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.
There are quieter times now as we head into the winter months. It’s no reason to give up completely on the leisure vehicle life, however, as most models’ heating and insulation systems are good enough these days to brave even the coldest nights. And the right equipment helps, of course.
If you are packing up your caravan or motorhome not to use for the next few months, preparation is key…
In the news
Winter care – get a free guide
Is it time to put your leisure vehicle into rest mode for the winter? You’ll probably already know there are lots of different jobs to do to ensure a trouble-free hibernation. There’s plenty to consider, from a full drain down and looking after your leisure battery to ensuring essential alarm and tracking systems are kept ticking over.
Tyres, protection from the weather and properly closing down the gas system, as well as a systematic clear out of the interior contents are among the other factors.
So, you might find a free download from accessories retailer That Leisure Shop a great helping hand. It’s called Prepare Yours for Winter and it does what it says on the tin.
Heavy towing – time for a U-turn?
Perhaps it’s not quite a U-turn, but plans to allow anybody to tow anything, regardless of their driving experience, have been put on hold.
Regulations meaning folk would no longer need to take a B+E test to tow any car and caravan outfit weighing more than 3,500kg were proposed to come into effect on November 15th. It’s now a case of “as you were”, so hold on for more updates.
Motorhome for me?
Swift Monza – A Ford first for Swift
Old badge, new concept. Swift has announced its first campervan for over a decade and it’s coming with the Monza name on an elevating roof conversion of Ford’s people-carrying Tourneo Custom.
It’s Swift’s second foray into the campervan sector. Does anyone remember the rather short-lived, Fiat Scudo-based Autocruise Pulse?
I’ll admit £58,395 looks a keen price, especially bearing in mind the superior equipment levels of the base vehicle – including all manner of “driver experiences” like blind spot information, cross traffic alert and pre-collision.
The Tourneo comes as standard with 130bhp diesel engine and six-speed manual transmission. For now, Swift is offering power and automatic transmission upgrades. There’s also a choice of metallic exterior colours to complement the decidedly automotive black/grey interior look – magnetic grey, chrome blue, diffused silver and orange glow.
Despite the Ford’s two sliding doors, it’s a typical side furniture campervan formula, with the usual two-ring hob and sink combination, plus 42-litre compressor fridge. There’s also the option of a grill. Furniture finish is a choice of deep grey or cream.
It will sleep four, but there’s travel for up to five. There’s plenty of built-in versatility too, as that rear seat is on rails; there’s an outdoor shower attachment via the offside sliding door; 100-Watt solar panel; Eberspächer heating; fresh and waste water tanks; and an external gas point. A Dometic portable toilet is standard too.
Official launch date is February, so you have plenty of time to do your research before placing your order. As you can see, it’s not short of Ford-based campervan rivals…
Three good: Tourneo base vehicle spec, premium interior styling and five-seater capacity
Two bad: Same old campervan formula and questions over availability matching demand
Perfect for… The more adventurous
Also consider: Autohaus Ashton GT, Auto-Sleeper Air, Ford Nugget, Wellhouse Trento or Westfalia Kelsey
Christmas come early, 2021. Part four…
If you’re determined to get out and about through the winter months, a new jacket just might prove the ideal Christmas pressie. The Torrent Extreme from Snugpak retails for £216 and claims 50 per cent better insulation than the standard Torrent, as well as a comfort rating of -12 degrees C.
The timing’s not right for Christmas, but you really should check out the latest awnings range from Outwell, especially the Active models designed for smaller vehicles up to campervans based on Volkswagen’s Transporter.
Models here start with the Fieldcrest Canopy, going up to Beachcrest and Sandcrest full awnings for tailgate attaching, to more traditional side-fit, inflatable models like the Linnburg, Breamburg, Newburg and more. Prices span the £300-£1,000 spectrum. Ordering now should ensure you get yours for next spring, when the touring season starts up again.
As I write, Snooper still has a sale of its complete portfolio of sat navs, dash cams, reversing cameras and tyre pressure monitoring systems. It’s 20 per cent off if you order online or via your phone. For example, the Ventura SC5900 DVR G2 sat nav with dash cam for motorhomes and caravans is at £349.99.