Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Camping Car

We can now reveal the second part of our plan for a couple of months of four-wheeled cruising in New Zealand. 
The Honda gains a new addition

Having realised that camper vans were beyond our budget to rent or buy (unless we were prepared to buy something old, high-mileage and probably unreliable), we'd settled on the car (with which we are absolutely delighted, by the way) and a tent. However we had our eyes on a tent with a difference - one that mounts on the car roof. Graham's boss, Tim, had such a thing mounted on a Land Rover for the Glastonbury Festival so we were delighted to find a company importing them from Australia; delight turned to frustration, however, when we discovered they'd just sold their last one and the next delivery wouldn't be until late February, a month too late for our planned trip.

This set-back turned out to be serendipidous, though, as we then saw an advert on Trade Me (the NZ version of eBay) for a second-hand tent. The photo even showed it fitted to a Honda CRV like ours! We put a bid in and were successful so took a lovely 3-hour scenic drive to Tauranga yesterday to collect it.

The sellers were a wondeful retired English couple, Graham and Liz, who'd moved to NZ having lived in Zambia for nearly 30 years. Though they'd loved the tent, they'd finally decided that the comforts of a camper van might be a good thing (and one is being shipped to them from the UK) so were selling it to make space in their garage. We liked them immediately and Graham (who's ex Royal Navy so spent a year in Dartmouth in the 60's) proudly showed us the additions and modifications he'd made to fit it to the Honda; like us he'd been concerned about overloading the roof-rack so had added additional stengthening bars and vertical support props to take the weight of the occupants. A perfect solution!

So, after a couple of hours back in the marina car park bolting the tent base to our roof bars we are delighted with our purchase. It takes only about 10 minutes to erect and pack away, the 7'x 5' double bed is very comfortable and the large awning provides shelter for cooking and eating below it. We can't wait to try it out for our first night's camping at the beginning of February!

The unfolded tent, complete with ladder to the upstairs bedroom. Guy ropes will replace Graham to hold the awning!

The outer canvas removed to show the inner tent; the four extra support props can be seen under the left hand side.
Testing for  comfort

PS When we bought the car we new it'd need a new battery (the result of under-use) so fitted one yesterday. After that, of course, the CD Stereo demanded a security code that we couldn't find in the paperwork - "rats", we muttered. However the Honda dealership where it was bought 13 years ago was just around the corner and within a couple of minutes they provided us with the code and confirmed on their computer system that the car was up to date in its servicing. "There aren't many Hondas of that age with such a good service record!" the Service Manager commented. 


  1. Very exciting! The tent looks amazing. i had no idea it did all that stuff.

  2. Wow this is great, do you mind if I post this on my blog?


  3. What an awesome way to customize your car for fun summer adventures! Great job in coming up with a cost effective solution to a traditional RV. It is great to hear that you did not have trouble with the buying process. Finding a dealership that does not try to swindle you is difficult. The car buying process should not be stressful.

    Paige Hollingsworth @ Baldwin Motors Lincoln

  4. Our Honda has also gone on camping trips with us. We not only can store all the tents on top like you, we have all our fishing gear and a canoe up there too. I love this Honda and I do not think we would be able to get out in the wild as often as we do without having her.

    Newton @ Fiesta Nissan

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