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Our first trip in Monty and what we learned....

ClanTimmins

ClanTimmins

VIP Member
Messages
61
Location
Leicester
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
We have just come back from a five day trip round the West coast of Scotland in our new Ocean and I thought it would be useful to let other newbies or prospective buyers know what we thought were worthwhile things to specify before purchase and also some of our later post delivery purchases. I will do a separate post about the Scotland trip which was fabulous and tell you of where we stayed and the route we took.

44748


First of all we absolutely love our Ocean and it has way exceeded our expectations in a million ways. Here's our li'l beauty set up in Ardnamurchan.

Things we love and would definitely spec again (we don't have any plans for this - it's a long term investment!)

-We love the two tone paint (Indium Grey and Candy White with chrome pack). No photo does justice to how stunning our van is and how it fills me with joy and just makes me smile whenever I catch sight of it returning from a walk, run, trip to the pub or looking down on it from the ferry deck.
-We love the 199 DSG with adaptive cruise control. This made a drive from the Midlands to the wilds of Scotland a dream. ACC was new to us and we thought it was terrific.
-We love the LED lights. One word: Amazing
-The front and rear sensors and camera. Wouldn't be without this especially in some of the tiny roads and passing places in Scotland. And just for general day to day life. This is our everyday vehicle.
-We got the side scan assist which I wasn't sure about but my husband thought was a good idea. I think it has probably saved one life already as the yellow flashing lights alerted me instantly to a motor cyclist who suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
-We don't particularly love the Sat Nav media composition thing (think the new T6.1 set up looks much better) but would spec it again because we were out of signal a few times in Scotland and we've always have Sat Navs in our cars in Europe and like a downloaded system.
-We love the awning (we didn't realise that it had to be specified but glad we did) I really found the Liverpool van centre instruction videos very helpful in setting the awning up. They are posted on this website along with videos on other things.
-The Comfort mattress. Folds out in a jiffy and we thought it was comfortable (not as comfortable as up top but good enough). Plus it looks nice folded up in the back.
-Green privacy glass in the back. Not quite as dark as I thought it would be but it's fine.
-We also got the 80 litre fuel tank and all weather tyres.
-Heated front windscreen is also great. My husband has early starts and while you can programme the heater to come on and do the job we have found this to be a good addition.

Things we have bought since (Sorry I have not put links in. Loads of this stuff can be bought from the club shop and the rest is easily identified from the information I have given. At least I hope so but message for more info.) I will try and post some pictures probably when I do the other post on our Scotland trip. So here goes...

-complete Brandrup second skin covers in Moonrock grey. I love the light grey interior and think it makes the van really light and airy. I also don't want to stress about stains and intend to wash the covers once a year and put them back on and so we're not too bothered about some chilli or red wine spills. We fitted them on day one and they were easy to fit.
-Brandrup carpet again in Moonrock grey for the living area. Okay it's light in colour and does mark a bit but nothing so far that a squirt of vanish hasn't shifted.
- Oxo "Good Grips" compact brush and shovel. Widely available for £6.50. It's tiny and great.
-Outwell lime green collapsible kettle (it lives in the sink when collapsed) and Outwell lime green collapsible washing up bowl.
- A set of 3 Ballarini Click and cook pans. These are the ones sold by Brandrup but are actually the Italian brand Ballarini. I kept a close eye for deals and got them for around half price on Amazon market place. I like cooking a lot and for us they are a worthwhile investment.
-A fridge thermometer. We forgot we had this and then used it and found our fridge wasn't as cold as we thought it was. Very useful and cheap piece of kit.
-A Ridgemonkey (everyone has one of these I think!)
-Kampa Flora Heritage set of plates and mugs. I think they look slightly like Orla Kiely but without the price tag.
-Isabella grey two pack chopping boards. They are brilliant as they have a slightly curved edge to stop juices running off. The large board sits nicely on top of the cutlery tray for stowing away.
-For the upstairs mattress I bought a Lidl jersey double sheet. It pops off the bottom separate mattress bit as it's not quite long enough but we are not that tall so it doesn't bother us. It is warm to touch and kind of clings to the mattress to give a really smooth fitted sheet.
-A Maxx camp ladder for VW California. We bought this from their website after reading a review here. It is expensive but brilliant and we don't want to risk damaging the heated seats getting up top and it's just nice to use. It's light weight and also has foam protectors to use when leaning it on your van outside. There is a YouTube video of it.
-Really Useful Boxes: We have bought three 35 litre boxes and one 42 litre box. We will use different combinations depending on the length of our trips. They are all the same height and fit under the rear shelf. They are fantastic.
-E-bags to store our clothes in the wardrobe area. Its just eats them all up.
-Awning guy ropes.
-The usual hook up cable stuff.
-Brandrup 10l water carrier and filler. Yes it is expensive but it does seem like good quality and if it's good enough for WelshGas.....
-Thermal cover for front screen with velcro pull down section in dark grey by Rainbow Screens. Looks really good on our van. So fast and easy to put on and is minimum faff to set up at night. We pull the blinds down inside at night but not the back window as we just bring the head rests up and open the overhead cabin locker and you can't see in.
-Porta potti Thetford 335. Perfect for night time use.
-A lock for the spare wheel

