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Does the Cali Ocean offer Value for Money?

WelshGas

WelshGas

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If you are going to spend most of your time on Campsites then , Yes, I agree, you don't need a Full Campervan such as the Ocean, a MPV with a roof bed will do.
Mind you, by the time you have bought all the bits and pieces for the Beach then you might wonder.
 
LemonDrop

LemonDrop

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So I’ve spent most of today watching Cali videos and looking at every type of Campervan in between...and to be honest, I’m drawn back to the Cali every time.

However, I’d like to think out loud for a minute and would welcome your thoughts...

The more I watched the videos of the Ocean today, the more I actually put my wife, daughter and I ‘in the van’, imagining how it would work for us. We both agreed that a drive away awning looks like a brilliant idea, pure and simply for the extra space that it offers...and then I got thinking...

Is a Beach the more obvious choice for us? My thoughts below:

*we’d get significantly more room down below but still benefit from having the upstairs bed.

*if an awning is a given for us, then the cooking could be done inside it on a portable hob of some description, which means bedding etc won’t smell of cooked food.

*with the sink being so small and with us probably staying on campsites in the UK and in Europe 95% of the time, will we miss this?

*I’ve seen some videos where plug in heaters have been used to heat the van, assuming the Beaxh doesn’t have one built in - would need to check the spec!

And so, the major downsides of a Beach I can come up with are no fridge (which we would 100% want) and a lack of storage for everything we’d be taking with us on trips away.

I’m now too tired to think properly but I’m interested to hear from those of you who have perhaps had the same thought process and taken the plunge with a Beach.

Thanks again,

Martin
Yep, we went through the same thought process...and ended up with a 2 seater bench Beach.

How we reached this decision:

We always stay on campsites so don't ned the sink. If we do end up doing the odd wild camp night (which I think we will at some point) then it will be fine washing up outside using our washing up bowl.

We're mainly fair weather campers and love cooking outside so we knew we'd hardly ever use the kitchen. If the weather is dire we'll either go to the pub for dinner or get a takeaway or we'll have the event shelter up anyway, so cooking outside will still be fine. We can still make our morning cup of tea inside without having to leave the van!

We wanted a king sized bed.

We wanted more space in the van both for "stuff" and spaciousness. If we go out for the day, it feels really roomy with the front seats turned round and the table out, also very easy to make a cup of tea on the little stove whilst inside on a day-trip.

We went for the 2 seater bench because: we won't need more than 4 seats, the bed is lower when made up (so more headroom). For us this was worth the inconvenience of the lower multiflex board, which means for example you can't store a fridge in the boot/can't get a slidepod. This is a compromise and the one that works for us.

The 2 seater bench is flatter when made into the bed (like the ocean seat), it has a massive drawer underneath rather than 3 smaller drawers and the storage box has yet more storage under it, plus it can be removed so if at some point we wanted to get a kitchen pod fitted we could (I doubt this will happen whilst the kids are in tow) so offers tons of versatility.

When we picked our Beach up from the dealer I had a nosey round the ocean in the showroom and had a last minute panic that we'd made the wrong choice! It is a beautifully designed piece of kit. But for the way we use the vehicle the Beach is right for us. Hopefully this will be helpful in your decision making, you'll definitely get there in the end.

By the way, we originally considered a conversion as well but the California holds its value so well it was a no-brainer. If you hate it and want to sell it on you'll hardly lose any money on it.
 
Last edited:
LemonDrop

LemonDrop

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By the way, we are 2 adults and 2 kids so both beds are always used.

Think about adding a grand to the purchase price for essential items that transform the beach such as fridge (about £500/600) and the Vanessa window bags. £300 is seemingly a ridiculous amount of money to pay for glorified suitcases but they are massive and reduce clutter and faff as are your wardrobes!
 
MTM84

MTM84

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Thanks again for all the advice - you’re all a great help.

