Smith

Keith Smith

Messages
460
Location
Shrewsbury
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
If you are not going to use it as a daily driver, have somewhere to keep it, and will use it mostly on the continent I'd get something bigger.
 
Borris

Borris

Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
3,550
Location
Canterbury
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
The parking heater is a real game changer. However even with it, camping in bad weather especially during winter isn't much fun. The only difference being that you can be warm and depressed. IMO if it's not nice outside then your probably better off staying at home. Having a great white won't improve that perspective either.

You would be better off having the parking heater fitted. It will be the cheapest option by far and it will give your Beach a 365 day a year capability. Also, you can go anywhere in a Beach!
 
C

calibeach76

VIP Member
Messages
122
Location
shropshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
If you are not going to use it as a daily driver, have somewhere to keep it, and will use it mostly on the continent I'd get something bigger.
And that in a nutshell has been the basis of our discussions. We have plenty of room so storage no issue. I suppose the issue is thus. We love to wild camp, love French passion stop overs etc and while the Cali is nimble it isn't self contained not even in ocean format as you've no shower or loo other than say a porta potti. So yes you can wild camp for the odd night but ultimately after a couple of days you need to shower and when it comes to ablutions sitting in the middle of a van lacks privacy and dignity.. On the flip side a big white offers a proper on board bathroom, loo, hot water, fixed comfortable beds and SPACE. Perhaps I've already answered my own question but there's a massive part of both of us that wants the Cali to work and for us not to give up on it..
 
sbmcd

sbmcd

VIP Member
Messages
719
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
Forgive me Father for I have sinned...

I have recently found myself looking at "Big Whites" again... I've owned several motorhomes previously, ranging from panel van conversions from Auto Sleepers through to an A Class Dethleffs. However, as much as I love the Cali and trust me I really do love her (wife can vouch for that..!) I am struggling with the lack of year round useability especially with a 2 and 4 year old. Using her in the sunnier months all is well but in the off seasons we are struggling. Now we don't have a diesel heater so we are massively hampered by needing pitches with hook up which IMHO defeats the object of a Cali. I have spoken with planar Pete among others and know for less than £2k this can be sorted but I am looking at some lovely motorhomes around £50-£60k thinking should I stick or should I twist...? Thoughts and therapy please... Am I missing something? If I stick I need to us the Cali year round to justify as this is a 4th vehicle for us not a daily driver.
Parking heater is a must but I can understand you dilemma. I normally use our California with my wife and two of us can live in that very small space easily, but last week I took two granddaughters and myself skiing to Glencoe, when you have to use upper and lower beds the limitations are obvious. The girls slept up top but with all the ski gear space in the lower bed area was limited and turning the van round for sleeping a logistical challenge. I firmly believe unless it summer and you carry little gear the California is a two person vehicle.
 
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calibeach76

VIP Member
Messages
122
Location
shropshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
That's pretty much what we found also. In summer we toured through France and were exceptionally lucky with the weather which meant we could put the girls to bed downstairs and we would spend our evenings outside cooking, eating and drinking until bedtime. We have been away for several weekend trips over the winter months and being couped up in such a small space makes life very tricky. At bedtime we have settled our girls upstairs but sitting downstairs and trying to eat, ablute etc isn't ideal and also inevitably we wake the kids with any associated noise putting the downstairs bed together too..
 
A

AndyB57

Messages
11
Interestingly we are about to go the other way! Our first van was a T5 conversion which we absolutely LOVED and went everywhere in it (admittedly just 2 of us and the dog) but then we decided, like you, that something bigger would give us a bit more space and have onboard facilities, so we sold the T5 and bought a Globecar PVC (panel van conversion) which we thought was the answer.

And initially we enjoyed all of the above but because of squeezing a fixed bed and a washroom and a bigger kitchen into a van only 1 metre longer that a Cali we still struggled with space so we then traded this in for a Big White - this time an Adria Coral. Lovely van, loads of space great facilities on board, very comfortable... and VERY big for driving on small roads, into villages, visiting Cornwall etc. to the point that more often than we now take the car with us too and leave the van pitched up on site and travel about in the car!

So we’ve come to the conclusion that we were actually happiest when we had the original T5 - we could keep it on the drive, pretty much ”mission ready“ and go off whenever and, more importantly, wherever we wanted. Parking was never a problem, a bit of stealth camping here and there went unnoticed and we regularly used it as a day van when we went walking with the dog. An awning gave us additional space when required and the diesel heater kept us toasty warm even in the depths of an English summer.

So next month we will be selling our motorhome and looking to buy an Ocean (need the onboard kitchen) and will love having the flexibility and freedom again.There is no such thing as the perfect van (until TARDIS technology comes to town) but before you part with your Beach I’d certainly think carefully about what you really from a van. As others have suggested, fitting a heater would certainly help with going away in 4 seasons and I’d definitely recommend hiring a motorhome before making any rash decisions.

Hope that helps and good luck!
 
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calibeach76

VIP Member
Messages
122
Location
shropshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
Hi Andy I totally agree there is no such thing as a perfect van it is what suits you best for how you use it. We have previously had a large A class Dethleffs and a Hymer so are aware of the size compromise. However, unlike you we don't really do the UK other than weekends away. We take all our prolonged holidays in Europe and I think that is fundamentally the issue 're suitability and trade off of size/ manouvering. If we did holiday largely in the UK I probably wouldn't go bigger than a campervan or PVC due to the UK being poorly geared up to accommodate motorhomes in general.
 
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AndyB57

Messages
11
Yes, totally agree about the UK and accommodating larger motorhomes! Those wiser folk on the continent are certainly more geared up for it than we are.

At least you’ve got the experience of previously having had a motorhome so you can make an informed decision. Not an easy one though. Have both perhaps?
 
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calibeach76

VIP Member
Messages
122
Location
shropshire
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
I agree it isn't easy at all. Off to Travelworld on Monday to look at another Hymer... could get expensive!

Have both? I've already one divorce behind me, don't wish for another!
 
Team Ronnie

Team Ronnie

VIP Member
Messages
8
Location
Surrey
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
We are newbies .We decided that we wanted a motorhome.we looked at lots and I said no way did I want a campervan as no loo ! Our son got us a gift to try a motorhome for a long weekend.The narrow Roads , Hassle parking ,and somewhere to park it when not using it made us realise that we should look at a campervan .So we hired one for a week .we were presently surprised
It was a case of compromise and you have to decide what suits your family .We decided on the california ocean .There is just the two us and a small dog .
We love it, so far we have several trips plans for this year including 2weeks in wales and 2 weeks in France .The 2 weeks in France we will have our granddaughter for a few nights so that will change the dynamics!
It was good to try before you buy .
Good luck
 
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