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iMotorhome

magazine

Issue 65: Feb 07 2015

because getting there is half the fun...

Twin

Perks!

Win!

$50 for the! best letter

UCC’s Peason Lowline has two living areas to choose from…

The Road to Self-Sufficiency One readers quest for ultimate off-grid touring…

Portable Fridge Comparison… Making the right choice is vital!

Apps: Pet First Aid!

Mouse-to-mouse? Not quite, but close…


About iMotorhome | 3

iMotorhome eMagazine is published twice monthly and available by free subscription from www.imotorhome.com.au. Your letters and contributions are always welcome! Contributors Facebook “f ” Logo

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Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jess Ciampa, Emily Barker, Elizabeth & Helmut Mueller

Published by iMotorhome

Design and Production

PO Box 1738, Bowral. NSW 2576. Australia.

Design & Production Manager

ABN: 34 142 547 719

E: agnes@imotorhome.com.au

Agnes Nielsen

T: +614 14 604 368 E: info@imotorhome.com.au W: www.imotorhome.com.au Editorial

Advertising Advertising Manager Keith Smyth M: 0408 315 288

Publisher/Managing Editor

T: 03 9579 3079

Richard Robertson

E: advertising@imotorhome.com.au

T: 0414 604 368 E: richard@imotorhome.com.au Roadtest Editor Malcolm Street E: malcolm@imotorhome.com.au

Legal All content of iMotorhome eMagazine and website is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of content, however no responsibility is accepted for any inconvenience and/or loss arising from reading and/or acting upon information contained within iMotorhome eMagazine or the iMotorhome website.


Create your own path...

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5/12/2014 3:37 pm


On my mind | 5

The Silly Season The Silly Season is upon us. No, I’ve not just woken up late and missed Christmas, I’m talking about the capital city RV show season: Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. This will be my fourth season at the helm of iMotorhome – we kicked off the iMotorhome eMagazine concept to exhibitors at the 2012 Sydney Supershow – and to be honest I’m a bit over it. And if I’m over it, spare a thought for the poor exhibitors who have to traipse around the country with all their wares, then spend interminable hours answering the same questions over and over. It takes a special breed to do that successfully and I have to say I take my hat off to the likes of Ken and Jack from Horizon Motor Homes as well as Dave and Martin from Trakka, who always seem so genuinely enthusiastic about what they do. Well done fellas – and everyone else who works the stands! Why am I “a bit over it”? Because like the Industry itself, I’m suffering RV Show overload. I’m amazed that in a country that used to support just two major car shows a year – Sydney and Melbourne – both of which fell by the wayside due to spiralling costs and falling visitor numbers, we can support dozens of RV shows of all shapes and sizes. City shows aside, there seem to be countless regional shows vying to attract locals and exhibitors, and I know many RV manufacturers who admit to literally being exhausted (physically and financially) trying to keep up the pace. Why so many shows then? The exhibition industry would say it’s to bring you, the consumer, as many opportunities as possible to see what’s available first hand, talk with the experts and make informed purchase decisions. The cynic in me sees it as a gigantic money making exercise for the organisers – both in

terms of exhibition fees and the gouge to get in – so the more the merrier. The fact the major shows are hosted by the big State caravan industry associations only strengthens my suspicion. Will you be attending and do you find shows helpful? Please let me know. Speaking of shows, next week I’m attending the official launch of Winnebago motorhomes and caravans in Australia. It’s on the night before the start of the Melbourne show and promises to be an interesting evening, although I’m predicting it to be an ultimately disappointing one. Why? Because although imported Winnebago caravans will be revealed, the motorhome product, from what I can see, is a local rebranding exercise. I’ll be interested to see how much input Winnebago USA engineers have had in the makeover of Talvor’s motorhome range, but I’m guessing it will be superficial. Not that there’s anything wrong with Talvor’s vehicles, it’s just a missed golden opportunity for Winnebago to have done something out-of-the-box here. There’s more than a touch of irony, I believe, that Winnebago USA fought for years to reclaim its name, only to then bestow it on a different range of Australian designed and produced motorhomes. Guess I’ll have to wait and see – and keep an open mind! Finally, our new website is up and running. At last! When you get the chance please check it out. I hope you like the look and feel, and if you find any ‘oopses’ please let me know. There’s a lot of new content to be uploaded over the coming weeks, and of course now it’s time to get on with the app. I told you it’s the Silly Season!

Richard


6 | Content

3

About Us

7

Resources

5

On my Mind

9

On your Mind

21

Marketplace

Who we are, where and other legal stuff

Find back issues and more on our website

The Silly Season

Share your thoughts for the chance to win $50!

12

News

18

Feature: Freedom Camping

22

Day Test: UCC Pearson Lowline

34

Feature: The Road to Self-Sufficiency

48

Technical: Mobile Fridges

54

Roadside Eats

58

Mobile Tech: First Aid For Pets

62

Next Issue

What’s happening in the wider RV world and beyond

The latest Marketplace offers

Our regular roundup of issues affecting Freedom of Choice camping

Lowline Lowdown – A versatile Kiwi design with plenty to offer

One couple’s pursuit of total travel freedom…

A cool review of the various types of portable fridges available

Greenwell Point is a great sport for seaside fish and chips!

How to look after your pet no matter the situation…

What’s coming up and which shows are on soon!


iMotorhome

resources

Resources | 7

because getting there is half the fun...

Missed an Issue? We've got them all saved in one spot for you. Click HERE to view the complete list of back issues.

Missed a road test? No problem! Click HERE to find them all listed by manufacturer. because getting there is half the fun...

Taste of Freedom!

because getting there is half the fun...

Grand Design -

because getting there is half the fun...

Revisited

English Holiday

iMotorhome

magazine

iMotorhome

magazine

iMotorhome

magazine

magazine

iMotorhome

because getting there is half the fun...

Esprit de Cor Blimey!

Malcolm Street spends time roaming New Zealand in this compact ex-rental Kea…

Two years on how has the Trakkaway 700 evolved?

Auto-Sleeper’s Malvern is an English motorhome that’s a fine holiday destination in its own right…

Dethleffs ‘baby’ A-class is something to ogle at…

Story and Images by Malcolm Street

Review and images by Richard Robertson

Story and Images by Malcolm Street

Review and images by Malcolm Street


Personalise your journey... Last year we celebrated our 40th anniversary manufacturing Australia’s most beautiful recreational vehicles. This year we are looking forward. In 2015 we are excited to release 3 new models on new chassis’, including the grandest motorhome to leave our production facility. We are investing in our customer support with new team members and resources to ensure our Sunliner customers, new and old, feel the same care and attention that we invest in our motorhomes. We have several new projects including our new website release and the introductinon of a new Sunliner Online Community. We look forward to meeting and sharing with you our beautiful motorhomes and campervans throughout the year at the Camping and Caravan Shows, at our dealerships and online.

2015 www.sunliner.com.au


On your mind | 9

Win $50 for the best letter! It’s only fitting that since Ed has his say in On My Mind, you should be able to have yours too. If you have anything to say – or ask – just drop a line to letters@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll share it with our readers. We’ll also reward

the most interesting, useful or thoughtful letter each issue with $50 to help you on your way.