So reading a previous post, I take it the Beach doesn’t have the night time heater then? Is there still a battery that powers everything when the engine is off? Also, do the aftermarket fridges plug into the 3 pin power socket?

I could keep asking loads of questions but I’ll go and have a good read through the Beach section after dinner!
 
LemonDrop

LemonDrop

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Thanks again for all the advice - you’re all a great help.

So reading a previous post, I take it the Beach doesn’t have the night time heater then? Is there still a battery that powers everything when the engine is off? Also, do the aftermarket fridges plug into the 3 pin power socket?

I could keep asking loads of questions but I’ll go and have a good read through the Beach section after dinner!
The parking heater is an option on the beach (about £1900 list price I think, look at autoebid for a good discount when you're ready to buy).

It has a leisure battery that powers everything when the engine is off. I THINK the Ocean has 2 leisure batteries?? Might be wrong about that...

The aftermarket fridges can run either off the 3 pin socket or the 12 volt socket. We've got this 41L one which is the same size as the one that comes with the Ocean (it's a bit of a beast you might not need one quite that big!) https://www.marinesuperstore.com/refrigeration/portable-fridge-freezers/isotherm-travel-box
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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I’ve had both.
Beach and Ocean. Currently in an Ocean.
I do miss the large bed and flexibility of the Beach, along with the manual roof.
However the extra storage in the Ocean is very good too.
It’s a really hard call because they both have advantages and disadvantages.

I had the 3 seater Beach. But if I ordered again, I would possibly go for the 2 seater. I like the way the headrest fold over, its flatter for sleeping and the large single draw is more useful than the 3 smaller ones on the 3 seater.
But again can’t deny, having the 3 rear seats is very handy.

Tough choice, try before you buy...
 
MTM84

MTM84

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I’ve had both.
Beach and Ocean. Currently in an Ocean.
I do miss the large bed and flexibility of the Beach, along with the manual roof.
However the extra storage in the Ocean is very good too.
It’s a really hard call because they both have advantages and disadvantages.

I had the 3 seater Beach. But if I ordered again, I would possibly go for the 2 seater. I like the way the headrest fold over, its flatter for sleeping and the large single draw is more useful than the 3 smaller ones on the 3 seater.
But again can’t deny, having the 3 rear seats is very handy.

Tough choice, try before you buy...
Thanks....i take it the 2 seats in the rear makes a smaller bed?
 
GrannyJen

GrannyJen

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As @WelshGas and others have said, Beach v Ocean is largely a matter lifestyle.

I often set off from home with no idea where I'm going to finish, and when in that mindset the more remote that I end up the better. The total, enveloping, built-in self sufficiency of the Ocean makes it the ideal survival capsule when caution is thrown to the winds.

Waking up on the tip of the mull of Kintyre, after heavy snow and rains had temporarily destroyed the service road to the lighthouse, was magical. Equally finding myself totally snowed in close to the Black Cuillin in Skye, no choice but to hunker up for however long, was brilliant, especially as my last winter visit 40 years earlier ended rather more tragically.

Some aspects of the California are priceless, it's all round capability to go almost anywhere whilst giving you the comforting embrace of total confidence in being able to handle anything is one of them,
 
MTM84

MTM84

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I do like the idea of what you’ve described!

Just looking at how folk have kitted out their Beach. The 2 bench option is definitely the one for us.

Cooking gas burners seems straightforward enough.

A bit more unsure of fridges and how it would drain the battery but enjoyable reading all the threads on here nonetheless.
 
Erbster

Erbster

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The beach owners who have commented all love their cali’s (obviously) and the common thread is that the format suits their use.

I dislike campsites and avoid them whenever possible. I have s drive away awning but mostly can’t be bothered using it. I use my van a lot in winter and often cook, so find the internal kitchen indispensable. I might have bought s Coast if available in the UK because I’m not keen on the hydraulic roof. Like the previous poster, being self contained is important to me.