(General Info about sleeping up top: We had intended to buy a Brandrup Iso top liner but there is a new front opening in the bellows and they have not updated the liner to accommodate this yet. So we went up to Scotland thinking we would freeze as it was very cold. We didn't. Although temperatures were in the low digits we had the heater on low all night. We started off giving the top area and our duvet and sheet a good blast of heat from my hairdryer (we were on hookup) and we were toasty warm all night. We were wearing teeshirt and shorts but did also have Aldi's light and warm thermal socks on! We have a 13.5 tog washable soft touch synthetic duvet from John Lewis £35. Now we don't know what to think about the Iso-top. It was lovely up top. I loved the dawn chorus and the sheer comfort of the mattress. Not sure I want it darker and warmer.) Don't want an external roof cover as I want faff free setup.

Things we learned and don't particularly love...

The van locked when my husband went out one morning and he couldn't get back in. Fortunately I was in the van and opened it. There's millions of posts here about this issue and try as we might we could not replicate it. And then it happened again when I left the van but my husband was inside. We are ordering a surf key and will be placing this somewhere accessible. Always keep your keys on your body somewhere.

Trying to reverse up a hill - we've read about this on other threads and have experienced it ourselves a number of times. Also, sometimes when you try and pull away from the lights - nothing immediately happens then there is a whole load of wheel spin! Takes some getting used to but we're getting there!

You don't get a digital display of miles per hour! We asked the dealer about this but they say they can't change it. Unbelievable!

None of these are deal breakers however!
 
Thanks for your post. Van looks ace. We are currently debating hiding a key somewhere , due to posts on her
 
................................................................................................

The van locked when my husband went out one morning and he couldn't get back in. Fortunately I was in the van and opened it. There's millions of posts here about this issue and try as we might we could not replicate it. And then it happened again when I left the van but my husband was inside. We are ordering a surf key and will be placing this somewhere accessible. Always keep your keys on your body somewhere.
I think auto lock can also be disabled using Carista - as well as adding the digital speedo.

Tom
 
Thank you for your post.
I’m particularly interested in your forth coming post on your Scotland trip.
We are travelling up to the west coast for a wedding.
 
:welcomeWhat a great comprehensive post, glad you enjoyed your maiden voyage.
Lovely looking Cali. :thumb
Can’t wait for the Scotland review!
Use the search function for “Carista” it will pull up plenty of posts regarding your exact issue.
 
Looks a great setup & you've done very well first time out, good for you!

Have fun.
 
Nice write-up. I would order two-tone paint if I bought another Cali. You mention the iso-top - we have one on our MY2017 Ocean; it definitely does have a front window (as well as the side ones). Highly recommended IMO.


 
@ClanTimmins have you posted about Scottish trip yet?
Was looking forward to reading all about it :thumb
 
Nice write-up. I would order two-tone paint if I bought another Cali. You mention the iso-top - we have one on our MY2017 Ocean; it definitely does have a front window (as well as the side ones). Highly recommended IMO.


