Correctly registering your completed campervan

If you get a campervan conversion with Achtung Camper (as opposed to purchasing a completed campervan) you will receive an engineer’s certificate and compliance plate (small rectangle blue sticker) in the mail from our engineer once your campervan is complete.

What is this for? (great question!)

This is to prove to the relevant roads authority in your state that your van is now an engineer approved campervan (and no longer just a ‘passenger vehicle’).

In order for your (new) campervan insurance to be valid (see paragraph below regarding campervan insurance) you will need to take the completed campervan to the roads authority in your state to ‘change its classification from a normal passenger vehicle to a campervan/caravan’.

Each insurance company will have different terms and conditions but with CIL (who we recommend) you have 14 days from when you take out your insurance policy for the vehicle to have its classification changed to that of a campervan/caravan with the relevant roads authority in your state or you risk the insurance policy being invalid.

When visiting the roads authority in your state make sure you have the engineer’s certificate and electrician’s certificate with you and have the compliance plate (small blue sticker) stuck on the inside of the driver’s side front door. The staff member at the roads authority will take the engineer’s certificate and ask to view the compliance plate, plus might have a look through the campervan.

As each state’s roads authority has completely different requirements please give them a call before you visit them (as far in advance as possible) to confirm their requirements and whether they need you to make an appointment. With Vic Roads there is no fee charged and no appointment necessary however in South Australia you must make an appointment and pay a few hundred dollars in fees.

CAMPING REVIEW – FORREST, VICTORIA

We recently had the pleasure of camping in Forrest for a long weekend. We stayed one night in each camping spot to check them both out.

The Town – Forrest has enough attractions for a weekend away:

  • Lake Elizabeth, a nice easy walk around the majestic lake.
  • Lots of hiking trails.
  • Mountain biking rails. This is why we were there and from the looks of things why 99% of other people camping were there too. Apparently Forrest is a mountain biking mecca.
  • The Brewery: has GREAT beers and nice food and coffees too. Lovely comfy couches and lots of magazines help if the weather’s bad and you need to kill some time.
  • The ‘general store’ or café across the road from the Brewery had some nice home made pies, cakes and gifts.

The Campgrounds – From our research we ascertained 3 camping options in/around Forrest.

  • One was a very isolated bush camping area called ‘goat track road camping area’. After asking locals and trying to work out if we could make it to check the campground out we decided it was most likely a 4Wheel drive track so not suitable for our campervan.
  • The first night (a Thursday night in April, school holidays and very nice weather) we decided to check out Stephenson’s falls, which is a beautiful waterfall but also National Park camping. They say 50 spots on the website but it was more like 20, and FULL. We were extremely surprised by how busy it was as we arrived at midday so were lucky to get a spot but many many cars rolled in later in the day and missed out. This spot we would rate as O.K. The spots were not that private or amazing and there wasn’t much to do there besides the short walk to Stephenson’s Falls. We also had some rowdy teenagers playing loud music which always ruins things!

Forrest Stevensons Falls

  • The second night (the Friday night) we stayed at The Wonky Stable’s campground which is in the centre of Forrest. We didn’t even know a campground in Forrest existed and ALWAYS favour national park camping over paid campgrounds but in this instance the campground was better! It was fairly empty and had a lovely view over rolling hills. Fire pits for each campsite and good hot showers plus a new camp kitchen were handy, as was the 2 minute walk to the local pub (average) or a 5 minute walk to the Brewery.

IMG_4210  IMG_4215 IMG_4216 IMG_4233

The Location – Only about an hour from Geelong or Torquay and 2 hours from Melbourne.

Campervan pop top roofs – the difference between the European style and Vertical lifter

A question we get asked very often about campervan pop top roofs: why do you use the ‘European style’ pop top roof and what are the advantages of this type of roof compared to the vertical lifter style roof which is still commonly used in Australia.

There are two main reasons why we believe the European style roof is a much superior product:

  1. It is not ‘spring loaded’ (like the vertical lifter), but fitted with gas struts. This means we can tailor the difficulty of pulling down and up the roof to each client’s strength by letting in or out some gas to adjust the pressure.
  2. The gas struts do not make a sound when you are driving, as opposed to the springs on a vertical lifter which clang while driving.

