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Semi-integrated vehicles are some of the fanciest motorhome rentals you can get! Also, they are currently the most popular type of motorhome on the market. In semi-integrated motorhomes, the transition from the driver's cab to the living area isn’t perfectly straight and the roof over the driver’s cab slants down. This means you won’t have as much headroom there as you would in the rest of the motorhome. Generally speaking, partially integrated motorhomes are more aerodynamic than clunkier alcove motorhomes. This shorter motorhome results in a lower centre of gravity, so the driving experience is closer to that of a car. Modern semi-integrated models often have a panoramic window where the roof starts to slant downwards, adding extra light to the motorhome. The driver's seats can usually be rotated to be part of the seating group. Four people can sit comfortably at the dining table.
However, the sleeping possibilities are limited compared to the alcove motorhome - beds are usually located in the rear or as a loft bed above the living area. A seating group may also be converted into a sleeping area. Thus, space motorhome hire is best for couples and small families.
Advantages and disadvantages of semi-integrated motorhomes:
Suitable for 2-4 people, some can accommodate 5
Comfort level: medium to high
The camping bus is the original nomad campervan. Its most famous representative is the Bulli, the VW bus. Generations of nomads from families, sportsmen and hippies have spent vacations or long trips in a camping bus. Its advantage is its size. With a height of fewer than two meters, it is suitable for deep garages and its handling is usually close to that of a passenger car. With these handy all-rounders, city trips are just as possible as weekend camping trips thanks to their slim lines. But the compactness also has its limits: the space offered is rather limited and having a proper bathroom is not always feasible. Storage space is also limited, making the compact camper ideal for travelling couples but less suitable for families.
Advantages and disadvantages of camping buses:
Suitable for 2-4 people
Comfort level: low
The compact van is enjoying growing popularity. Compared to the camping bus, the compact van differs in width and height, is nevertheless still more compact than most motorhomes. Above all, they are narrower and often shorter with six meters being a typical length. The second difference is the presence of a full wet area with a sink, toilet and shower. Great comfort depends on the number of passengers. Two sleeping places are common, but there are also models with four and more sleeping places. Also in this category of motorhomes, there is every degree of craftsmanship to be acquired, from the inexpensive finishers to the more luxurious manufacture. Longitudinal beds are popular because you can get in there more comfortably, but they also require more length.
Advantages and disadvantages of extended camping buses:
Suitable for 2-4 persons
Comfort level: medium
The toilet is made up of two parts: a permanently fixed toilet and a waste holding tank that is located under the toilet and can be removed via an access door on the outside of the motorhome.
Preparing For Use
Chemical camping toilets consist of two parts separated by a gate valve: (1) flush water tank in the upper part of the toilet and (2) waste tank in the lower part of the toilet. With a manual or electric flushing system, no sewage, water or drain connection is required.
Construction of a chemical camping toilet
This is the construction of a camping toilet - not witchcraft, but a look at it will make it clear how a camping toilet works, and this will help you with the next steps:
In the left part of the picture, you can see the upper part of the chemical camping toilet with a flush water tank. On the right picture, you can see the lower part of the toilet, in which the holding tank is located. These two parts can be easily put together or taken apart by the lock on the back of the toilet, which becomes especially important for emptying!
How to use a chemical camping toilet?
Prepare the freshwater tank
The freshwater tank, as the name implies, is filled with water. Unscrew the lid from the flush water tank and fill the tank with 3 L of water (or until it is full). If you prefer a less chemical smell, you can add an aroma liquid or rinse water cleaner. Special products are suitable for this, such as Aqua Rinse, but dishwashing liquid or liquid soap are also good options. You can add 50 ml to 100 ml of this rinse water cleaner.
Prepare the holding tank
The holding tank should be filled with an appropriate sanitary liquid, which is highly recommended to prevent unpleasant odours. You can use Aqua Kem Green, for example. Start by pouring the chemical toilet cleaner into the holding tank. To do this, you should lift the toilet seat, pull the sliding handle (to open the access to the lower tank) and pour the liquid directly into the toilet. You can also pour the liquid directly into the lower tank through the drain spout - to do this, put the tank on its side, turn the drain spout upwards, unscrew the lid and pour in the sanitary liquid. However, we recommend the first option, because it is a little more practical.
As a rule, you should fill 110 ml of the sanitary liquid, but the amount may vary depending on the liquid. We advise you to check the amount indicated on the package label.
Using a chemical camping toilet is analogous to using a regular toilet and should not cause you any further trouble. Here are the steps:
Important: The toilet paper used in chemical toilets must be water-soluble to avoid clogging.
