Showing posts from May, 2016

The Vango Air Hub: a weekend on a cliff top

We’re off to Spain in a few weeks’ time. It’ll be the first time we’ve headed to Europe since our big 10 week tour of France and Spain in 2012. Our kids are that bit older and will be up for as much fun as they can get their hands on, while Jo and I are that bit older and wiser, but still want to have as much fun as possible. We’ve also got some new kit on board – and that includes our new VW T5 California beach and our Slidepod. So it’s all change with the Dorey camping machine. We’ve also got a new Vango awning, an Air Hub, on loan for the trip, which we hope will complete our new set up. The trouble with awnings We’ve had awnings before, so we’re quite used to the way they work – or don’t. While they can add an extra room to your van they can also make it feel a little enclosed at times. When you attach the awning to the sliding door of the van it cuts off that lovely outside-in view that you get from the slider. In a hot location it feels counter-productive. Aw

BIG QUESTIONS: How can you be a camping eco hero?

It isn't easy being green. But, as campers, campervanners, motorhomers and lovers of the great outdoors, it is our duty to take care of that which gives us so much pleasure. So, I'd like to propose (again) for 2016, the mantra for all camping trips. This is simple. It's also easy. And it's a recurring theme for me. LEAVE IT NICER. What I mean by this is that we should leave anywhere we stay – a camp site, wild spot, wherever, nicer than it was when we arrived. This can work on many levels but on a basic one it means making sure your spot is immaculate when you depart. How can you do this? PICK UP LITTER I don’t really care if it isn’t your litter, just pick it up. It really won’t kill you and you’ll feel great for doing your bit. If it’s on your patch you should pick it up and dispose of it properly, irrespective of the source. Anyone who sees you camping and then sees litter will put two and two together and make a number that marks you as the culprit.

BIG QUESTIONS: if you had all day, what would you cook at camp?

This is  a recipe from my new book, The Camper Van Bible. While the book isn't exclusively about food it does contain a section about food. The section lists some of my favourite and go to recipes. There are some classics in there as well as a few new bits and pieces and even some thoughts on smoking oysters... wooo! But, given the big question of what I would cook if I had all day to cook at camp, it'd be this, without a doubt. It's one for those days when all you want to do is chug a few beers and cook over an open fire. It's perfect for a Roadii fire grill or a Kotlich and is flipping delicious. It’s easy to prep but does take some cooking time. It’ll all be well worth the effort though, once your guests tuck in. The rich flavours will remind you of Thai and Asian dishes. Serve with sticky Thai rice for an extra authentic touch. If you can’t light a fire, then you can always cook this over a very low heat, just make sure you have enough gas. SL

BIG QUESTIONS: what's that under your arse? FOAM!

What is that under your arse? It's foam, of course. But it is the right type of foam? And did you ever imagine there could be a right and a wrong type of foam? Well, there is. I will go into the whole shebang in quite a bit more detail (but not too much detail, honestly) in my new book, The Camper Van Bible, so this is just a taster of the delights to come... Let's begin with the day you decide to get some more foam for the cushions in your van. It's easy, right? You buy some foam, have it cut to size, sew some new covers and Bob is your uncle...wrong!  Firstly, you need to think about what your cushions are to be used for predominantly. Are they to be used as seating or are they to be used as bedding? This is relevant as some foam is better suited to sleeping than sitting, while other foam is better for sitting... Foam comes in grades with a load of numbers like 3 INCH V 38 / 200 or 4 INCH R 40 / 180. What these mean to you and how they will affect you

BIG QUESTIONS: is a camper van better than a tent?

The simple answer, if you must know, is yes. Every time. I have camped all my life and have seen it all, from high winds and baking heat to torrential downpours and snowy deposits. It's why I choose camper van over tent almost every time. Unless of course I am visiting Lundy island or somewhere equally inaccessible by road.... Anyway, in my new book, The Camper Van Bible, I set out my stall very clearly with the following: "My personal love of campers comes down to portability, which might seem odd in the face of the fact that a tent is the ultimate pop up home. But bear with me. The fact remains that a camper van is a home that can be driven. That means you don’t always have to make major alterations to move it. If you’ve got it right then you should be able to drive your camper away from your camping spot without having to do too much. Yes, so you might have to de-pop a pop top roof, pull the bed down and pack away a few clothes, but at least you don’t have to