We get asked all the time about what gear we use while camping. For us camping just isn’t camping without a real fire and to be able to cook outside is a real bonus. One thing that can make things a bit uncomfortable on longer trips is having a fire in a raised fire pit like the BushPig and having all the smoke blow in the side door of the van, especially if the awning is out. Having a fire under the cover of an awning out of the rain while being outside until now has been a bit of a no go for us especially when on a trip when you only have a few items of clothes and you want to make them last. You really don’t realise how much your clothes and hair can smell like woodsmoke until you go into a supermarket or something for supplies and you soon realise how much you pong! On this weekend trip we are using our trusty stove that can be found right here if you are interested in finding out more about it.
We have recently upgrade our awning set up to the ARB with the CampervanCulture.com fitting kit. We ditched the Fiamma simply because on the F35 pro there are to many plastic parts and 85% had failed in one way or another. Sure You can buy replacement parts for them but they are extremely expensive and not viable when you consider the value of your damaged awning and how much it would cost to repair the parts that are broken. We looked hard at the ARB and there just simply wasn’t anything around that worked correctly to connect the ARB to a T25/T3/Vanagon. You can find bastardised Fiamma brackets around that are bent, re drilled etc in an attempt to make them do but we found them to sit to close to the top of the sliding door so the door catches the bag/zip, they sat to low so the add on rooms for the ARB were to saggy on 2wd vans and you had to hunch over to walk underneath them. The sides of a Westfalia roof would still catch the rubber trim and they also rattled from the feedback we read about and that is enough to drive anyone nuts. Fitting roof rack brackets was especially hit and miss so we took all of this info on board and custom made out own fitting bracket sets so we could offer a complete ARB awning set and a range of add on rooms for the vans we drive on our web shop right here. We then approached ARB wholesale and they loved what we had done and allowed us to stock ARB products (ARB are an Australian company) and buy in stock to have here at CVC HQ here in the UK for quick dispatch. Being an ARB stockist is quite a selective process and we are really happy to be part of this right now as it allows us to bridge the gap of Camper van and overland travel gear. We have all had to put up with plastic or nylon made products for years as camper van owners and our goal is to change this with all of the products we stock.
Camping lighting has been another thing we haven’t been able to settle on now for a few years as lots of lighting set ups are either extremely power hungry or require batteries or fuel. This seams crazy when you have such a big battery bank in the vehicle so we are now settled on our CVC magnetic light bar kits here.
The campsite we used this time is Osney Lodge Farm. It’s a great cheap place that is close to home and very near London Gatwick Airport, ideal if flying into to UK. It is big enough to tuck yourself away if you want some quiet time or if you have kit just park up at the top of the meadow near the trees where the kids all hang out and play nicely. http://www.osneylodgefarm.co.uk