Gripping Accessory Here is a useful accessory if you have Fiamma levelling ramps. It’s called an Anti Slip Plate Set and stops your levelling ramp from sliding forward on smooth surfaces, like in some caravan parks with a double slab or even on your driveway. I bought mine online for only $6.95 plus postage from RV Parts Express. Keep up the good work as we look forward to reading each issue of iMotorhome. Kind Regards, Dick. Thanks Dick, that’s a great little accessory. Please accept this issue’s $50 reward for bringing it to our attention. Good to know you’re on the level, if you know what I mean…

Recently on facebook.... ou have no doubt heard the story that freedom campers do not spend much money and that they are not worth much, tourism wise, to a community. Even a certain caravan park association's research claims we only spend about 1/3 as much as those that camp in their members properties. Well, this post was on the CMCA's Facebook Page from a camper who attended the Maroochydore School Club camp site over the

Y

Christmas school holiday break (6 weeks): “Wow, what a great result. I have been talking to the caretaker at Maroochydore School. Rob told me that the total of the shopper dockets during the Christmas period was $104,041.00 and camping fees amounted to $15,123.00 by CMCA members” To see what people are talking about be sure to visit iMotorhome’s Facebook Page regularly.


10 | On your mind

More from WA

President of our local business association and being the Shire President it was a tough battle to encourage the Resource Sector to change policies to prevent gouging and destroying local businesses. Rio Tinto, when I left, was producing 30 trains per day. Each train was G’day Richard. Many Councillors just did not over 2 km in length, or more than 200 carriages, understand what $800 million (the estimated each containing 110 tonnes of ore valued at worth of the market at the time) really meant to around $160 per tonne. That’s more than $3.5 local economies. Northern WA has an abundant M per train. Consideration for small businesses array of iconic tourist attractions and sadly many and/or Grey Nomads did not exist. They would Councillors were not interested in servicing Grey talk the talk but in the end for them is was only Nomads, or tourism in general, because the ever about production. Sadly, as the boom Resource Sector just smothered the caravan slackened off many business were left with parks with Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) workers, who empty premises and so on. I think you get the basically took over the parks. Park owners picture. even got special dispensation from the WA Government and Shires to install temporary Thanks and kind regards, donga's by the 100s to accommodate FIFO Greg. workers. You could not blame them, because it was extremely lucrative and owners could name Thanks Greg, your insights make very interesting their own price to accommodate these workers. reading. I guess it’s not the first time the interests of ordinary people have been trampled in Hence the flow on effect to Grey Nomads and the rush to quick riches. I have to confess to tourism in general was diabolical. feeling a certain guilty satisfaction, however, I understand it’s changed now with a down knowing some of the greedy are suffering a turn in the demand for iron ore. But in my day bit now, even if it’s just a little. Good on those as a business owner of two hardware stores Western Australians with the foresight and we had to pay our service staff up to $80,000 drive to develop the State’s other vast natural per year, which include accommodation. Our resources: Tourism. The trick will be to find the lowest paid service attendant was on $50,000 right balance between the ongoing needs of the and we only survived because we were smart mining industry and the seasonal requirements of enough to buy empty houses in Tom Price tourists. Let’s hope common sense prevails, built when things were tight. Then came the boom on the great Australian sense of the fair go. and we had to attract mature age people from drought stricken country towns. That's how we survived. Many small businesses closed down in the Pilbara because owners of premises would double and in some cases triple lease costs to attract contractors who had lucrative arrangements with the Resource Sector. As the This letter follows on from last issue’s letter “WA Insights” from Greg, recounting his experience on the Pilbara Regional Council and efforts to develop tourism with an emphasis on the Grey Nomad market.


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12 | News

New iMotorhome Website

i

Motorhome’s long-awaited new website is now live and receiving positive feedback. Cleaner, brighter and easier to navigate, the new website is also more user friendly. For example, the Marketplace Directory has been significantly simplified to make finding specialist services easier, while back issues are easier to browse thanks to a new layout. Work is underway to upload a backlog of road tests and other articles that have been awaiting the launch, while other features like Ask a Question, a magazine User Guide and templates for Reader Reviews have been added.


14 | News

Portable Gas Shower

T

he Bushranger portable hot water shower provides instant hot water from any water source and is said to take only a few minutes to set up. The heating chamber connects to a standard gas bottle and is said to consume only six litres of water per minute. Safety aspects built into the Bushranger unit include a digital temperature display, maximum temperature cutout at 50Âş C, instant ignition without a pilot light and AS2658 gas compliance. Retail Price is $469.00 including GST.

Portable Eco Toilet

E

zygonow says it offers compact and convenient portable bathroom and toilet solutions. “Ranging from a light-weight portable toilet and waste kits to a quick setup privacy shelter, not to mention a complete bathroom system that fits in a backpack! A revolution in human waste management solutions in Australia.�

The Cleanwaste 'GO anywhere' portable toilet supports up to 226 kg and has a similar height and seat/bowl size as a regular toilet. Three fold-out legs make it stable on flat and uneven ground. The kit eliminates chemicals and storage tanks, hole digging and the need for dump stations. Each toilet kit includes a waste collection bag, waste treatment powder gelling/deodorising agent, secure puncture-resistant zip-close waste disposal bag, individual toilet paper and hand wipe. The toilet kits can also be used in other portable toilets, in buckets or on the ground. Pricing is $130.99 for the portable toilet. Toilet kits start from $49.99 (12-pack) and the Cleanwaste 'GO anywhere' total system is $399.99. Visit the website HERE for full information.

Know Your Location

E

mergency services are urging people to familiarise themselves with their holiday addresses or locations. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said this vital information could mean the difference between life and death when things go wrong. It was important for travellers to write down the address of their caravan park or campground.

GPS coordinates could be recorded on a mobile 'phone when camping at a beach or in a national park, a spokesperson said. "This could cut valuable minutes off emergency response times." from caravanningnews.com


News | 15

Kiwi Kayak Lifter

E

ngineering company BayFab, from Whakatane on NZ’s North Island, has released what appears to be a well designed and easy-to-use lifter so motorhomers can carry a kayak on their travels.

“With the wind of a winch handle, your kayak is effortlessly lifted into place.” a Facebook post says. Although prices aren’t listed the device looks like a must-have for any serious white-water enthusiast. Call them in NZ on (07) 308 6557, email graham@bayfab.co.nz. or visit the website HERE for details.

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16 | News

WA Park Upgrades

W

ork is underway improving facilities for RVers in Western Australia's most popular National Park. LeeuwinNaturaliste National Park is the State's most

visited, receiving more than 2.7 million visits a year. It features some of WA’s most scenic beaches, forests and heritage sites. Parks and Wildlife said a priority for the area in the south-west was the creation and upgrade of camp sites and caravanning options for families under the Parks for People initiative. Meanwhile, major developments at Lane Poole Reserve and Logue Brook Dam south of Perth have provided an extra 103 new caravan and tent sites in the south-west. from caravanningnews.com

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News | 17

Cut Loose for Sale "I am a perfectionist and we are quite an elite little business. I am looking for someone who has the same attention to detail and wants to get into the RV business.”

Q

ueensland-based boutique 5th wheeler and caravan manufacturer Cut Loose RV is on the market. Owner Nick Oliver, who is asking for offers in excess of $500,000, stressed there was no question of the Gold Coast business being in financial trouble. “It's just that I can't cope with it all and it's time to make changes. It's time for someone else to take it to the next level." Mr Oliver said his company had forward sales approaching $500,000 and these would be included in the sale. Deposits had already been paid and stage payments agreed.

