Rob GanleySee other Blog articles filed in ‘Editor's Blog’ written by Rob Ganley
The enduring appeal of a campervan, for me, is that you can just jump in it and go – anywhere – without needing much of a plan. It's perfect for fuss-free touring, when you want to spend no more than a night or two on each campsite. When I want to stay on one site for a bit longer, I take my free-standing, drive-away awning, which reserves my pitch and holds some of the clobber when I'm off exploring.
There are plenty of van conversions to choose from at the Motorhome and Caravan Show at the NEC today. I like the innovative and eye-catching Chameleon, the little 'van with a slide-out rear lounge/double bed. Click here for our full news story. It is luxurious inside, but I am still choking a bit at the price-tag of £58,000! (Hall 9, Stand 9.)
More down-to-earth is Wigan-based family firm Nu-Venture's Nu Rio. People have been queueing up this week to look inside this handy-sized 18'6" long, 8'4" high, 8'5" wide Citroen-based campervan. It has a rear door, and a 2-litre HDI 120TD engine, with a 600kg payload, at £34,995 OTR. (Hall 10, Stand 23.)
After that, at just under £30,000, Romahome's new-look R20 seems a bargain. Inside, there's the choice of two 6' single beds or one double at 6' x 4'9". It has a basic sink, a two-ring burner, no-frills GRP-moulded furniture and a little fridge. It's small enough to drive like a car, being just 16'1" long, 7'6" high. It does 52mpg (combined) with its 1.6hdi engine. There are plenty of extra cost-options you can select, to make it more luxurious, including Heki rooflights, Eberspacher heating, cab air-con, a dedicated toilet, L-shaped lounge, an extra seatbelt in the back, rear stabilisers and paint protection. Romahome is based on the Isle of Wight and you can see its campers in Hall 10, Stand 45.
I nearly fell over when I saw the bargain motorhome hire price offered at the show by WildAx. The firm is offering hire of its 2010 'vans from £350 per week. There's also a chance to 'try before you buy' – and the new WildAx van conversions are for sale at around £30,000 OTR. Hall 10, Stand 67.
It's also good to see Wheelhome's award-winning micro-camper, the Skamper, and the even smaller Vikenze that I test-drove for my Offa's Dyke Grand Tour earlier this year. Vikenze is ideal if you want a car-sized camper with amazing fuel economy, that you can spend weekends away in – it's perfect for single people (Hall 10, Stand 69). Click here for our full review.
I also love the build-finish on Godstone, Surrey-based Bilbo's Design campervans, along with the powerful drive offered by that VW van's six-speed engine. If you're looking at van conversions, take a look at Bilbo's Lezan and Celex models. (Hall 10, Stand 47).
VW campervans are on offer from Danbury Motorcaravans of Bristol. Check out the new VW Caddy, launched at this show. Danbury also makes old-style VW T2 campers built on new vehicles, and VW T5 'vans, plus campers built on the Fiat Doblo and Fiat Scudo base vehicles. (Hall 11, Stand 40)
Finally, don't forget to come and see us at the Practical Motorhome stand - Hall 20, Stand 36. Enter a competition for free, buy a recent issue at the bargain show price, or sign up for a subscription, complete with special subscription gifts!
Kate Taylor, Practical Motorhome