The Driver (and dad)
“We hired the van over the Easter period, visiting Dumfries & Galloway. We were slightly worried about the weather, as snow was predicted. As it happens the snow did not arrive, but it was still fairly cold, which meant that we made good use of Maggie Moo’s on board heating system (it has its own diesel generator which runs the heating system when the ignition is off).
We picked the van up in Hamilton, and the handover was very smooth. Rusty gave us a run-through of the key features so that we could get on the road, and looked after our car whilst we were away. Everything in the van was well laid out and fairly intuitive, so it didn’t take long to get used to things.
Driving-wise the van was brilliant. The driving position is excellent, and it is far more stable than any simple van I have driven before, with good road-holding characteristics. You are certainly aware of the weight that you are pulling around – the van feels very solid and stable on the road, but has plenty of power. It has been kitted out well for driving, with an excellent Automatic Cruise Control (ACC) system, automatic gearbox, satnav with large screen, automatic lights and wipers, parking sensors and a rear view camera which kicks in when you select reverse.
We took our time on the road, cruising along quiet back roads. However, the van has plenty of poke when needed, which we made use of to overtake the odd tractor, and on the return journey along the M74 (it cruised happily at 70 with plenty of power to spare).
We stayed at Brighouse Bay campsite near Kirkcudbright (or should that be KirkCOObright). The van was a doddle to set up, taking perhaps 20 minutes flat from arrival and a similar amount of time to pack up at the end of our stay.
Rusty has kitted the van out well, with a powered drive system for the roof; on board kitchen including twin gas hob, fridge and sink (with its own 30 litre water tank); extra long power hook up cable; folding kitchen table than tucks into a slot next to the rear bench seat; plus camping table and two chairs stowed in the sliding door and boot respectively. The roof is simple to operate – it is important that the ignition is turned on and a window open during roof lowering, but the van pauses and prompts you to check this during the procedure.
We made good use of the heating system (as the temperature was into low single figures), which we left running during the night to keep the van warm. The blowers do make a little noise when they are providing a boost function, and so it as a good idea to sleep with your head at the boot end. We had the heating on its lowest setting, which was more than enough for a chilly Scottish camping trip, and also helped to minimise fuel usage (the generator runs off the main van fuel tank). Running the heating during the night has the added benefit of keeping condensation down, which we found to be minimal even with four of us in the van.
It is definitely cooler in the pop-up roof sleeping area, which is to be expected because the sides are of flexible fabric material. However, Rusty provided good quality sleeping bags which kept the kids warm, and we left the sliding roof hatch open so that air would circulate up.
The van has a great electrical system, with numerous well placed lights; power assisted locks on the sliding and rear doors (which means that you don’t need to slam them to make sure they are properly closed); numerous 12v and USB sockets spaced around the van (including in the roof – bring 12v adapters for powering iPads and charging phones upstairs) plus a three pin socket in the kitchen area (which operates when you are hooked up to an electrical supply in the campsite); and adjustable power control for the fridge (which can be set according to your preference – we found that a low power setting was enough to chill beers and keep milk etc. at the right temperature).
The diesel generator for the heating, roof and fridge are all powered from a single control unit above the driver’s head, which is fairly intuitive. If you are into wild camping (i.e. not hooked up to power in a campsite) then the van has a separate battery which powers the electrical system. Rusty said that it has enough power for three days’ use, and charges when the engine is running.
We found the van very comfortable at night. The bed in the main cabin is easy to setup, and is firm but comfortable, providing reasonable space for two adults. The upstairs sleeping area is also comfortable, with a slatted wooden frame and cushion mattress. Our kids slept up there and there was tons of room for them. I tried the space myself and found it big enough for adults, although if you are tall like me (I’m 6’4”) then you would have your feet down at the bottom and your head up at the hatch opening.
Maggie moo was brilliant for kids – they loved the branding on the van, and entered into the spirit of things and CCC photo competition searching for a highland coo to photograph (we didn’t quite manage it!). Playing games, cooking and eating in the van was all fun for them, and they both said it was one of the best holidays they have had.
Rusty went the extra mile, supplying cheeky coo hoodies with the kids’ names on (contact him in advent to organise this!). Our two were never out of them the whole time we were there.
Overall the van was brilliant to drive, sleep and cook in, and well kitted out. We had a fantastic time and will certainly be using it again in the future. Now that we know how easy it is to set up, we would definitely consider wild camping. I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending both Maggie Moo and Cheeky Coo Campervans!”