Cut Loose RV, which has over 100 specialist RVs on Australian roads, boasts of having new and revolutionary designs which it describes as being "unique" in the industry. "This business has unlimited potential," Mr Oliver said. "This is an unusual sale because it's an incredible opportunity." Mr Oliver formed the company after migrating from England, using it to secure his Australian residency. He still has business commitments in the UK. Cut Loose RV has a core team of five staff, with three working on the factory floor. Mr Oliver can be contacted on (07) 5520 7575. from caravanningnews.com

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18 | Feature

Freedom of Choice! A

regular feature keeping you in touch with what’s happened and happening in the world of freedom camping in Australia. These stories and more can be found in detail at the Freedom of Choice website, indexed by state and town, while you can also find the latest news and updates on their Facebook page.

1 Jan – Truckies on the warpath over RV parking "Truckies are on the warpath after accusing caravanners and other RVers of commandeering truck rest areas and turning them into overnight campsites." 3 Jan – If it works overseas, why not Australia? We don't normally publish stories from overseas but this particular one has close parallels with what is happening in Australia and Big4 apparently has a "sister" relationship with Top10, so the parallels are relevant. The NZ industry apparently is booming with millions being invested to compete in the business world and apparently everybody is confident and happy with the outcomes. 9 Jan – Older tourist defends free camping Comments by tourism bodies created debate on social media. "But the message from Victoria’s tourism chiefs is that anyone, regardless of age or mode of transport, wanting to have a holiday paid for by the public purse should ‘go away’.” And this quote “My response to that is, that’s fine — go away. Not all tourism is good tourism”.

9 Jan – Can one believe what they read in the media? This article and radio interview talks about motorhomes and caravans, and shows pictures of backpacker camping to convey an image of “illegal” camping. Brought quite a response on social media re the deceptive reporting. 9 Jan – RVers made welcome Van packers – a much maligned species in some quarters – are welcomed with open arms in Burringbar, where a ‘pop-up’ camping space in the park hosts up to a dozen guests most nights. One supporter of the concept said the travellers treat the park and facilities with respect, patronise local stores and service providers and are to be "actively encouraged". Real estate agent and village champion Stuart Cahill said the butcher, post office, laundry and bottle shop all benefit from the visitors. "It's a great thing for Burringbar and is working with zero input from the council," he said. Mr Cahill said the campers were frequently overseas travellers, many from Europe, who got along well with each other and were no trouble. "We have never had a single untoward incident," he reported. 12 Jan – Corporations prove to be happy campers The truth is out there with this article in The Australian Business Review on the current state and future of the caravan park industry. It would appear the future is bright despite the constant claims that freedom of choice camping is ruining them.


Feature | 19 15 Jan – The Backpacker invasion We will probably be accused of being too cynical, but I'm sure it was just pure coincidence that this story on Sunrise was run on the same week that their weather girl was skipping around the country from caravan park to caravan park doing the weather and a great job of promotion of the Caravan park lifestyle. Some interesting comments to the story from the locals though, all 900-plus of them. 22 Jan – G  ood News rolls on for caravan manufacturing industry Australian Recreational Vehicle production statistics released by the Caravan Industry Association of Australia show growth for the sector. October 2014’s monthly total of 2152 RVs produced is the highest since monthly production figures began being reported in 2008. The RV production statistics for October show year-onyear growth of 4.7 percent, compared to October 2013. Since 2008, RV registrations have increased by 21.6 percent (528,869 up from 414,469). 22 Jan – V  ic Parks decisions – the repercussions There has been many complaints since the Victorian Government increased camping fees in National Parks. This story, though not directly related to freedom camping, shows the implications of ill thought-out Government decisions. It is not only RVers who are affected by this particular decision. 22 Jan – C  ampervans dodge Warrnambool’s camping grounds Campervan tourists are lining Warrnambool’s foreshore roads and car parks, enjoying free parking and infuriating the City’s accommodation sector. 23 Jan – N  ewcastle cracking down on camping The City of Newcastle and Police will be focusing on people illegally camping or driving vehicles into parks and reserves in Stockton this Australia Day weekend. Council expects an influx of visitors

to Stockton and, with limited camping spaces available at the Stockton Beach Holiday Park, people often drive into the numerous public parks and reserves facing the beach and harbour to set up camp. 25 Jan – Good news out of Hobart A major overhaul of the Royal Hobart Showground camping area is set to make it one of the State’s most sought-after. 27 Jan – Callide Dam camping plan stirs community The jury is still out on whether stage two of the Callide Dam redevelopment will take place, but the decision process has been less than smooth to date. In fact, the residents of the Callide Dam community are not happy campers and will be even less happy should the camping accommodation plan go ahead in front of their homes. Stage one of the revamp, including a recreation area, community water sports hub, management hub and nature appreciation has no opposition. However, where the 20-strong camping village should be placed is causing some conflict. 28 Jan – Online video creates quite a debate on Facebook 29 Jan – Campers told to move on As an area with a strong focus on tourism, Wollondilly Shire embraces visitors from all walks of life. However, a recent trend in Appin has resulted in guests over-staying their welcome – to the bemusement and frustration of residents and the council. 31 Jan – Two side to every coin This story, while NZ based, is a classic example of the story on the flip side of the coin. There are strong parallels with the Australian scene. The figures surprised us and the growth of $40 billion in 5 years globally is an indication that authorities need to take heed and cater for this market just as we have been saving they need to heed the growth in the RV market


iMotorhome Marketplace | 21

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22 | Day Test: UCC Pearson Lowline

Twin Perks!

UCC’s Pearson Lowline has two living areas to choose from… by Malcolm Street


Day Test | 23

The sleek nose of the B-class helps offset a slightly slab-sided body. External storage space is good, although the use of basic sliding windows is a bit downmarket.

B

ased in Christchurch, UCC isn’t the largest motorhome manufacturer in New Zealand, but it does offer an interesting variety of layouts. Built on either European or Japanese cab-chassis, like Mercedes Benz and Mitsubishi Fuso, the difference for the most part is that the former come with a walk-through cab and the latter don’t. The subject of this review is UCC’s Pearson Lowline – a Benz-based motorhome with a walk-through cab and more than a touch of style.

The Vehicle

B

ased on a Mercedes Benz Sprinter 516 CDI cab-chassis, the Pearson is available in two models: the B-class Lowline and C-class Highline; the latter with an over-cab bed. As you might expect the Lowline is quite a streamlined looking motorhome, at least from the front. Like many of its contemporaries from other manufacturers, it still looks a bit boxy from the rear. As is usual the Sprinter cab-chassis is delivered from the factory without a roof or


24 | Day Test Mercedes’ Sprinter is a great choice of base vehicle and helps explain a fair chunk of the price. A C-class variation – the Pearson Highline – is available, with an over-cab bed for ultimate sleeping capacity. rear wall, to provide walkthrough cab access. It’s a special motorhome-specific model that even includes a bleed off the main diesel tank for the motorhome’s dieselfired heater. About the only modification UCC does is an extension to the chassis at the rear. Construction wise the motorhome walls have a fibreglass exterior, aluminium framing (with insulation) and a plywood interior, all of which are vacuum bonded together. On top the roof is a full composite structure. Motorhome entry is via a Dometic hour glass-style security screen door, while unlike many a manufacturer, tinted sliding glass windows are used all round. Like some other UCC designs there are plenty of external storage bins: Two along the kerb side, one at the rear and three along the drivers side. Most are available for full use, with only one used for the gas cylinder, while another is partly taken-up by a Truma water heater and water pump. This, though, an excellent place to store the power lead. Both 95 AH


Day Test | 25

Up front the cab seats swivel around, thus creating a complete second lounge area. house batteries are mounted on a slide-out tray beside the entry door.

