Camping in a Romahome Duo
First let us introduce you to our Romahome Duo which we owned from 2003 - 2005. Previous to that we had a Duo without the toilet option, from March 2001 - 2003.
Seen here, on the right,with the optional drive away awning, which proves to be very useful on those long stays on one site and gives extra storage space and toilet compartment if needed.
The ease of camping in a Romahome has many people amazed. We quite often arrived on site, turned on the gas, lowered the steadies and by the time we have got out the chairs, the kettle was boiled and we are sitting down to a nice cuppa.
The usual comment from other campers who are still busy fetching water and setting up, is "Wow, why can't ours be that easy!"
And it is, even when using the awning and electric hook up we could still be set up within about 30 minutes.
"A drive-away awning gives lots of extra space on site"
We carried the awning behind the driver and passenger seats. Some of the later models of Romahome now have the spare wheel behind the drivers seat so it is not possible to carry the awning there. (If you are ordering a new Romahome it might be worth asking if they will leave the spare wheel under the van - we have been told that small variations on the layout are possible and that Romahome are always happy to try and meet individual needs). Otherwise you will probably have to carry the awning on the luton or in the centre between the seats.
On the luton (picture right) with the chairs we also stored the
folding table, and a small black and white TV (just 7" square
but a great picture) this runs off both 12 volt and mains. This
leaves plenty of room for the other items you need when
Space is precious but we never felt that we had to leave
anything behind that we would really have preferred to
take with us.
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"Consider ways to save space, every little helps"
If possible utilise every opportunity to save space - for instance our
little 'Heath Robinson' invention (opposite right) for keeping the kettle
on the cooker while travelling has saved us a kettle sized space in the
under seat storage area (might not sound much but you would be
surprised what you can fit in it!) At bit hard to see in the photo but it's
simply a length of elastic with velcro sewn at each end. The elastic is
folded around the cooker top and secured with the velcro, the elastic is
then stretched over and around the kettle handle and then secured at
the other side, again with the sewn on velcro. I put our small pan glove
under the kettle just to stop it rattling as we travel. (Please do
remember to remove the elastic before lighting though!).
The grill pan also travels in situ. A square of non-slip mat which you
can get at many shops, is placed under the grill pan and it doesn't
move about. (Again it's important to remember to remove it before using the grill).
Beds and Seating
The seating can be used as either two single beds or as one very large double.
There is lots of room and it is very comfortable - for taller people there is a removable bed extension which fits behind the driver and passenger seat to make the bed longer..
Three wooden slats fit between the seats and are held in place by velcro, the cushions are slid forward to the middle, then the back rests are used to fill in the side areas.
"The bed is quick and easy to make up"
Once the bed is made up there is not a lot of
room for walking about. It does pay to be good
friends as the only area left for changing is
between the cooker and sink unit.
It's probably easier to get changed on the bed -
and after all it is camping and you can't expect
all the luxuries of home!
Some people sleep with their heads towards
the cab, others at the other end.
We found that when sleeping at the cab end the pillows often fell down into the gap. Another advantage of sleep with heads towards the sink/cooker end is that you have a headrest on the lift up flaps and it's also possible to have the TV on the luton and watch TV in bed!
To help keep warm at night it's well worth investing in a 'Silver Screen'.
These insulated covers fit either on the outside or inside of the vehicle and help keep it warm, they also help keep it cool on very hot days too. They also prevent condensation on the inside windscreen.
Make sure you buy one that is designed for your vehicle as sizes and fittings do vary considerably.
"A Silver Screen will keep you warm or cool depending on the weather!"
There is lots of storage under the bench seating of the Romahome Duo and in top cupboards. We stored the bedding in the bench behind the passenger seat
The pans and some food we stored in the bench behind the driver seat
One persons clothes, toiletries bag and towels were kept in the bench next to the sink and the other's in the bench next to the cooker. Depending on how long we were travelling then there was more or less space available.
The top cupboards were for food and one for our binoculars, books, games and other small items.
"Lots of cupboard space means nothing has to be left behind"
The cupboard above the sink we kept plates, cutlery (in a plastic container, coffee pot and first aid things.
Above the cooker were stored, glasses, coffee/sugar etc. storage jars and a few spices.
To save space we only travelled with enough equipment for ourselves (2 cups or mugs, two glasses etc) so if we had visitors it was a case of bring your own glass!!
These pictures on the show the underbed storage (right pic) and the top front cupboards (left pic).
Most Romahomes are equipped to run on electricity (240v) via a electric hook up socket on the outside of the van, you will need an electric hook up lead to plug into the electric socket on campsites.
