Lighting, heating and ventilation might be less visible elements in a motorhome, but are very important when it comes to your overall comfort and enjoyment of your time on the road.
Here’s what to consider when choosing your new motorhome.
When you’re cooking, eating, sleeping, relaxing and washing in a space as small and waterproof as the average RV, you’ll want to be sure that it’s fresh, dry and light-filled at any time of the day or night, under any conditions.
Good motorhome design allows natural light to flood the interior during the daylight hours, without the need to turn on lights and drain your batteries. Light will usually come through well-placed domes or sky-roofs, which sometimes double as vents. Look at the number, placement and functionality of these when buying.
Consider also the placement and type of lighting throughout the vehicle. Is it well-placed for cooking and reading? Is it designed to create an ambient light in the evening?
LED lighting is the way forward in motorhomes as these last longer and use less power. Look for lighting design that offers flexibility in the form of tracks and slides, swivel lamps, dimmers as well as discreet night lights should you need to use the toilet at night, without waking up the rest of your group.
A watertight RV also needs good ventilation to ensure that water gets out and stays out. Cooking, showering and even sleep can create moisture you’ll need to vent to the outside in order to keep your RV fresh and dry.
Check for adequate air vents/windows in places of heavy moisture build-up, such as the bathroom and kitchen. Is there ventilation above the stove and a latchable window or ceiling vent (or both) in the bathroom?
How big are the windows and are they well placed throughout the motorhome? Can they be latched partially open to allow for breeze at night? If so, do they have insect screens to prevent mosquitos and other bugs from getting in? New Zealand summers can get hot, and a breeze is particularly important in the upper North Island where humidity can be high at night too.
You may see some motorhomes with an air conditioning unit, and these have generally been designed for Australia’s much hotter conditions. These units aren’t necessary in New Zealand as the climate is much milder and they simply take up valuable space and become an additional drain on your RV batteries.
The first step to effective heating of your motorhome is checking its construction and insulation so you know that whatever heat you create can be retained effectively. European-designed motorhomes offer excellent insulation and heating as they have been designed for much harsher winter conditions than we generally experience in New Zealand.
Check for the number and placement of heating vents throughout the motorhome and make sure they aren’t blocked by any other accessories.
Are there heating vents in the bathroom? These are very useful as you can hang damp/wet items, shut the door and turn the bathroom into a drying room when it’s too cold or wet to get washing dry outside.
Also check that the heating can be operated easily when you aren’t hooked up to mains power.
Also in SmartRV’s ‘Buyers’ Guide’ series:
RV Buyers’ Guide – Budget
RV Buyers’ Guide – Motorised or Towed?
RV Buyers’ Guide – Self-Contained Vehicles
RV Buyers’ Guide – Chassis and Construction
RV Buyers’ Guide – Length, Layout and Beds
RV Buyers’ Guide – Kitchen
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