Need more proof? Look around…the leaders in Campervan manufacturing and the big campervan markets are in the United Kingdom and Europe. They stopped using the vertical lifters 20 years ago. Volkswagen and Mercedes also have their own brand of campervan (not yet availbale in Australia but possibly soon!), the ‘California’ and ‘Marco Polo’ respectively, both also use the European style pop top roofs, and are at the forefront of auto innovation.

European pop top roof

European pop top roof

The difference between the VW T6 TDI340 and TDI400

Getting a new VW T6 and don’t know what all the jargon is about? Hopefully we can help!

Background: the 2.0Litre turbo-diesel engine is available in two ‘output level’s’ (VW calls them ‘output levels’ but from what I can ascertain this relates to the amount of power in the engine).

The TDI340, 103kw, 340Nm

Average fuel consumption from 7.2L/100km.

The Bi-turbo TDI400, 132kw, 400Nm.

Average fuel consumption from 7.6L/100km.

Basically, the TDI400 has an extra turbo giving it more power, which means it also uses a TINY bit more diesel.

Which do you need for your campervan? Either! The TDI340 is perfectly fine. “You would get the TDI400 if you want some extra “oomph””. (straight from the mouth of our VW contact!)

The Thule camping rubbish bin

That’s right, I’ve written a whole blog post about a rubbish bin.

Am I crazy? You decide…

If you’re a free camping or national park camping enthusiast then you’ll understand the importance of rubbish removal in campervan travel, because you’ll have experienced THIS along the way…

Waking up in the morning to find your rubbish and food scraps from the night before strewn all over your campsite as surprise, surprise, there WAS an animal that could somehow get on top of your campervan while you were asleep and managed to not only open the expertly tied together rubbish bag that was placed up there but also make a rubbish tip of the entire campground.

This, along with putting leaking week old rubbish bags inside our van when we finally moved on to the next camping spot was enough for us to spend some time thoroughly researching rubbish removal options for campervan travel.

Although technically a 4wheel drive product, the Thule bin is the best we’ve found so far.

  • It packs up extremely flat so takes minimal storage space when not in use.
  • It includes a connection point so that you can hook it onto the outside of your van.
  • It has a handy ‘animal proof’ opening/lid, which makes it easy for you to throw rubbish away, but impossible for birds and other marsupials to get to.
  • It’s made of sturdy, waterproof material, which makes it easy to hose down.
  • At a price of $80 it may seem like a big commitment but in the name of easy campervanning waste management we think it’s worth it!

For more information on this product visit:

http://www.thule.com/en/gb/products/rv-accessories/storage-solutions/organizers/thule-trash-bin-_-307622

Campervans for sale in Tasmania

Looking for a campervan for sale in Tasmania? We don’t currently know of any companies that have campervans for sale in Tasmania so if you don’t plan on travelling out of the state your best bet is to visit caravancampingsales.com.au and browse through any local options for new or used campervans for sale. Although it’s ok to purchase from a private seller, it is always safer to purchase from a dealership if you can.

If you are up for the trip, Achtung Camper is a short flight away (Hobart to Avalon airport) and only a 20 minute drive from Avalon airport (we would organise airport pickup/drop off).

We have many clients from Tasmania and ordering is done easily over email and the phone as we are able to post out any samples of material colours you are thinking about in the mail so you can see them in the flesh before deciding on your campervan colour scheme.

We also have many Achtung Campers driving around Tasmania and will try to organise for you to catch up with one of our happy customers to see a van in the flesh and hear about the experience first hand.

To view Achtung Camper’s campervans for sale visit http://achtungcamper.com.au/for-sale/

HELP! I’VE GOT A MASSIVE RED WINE STAIN ON MY ROCK AND ROLL BED

Relax. It’s going to be ok. Sit down and have a glass of wine. RELAX!

There’s only one thing you have to do: Head to the closest Bunnings or Officeworks and buy a spray bottle of De-solv-it. It’s a clear plastic bottle with a blue navy and a picture of an orange on it.