The 2019 ocean poptops don’t just have a front window. You have a massive zip around the whole front section that you can open as well as the semi-circle window that previous models have. It’s great to open the whole top front and look out on the world. Let’s in loads of light and air too.
 
you have 'loads of gear' all sounds like being used too... notice you don't have a Bellows bungee... we have just had our van 3months and find it a great help with the pop top
 
Thanks for such a useful report. Lovely to read and some really important tips.
 
you have 'loads of gear' all sounds like being used too... notice you don't have a Bellows bungee... we have just had our van 3months and find it a great help with the pop top
I appreciate that folk find the bellows bungee useful. I found that the bungee attaches caused stain marks on the tent canvas below bungee, so removed it. I am still with two minds of its usefulness and may yet make an appearance out of the depths of the rear seat drawer
 
We have just come back from a five day trip round the West coast of Scotland in our new Ocean and I thought it would be useful to let other newbies or prospective buyers know what we thought were worthwhile things to specify before purchase and also some of our later post delivery purchases. I will do a separate post about the Scotland trip which was fabulous and tell you of where we stayed and the route we took.

View attachment 44748


First of all we absolutely love our Ocean and it has way exceeded our expectations in a million ways. Here's our li'l beauty set up in Ardnamurchan.

Things we love and would definitely spec again (we don't have any plans for this - it's a long term investment!)

-We love the two tone paint (Indium Grey and Candy White with chrome pack). No photo does justice to how stunning our van is and how it fills me with joy and just makes me smile whenever I catch sight of it returning from a walk, run, trip to the pub or looking down on it from the ferry deck.
-We love the 199 DSG with adaptive cruise control. This made a drive from the Midlands to the wilds of Scotland a dream. ACC was new to us and we thought it was terrific.
-We love the LED lights. One word: Amazing
-The front and rear sensors and camera. Wouldn't be without this especially in some of the tiny roads and passing places in Scotland. And just for general day to day life. This is our everyday vehicle.
-We got the side scan assist which I wasn't sure about but my husband thought was a good idea. I think it has probably saved one life already as the yellow flashing lights alerted me instantly to a motor cyclist who suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
-We don't particularly love the Sat Nav media composition thing (think the new T6.1 set up looks much better) but would spec it again because we were out of signal a few times in Scotland and we've always have Sat Navs in our cars in Europe and like a downloaded system.
-We love the awning (we didn't realise that it had to be specified but glad we did) I really found the Liverpool van centre instruction videos very helpful in setting the awning up. They are posted on this website along with videos on other things.
-The Comfort mattress. Folds out in a jiffy and we thought it was comfortable (not as comfortable as up top but good enough). Plus it looks nice folded up in the back.
-Green privacy glass in the back. Not quite as dark as I thought it would be but it's fine.
-We also got the 80 litre fuel tank and all weather tyres.
-Heated front windscreen is also great. My husband has early starts and while you can programme the heater to come on and do the job we have found this to be a good addition.

Things we have bought since (Sorry I have not put links in. Loads of this stuff can be bought from the club shop and the rest is easily identified from the information I have given. At least I hope so but message for more info.) I will try and post some pictures probably when I do the other post on our Scotland trip. So here goes...