On The Road

A

lthough 2.2 litres might sound small, the common rail 120 kW/360 Nm turbo-diesel delivers a surprising and relatively economical punch. It

performs as well as or better than its contemporaries, but anyone desiring a bit more grunt for mountain country work could opt for the 3.0 L V6 turbo-diesel, which delivers 140 kW and 440 Nm. With the smaller engine the Sprinter comes with a fully automatic six-speed gearbox, but if you move up to the V6 you get an extra gear as well, called

Inwards facing lounges work well with or without the cab seats swivelled, while bright colours add a sense of spaciousness. The Sprinter’s dash is Teutonically efficient, if a bit dull (like all Mercedes commercial vehicles). the 7GTRONIC in Mercedes speak. For the most part other brand’s gearbox are Automated Manual Transmissions (AMTs), except the Transit which only has a manual shift). These AMTs work fine as an automatic gear changing system, but can be found wanting by


26 | Day Test Left: House batteries on a slideout tray are easily accessed for maintenance checks or replacement. Below: The Pearson’s low roof height and relatively compact dimensions, plus the Sprinter’s tight turning circle make exploring interesting places much easier.

drivers who desire snappy shifts every time. However, in recent times Iveco has moved to a full auto gearbox and I'm thinking it won't be long before its Italian stablemate, Fiat, moves that way too. On the road in the Pearson there were a

few squeaks and rattles, but these come with any motorhome. They weren’t excessive and my driving pleasure wasn't ruined by any surprises. Very handy was the rear view camera screen fitted to the right hand side of the dashboard.


Day Test | 27

The Lowline is quite a streamlined looking motorhome, at least from the front. Like many of its contemporaries it still looks a bit boxy from the rear.


28 | Day Test

The Pearson has a classic New Zealand Back design, with a U-shaped lounge and wrap-around windows that provide a panoramic view from the rear. You certainly sit ‘in’ your view, but the compromise is having to make the bed up each evening. The upside of that is the bed’s enormous! The Gross Laden Weight (GLW) of the Pearson is 4490 kg, making it legal to be driven on a standard New Zealand car driver’s licence. With the tare weight coming in at 3600 kg it gives a very good load capacity of nearly 900 kg, depending on accessories fitted.

Living Inside

I

and the bathroom between the kerb-side rear lounge and the entry door. The internal decor definitely has an emphasis on light and airy, with (in this case at least) a general white/beige colour scheme being offset nicely by bright blue inserts in the upholstery. Adding another nice touch are the Roman blinds fitted to all windows except the kitchen, which has a slimline venetian fitted.

n some ways the Pearson’s layout is more orientated to a rental motorhome than a Lounging Around private owner. It's been designed to have f the two living areas I have to say two living areas; one behind the cab that the rear one wins the prize for best features two inwards-facing lounges, and one view, with its U-shaped lounge and at the rear with a club style lounge. In between them is the kitchen along the driver’s-side wall full surround windows. It comes with a twopole mounted table if needed, as well as

O


Day Test | 29 Kitchen space is modest compared to the living area, with the lack of bench space noticeable. It’s well equipped, however, and even includes a wine rack above the microwave, which is ideal for touring New Zealand!

drawers under the seats and overhead lockers all ‘round. What you also get there are small upper and lower cabinets that are butted up against the bathroom wall, along with a flat screen TV mounted on the upper cabinet. Up front the cab seats swivel around, thus creating a complete second lounge area. A Lagun swivel-arm mounted table can be used easily from either the cab seats or sideways lounges. Under the kerb-side seat is a small safe, along with some storage space. On the opposite side the lower under-seat area is occupied by the Eberspacher diesel heater and assorted electrics, but a shelf fitted neatly above makes good use of the limited space available. Although having two separate lounge/dining areas might seem a bit generous, it does offer considerable flexibility in the layout, which I’ll get to in a moment.

Time To Eat

C

ompared to the rest of the motorhome the kitchen bench layout does look on the small side. However, it does have all the essentials: a three burner cooktop and grill, stainless steel sink with smoked glass lid and at the forward end, a Dometic 190 L fridge with microwave oven above. Bench working space isn't exactly prolific, but the multiple and variously sized drawer storage space certainly is. Overhead lockers fill the space above the kitchen bench, whilst above the microwave oven, the cabinet there has been utilised for wine bottle storage (I’ll drink to that - Ed)


30 | Day Test

The bathroom is well equipped and sufficiently sized for real people to move around without difficulty.

After Hours

H

ere is where the layout versatility comes in. Both the front and rear lounges can be made-up into beds, with the rear bed measuring 2.1 m x 1.83 m (6 ft 10 in x 6 ft) and the front measuring 2.1 m x 1.0 m (6 ft 10 in x 3 ft 3 in). For two people prepared to sacrifice the rear view the rear bed could be left made up during the day, although that seems rather a waste. For four people, like two adults and two children, both beds will have to be made up each evening. That is unless the C-class version of the Pearson is opted for, which provides and extra fixed bed above the cab. Your choice!

Keeping Clean

I

'm not a fan of oversize bathrooms in any RV but I do like room to swing around without bumping elbows. So the Pearson's

bathroom, with its Dometic cassette toilet, variable height, flexible hose shower and smallish corner wash basin does suit rather well. It also comes with a wall mirror, opening and frosted window and a towel rail.

What I Think

I

noted earlier that the Pearson has something of a rental motorhome layout. That does not, I should point out, make it undesirable, impractical or user-unfriendly. In fact just the opposite, because it offers a wide variety of living and sleeping options, especially if the over-cab bed is opted for. Also, it can be used by more than two people, although I suspect having six on board might be a little crowded! In short, it's a very versatile layout with plenty to offer.

Having two lounge/dining areas might seem a bit generous, but it does offer considerable flexibility in the layout.


Day Test | 31

Specifications Manufacturer

UCC Motorhomes

Model

Pearson Lowline

Base Vehicle

Mercedes Benz Sprinter 516 CDI

Engine

2.2 L turbo diesel

Power

120 kW @ 3800 rpm

Torque

360 Nm @1400-2400 rpm

Gearbox

6-speed auto

Brakes

ABS Disc

Tare Weight

3600 kg

Gross Vehicle Mass

4490 kg

Towing Capacity

2000 kg

Licence

Car

Approved Seating

6

External Length

7.40 m (24 ft 3 in)

External Width

2.25 m (7 ft 5 in)

External Height

3.2 m (10 ft 6 in)

Internal Height

2.2 m (7 ft 3 in)

Rear Bed Size

2.10 m x 1.83 m (6 ft 10 in x 6 ft)

Front Bed Size (single)

2.10 m x 1.0 m (6 ft 10 in x 3 ft 3 in)

Cooktop

Thetford Triplex with grill

Fridge

Dometic RM 8555 190 L

Microwave

Camec

Lighting

12 V LED

Batteries

2 x 95 AH

Solar Panels

1 x 150 W

Air Conditioner

Optional

Heater

Eberspacher diesel

Hot Water

Truma 14 L LPG/230 V

Toilet

Dometic cassette

Shower

Variable height, flexible hose

Gas Cylinders

1 x 9.0 kg

Water Tank

170 L

Grey Water Tank

180 L

Price on Road

NZ$189,995

Pros

• Generous external storage • Very flexible internal layout • Two living areas with tables at either end • Club lounge set up in rear with scenic windows • Well set-up electrics

Cons

• Smallish kitchen • Beds have to be made up every night

Contact

UCC Motorhomes

Click for Google Maps

7 Foremans Road Islington, Christchurch New Zealand Ph: 03 348 2247 (NZ) E: info@uccmotorhomes.co.nz W: www.uccmotorhomes.co.nz For more iMotorhome Road Tests click here


32 | Day Test

In short the Pearson Lowline is a very versatile layout with plenty to offer.