Next, either spray a cloth and then blot/rub stain until it has disappeared OR (not recommended on the De-solv-it bottle instructions but often works for us) spray directly onto the upholstery itself and blot/rub with a wet cloth until it has disappeared.

For more information on removing stains from upholstery using this product visit:

http://www.de-solv-it.com/orange-solvent-removes-blood-stain-from-upholstery/

De-Solv-It spray

CAMPERVAN SOLAR – WHEN DO YOU NEED IT AND HOW DO YOU USE IT?

Firstly, if you are only planning on camping in caravan parks and paying for a powered site you will not need campervan solar power for your trip. (if you have access to 240 volt to plug into you do not need solar power).

Without access to 240 volt power to plug into, so if you love National Park and free camping (like us) you can stand with your van parked for between 1 and 3 days without using solar power or starting your van. The factors that will decide how long you can stand are as follows:

  • The outside temperature: the hotter is the, the harder the fridge has to work and the shorter you will be able to run your van without a connection to power or solar.
  • How full your fridge is, how it is stacked and how often you open it: if your fridge is full it will stay cooler longer.
  • How often you charge your appliances ie laptop and phone: charging these items sucks a lot of juice and will quickly run down your leisure battery.
  • Utilising the lights in the van will not affect the leisure battery life as they are all LED and very energy efficient.

When using solar it must obviously be placed in the sun. How quickly it will recharge your leisure battery will depend on the weather (how sunny it is) and how flat your battery is.

And what do we do? As we love National Park camping we do like to take solar with us however I would like to point out that we have travelled for years in campervans without solar or 240 volt power and never had a problem as even if we were camping in the same spot for weeks on end we were always happy to go for a little drive every couple of days to recharge the leisure battery and at the same time buy the paper, some bread, ice creams etc etc.

For more information on the leisure battery and 240 volt in your van see the following blog:

http://achtungcamper.com.au/blog/leisure-battery-campervan-electrics/

 

 

 

WHAT FOOD DO WE PACK FOR A CAMPING TRIP?

 

People are often asking, what do WE pack when we go on a campervanning trip? We’ve done it so many times that the food we take camping is pretty much always the same, and allows for easy (and healthy!) meals without having to visit a supermarket for at least 4 days after leaving home. It’s also easy to add fresh meat or seafood to any of these meals if you do happen to stop at some shops on the way (although the meals below are just as yummy as they are).

Dinner Menu:

  • Pasta with tomatoes sauce, garlic, onion and olives + any vegies you have on hand (if any).
  • Pasta with pesto and sun dried tomatoes + any vegies you have on hand (if any).
  • Rice, curry sauce with chickpeas, onion, saltanas + any vegies you have on hand (if any).

HEALTHY-ISH NACHOS (Yes I can justify eating these for dinner with a few beers!)

camping food

Tin of black beans

Tin of refried beans

Corn Chips

Grated cheese

Jar of salsa

Avocado

We’d also set off with the freezer full of proteins of your choice ie diced chicken, prawns, sausages.

BREAKFAST THINGS

Cereal

Milk

Jam

Bread

Coffee

Fresh eggs

Tea

Cocoa

LUNCH THINGS

Boiled eggs

Block of cheese

Tins of tuna

A few tomatoes

Carrotts

Peanut butter

Tins of baked beans

DINNER THINGS

Packets of pasta

Quinoa or rice

Tins of crushed tomatoes

Coconut milk

A few onions

Garlic

Tin of chick peas

Jar of sun dried tomatoes

Jar of pesto

Small jars of olives

Vegies that last a while in the fridge in/out of the fridge such as zucchini, sweet potatoe, capsicum.

SNACK/OTHER THINGS

Salt and pepper

Curry powder

Mayonaise

Mustard

Olive oil

A packet of sultanas

Nuts

Parmesan Cheese

Packet of marshmallows

Chocolate/biscuits/chips!

Beer and Wine

Comment below with any other items of food to take camping that should be on this list or any good camping recipes!

For more camping related blogs visit http://achtungcamper.com.au/blog/