All motorhomes share some common basic characteristics. Here we attempt to explain these basic common features under a number of headings – Water, Electrics, Gas, Temperature Control, Home Comforts and Base Vehicle. There are many excellent publications that outline Motorhome and RV Basics in greater detail.
Many motorhome newbies may think the that managing water in the motorhome is a confusing subject. But it’s as simple as managing your fresh water and your waste water to good effect. Read more on Motorhome Water.
Motorhome makers cleverly use three sources of power – mains power, vehicle battery and leisure battery – to supply power to on-board appliances. Read more on Motorhome Electrics.
A motorhome’s gas system is its second important power source. Liquified petroleum gas in butane (blue) or propane (red) cylinders are used in motorhomes. The cylinders are usually housed in an outside compartment that is sealed off from the interior. The sizes and types of gas cylinders and their connectors can vary from country to country. Therefore either check in advance that your required gas type is available at your destination or bring an ample supply of gas with you.
The layout and arrangement of features may vary considerably from campervan to campervan, but here’s a few things to consider.
Kitchen – including features such as sink, cooker, grill, oven, hob, fridge, food storage lockers, microwave, cutlery drawer and more. Motorhome kitchens can be linear, L-shaped or transverse. European vans tend to go light on cooking facilities as owners tend to barbecue outside. American RV’s tend to have lavish, full kitchens.
Refrigerator – over the years the manufacturers have come up with the perfect fridge for a mobile vehicle. The 3-way fridge is the standard model – so called as it can be powered by (i) the vehicle battery, when on the move (ii) mains electricity when hooked-up (iii) gas, when parked up, but not plugged in.
Bathroom – usually a lot going on in a confined space. A washbasin is standard. A shower is often provided – sometimes using the extendable faucet of the washbasin. The WC or toilet comes in two varieties – the fixed waste tank, common in Recreational Vehicles or the portable resevoir, common in all other styles of campervan. The top half of the unit is the seat / bowl with flushing mechanism. The bottom half is the waste container, sealed by moveable blade. A chemical is used to neutralize odour and break-down content. Disposal must be at a designated chemical toilet disposal point.
Bedding – comes in a variety of fixed or made-up forms. Types of beds include over-cab fixed or pull-down, bunk-beds, seating convertable to bed and floor space convertable to bed.