34 | Feature

On the Road to Self-Sufficiency One couple’s quest for ultimate travelling freedom… by Ron and Joan Read


Feature | 35

Our Winnebago Birdsville has proven to be a capable and comfortable home-away-from-home.

B

efore we purchased our motorhome we had in mind to travel in the Outback of Australia, freedom camping where ever possible. After looking widely through the motorhomes in our price range, we settled on a Winnebago Birdsville Elite. However the standard model had a small fridge and freezer box, and was not suited to spending weeks between supermarket visits. We asked if the much larger 2-door 186 litre fridge/freezer could be fitted and we were assured this was possible by raising the level of the microwave and forfeiting an open shelf. As we intended to travel full time in our motorhome we also wanted to have an oven. There was a model with both an oven and griller which would fit by reducing the height of the cupboard underneath. We wanted independence from 230 volt mains power so we had 2 x 80 watt solar panels installed on the roof. Various low power devices such as computers, printer, stereo, mobile phones, Kindles, CB Radio charger, cameras

and video batteries, etc, required mains power, so a 700 watt pure sine wave inverter was also installed. The power points for these low current 230 volt devices was wired in such a way that when mains (or generator) power was available, it supplied the power to the power point, automatically reverting to the inverter power when mains power wasn’t available. When no mains power was available, the generator we purchased could supply power for the higher current devices such as the microwave, air conditioner, hair dryer, vacuum cleaner and if needed, the battery charger.

Lights, Washer, Action!

W

hen our motorhome was ready we started on our big adventure. We initially stayed in caravan parks or used laundromats when washing larger items such as double bed sheets was required, or for charging up the house battery. At other times we freedom camped. After several


36 | Feature

Laundry with a view: A portable 230 V washing machine and fold-up clothes line lets us wash everything from bed sheets to ‘smalls’ using a minimal amount of electricity and water.

incidents involving caravan parks we became disenchanted with them and started looking for alternatives. We had already purchased a small 230 volt portable electric single tub washing machine and a portable rotary clothes line and were using them for the small items of washing. With some experimenting it was found that it could handle double bed sheets, jeans, etc. We use short six minute washes and three minute rinses, using only twenty litres of water for the total wash, which is very important when water

is in short supply. We have been in many sites with great views from our “laundry”. It became evident that for continued use of the motorhome without mains power, and less dependence on the generator for battery charging, we needed a second house battery, a big boost in solar power capacity, and an upgrade of the solar regulator. I calculated that an additional 4 x 80 watt panels would be required to supplement the existing 80 watt panels. This took into account the reduced


Feature | 37

Flexible solar panels make the most of the Birdsville’s curved roof space. hours of sunlight and lower angle of the sun during winter, and the extra power usage with lights on for longer, plus the use of the diesel heater. To reduce the lighting power drawn from the battery I replaced the incandescent and quartz halogen lights with LED lights throughout the motorhome. There wasn’t any more room on the flat area of the roof for four additional solar panels, so I chose flexible solar panels that could be attached to the curved area above the cabin. I also took the opportunity to upgrade from the PWM type solar regulator (about 70% efficient) to a 40 amp MPPT type (about 97% efficient) and install isolator switches for both the solar panels and the 12 volts to the battery. The solar and battery upgrade has proved very successful and supported our total freedom camping lifestyle over the last 2 ½ years since their installation. The new regulator logs a lot of useful data about the solar installation operation over the previous 60 days. Since its installation I have logged some of this data

in a spreadsheet. Over that time, the average ampere hours generated in June (shortest hours of daylight and lowest angle of the sun) is 60 ampere hours, while December/January has been 83 ampere hours. In practice, it must be realised that solar panels do not perform to their maximum ratings all the time as they are affected by shade, temperature, the angle of the sun, and a film of dust, bird droppings, etc. We have found that we have only needed to supplement battery charging with the generator occasionally, when the skies are heavily overcast or raining all day or we are parked in heavily shaded areas.

Weighty Issue…

T

he only place we could store the generator was under the table (which was a bit of a nuisance) and it had to be lugged outside when we wanted to use it. Weighing in at about 25 kg, this was a hernia or back problem waiting to happen. We searched for a suitable box to house the generator and attach to the back of our motorhome, but no


38 | Feature

The custom-built generator box with slide-out tray is secure, weatherproof and colour matched. existing boxes we saw were suitable. Whilst at the Bendigo RV Show we saw a Bayswater (Melbourne) company’s exhibit on custom designed aluminium boxes for vehicles. When next in Melbourne we called in and discussed it further. They took detailed measurements, computer designed it and gave a quote for manufacture. It would be a tight fit as there were several constraints on size and clearances, i.e. overhang, visibility of the left-hand stop, turning

and reversing lights and the opening of the access door to the gas bottle. The box was to be powder coated to match the colour of the motorhome. When the box was made and we checked that the generator slid out successfully on the ball bearing slides, and that clearances were correct, we arranged for them to measure and make up the mounting frame, powder coat and


Feature | 39

The little Honda EU20i can even be run in the box, with the door open, should the weather dictate. install it. I arranged with Winnebago to buy a decal set for the back of the motorhome and when attached, the box looked more like a original attachment. As I am a current qualified electrician I wired in a cable from the generator to a water resistant 230 volt outlet just below where the mains power inlet is located on the side of the motorhome. I connect the short joining cable when we arrive at a camp site as part of our setup procedure. To use the generator, it is only necessary to unlock the side door on the generator box, slide out the telescopic slide tray that the generator sits on and start it. Once going it can be run while extended or withdrawn back into the box (when raining), leaving the door open. Refuelling and maintenance can be done with the generator in the extended


40 | Feature This self-designed panel with three 12 V fans has proven the answer to keeping the fridge cool even when the mercury soars into the mid-40s Celsius.

position. This makes alternate power easily available without having to lift the generator out of the motorhome and connect it to the 230 volt input. It has proved to be easy to use and a huge success.

Problems…

O

ur larger refrigerator/freezer worked like a dream during the cooler and rainy weather we experienced during the first 12 months. When a heatwave struck in Outback NSW in February 2013, with daily temperatures around 42º, the fridge temperature rose to about 25º and the freezer was in positive degrees. Meaning the food

was going rotten. Turning the fridge to a colder setting made no difference except to make the surrounding timber-work hotter – it almost burnt your hand when you touched it! We thought “What a great time for the fridge to pack it in”. Local refrigeration mechanics were no help, so we drove to where we had purchased the motorhome in Sydney. They carried out tests on the refrigerator, determined that it was working normally and the problem was ventilation at the back. They fitted a rear mounted fan that could be switched on when required to improve air flow over the cooling tubes. This started me thinking on how I could extract more hot air from behind the refrigerator,

It takes only about 15 seconds to attach the fan panel to the vent and plug it into the 12 volt supply.


