Cartwright Chronicles, Features

Christmas gifts for the motorhome owners in your life

Dan Cartwright has over 12 years of experience in the caravan and motorhome industry. He is a judge for a number of prestigious leisure vehicle awards and regularly heads off in his motorhome with his family. Every week, Dan shares his insights with the community. Here’s what he has to say this week.

Last week, I talked about some of the best caravan gifts you could give your loved ones this Christmas. Today, the focus is switching to motorhomes.

The majority of these could be described as practical gifts, but what’s not to love about efficiency? So, without further ado, here are my top suggestions for the motorhome owners in your life this festive season.

Wheel chocks

Many readers will have wheel chocks already, but if you don’t, it’s time to consider them. For some reason, lots of people think it’s not worth the hassle to level your motorhome, but even the slightest slope will ruin your night’s sleep and leave your shower and sinks unable to drain properly

Plus, it takes about two minutes to level your motorhome with wheel chocks. You can buy these, alongside a three-way spirit level, for around £25. Purchase these once and sleep peacefully!

Steering wheel lock

This sounds like a safety device, but in reality, when you park and put it over your steering wheel, you can add a note with a reminder of all the things you need to check or disconnect before driving.

This prevents the inevitable setting off with delicate items on tables and surfaces, potentially causing damage to your motorhome. It’s a solid visual reminder to make those checks and you can pick one up for between £40 to £60.

Non-slip drawer liners

These are a motorhome godsend! Inevitably, your leisure vehicle will rattle as it travels over bumps and potholes. This means your furniture and personal belongings will move as well, but drawer liners eliminate a lot of the noise.

Don’t just buy them for drawers, though. I stick these in between every plate in the cupboard, the microwave and its dish, bowls and cups, and even the cooker and its top. I could go on for a long time…

These are cheap, so much more effective than towels and you can even stick one onto your dashboard to hold a map or personal device.

Motorhome tail tents

Tail tents can be put behind your motorhome and are big enough to store things like sports equipment or bikes. Most leisure vehicles are pre-installed with bike racks and at least half will put them to use – people love bringing their cycles on a touring holiday.

But if your bike isn’t on the motorhome, what do you do with it? Well, a small pop-up tent that can be constructed in five minutes means no lifting them up onto the roof. You can also padlock it shut, remove your gear from prying eyes and avoid leaning bikes against your motorhome or on the ground. Tail tents can range in price but should cost around £50 to £60.

Lithium-ion jump starter

Particularly on older models, or dare I say self-conversions, a lithium-ion jump starter is a great addition to your kit. Invariably, the connection between your alternator, cab battery and leisure batteries is a weak point.

I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been in a motorhome and one of these has failed in one way or another. In these vehicles, weight and space are a premium, so you wouldn’t want to bring an old-school car battery jump starter.

My new one is around 15 cm long, 7 cm wide and 4 cm deep. These dimensions make it around the size of a slightly larger portable charger, the kind you might use to power your mobile phone on the go. It comes in its own carry case and can start up to a 5-litre diesel engine. Mine cost £100, but have a shop around if you’re interested.

Motorhome sat navs

Some of the latest motorhome-specific devices allow you to enter the dimensions of your vehicle. The tech will trawl through data to ensure it not only avoids tight spaces, but low bridges as well. It will even show you where your motorhome is too large to park.

I’ve used these and I have to say, they’re exceptional. Although the traffic function isn’t quite as good as Google, having the height in there, particularly with the over-cab bed motorhomes, is a real help when touring. These range from £150 to £200.

Drawstring bags

These are no more than the type of old-school, drawstring bags that you might remember bringing your PE kit to school in. They collapse into nothing and are so cheap to buy. On top of that, they work out as roughly the same size as an overhead locker. As I mentioned before, space in a leisure vehicle is a luxury and unlike with a caravan – you don’t have a car!

I use drawstring bags to maximise storage space. I group certain items together in a bag, store them in an otherwise hard-to-reach place and make sure the string is easily accessible. This prevents me from looking for individual items and instead, I look for a whole collection at once.

For example, I have one with my hat, gloves, scarf and hand warmers. That’s my cold pack and it goes straight into a special cupboard that’s quite challenging to get to. Simply throw it in the motorhome, travel and once I remove the items from their bag, it folds up into a tiny space. Cheap, accessible and practical.

Shoe tent

There are plenty of leisure vehicle enthusiasts who simply love the outdoors and won’t be put off an adventure by bad weather or the risk of getting muddy. Sometimes, though, you don’t want to clean your boots, or they’re soaking wet and your garage is full of fresh bedding.

Fortunately, for between £20 to £30, you can pick up a quick and easy shoe tent, which packs down to a very small size. With that, just take your boots off, step up into your motorhome and relax knowing your boots will remain dry. Cold, yes, but dry!

Photo credit: Brett Sayles / Pexels