Now we come to the step that no one wants to deal with. However, with a few simple steps, this task is a snap! If your chemical toilet doesn't have a waste tank level indicator, there's no exact science to knowing when to empty the tank. Just open the slider and look inside - when you think the tank is full, it's time to empty the holding tank! Depending on the capacity, outside temperature and frequency of use, the camping toilet needs to be emptied at least every three days.
Empty the waste-holding tank of your toilet in these simple steps:
Please note: The emptying of the camping toilet is only allowed at designated places, such as campsites, caravan parks, gas stations or public toilets, never on the street or in a green area.
Emptying Toilet - Black water tank
It is only permissible to dispose of the contents of the waste tank in approved dumping stations or through a normal household sewerage system. This can often be done at caravan parks with the permission of the park owner. Different chemical packs allow for different removal options. Make sure you read carefully the contents of the material as to where you can dispose of waste.
A built-in gas stove works similarly to one you might find in your home and are more convenient for larger groups and longer trips. To use:
The don'ts of a gas stove:
A portable gas cooker is perfect for a smaller motorhome hire as they take up very little space and can easily be stored away. To use:
1. Place your gas stove on a flat surface.
2. Remove the pan support from the top of the stove. Turn it over so that the support is then facing upwards, ready to hold your pan.
3. Open the cartridge cover on the stove. Remove the lid from your gas canister, and gently slot the gas cartridge into the stove.
4. Hold in place straight and press the cartridge stop lever down so that the gas canister slots into place. Check that the gas canister has been slotted in place correctly before use.
5. Turn the control knob fully to the left to the ‘ignition’ position until the stove clicks and lights. If it doesn’t work, repeat until it does light.
6. Adjust the control knob to the desired height of the flame.
7. Your stove is now ready to use. Do not use pans or kettles that are too large for the stove, as this will cause the heat to be directed downwards, towards the gas cartridge. If using more than one stove, do not position them too close to each other as this can cause the stoves to overheat.
8. Once you are finished, turn the knob to the ‘off’ position and lift the cartridge lever up to the unlock position.
9. Check that the flame is extinguished, and leave to cool down completely before disconnecting the gas cartridge. Never leave the gas cartridge inside the cooker when not in use. Replace the red protective cap on the gas cartridge when finished.
Electric coolboxes are great for small motorhome hire and can stay cool for as long as they are plugged in. If you are not going to have access to a power source on your trip, you may need to consider a different option. Coolboxes will take considerably longer than your regular domestic refrigerator to cool down.
The first type is the basic absorption cool box, which is the cheapest type available and the simplest type. They also all require an air gap around the cooling fan and vent area. Some models use a water cooling system, while others use a cooling fan. They are not designed to freeze, but they can if left on in particularly cold weather, meaning items can freeze inside unintentionally. Whereas compressor coolers use an electric compressor to keep the cooler running, this makes these models noisier than others.
Most coolboxes can run from either 12v sockets or 240v mains. However, there are simpler versions of a cooler box that don’t require any electricity. These are simple insulated coolers that are ideal for days out and parties/BBQs.
Having a built-in fridge in your motorhome hire is not only incredibly convenient but also a luxury. Some may even come with a freezer. These fridges allow you to store a good amount of food at once but will also keep things fresh longer.
The refrigerator can operate on three power modes:
You can select the desired power source by turning the energy selector switch according to the situation. To regulate the cooling temperature, rotate the knob. In 12V mode, there is no possibility to regulate temperature.
Please note: The refrigerator should only be used in 12V (Backup battery) while the vehicle’s engine is running or driving, otherwise, the backup battery would be discharged within a few hours!
At Indie Campers we have two models with built-in fridges, the Atlas and the Nomad.
In our Atlas it can operate in Gas mode or with electricity:
To operate the refrigerator when not driving or when you are not connected to an external mains power source, use it in Gas mode:
1. Open the gas bottle valve and appliance shut-off valve on the valve block.
2. Turn the rotary selector switch to Gas mode (flame icon)
3. Turn the temperature selector clockwise and push. Keep the controller button depressed.
4. Then, press the button of the battery igniter down and keep it depressed. The ignition process is activated automatically.
5. Once the flame ignites, the pointer of the galvanometer begins moving into the green range. The refrigerator is operational. Keep knob depressed for approx. 15 seconds
and finally, release it.
As a basic rule, gas operation is prohibited in petrol stations and when driving a motorhome hire.
To operate the refrigerator when driving the motorhome hire, turn the rotary selector switch to 12V mode (battery icon). Make sure that the motor is running when using this mode. To operate the refrigerator when parked in a camping site and with mains cable connected, turn the rotary selector switch to 230V mode (electrical plug icon).
