Tuesday 4 September 2012

Which mobile home to choose....

Once that the house was sold we now had to decide on what type of mobile home we would buy. A bus, a motorhome/campervan, a caravan or a fifth-wheeler. After much research and visits to campervan & caravan shows & various dealers yards in the end we decided on a fifth-wheeler.

What about this one?
 In fact this brought back many memories for David, he used to sell the
NZ made Trekkas when he first came to NZ back in 1968
We never really considered buying a bus, motorhomes were the next to be crossed off our list as we wanted to be mobile once we were parked up and not have to pack up and secure our belongings before we could visit the shops or local attractions, parks etc. We're planning on doing a lot of day trips as we may be parked up at some places for a week or two or more so to be able to leave the site without packing up was a priority. The caravan really never stayed on the the list for long either, we wanted to be able to take whatever we purchased, while not necessarily off road, certainly into some back country areas quite easily and most caravans aren't robust enough, and also the size we were considering lacked the interior space we felt we needed as this was going to be our full-time home. This left us the fifth-wheeler.

I've been asked many times over what a fifth wheeler is, the easiest explanation I've read is that it's an articulated caravan. None the wiser? The fifth wheel is the hitch that joins the caravan to the vehicle that is towing it, usually but not always a ute (utility). It hitches onto a turntable that is positioned on the deck of the vehicle. This makes towing & manoeuvring the van much easier and allows for a lot more room inside as the front of the van swings over the deck of the vehicle; the bedroom is usually located in this area. Fifth-wheelers also have one, two or three "slide outs", these slide out from the walls of the van opening up the interior to nearly double the size, allowing for good sized lounge areas, galley or other bedrooms. They slide back in when on the road. There are very large fifth-wheelers out there, they are very popular in the States & Australia but we needed to compromise on space, we wanted to be able to have enough space that we didn't feel like we were living in a sardine can but not so big that we couldn't tow it easily. Size & weight also had a bearing when it came to road transport regulations and where the van & ute fitted into the licensing parameters; both vehicle & driver. Too heavy &/or big & we'd be paying extra road tax over and above what is included in the diesel price per litre.

Fifth wheeler with slide-out, out
In the end we decided on an Evergreen Ultima Fifth Wheeler, the van would take 3 months to arrive from America which was good timing as the Ford Ranger Supercab we'd also ordered to tow it would take three months also. The Ultima is built for New Zealand road conditions including driving on the left hand side of the road; the entry door opens so that you are exiting away from the road.