-complete Brandrup second skin covers in Moonrock grey. I love the light grey interior and think it makes the van really light and airy. I also don't want to stress about stains and intend to wash the covers once a year and put them back on and so we're not too bothered about some chilli or red wine spills. We fitted them on day one and they were easy to fit.
-Brandrup carpet again in Moonrock grey for the living area. Okay it's light in colour and does mark a bit but nothing so far that a squirt of vanish hasn't shifted.
- Oxo "Good Grips" compact brush and shovel. Widely available for £6.50. It's tiny and great.
-Outwell lime green collapsible kettle (it lives in the sink when collapsed) and Outwell lime green collapsible washing up bowl.
- A set of 3 Ballarini Click and cook pans. These are the ones sold by Brandrup but are actually the Italian brand Ballarini. I kept a close eye for deals and got them for around half price on Amazon market place. I like cooking a lot and for us they are a worthwhile investment.
-A fridge thermometer. We forgot we had this and then used it and found our fridge wasn't as cold as we thought it was. Very useful and cheap piece of kit.
-A Ridgemonkey (everyone has one of these I think!)
-Kampa Flora Heritage set of plates and mugs. I think they look slightly like Orla Kiely but without the price tag.
-Isabella grey two pack chopping boards. They are brilliant as they have a slightly curved edge to stop juices running off. The large board sits nicely on top of the cutlery tray for stowing away.
-For the upstairs mattress I bought a Lidl jersey double sheet. It pops off the bottom separate mattress bit as it's not quite long enough but we are not that tall so it doesn't bother us. It is warm to touch and kind of clings to the mattress to give a really smooth fitted sheet.
-A Maxx camp ladder for VW California. We bought this from their website after reading a review here. It is expensive but brilliant and we don't want to risk damaging the heated seats getting up top and it's just nice to use. It's light weight and also has foam protectors to use when leaning it on your van outside. There is a YouTube video of it.
-Really Useful Boxes: We have bought three 35 litre boxes and one 42 litre box. We will use different combinations depending on the length of our trips. They are all the same height and fit under the rear shelf. They are fantastic.
-E-bags to store our clothes in the wardrobe area. Its just eats them all up.
-Awning guy ropes.
-The usual hook up cable stuff.
-Brandrup 10l water carrier and filler. Yes it is expensive but it does seem like good quality and if it's good enough for WelshGas.....
-Thermal cover for front screen with velcro pull down section in dark grey by Rainbow Screens. Looks really good on our van. So fast and easy to put on and is minimum faff to set up at night. We pull the blinds down inside at night but not the back window as we just bring the head rests up and open the overhead cabin locker and you can't see in.
-Porta potti Thetford 335. Perfect for night time use.
-A lock for the spare wheel

(General Info about sleeping up top: We had intended to buy a Brandrup Iso top liner but there is a new front opening in the bellows and they have not updated the liner to accommodate this yet. So we went up to Scotland thinking we would freeze as it was very cold. We didn't. Although temperatures were in the low digits we had the heater on low all night. We started off giving the top area and our duvet and sheet a good blast of heat from my hairdryer (we were on hookup) and we were toasty warm all night. We were wearing teeshirt and shorts but did also have Aldi's light and warm thermal socks on! We have a 13.5 tog washable soft touch synthetic duvet from John Lewis £35. Now we don't know what to think about the Iso-top. It was lovely up top. I loved the dawn chorus and the sheer comfort of the mattress. Not sure I want it darker and warmer.) Don't want an external roof cover as I want faff free setup.

Things we learned and don't particularly love...

The van locked when my husband went out one morning and he couldn't get back in. Fortunately I was in the van and opened it. There's millions of posts here about this issue and try as we might we could not replicate it. And then it happened again when I left the van but my husband was inside. We are ordering a surf key and will be placing this somewhere accessible. Always keep your keys on your body somewhere.

Trying to reverse up a hill - we've read about this on other threads and have experienced it ourselves a number of times. Also, sometimes when you try and pull away from the lights - nothing immediately happens then there is a whole load of wheel spin! Takes some getting used to but we're getting there!

You don't get a digital display of miles per hour! We asked the dealer about this but they say they can't change it. Unbelievable!

None of these are deal breakers however!
As a fellow newbie to the California myself ( less than a week), I found your account of 'what went great and what didn't' on your first outing invaluable.

Have you posted your trip review yet?
 
Thank you! Glad it was helpful.

Yes I did post about our first outing way back in 2019! We feel old hands now.

One thing we have changed is that we have bought Duvalay sleeping bags with integrated duvets. They have been fantastic and we use them for sleeping upstairs and downstairs. We store them above the comfort mattress.

We are up in Scotland at the moment staying at Shiel Bridge. We are very cosy with tge central heating on!

I think our first trip was in a post called Monty's first outing or something like that!

Enjoy your Cali!

Thanks Alison
 

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