Feature | 41 Power self-sufficiency allows for free camping for extended periods, which not only provides a great degree of independence, the campsite fee savings help recoup the capital outlay.

improving its efficiency. I did some research on 12 volt fans and selected a ball bearing model whose height was less than the height of the top vent on the side of the motorhome, had high airflow and was low current. I wanted the fans to be easily removable both in mounting and electrical connection. I purchased the three fans and finger guards online and had them delivered to a post office on our travel route. I went to a company specialising in aluminium fabrication and they cut the piece of aluminium sheet, formed the holes for the fans (as per a cardboard template I made) and bent the brackets to hang the panel on the motorhome vent.


42 | Feature A digital fridge and freezer thermometer with radio link keeps precise track of interior temperatures. Efficient fridge venting/cooling is vital for maximum efficiency.

After drilling the mounting holes for the fans and terminal block, a few coats of spray paint on the panel before assembly gave it a more professional look. The two outside fans were wired with a switch whereas the centre fan was not. This gave the option of having one, two or three fans operating, depending on the prevailing conditions. I connected the 12 volt supply through an in-line fuse to a switch and a socket that I mounted on the motorhome refrigerator vent. It takes only about 15 seconds to attach the panel to the vent and plug it into the 12 volt supply.

Cool Running!

T

he fan panel seemed to make a big difference to the temperature in the fridge and freezer in the hot weather, but by how much I wondered? With a normal fridge thermometer, each time the door is opened to check the temperature, cold air escapes and hot air rushes in to take its place. A check on eBay revealed the availability of a digital fridge/ freezer thermometer with separate sensors for both the fridge and freezer and a radio link to the display. The display also records the maximum and minimum temperatures that have been encountered in each compartment since


Feature | 43

last being reset and also has the ability to give an alarm if the temperature exceeds pre-set high and low limits. I subsequently purchased one via eBay from the USA and it works great, as we now have a visual display that tells us what the temperatures are in the fridge and freezer. We travelled in Outback Queensland during the abnormally high temperatures that occurred during August to October 2013 and again in the high temperatures in the Northern Territory in September/October 2014. We found that with the help of the fan panel when we stopped, the fridge/freezer temperature has remained in the normal range. Over this time I have observed that when the outside air temperature rose above 36Âş the temperature inside the fridge started to rise. Measuring the outside temperature was simplified by having a weather station fitted. I have also found the fridge low temperature alarm feature handy to sound an alarm below 2Âş to help protect

insulin from spoilage if accidentally frozen. The weather station measures outside temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and rainfall. This data is transmitted to the inside module by radio link where it is displayed together with inside temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. This data is sampled every 30 minutes (adjustable) and stored in the display for up to 2 months. The data can be downloaded into our laptop computer via USB cable for long term analysis.

Water and More

A

nother issue that can arise when travelling is a supply of potable water. This is generally readily available in CMCA’s RV Friendly Towns and at service stations, parks, etc, where there are toilets. This year in the Northern Territory where there are not any RV Friendly Towns, water was harder to find and not always available at service stations. Caravan parks in some towns were the only option. We learned to be very frugal with water, and during


44 | Feature a 2 week period we used an average of only 13 litres per day for the two of us. We have found it advantageous to carry both a long hose and a shorter hose with a fitting to join them together. This gives us more filling-up flexibility. As a tip, we have found it advantageous to add the GPS co-ordinates for locations where we have obtained water to a ‘Potable Water’ point of interest (POI) file on our TomTom GPS, so that we don’t have to rely on our memory when looking for water in the future. There has been a ready supply of dump points, due to the good work of the CMCA and Local Councils, and I am sure that new sites are being added each year, while others already are in the development pipeline. In Central Australia, however, we had to plan carefully as dump points are few and far between.

In a country as diverse as Australia, with its extreme of temperatures, we have found it desirable (if not essential) to use the diesel heater for heating and the air conditioner for cooling. The diesel heater is ducted to both the bathroom and living area, and whilst not cheap it has proved to be invaluable. It is supplied with fuel from the main vehicle tank, but is barely noticeable in the amount of fuel consumed. On scorching hot days we tend to travel in the hottest part of the day using the vehicle air conditioning thus saving the generator and its fuel. On one occasion it was so hot, we left the motor on the motorhome idling with the vehicle air conditioning running whilst also running the air conditioning in the motorhome from the generator. That made the scorching heat bearable.

The roof-mounted weather station provides real-time data that’s especially useful to keep the fridge at optional temperatures. Carrying insulin makes reliable refrigeration vital, not a luxury.


Feature | 45 In Touch

A

nother issue that can be a problem in sparsely populated areas is communications, particularly for family, medical or vehicle emergency. Before we started travelling into remote areas we purchased a satellite phone. This proved to be a good strategy as mobile phone coverage is nonexistent in large areas of the Northern Territory, the north of South Australia and Outback Queensland. Our family could contact us by sending a text message to the satellite phone (50c) and I would turn on the satellite phone once per day to check for any messages. If needed we could then ring and talk to them or send a reply text message. If you are new to the concept of freedom camping you may be wondering how we find all the freedom camp sites. We use the Camps Australia publication (currently Version 7). Changes to facilities and closure of sites are available as updates on their website. Having had a lot of experience in freedom camping, if there are no sites listed in the book we can often find an inconspicuous spot outside the town limits. We store the GPS co-ordinates in a POI file on our TomTom GPS for future reference. We are members of the CMCA and have used their GeoWiki website on occasions. Of recent times, many campers use the Wiki Camps app on their smartphones to find sites or supplement their Camps Australia book. I don’t have a smartphone, so couldn’t access it. However in issue 58 of iMotorhome, Richard reported that the Wiki Camps app is now available for PCs running Windows 8.1. It took only about five minutes before the app was on my computer as another tool in our freedom camping location arsenal. Australia is an interesting country and we have found great delight in exploring our great land, discovering the outback towns and spectacular terrain, travelling with our freedom camping lifestyle in the luxury that our fully self-contained motorhome gives us.


46 | Feature

After looking widely through the motorhomes in our price range, we settled on a Winnebago Birdsville Elite.


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• Built for Australian conditions. • Models available with or without slide-outs. • Superior finish with stylish new contoured exterior. • Patented moulded bins for maximum storage capacity. • Outstanding road handling & ride comfort. • Genuine island queen beds and huge wardrobes. • Spacious rear ensuites with separate toilet & shower. • Market leading layouts & lifestyle features. • Full living area slide-outs providing superior living space. • Proven reliability of Paradise’s patented slide-outs.

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Keeping Your Cool!

48 | Technical: Mobile Fridges

Portable fridge options explained and why one style doesn’t suit all… by Allan Whiting of Outback Travel Australia

P

ortable fridges and coolers look much the same from the outside – they’re all insulated boxes with lids – but there are significant differences in the way they work and the type of energy they use. It’s necessary to know something about the ebbs and flows of the cooling business if you want to be sure of buying the right unit for your needs.

