Fit2Go Tyre Monitoring Review….

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A couple of weeks ago while we were at the Chapel Lane Caravan Club site Andy Harris from RoadPro came over and brought a new product for us to try. It had been launched to the caravan and motor home market at the NEC show in October and while talking to Andy at the show he introduced me to a couple of people from Fit2Go to chat about the product. I really liked the idea of it as there were no wires involved, little set-up or programming and more importantly it was easy to install the dash display in any vehicle as the unit fitted on the windscreen and was the same size as the old tax disc. No suckers…. no bean bag thingy…. no screwing mounts to the dash or finding a space to install the display. Continue reading

Feeling Festive and Shooting a Video…

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This time of year is great for getting away in your caravan or motor home and getting into the festive spirit. We have owned a caravan for 5 years now and every year to extend the season we have managed to take in a Christmas Market – Lincoln, Erddig, Cheltenham, Oxford, Birmingham to name a few. This year would be no exception and we had decided to re-visit Birmingham. Around the same time as we were planning this, Andy Harris, the TV presenter, owner of RoadPro and avid motorhome enthusiast had been in touch and had a product he wanted us to try out… and make a video! Continue reading

Flushed With Success….. Eventually!

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You know there are times when I think the service industry is going down the pan.

Right… the prologue

We had driven down to Chapel Lane caravan site to do a bit of partaking of the Christmas Markets in Birmingham and to do a bit of filming with the Venerable Andy Harris of motorhome fame (more about that in the next post though!). We had set up and I was pottering round outside sorting the guy ropes for the awning or the Christmas lights, I can’t remember which, when Sue popped her head out of the door and announced with some consternation… “The toilet won’t flush” Continue reading

Little Things….

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One of the little things that has been on my “must do something about that” list for a while is to address the problem we have with not enough places to plug things in and charge them. When we are in the caravan in the evening the front looks like a tech gadget table top sale… Macbook Pro, WiFi router/MiFi device, two iPhones, camera battery chargers, Fitbit charger and all these needed plugging in. The 4 way surge protected power strip I put there just wasn’t cutting it any more.

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BlackVue Dash-Cam Fitted…

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A few days ago I fitted the Black Vue DR650S-2CH 16GB twin camera dash cam to the Amarok. All in all it was a vey easy install taking me less than two hours to accomplish. The longest part was actually tucking the wires in along the edge of the head liner so they can’t be seen. Helpfully Black View supply a little blue tool that helps you do this without damaging any of the interior trim. I also installed the Black Vue Power Magic PRO that allows permanent connection to the vehicles electrical system and gives you the ability to use “Parking Mode” which records continuously when you are parked with the engine off.

If you have considered a dash-cam but don’t know where to start, one of the best introductory guides to Dash Cams that I have seen is by Techmoan.com. Just click on the link to watch it. There are also dozens of dash-cam reviews on His channel.

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NEC Show, Caravan Designs and Looking For A Caravan…

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A bit of a belated post about our trip down to the NEC show and looking round at the possibilities of a new caravan and a catch up on the damp situation (thanks to everyone that emailed me about it!)

This year was our first time taking the caravan down to the show, and after some initial over thinking about actually staying on a car park, it turned out really quite a fun experience.

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I actually spotted someone taking a photo of the Amarok!

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Ecocamel Shower Head…

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A few weeks ago Abigail from Ecocamel contacted me asking if we’d like to test out the Ecocamel water saving shower head. I’d seen adverts for these and noted that some caravans were now having them installed but I never really gave them a second thought until Abigail contacted me.

The shower heads arrived just in time for me to fit one of the Ecocamel Jetstorm shower head to the caravan for our trip to Leek.

Now, sometimes you subconsciously prejudge things and I really wasn’t that excited about a new shower head, after all what amazing things can you do spraying water about. The first time I went to use it I turned on the shower in the caravan as normal and adjusted the temperature by swivelling the tap into the position I normally use and lift it for the flow. What surprised me was the water seemed much hotter than I’d thought it would be. I re-adjusted the tap, and as the shower head had a better spray pattern (who thought that adding air to water would make that much difference!) I could reduce the flow and this meant I had to adjust the temperature down a bit. So what does this all mean?

