Nick’s News – Nick Harding is an expert in all things motorhomes, caravans and camping. Each week, Nick explores products, locations, holiday ideas and essential community information on our behalf – It’s a Hard-ing Life for Nick, but here is what he found this week.
Is it me or is the weather turning a bit colder? We seem to have had milder weather than I can ever remember in December, so I’m actually not that worried about a cold snap – we need it, after all.
If the calm and balm has lulled you into a false sense of security, don’t forget to check your leisure vehicle’s water system. You don’t want to be caught off guard and have any frozen water damage. Better still, all other conditions allowing, why not head out for a January break?
January for a bit of Bristol Slapstick
If all goes to plan this year, I reckon I already have a full calendar of monthly events lined up. First off, if ever an event was well-timed to see off the winter blues, it has to be Bristol’s Slapstick Festival.
Celebrating silent comedy greats like Chaplin, Keaton, and Laurel and Hardy, as well as their contemporaries, it’s a right good laughing mix-up of film, lectures and live acts.
In a nutshell: Silents are golden
Handy campsite? If it’s not already booked up, try for the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Baltic Wharf site, just under a mile’s walk (or book a boat ride) to the Watershed, centre of all the Slapstick action.
More at: www.slapstick.org.uk
In the news
My way or the Highway Code way – time to go Dutch?
A handful of changes to the Highway Code are expected to be confirmed by the end of the month. In particular, there’s now a hierarchy of road users, designed to make folk aware of those more vulnerable than themselves out on the road.
I know as leisure vehicle owners we are already among the safest drivers in the country, but it’s the notion of being more aware of the likes of cyclists, horse riders and others that appeals.
Most of the updates are common sense, like leaving more space when you’re overtaking, but there’s one that does cause intrigue. It’s the suggestion that you use the Dutch reach method of opening a vehicle door from the inside by using the hand that’s furthest from the door.
It means you twist your whole body, getting a better view of what might be coming up behind you as you do the opening and exiting. It’s definitely one of those that works better in practice rather than my attempt to describe it to you in words.
Motorhome for me?
Swift Select Compact C500 – compromise? What compromise?
I may be biased, but I do lean towards more diminutive motorhomes. It might be a newcomer to Swift’s Select range (previously all van conversions) but it’s the Compact tag that tells you the C500 is a smaller-scale coachbuilt body behind that latest Fiat Ducato cab.
There’s a new-for-2022 range of engine options too. In standard trim, the Compact C500 comes with a 2.2-litre, 120bhp unit, with options to upgrade to 140bhp as well as automatic transmission.
However, at 6.65m it’s considerably longer than what I would normally call a compact coachbuilt (I’d argue for anything up to 6m). The 2.26m width is a tad more than you might expect too.
It’s a four berth for travel, with sleeping arrangements for two. Its end lounge offers decent length single beds or a double, while there are no surprises in the well-equipped kitchen and washroom. Plus, the front lounge provides the extra two travel berths.
Of course, it’s been unable to escape from the latest price rises imposed by Fiat for its base vehicles. Nevertheless, starting at a £490 smidge over £60,000 marks it out as good value.
Three good: New model keeps the dimensions trimmed, 3,300kg with decent payload and potentially good value
Two bad: Standard 120bhp engine and it might not sparkle enough
Perfect for… Two on tour and four for daily travels
Also consider: Auto-Trail Expedition C72, Elddis Accordo 120 or McLouis Fusion 330
Goods to go, 2022
Are you looking for early season product ideas? Then start right here with a Snuggy. It’s an oversized hoodie in soft flannel fleece that will keep you cosy through the winter months, and no doubt beyond. Adult versions are on sale at £59.99 as I type, with kids’ and even baby variants also available.
How about significantly upping the security on your motorhome with the BC Lock from Milenco? It’s a brightly coloured (ie highly visual) lock that fits around the pedals of most Fiat Ducato base vehicles (also the Peugeot Boxer and Citroen Relay alternatives).
There are also variants for selected Ford Transits and Mercedes Sprinters. The typical price is around £85, but fit one and you may even be eligible for a saving on your annual insurance premium.
Also, if your caravan or motorhome has a C200 Thetford loo, perhaps it’s the ideal time to consider a Fresh-Up Set? It includes a new cassette holding tank and folding seat and is the ideal way to, er, freshen up your C200 toilet without going to the far bigger expense of buying a whole new unit. The typical price is around the £100 mark.
Hope this helps make you good to go for 2022! OK, yes, the pun was fully intended…