Ice Box Coolers

T

he simplest and by far cheapest type of food and drink cooler is the faithful ‘Esky’: an insulated box with an insulated lid, into which you put ice that someone else has created. When you buy bagged ice, you’re actually buying a ‘slug’ of pre-packaged refrigeration. We’ve been checking these units for their insulating quality over many years and Coleman units are relatively expensive, but consistently do better than most others, keeping contents cool for several days, even in high ambient temperatures.  lusses: Low price; relatively portable P on built-in wheels; doubles as a picnic ‘seat’; can be used for general storage when not cooling; zero maintenance.  inuses: Bagged ice is not available in M remote areas.


Technical | 49

Thermoelectric Coolers

T

here are an increasing number of thermoelectric cooler boxes on the market, filling the price gap between an ‘esky’ and a true fridge. Thermoelectric types employ an effect that occurs between two closely-coupled, dissimilar materials. When an electrical current is passed through the materials a temperature variation occurs and can be switched to create heat or cooling inside a container. Unlike true fridges that can achieve a target internal temperature, thermoelectric coolers are rated to achieve a cooling effect in relationship to the ambient. Claims for performance usually quote an internal temperature ‘22º C below ambient’ or similar. In that respect they’re not reliable for storing temperature-critical contents.

However, the thermoelectric effect works both ways, so these units can be set to heat their contents, up to around 65º C. At this stage of development, thermoelectric coolers work as compact means of cooling or heating non-critical consumables. They’re not very efficient, with current draws around 4-5 amps, or in the same province as compressortype ‘real’ fridges, but they’re cheap, have no moving parts and some are designed specifically for car-seat stowage, with integrated seat belt mouldings. Some can work as a centre-seat armrest. Plusses: Low cost; noiseless; compact; able to heat or cool contents.  inuses: Relatively inefficient; no M guaranteed cold temperature.


50 | Technical

Compressor-type Portable Fridges

T

he most popular form of portable refrigeration is the portable compressortype fridge. The best-known brands are probably Waeco and Engel, and both employ the same refrigeration principle, but with different types of compressor. The principle is simple enough: The fridge piping contains a gas that liquefies at low temperatures and this gas is pressurised through fan-cooled condenser coils located outside the food storage area. As the gas sheds its heat through the coils it condenses into liquid, still under pressure and is forced through an expansion valve (tiny hole), into a low-pressure area created by the suction effect of the compressor. This action causes the liquid to vapourise and drop its temperature to around -25º C. Compressor suction pulls this cold gas through the evaporator coils that are inside the food storage area, lowering the temperature of the contents and warming the gas, which then passes through the compressor and the cycle continues.

Portable compressor-type fridges are 12/240 V compatible, so can run off a car power outlet, inverter or mains plug. Waeco and most compressor-type fridges use a reciprocating compressor, while Engel has a ‘swing motor’ type. A compressor-type fridge can run off car alternator power while the vehicle is being driven, but it needs auxiliary electrical power when the engine isn’t working. A deep-cycle auxiliary battery is a common source of 12volt power and can normally power a fridge for between one and three days, without recharging, depending on ambient temperature and battery capacity. A solar panel can run a fridge when sunlight is available, or it can be powered at any time by a generator. Plusses: Can operate as a fridge or a freezer and some models can do both; median pricing; relatively portable with handles on each end.  inuses: Needs to cycle on and off M periodically, so electrical power needs to be available 24/7 while cooling; fridge noise can be a problem at night.


Technical | 51

Compressor-type Eutectic Portable Fridge

E

utectic or ‘ice-bank’ fridges employ the compressor refrigeration cycle, but add a significant additional component. Instead of evaporator coils (the coils that get cold) being inside the food compartment, they’re housed in a tank that surrounds the food compartment. Inside the tank is a liquid that freezes as a result of the refrigeration cycle and this external icebank is what cools the contents of the food storage area. A eutectic fridge can operate off the car’s alternator power when the engine is working and, in the case of an overnight stop, won’t need to operate again until the car starts up next morning, so there’s no compressor cutting in and out during the night. The ice-bank keeps the contents cold in the meantime. As with a

straight compressor-type fridge a eutectic unit can function as a freezer, or a combination fridge/freezer. Our testing in real-world conditions has shown an eutectic fridge uses less electrical power when working on the same cooling duty-cycle as a straight compressor-type fridge. However, you get what you pay for and a eutectic fridge costs a lot more than a conventional portable fridge. Plusses: Efficient cooling; ‘overnight’ power-free potential.  inuses: High initial price; bulkier and M heavier than a straight-compressor-type fridge for its internal capacity.


52 | Technical

Absorption-type Portable Fridge

Absorption-type fridges aren’t as energy efficient as compressor-type fridges, but they n absorption-type fridge uses heat have advantages that make them popular as energy, rather than an electricallythe main fridges in motorhomes and caravans. operated compressor to pump refrigerant The most obvious one is silence! With no around the system. As the name suggests, moving parts, an absorption-type fridge won’t the refrigerant is released from solution and disturb your slumber. Another major advantage absorbed again during the process. is the ability to operate on 12-volt, 240-volt and LPG power. However, our experience over Heat, sourced from 12-volt, 240-volt or LPG many years of travel is that 12-volt operation supply, is used to raise the temperature of is much less efficient than 240V or LPG. The a strong ammonia/water solution, so that reason for this is simple: electrical energy is most of the ammonia evaporates. From there used least efficiently in a radiant-heat application the ammonia passes through a fan-cooled – the heating element for an absorption fridge condenser where it becomes liquid, before but is 90+ percent efficient when powering an passing through a restrictor that causes it electric motor, such as a fridge compressor. To to evaporate. This action cools the gas as it supply current for an absorption-type portable passes through tubes in the food storage area, fridge in a vehicle it’s necessary to have a drawing heat from the contents. The warmed powerful alternator and guaranteed 12V power gases then flow into an absorber, filled with delivery around 10 amps – a compressor-type the weak ammonia solution, where they’re fridge draws about half that. An alternative is absorbed, forming a strong solution once more to run it via a 240V inverter, but you’ll still need and the cycle repeats. plenty of electrical grunt.

A


Technical | 53 Those who go off-roading over steep or uneven ground may find that absorption-type portable fridges don’t work very well en route, because these units operate optimally on a level, or almost level, surface. As with a compressortype fridge an absorption-type can function as a freezer, or a combination fridge/freezer. However, very high ambient temperature can upset the absorption-cycle efficiency. An absorption-type portable fridge comes into its own when it’s required to operate for long

periods, without generator or solar panel power supply. We’ve run an absorption-type portable fridge non-stop for around two weeks on one 9 kg LPG gas bottle – and we could still tee-off gas supply to our LPG stove to grill some fish! Plusses: Silent operation, three types of power input.  inuses: Slower ‘pull-down’ time; M ambient and level critical; greater power draw.


54 | Roadside Eats

What’s the Point?

Greenwell Point is home to great fish and chips…


Roadside Eats | 55

The Locals... Black and white but still colourful…

T

he NSW South Coast is a beautiful place dotted with bays, inlets and waterways that are home to myriad varieties of seafood – I mean sea life. Greenwell Point, just south of Nowra and only a couple of hours south of Sydney, is a sleepy seaside town that remains largely unspoiled by commercial development. It sits on a point opposite where the Crookhaven River meets the ocean; the Crookhaven itself being just a short branch off the larger Shoalhaven River to the north. Greenwell Point is a reminder of quieter, gentler times and central to it – quite literally – is

DJ’s Fish ‘n Chips. A stone’s throw from a small pier that’s home to an equally small fishing fleet, DJ’s sits beside the Town’s swimming pool and alongside a well kept park where cool sea breezes bring salt-scented relief on even the hottest days. We’ve been frequenting this little treasure for about 15 years – although I’m not sure DJ’s has always been its name – and it’s become a firm favourite. Unless you’re in a small campervan you’ll need to park across or up the road as the on-site carpark at the rear is small and often full. In fact don’t even think of it on weekends! There


56 | Roadside Eats

The View...