In our Nomad
Rotate the knob selector inside the cooler and select the adequate option, depending on the case:
● Turn OFF while parked, and with no 230V cable connection - the previously selected temperature will be maintained;
● Turn ON, selecting Min, while driving - light refrigeration capacity;
● Select any position (Min to Max) according to the desired temperature while parked and connected to the campsite via charging cable.
When hiring a motorhome, one of the most important things to consider is where will everyone sleep. We have a few options you can choose from.
This layout refers to a fixed double bed arranged lengthways against a sidewall of the motorhome hire. Most French beds share space in the rear with the washroom alongside. A decent bed (such as the domestic standard 4ft 6in wide) leaves only around 2ft 6in for the washroom. However good the bed is, keep in mind that the sleeper next to the wall will have to climb over their partner to get in and out of bed.
Another, less common, variation sees the washroom arranged behind the bed and across the rear, so then there’s more space for both the bed and the reasonably palatial ablutions. The overall length of the motorhome will be greater, though – probably 7.5m or more.
Present in our Atlas model, a top bed allows for an extra full-size bed to be hidden away when not in use.
To prepare the top bed:
Please note that when the top bed is pulled down, the living is no longer usable
The longest-established of all fixed bed motorhome hire layouts, transverse fixed double beds live in the rear of all types of coachbuilts, but the bed also includes under bed storage.
Bed length is a factor: where lengthways beds can sometimes be rather too short, these widthways berths are usually more than two metres long in motorhomes. While a transverse double is a good option if you’re tall, don’t forget that the person sleeping against the wall will have to clamber over their partner to get out at night. Beds in high-top van conversions are shorter, but usually, achieve lengths of more than six feet. Van conversions, however, have the advantage of rear doors that open wide to receive your holiday gear in their under-bed loading area.
If you want to enjoy the freedom of camping in winter as well, here are some tips for you:
Motorhome hires, especially the first time, can be overwhelming. Finding a community of like-minded individuals with previous experience can help you answer any questions you may have. Here are some of the most common ways to connect online:
General tips to keep in mind:
At a campsite on arrival, park as close to the reception area as possible and report your arrival. Do not drive to a pitch and park unless directed by reception staff.
You must have a current valid driving licence to drive a vehicle on-site roads. Park where directed on your pitch. Where possible, you should leave approximately 6m of free space around your vehicle.
When selecting a pitch, there are things to consider, such as, do not pitch in a position in which your vehicle will obstruct others coming in or going out. Try to choose a dry area, reasonably level and preferably with a hard base. It is always good practice to chock the wheels of the motorhome when parked on a slope or a slippery surface, even when the brakes are applied. In poor site conditions, try to keep engine revs as low as possible to try to avoid wheel spin and try to steer as straight as possible.
Leaving any Site:
Always tidy your pitch and make sure you do not leave bags of rubbish lying about. Check out at reception, pay your site fees, and thank them for an enjoyable stay
Please remember that your motorhome is much larger than a standard car or van when driving around.
When hiring a motorhome if you have a Category B Licence obtained prior to 1 January 1997 you can drive any motorhome without a trailer where the maximum weight (MAM) does not exceed 7,500 kg.
If you have a Category B Licence obtained on or after 1 January 1997, you may drive a motorhome hire with a MAM of 3,500 kg. You must pass the LGV C1 test to qualify to drive a vehicle with a MAM of up to 7,500 kg.
We want you to have a great and safe adventure! Please never obstruct the permanent ventilation openings in your motorhome hire.
IN CASE OF FIRE
1. Get everyone out
2. Turn off the outside gas valve at the gas cylinder.
3. Disconnect the mains electricity supply.
4. Raise the alarm and call the fire brigade.
5. Attack the fire if safe to do so.
DO NOT LEAVE CHILDREN ALONE WITH NO MEANS OF ESCAPE
Please ensure that you are familiar with the relevant laws and regulations that apply in the countries in which you choose to travel. Different European countries have different laws and regulations, and it is your responsibility to ensure that your vehicle complies with these regulations and that you drive within the law.
The insurance is included in all our motorhome hire. You may choose from 2 protection plans: the basic and the Premium.
The Basic protection plan is included by default with your booking, and includes one driver only, 24/7 roadside assistance (only in the EU) and coverage for the damages caused to third parties. Additionally, a €2,000.00 deposit is required at the time of pick-up.
You can also upgrade to the Premium plan, which is exclusively available for drivers above 25 years old, and it allows you to include additional drivers and provides you with more protection. A€500.00 deposit is required at the time of pick-up.
Hugo Oliveira founded Indie Campers eight years ago after graduating with a double masters from NOVA Schools of Business and Economics.