15 August 2013

Will My Kit Fit In It?

Three weeks ago I made a very significant addition to my camera kit. Most photographers acknowledge that it is easy to spend a lot of money on their kit, but I think I REALLY went for it this time. Here is my new bit of photography support equipment:

Yes, after much consideration and a couple of false starts, I have bought a camper van!  The van is a Romahome R10 Solo, the smallest of Romahome's range.  As the name implies, it is strictly a one person vehicle.  It is also (for a camper van) very small.  A fact which caused me quite a few concerns as I was worried about whether I'd be able to fit my gear in it, both for camping and for photography.  I was able to contact some R10 owners, who gave me some useful advice about using the van.  So I took the plunge, brought the van home, and then laid out the kit which needed to go in it. 

Considering the fact that the stuff above had pretty much filled my kitchen for a week prior to collecting the van, the pile actually looks quite restrained!  It doesn't look like it, but there are about 40 items on that rug.  Everything from bedding and cutlery to a heavy duty tow rope in case of needing a tug from a muddy field.  As well as the gear above, there are a couple of water containers - fresh and 'grey', silver insulation screens for the cab windows (which come in a huge-for-an-R10 bag), and my 'van cam' (my vehicles always carry a compact camera because you never know when you'll want one). An advantage of kitting the van out from scratch is that I know exactly what is in it, and I plan to keep it that way. 

When I was reviewing what I would need prior to collecting the van, I found two very helpful sources of information. One was Freeborn Motorhomes'Ready to Roll' list, geared up especially for Romahomes, and another was a blog post titled What Do You Take in Your Camper Van? These two lists gave me a lot of very useful information and helped me to create my van's inventory list.  Two other factors were in the front of my mind all the time: 'Is it essential?' and 'Is it small and/or collapsible?' Given the size of the R10, these are key questions, but even when/if I move to a bigger van, who wants to haul lots of clutter around if they don't have to?

I'll find out how right/wrong I got it with my choices when we take our first camping trip together shortly.

You'll notice that there is a conspicuous absence of camera gear, food, or clothing in the above picture, and that's because all of those things will be moved in and out of the van on a trip by trip basis.  No camera gear or other high value stuff will be left in the van between trips.

So, did the kit fit in it?

Yes!  The tiny R10 swallowed everything up, and I also found space for food, clothes and camera kit although you do have to be a careful packer, and ruthless about leaving behind unnecessary stuff.  

A quiet afternoon on my mum's drive organising things and relocating various items mean that the van is now fully prepped for our first photographic foray.  I'll let you know how we get on.

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