From nearby Cambewarra Mountain lookout, but that’s another story…

are a number of basic under-cover tables at the rear as well, but DJ’s is basically a take-away establishment.

O

On the Menu

ver the years the menu has expanded considerably and now includes an all-day breakfast, burgers and milkshakes, and Until recently you could park on an open grassy even a “Pensioner’s Special” (whatever that area a few hundred metres to the north, right is). But it’s the fish and chips that are the star beside the water, but progress has turned that attraction and what’s on offer depends on the into a manicured reserve with a bollarded car local catch of the day. Like all such places DJ’s park. Still, it now boasts sheltered picnic tables has its off days, but by and large its seafood and some free barbecues and on a weekday at least you won’t have much trouble parking even a offerings are delicious and reasonably priced, with a generous serve of fresh fish and crunchy chips medium sized motorhome. coming in under $10.


Roadside Eats | 57

The Choices...

DJ’s for hot cooked seafood and nearby stalls for fresh seafood…

I

Staying Over? f you plan to stop over for a few days – and why not, it’s a great base from which to explore the local area – there are a couple of caravan parks in town: Pine Park on West St to the north of town and Coral Tree Lodge on Greens Rd to the south. The latter is within walking distance of a number of small oyster, prawn and seafood shacks/stalls run by local fisherman in a rather ramshackle waterside complex at the very southern end of Greenwell Point. Unfortunately, the Anglers Rest Caravan Park, which is almost directly opposite the main jetty and just up the road from DJs appears to now be all cabins.

Feast Facts

Click for Google Maps

Where: DJ’s Fish ’n Chips 114 Greenwell Pt Road, Greenwell Point. NSW. 2540 Cafe Hours: Sat/Sun/Public Holidays 10:00am - 5:00pm Hours: 8:30 – 5:00 pm daily Telephone: (02) 4447 1332 Trip Advisor: Click here


58 | Mobile Tech

First Aid For Pets! An indispensable app for anyone with pets‌ By Emily Barker


Mobile Tech | 59

T

here are increasing numbers of people travelling with pets. Indeed, the increasing number of campgrounds and van parks advertising their pet-friendly status attests to this growing trend. To many people pets are far more than just faithful furry companions, which is why it’s worth taking the time to ensure the health, happiness and safety of all onboard before embarking upon your next adventure. When travelling with pets there are a few things to take into consideration. Vaccinations, worming and flea treatments should all be up to date and if your pet takes any prescription medication make sure you have enough to see you through. It’s wise to also have a chat with your vet to discuss specific concerns and seek advice regarding measures such as paralysis tick prevention, particularly if you are heading into known danger areas. Perhaps the best thing you can do, however, is ensure


60 | Mobile Tech you’re equipped and prepared to handle potential emergency situations that might arise. Thankfully there is now an app that can help with just that. Dogs especially, but cats too, are naturally inquisitive creatures, particularly in new and exciting environments. This can lead to potentially hazardous situations ranging from insect or snake bites and upset tummies to battleground wounds and sudden illnesses. Knowing exactly how to respond in emergency situations can make all the difference and even save a life. First Aid for pets Australia is an innovative app available for both Android and iOS devices. It’s the perfect travelling companion, providing clear and concise articles for quick reference upon a range of health threats that pets might encounter. The scope of information provided is impressive and major categories are listed alphabetically, like behaviour changes, bites/ stings, injury, sickness, etc. These classifications are broken down further into specific issues with each situation containing a list of immediate steps to take. Additional information is then provided including more detailed definitions, clinical signs, possible causes, treatment options, related information and lastly, a list of references. These are interesting to note as all information appears professionally researched and current. In addition to providing essential emergency information this app can connect with local vet clinics, providing fast access to contact information in the event of an emergency. You can also search by postcode or area name, making finding your closet vet an easy process using familiar Google maps. While only participating Veterinary clinics are listed, it looks like most have chosen to do so. Listings consist of up-to-date phone numbers (including after-hours emergency), street address with a map link and a link to their website where applicable. It appears this app


Mobile Tech | 61

is regularly updated too, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on any Google Play or App Store upgrades. Accidents, injuries and illnesses can occur anywhere, anytime. Often, simply having the correct information on hand and knowing how to respond can help you remain calm and lead to a better outcome. Nothing can replace professional assistance, but just like it’s a good idea to have some basic first aid skills to assist your human companions, our furry friends can benefit from the same. Whether it’s how to perform puppy CPR, correctly bandage a snake-bitten limb, make your dog throw up, or assist a choking cat, this app is a incredible resource any conscientious pet owner can benefit from owning. It’s also free and only 10.9 Mb, making it even more of a convenient bargain!

Fast Facts: Name: First Aid for Pets Cost: Free Platforms: iOS and Android Size: 10.9 Mb


62 | Next Issue

Bright Ideas… L

Also read all about the rental A’van Ovation M3 that we borrowed from Albury Wodonga RV World. A 2013 model that’s done regular work in AWRV World’s bespoke rental fleet, the Ovation allayed my vague preconception that A’van motorhomes are rather flimsily constructed and unlikely to hold up well in the long run. Read all about it too!

ast weekend we snuck away for a few days to the beautiful town of Bright in North Eastern Victoria. Mrs iMotorhome fell in love with its rich diversity of towering European trees and I fell in love with parking-up for two nights by the river and just playing tourist. Read all about it next issue.

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February 06-08 22-26 11-16

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Newcastle Caravan, Camping & Holiday Expo Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Showgrounds Broadmeadow NSW 2292 • Open 9:00-5:00 daily (4:00 Sunday) • Parking: Free • Adults: $25 • Seniors: $20 • Kids: Free U 16 years with adult

Issue 66 will be out on 21 February, so until then why not check out our new website and join our Friends and more than 21,000 Facebook Twitter followers for news, laughs and a glimpse at the wider RV world? Facebook “f ” Logo

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February 11-16 22-26 11-16 Melbourne Caravan, Camping & Holiday Supershow Melbourne Showgrounds Cnr Epsom and Langs Roads, Ascot Vale. Vic 3032. • Open 10:00-5:00 daily (4:00 final day) • Parking: Free • Adults: $20 • Seniors: $16 • Kids: Free U 15 years with adult

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19-23

Adelaide Caravan & Camping Show Adelaide Showground, Goodwood Rd, Wayville SA 5034 • Open 10:00-6:00 daily • Parking: $7 • Adults: $13 • Seniors: $10 • Kids: Free U 15 years with adult

Visit Website

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Know of a local or regional show coming up that attracts and promotes motorhomes, campervans and the great RV lifestyle in general? Drop us a line at info@imotorhome.com.au and we’ll happily promote it in this calendar.

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iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 65 - 07 February 2015  

Get a FREE subscription from our website now!

iMotorhome eMagazine Issue 65 - 07 February 2015  

Get a FREE subscription from our website now!

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