Packing the essentials and payload

If you’re a hard-core boy/girl scout, you may be happy with one mug, one plate and a Swiss army knife. Most of us though like a little more luxury; it is a motor HOME after all.

Let’s assume that everyone knows how to pack their clothes and their toiletries. All we would add is don’t over-pack. You’ll be surprised how little you need for a few days away. And, as we always say to our teenage daughter, "it’s not a fashion parade!"

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Again, with food, we are not going to tell you what and how to eat. Our only tip is to not be too set with your dinner plans. One of the joys of touring is finding quality local produce to cook in the van that night. And that’s before you catch the waft of a full English or Sunday roast as you pass the local pub.

You don’t want to be throwing food away and we tend to have plenty of cupboard food with a long shelf life at the ready, just in case.

In all other departments, it’s about finding more ways to make your motorhoming life as easy as possible.

Here’s a very simple (but far from definitive) checklist:

 

Simple kit checklist
1. Kitchen equipment including pots, pans, cutlery, crockery, plastic glasses, sharp knives and scissors, colander
2. Road safety equipment – warning triangles, hi-visibility vests, jacks etc.
3. Maps/GPS
4. External equipment – Water hose, electrical cable, adapters for hooking up to mains electricity and levelling blocks
5. Gas bottles
6. Cleaning equipment – dustpan & brush
7. Washing up bowl/liquids, sponges, tea-towels
8. Basic ‘drawer’ stuff! Mini-torch, gaffer-tape, string, adjustable spanner, strong glue, spirit level (for levelling)
9. Entertainment - Books, games, tablets, speakers and TV

 

When it comes to cooking utensils and pans, we recommend you invest in a few bits that will live in the van. Transporting bottle openers and potato peelers back and forth from your home kitchen drawers is a pain and confusing. Best that those bits are stowed in the van, ready for an impulsive weekend away. The same goes for plates and mugs.

There is a wide range of plastic plates, bowls, mugs and drinking glasses available to buy at the Prima Leisure stores at various Caravan and Motorhome Club sites as well as online.

Payload

There is also a practical reason for travelling as light as possible, your motorhome’s payload.

It’s easy to overload a motorhome and yet driving an overladen vehicle is dangerous and illegal. You must stay safe and within the law.

Working out your payload

Your payload is the difference between the maximum weight (MTPLM) of your motorhome and what it actually weighs (MRO*) before you’ve added all your kit and accessories.

Subtract the latter from the former and you have your payload. This is the maximum weight you can add to your motorhome.

 

Example

MTPLM = 3500kg

MRO = 2850kg

3500kg – 2850kg = Payload of 650kg

ItemWeight
Clothes and toiletries 20kg
Food 10kg
Pots and Pans 5kg
Crockery etc 5kg
Total 40kg

 

In this example you've used 40kg of your 650kg payload and have 610kg left if you want to put more in the motorhome. 

*The MRO is the weight of the vehicle plus included kit as it is when it leaves the factory. Further details can be found in the user handbook.

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Don't forget to allow for the weight of passengers, water (some manufacturers allow this in their calculations and some don't), fuel, spare gas bottles etc. which are all easy items to overlook. 

Then you need to consider the weight of all the options you have added, such as cycle rack, air-con unit etc. Then add in the weight of all your touring items (levelling blocks, awning, sports equipment, portable fridge, barbeques etc.).

While you can weight each item, you can get a rough idea of your weight by using an online weighing calculator. But the most accurate method is to get the motorhome weighed with all your touring kit on board. For this you'll need to visit a DVSA approved weighbridge.

Before you set off

Whatever you have packed, make sure it is secure. Use towels, soft clothing and tea towels to stop items rattling in transit. Cupboard doors and windows must be locked shut.

Finding the right route

Driving a decent sized motorhome can present a challenge to find the best route to your campsite.

Route planning is another consideration. Satnavs are great for finding your way to a town or general area, but if your chosen campsite suggests a particular route then go with that, even if it doesn’t match what the satnav is telling you.

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If you follow a satnav’s postcode facility in rural districts, you could find yourself miles off course. A decent old school A-Z road map is definitely worth investing in as well, to cover those moments when you lose your 4G signal.

The Overnighters