If you get a beach, definitely spec a parking heater.

Conclusion: be clear what you want to be able to do with your van. Beach and Ocean both awesome vehicles. To each their own. Enjoy.


https://caliventures364847572.wordpress.com/
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

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I do like the idea of what you’ve described!

Just looking at how folk have kitted out their Beach. The 2 bench option is definitely the one for us.

Cooking gas burners seems straightforward enough.

A bit more unsure of fridges and how it would drain the battery but enjoyable reading all the threads on here nonetheless.
Scenario.
You arrive at your chosen campsite and it's raining. Typical UK summer shower. You park your California Ocean, pop the roof, move to the back, fill the kettle from the tap, and make a cuppa. Might have to get out to switch the gas on, and wait for the shower to pass.

You arrive at your chosen campsite and it's raining. Typical UK summer shower. You park your California Beach, pop the roof and??????
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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Scenario.
You arrive at your chosen campsite and it's raining. Typical UK summer shower. You park your California Ocean, pop the roof, move to the back, fill the kettle from the tap, and make a cuppa. Might have to get out to switch the gas on, and wait for the shower to pass.

You arrive at your chosen campsite and it's raining. Typical UK summer shower. You park your California Beach, pop the roof and??????
Clip the table in, remove kettle and alpkit from cupboard. Fill with water from the fridge and boil.
I guarantee the Beach owner with that setup will be drinking tea sooner than the Ocean owner.
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

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Clip the table in, remove kettle and alpkit from cupboard. Fill with water from the fridge and boil.
I guarantee the Beach owner with that setup will be drinking tea sooner than the Ocean owner.
If you are on your own, maybe.:thumb
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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Thanks....i take it the 2 seats in the rear makes a smaller bed?
No because there is a side storage box which forms part of the bed.
Having owned both, the Ocean has more storage. Which does help keeping organised. But the bed downstairs is compromised to facilitate the storage and I do find it a bit of an issue.
Two adults is very cosy. Family of 4 would struggle.

I once converted a van. Where I had a double seat, with a small kitchen pod under the side window. This meant at the top of the bed (tailgate) I had a section which made the bed full width at the head end and just gave a bit more space for sleeping. With the kitchen section at the other end plus storage.

It’s possibly the route I will go once our little boy is a bit older.
To do this, I would buy the 2 seat Beach.
So after owning both, I will probably migrate back to a Beach in a couple of years from now.
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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If you are on your own, maybe.:thumb
NO...
It’s honestly no more difficult.
I genuinely believe the 2 seat Beach with slight modification would offer the best solution
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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This is a rough sketch.
I would look at having the fridge mounted into the kitchen unit on sliding rails.
Small draw above fridge for storage.
The other side of the unit would have a roll up door to store gas small gas bottle, plus shell for plates and pot and pans.
Vanessa window bags on rear windows
Rear sliding shelf under rear multi flex

8D99B250-4E9F-4403-9D02-9E4A71BA9F2C.jpeg
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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The diesel heater is a must on the Beach and if I bought another I would mount a second leisure battery under the drivers seat.
Note I powered my fridge last time off the 12v system and had a Ctek battery charger mounted permanently in the van which ran the fridge and charged the leisure battery when I was on hook-up
 
2into1

2into1

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I thought this might become another beach vs ocean debate and it has!

My only 2p worth is that I shudder when I see some beach set ups with kettles sitting high up on tall camping stoves, occasionally standing on diy tables just clipped into the rail. Also electric kettles with cables strewn across the floor or across the seat armrests (also happens in Oceans).

Using a gas kettle on a properly installed stove must be the safer route (which includes a well designed beach pod).
 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

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It always will pop up.
But having owned both vans. They definitely have their advantages and disadvantages.
It’s very much a personal choice.

I find a few members here have tunnel vision with their choice of Cali.
But actually, what works for one may not work for another. Each to their own.
 

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