It’s your first campervan trip: you can’t wait to set out on your first “grand adventure”, but you’re also unsure about what lies ahead.
Enthusiasm, impatience, uncertainty are frequent reactions.
You're about to plunge into a new world full of procedures and habits which will have to become familiar routines. You’ll have to be flexible and on your toes, to deal easily with the surprises of “campervan life”.
The Fiat Ducato Campervan base, through its technology, versatility and practical design, makes on-board life easy. And to help you even more, it offers you various suggestions and key advice that make all the difference for beginners: some of these are “indispensable” tips, others are simple precautions and ideas to make your holidays more enjoyable.
1. Windows and portholes
Before setting out, you must always ask yourself a question, and ask everyone else aboard as well: “Are all the portholes and windows shut?” It’s imperative to always make sure that none of them have accidentally been left open, otherwise the force of the wind entering during the drive can create various problems (falling objects, disorder, etc.).
It’s also a good idea to close them when parking your campervan, for security but also because if it were to rain when you’re not there, the interior could get wet, and mattresses and cushions become soaked.
2. Compartment doors
Be sure also that cupboard and compartment doors are properly closed, since the vibrations and movements of the vehicle can cause objects to fall out. So, before starting the engine, always check that all kinds of doors on-board are securely closed.
On a Ducato base, all this is greatly simplified, because the rigid barriers between different areas of the motorhome simply disappear: the Captain Chair seats are mounted on extremely stable pivoting plates with 180° rotation. Once rotated, they can slide forward close to the dinette, without any need for doors or partitions that need looking after.
3. Extensions and wedges
The more we use our campervan, the more we realise how many accessories can be highly useful: sleeping bags, crockery and cookware, solar panels, TV or even a satellite dish. Some accessories, however, are not optional: they are indispensable to ensure the smooth organisation of your campervan holidays... for example, a lengthy electric current extension cable, and big wedges to keep the parked vehicle on an even level.
The former is vital in camping sites and parking areas, for connecting to external power sources. If the power source is too far away from the parking space, but you want to recharge your batteries, you need a lengthy cable... 20 or 25 metres will usually be enough.
Wedges are important because, in the not unusual case of a sloping parking space, you can position them beneath the wheels and have a horizontal campervan!
So, make sure you have at least one pair of big wedges with you.
4. Transformer for electronic devices
Smartphones, tablets, laptops, kindle e-books, Wi-Fi hot spots... when you travel, you often need to charge some of these devices and – unless you stop at a campsite or a rest area with a power connection – it’s not always easy. You can’t keep your engine running solely to recharge a PC!
So, it’s worth getting an inverter that transforms 12-volt power into 220 volts: a small box-like unit that you attach to the cigarette-lighter, to which you can attach any plug.
5. Food stocks
It's true that supermarkets and motorway service areas are never far away, but it’s certainly advisable to stock up some basic food supplies before setting off in your campervan... because sometimes you may travel at night when everything is closed, and other times you may want something, without stopping to buy it. Bottles of eater, crackers, biscuits, tinned food... always useful, to help you stay awake when driving too.
6. Specialist Roadmaps
We have long since got used to digital online maps, but you should also always have paper maps and guides on-board: in Italy, the campervan specialist bible is the Portolano.
The Portolano offers a list of parking areas scattered across Italy, divided into regions: this is available online, but ideally you should also have a paper version on-board, to consult at any time, with or without a connection.
Now, with these six basic tips, you can safely set out on your first “grand campervan adventure.” All aboard! It’s time to set off on your Ducato base campervan!