"Using the electricity is safe and easy if you follow the instructions"
The outside plug in socket has a cover to keep out the wet - if you find it hard to lift the cover when it's closed try using the end of your electric hook-up cable socket , this has a small notch which we are sure was designed just for this job.
Inside the van - in our Duo it was under one of the bench seat - you will find the mains isolation switches, use your handbook to fully understand how these work and what each does.
The pictures show the socket on the outside of the van and the internal unit.
We have been told that it is important to fully uncoil your electric hook-up cable when on site and connected to the electricity as otherwise you can overload the cable and risk damage or a short circuit.
Your Romahome will be equipped with a fridge and cooker that runs off gas, you will need a gas bottle to run these appliances.
"Like electricity, gas is safe and easy if you follow the instructions"
Gas is stored in an outside locker so is easy to get at and change. The locker will only hold two Camping Gaz 907 bottle and are not tall enough to take Calor or other types of bottle.
The regulator is also in the locker Although for van built after 2003 it is now compulsory for them to be fitted with fixed regulators.
There is an on board toilet option (porta potti) available which proves to be useful but it does mean you lose the under sink cupboard. We never regretted this and found that it was well worth the loss.
It's not much fun having to get dressed and trek across the campsite in a howling wind or rain!
Although the toilet compartment in the awning is a good second best and it means again that you don't have to dress and go out.
On-board toilet option
The on board toilet is situated under the sink. When required for use the sink lifts up and slots into an upright position above the toilet out of the way. For privacy there are curtains which divide the toilet area from the living area and the rear blind and window curtain give privacy from outside.
The pictures show a view taken from inside and outside the van, they show the toilet in situ. Here you can see that the toilet is completely enclosed under the sink unit, it has a removable door for ease of access.
We always kept a small push button air freshener in the cupboard to keep it smelling fresh.
Although it doesn't offer the luxury of a bathroom unit it proves invaluable on long journeys, especially in France where public toilets are few and far between. It is also a boon when stuck in the inevitable motorway tail-backs which seem so common place these days! .
"Whether you choose the onboard toilet option or the compartment in the awning it's better than a trek across the campsite"
Toilet in the awning or toilet tent
The other option for the toilet is to put it in the awning or use a toilet tent.
When travelling the toilet is then stored under one of the seats and can, in an emergency still be accessed for use.
The Duo is equipped with onboard tanks for both fresh water and waste water, we don’t use water out of the fresh water tank for drinking but prefer to fill a bottle on site, however we do use it for washing ourselves and the dirty pots.
The water tanks help you to be totally self sufficient and means you can stop off for cups of tea or coffee along the way without worrying about finding water. or somewhere to empty the waste.
20 litres of water can last quite a long time and we very rarely have to fill up more than twice in a weeks holiday - although if you are drinking water 'neat' and not boiling it for tea and coffee etc. then it would be better to fill your glass from the campsite mains tap as water in the tank for too long really should be boiled.
The tanks are situated out of site tucked snugly behind the seating where there is also inspection caps for checking how full they are.
"On board fresh and waste water make you self sufficient
Fresh water is filled from outside via a lockable filler cap and the waste is emptied via a tap just under the side of the van.
The pictures show:
The inside inspection cap for the waste (fresh is identical but on other side) (above right)
The inspection cap is hidden under the cushions (fresh is identical but on the other side) (above left)
The outside fresh water filler cap (left)
The waste water empty point (right)
The windows all have blinds and flyscreens - except the lower side “teardrop” windows which open to about 1", these are great for letting some fresh air in at night and the bugs can't (usually!)get in because the curtains fit so tightly.
The fridge (left)- This is situated under the cooker and runs on mains electric (240v), Gas or battery (battery only while travelling).
It can hold quite a lot of things, has two shelves, door bottle storage, butter rack and a small freezer compartment.
Inside the van The picture (bottom right) shows the full length of the van taken from the outside.
The cooker (right) - runs off gas and has two rings plus a pretty ineffective grill underneath. You will notice the little flap at the side of the cooker which gives a little extra worktop space, there is a flap on the side of the sink as well.
There is a sink opposite the cooker and fridge with a cupboard above, the water is pumped from the water tank to the sink via a electric pump which runs from the leisure battery. The sink top comes covered with a chopping board but we found this needed
to be stowed away when travelling as it could be a really dangerous missile in an accident.
There are two bench seats which make up to two single or a large double as described above. A narrow table (pictures left) which fits between the bench seats enables you to sit and eat your meals, it isn’t possible to stand up in the living area of the van (unless you are very short) but thanks to a state down a 6ft tall person can stand in the galley area when cooking or washing etc.
The bench seats are ideal for lounging on and reading or just watching the world go by as you relax on a campsite.
It isn’t recommended to travel with passengers in the back because there are no seats belts in this model.