This is part three of 'How to choose a mobile home'.
So far we've discussed the importance of considering the people who are going to be sharing your home away from home, and getting to your destination(s). Today we are going to look at what time of year you are going to be using your mobile home and how long you are going to be away.
Your needs in a mobile home are not too dissimilar than those of home, except that you are often able to make short-term compromises in the knowledge that you don't need all the modern conveniences. We all need a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, to be warm and well-fed wherever we are.
The basic needs of a short-term stay (weekend) vs a longer-term are a matter of degrees. Short term you need less clothing, less food, less activities, less stuff, but the irony is that in all actuality we find ourselves taking a lot more luxuries if we have the space. Longer-term we need to think about the possibilities of the weather changing (being able to wash what we have), having enough food and not getting bored.
While many have bold fantasies of simply up and leaving whenever they please, the reality is that when push comes to shove bad weather often dictates or dampens our sense of adventure.
Camping in summer is largely a given. The sun is out, the nights are long, very few layers of clothing are needed. You could throw in your bikini, a sarong, sunglasses and a towel, and be set - well almost! You can sit outside, cook outside, play outside, eat outside...you get the picture. The main decision is how long can we be away.
Autumn, Winter and Spring however are a different matter altogether. This is the time that we need to concentrate on surviving cabin fever and staying comfortable.
Have you considered:
- When do we want to be using our mobile home? Summer, Winter, Autumn, Spring? All year-round?
- How long do we intend on being away each trip?
- Is there room for extra clothing like jumpers, jackets, hats, shoes?
- Can we store more blankets somewhere?
- Can I wash clothes easily by hand? Machine? Laundry facilities?
- Is there a decent area for drying clothes inside - over shower to drip dry perhaps? Is there a heater in bathroom? A dryer?
- Is there central heating for cold evenings and seasons? Gas? Electricity (need mains or generator) ?
- Is there adequate ventilation for the heat of summer? Screens on windows and doors? Roof and side vents?
- Is there enough space indoors for wet days? Can everyone sit/sleep when and where they need to?
- What wet weather entertainment is there? DVD, TV, Freeview, Satellite, Stereo, MP4 player? Is there space to store games / books / individual activities or hobby materials?
- Is this mobile home logically set up for indoor / outdoor living? Is there a bbq outside? A shower outside?
- Is there somewhere to store wet weather clothing and equipment/gear?
- Is there somewhere to store beach/ sun/ playground equipment?
- Is there a good-sized fridge / freezer / pantry or will we have to locate a supermarket to stock up with groceries? Can we walk to the food store or do we need to strike camp and use the mobile home to get us there?
- Might I want to bring extra/different kitchen appliances per season according to the meals we are used to eating? Slow-cooker, steamer, pressure cooker, toastie maker, juicer. Is there somewhere to store these? Is there power to use them?
You all know that we intend to adventure through Aotearoa year-round - rain and shine, so it comes as no surprise that it's important for our mobile home to be warm in winter and cool in summer, especially as there will be 7 bodies inside. As we would like to have some freedom about where we overnight, it would be an advantage to us to have washing facilities and a larger fridge/freezer. We plan to stop at local road-side stalls when we see them and will have to become diligent at meeting the need for food early in the day so that we are not caught short in the middle of nowhere.
The main issue as I see it about our plans, is what do we do when the children are climbing the walls from being cooped up inside for too long. I think the answer to that is having a few spaces where we can 'escape' each other inside; and letting the children outside no matter what the weather, so I'm adding sturdy rainwear to my wish list. Of course we'll have to have somewhere to take it all off and let it dry - perhaps an awning or the shower? Or a cupboard/locker with a plastic tray in it to catch the drips? Rainy days will also give me reason to break out the read-a-loud science books I have been sincerely meaning to share with the children, but at home they are so on the go darting in various directions that it's hard to get them in the same place at the same time except for meals. I also have visions of us sitting around an happily playing games - okay perhaps that is a little delusional!
What can you live without?