Well, reduced flow saves water and as you are not using as much hot water for a similar spray pattern your hot water lasts longer. This was borne out by the fact Sue could have a shower straight after me without waiting for the hot water tank to come back up to temperature as it filled up with cold. Admittedly they were ‘navy’ showers but it took away that early morning decision…. whether to dig out all the shower stuff… brew a cup of coffee… stare out the window for a bit and pluck up the energy to schlep over to the site facilities or just hop out of bed straight into the shower.

Home again, I decided to replace our rather expensive and heavy shower head in the upstairs bathroom. Again, I was a bit taken back by the improvement a simple device could have. We have a combi-boiler and when the old shower was turned on max flow, it did struggle to keep up temperature wise. The water was hot but not really skin reddening hot. What a difference, as we could now turn down the flow a bit, the water was HOT and I had to adjust the temperature knob down on the tap from almost max to about half way.

So why has it taken a few weeks for me to pen this review? Well I like testing things and I wanted to know just how much water/energy we were saving so over the course of a few weeks I did some measuring and recording… not good enough for detailed analysis but just enough to satisfy me we were indeed saving water and that should mean energy too as we are not heating up as much water per shower. As long as you can turn the flow down a bit from your normal setting with your old shower head and  you get the same spray/deluge you will save water and hence energy.

Are there any downsides? Well they are a bit noisy as the head sucks in air and mixes it with the water, however its only as noisy as one of these power shower do-hickys.

Are we happy with them… you bet Ecocamel is the only way to go now!

If you are going to the NEC show this week, stop by Ecocamel for a chat, they are on Stand 11.03 or checkout there website Ecocamel.com

Keep an eye out on the blog, as I have TWO of the Jetstorm shower heads to give away. I’ll post the details after we come back from the NEC!

 

A Few Questions Answered About the Amarok…

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I’ve been known as a Land Rover supporter for quite a while now, in fact I started driving Land Rovers 38 years ago back in 1978 and passed my test in one. A lot of people were surprised when I decided to look at something for towing other than a green oval and I have received lots of questions (I mean lots!) about the Amarok.

So far we have done about 1100 miles in ours and I’m still learning about some of its capabilities. One thing that has really impressed me is the awesome eight speed gearbox. One thing that taking any vehicle off-road and sometimes towing on loose or slick surfaces requires is to hold a set RPM while the tyres find traction. With Auto gearboxes normally the gearbox doesn’t like this and shifts up a gear to reduce RPM taking you out of the power band. However, flick the gearbox into manual tiptronic mode and the gearbox will just simply sit in the gear selected until you change. The other thing I found out too was that on slick or icy surfaces, you can select second gear and pull away from stationary to reduce any chance of wheel spin. Do you really need a vehicle that can go off roading with the best… well lets just say you will never have any issues on that sloping grassy CL/CS site!

It would take me far too long to answer all the questions I have been asked and quite frankly it would be flipping boring… akin to reading pi to 20,000 decimal places, so I’ve put together a small collection of YouTube video’s that hope fully will answer a lot of the questions. The first four are courtesy of Miles Continental VW dealers in New Zealand and the first features well-known 4WD professional Pete Ritchie. The fifth video is the inimitable Andrew St.Pierre White of 4xOverland.com (and yes Andrew, they have sorted bluetooth connectivity out) and finally, if nothing else watch the last video… can a two litre engine and auto gearbox pull a road train?

 

 

 

 

And finally….. if there was any doubt about pulling power……

A Place for Everything…

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The additions to the Wolf continue, despite the recent news from Glossop Caravans at our last service, that we have damp in the caravan. Hopefully we will hear soon whether or not its covered by the warranty. So, moving on, a couple of additions to the  VW Amarok. After installing the sliding bed, I noticed that there was some space available between the end of the bed and the truck bed at the cab end. It was only 70 mm, but I thought with a bit of creative construction, I could come up with a contrivance to hold some of the stuff and tools that we normally schlep about with us. Using 18mm birch ply phenol finished board I came up with a storage box that is fitted to the bed and projects forward right up to the truck bed front wall… Continue reading