On owning a Caravan, CC'ers experience?

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by Fab Foodie, 18 Apr 2017.

  1. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    OK, park the Caravan/Howard and Hilda jokes here.....

    Me and @Hill Wimp have been discussing, camping (Tents her least fave unless Glamping, but my fave) and big FO Motohomes (Wimpers faves, but very expensive, though I'd love a small VW). And then we struck on the idea of a Caravan being more comfortable, warm and dry than a tent, and mostly as mobile as a Motorhome. Good compromise of worst of both worlds?
    Anyhow, the Dacia is a lightweight (good for it's economy but limiting tow-wise, however there are small vans that it would pull.
    So off we went to do some viewing and are a bit love-struck over a Sprite Finesse 2 s/h for less than 8k:
    It's immaculate condition, has everything we need and a Vango inflating awning would cost ~£500 to give extra space.

    As a rough budget (Apart from the purchase cost) we need:
    Tow-bar for the car = £550
    Tow hitch lock n/a
    Wheel Clamp n/a
    Annual Storage ~£400 (very local)
    Insurance ~£350
    Extra insurance for car?
    Annual Service ~£250
    Camping odds and sods such as water carrier/waste carrier, Spare Battery etc. Budget £250

    So we're weighing-up the cost/use benefits. In 18mths, Wimpers will be retired so we'll get a lot more use from it.
    So thoughts on usage:
    Summer hols touring Europe
    Long/BH weekends UK/EU (remember Dover is 8 miles away)
    Spring Classics
    Local weekends ~100 mile radius
    Occasional trips when on business in EU
    Cycle-chat Pie-cnics and socials
    Visiitng pals

    So, what's not to like???
    What are CC'ers experiences? I caravan holidayed a lot as a kid, so mine are dated, but I'm happy to give it a go!!

    What have we forgotten, ideas, pros/cons etc.
    Good ideas
    Bad ideas

  2. Dave 123

    Dave 123 Guru Photo Winner

    I don't fancy the towing.

    We aspire to a camper with beds either side and a rear door. That way we can get the tandem inside for transit. It may have to sleep outside though!
  3. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    I hate towing, even a trailer but apart from that it's a good idea, provided you don't mind me telling you all caravans should be burnt.
  4. Dave 123

    Dave 123 Guru Photo Winner

    robjh and Hill Wimp like this.
  5. Milkfloat

    Milkfloat Veteran

    Why don't you rent one, or a motorhome and see how you get on before you invest heavily?
  6. Gert Lush

    Gert Lush Senior Member

    Caravans are the best of both worlds! I'm 23 and last year I bought my own caravan. The reason for me was that without the creature comforts of home that you don't really get in a tent, the evenings were very long and very lonely as I holiday by myself. Having a caravan means you can have a TV, proper fridge, proper oven, all the things from home but you're not at home! Also, every morning you just jump in your car and drive off out for the day and have no worries about having to pack up and find more suitable parking etc as you would in a motorhome.

    The main when I was looking was finding a caravan that could be towed by my car. I noticed your van has a MTPLM of 1073kg. Which, if you don't know, means it can't weigh more than that. This is also the number to look at for your car, to make sure it can tow more than that weight. I'm not sure what car you said you had so this may not be a problem. When I was looking it was more difficult for me because of my driving license. To be able to tow I couldn't have a van weighing more than 1000kg, my car had to weigh more than the van and together they could weigh no more than 3500kg.

    You can get removable tow bars if you don't want to have your tow bar on the car all the time.

    Storage costs a lot but if you go somewhere with a CaSSOA approved Gold Award, or I think you can get silver etc. they will reduce the cost of your van insurance. You don't need extra insurance for your car, you just insure the van. My van insurance costs £13 a month but it will change slightly on the size etc of your van.

    One thing to keep in mind is that you'll always find you'll need something that you don't have and you won't have thought of until you get there. But you'll need like water pumps, waste water containers, water containers, toilet chemicals, water purifying tablets (just to be on the safe side), electric cable, possibly another satellite dish (the van will probably have one at that age but they aren't always the best) and then all the odds and sods for the kitchen etc. As I said, they'll always be something more that will be forgotten until needed.

    The membership to the Camping and Caravanning club is good as you get cheaper stays away and they have sites all over the country. The (newly rebranded) Caravan and Motorhome Club also have sites all over the country and there is nothing stopping you from being a member of both. Personally I'm just a member of the first but I joined up when I was in the tent.

    You well may have more towing experience than me but I found it no problem. My mum sat in the car with me when I first towed and gave me little hints like following the white line in the road when going round bends, the gear changes will be different and in mine I have to change down from fifth to fourth on any motorway hills, keeping the momentum when going for overtakes. Little things like that which aren't always obvious when you first tow. Oh and the biggest one for me, which motorway services have the best caravan parking. Some have horrible awkward bays and tight turns where others are nice and simple to drive into and out of. But if I can tow, anyone can tow.

    That's all I can think of right now and I'm sure there will be others with more knowledge to give to you as well.

    Caravanning is great!
    Last edited: 18 Apr 2017
    jiberjaber, Dirk, Hill Wimp and 3 others like this.
  7. Crackle

    Crackle Pah

    For a Motorhome you should be able to pick up something privately for about 10k, probably an older Hymer LHD, like this


    But you'll struggle for anything newer and better, they hold their price well, which might actually be a consideration. I've owned two in the past both LHD, both imported by me from Germany but in times when the pound was worth 1.40 Euros! Heady days.
  8. User1252

    User1252 Guest

  9. Phaeton

    Phaeton Veteran

    Oop North (ish)
    Why do you need an inflatable awning, ours is a lightweight fibre poled one, I put it up in lss than 30 minutes on my own
    That seems hellishly expensive
    Why? It's not a legal requirement
    Glad I do my own

    Are you sure it's 3000kg, I thought it was 3500kg, although the OP won't have to worry I presume their licence is pre 1998
    Illaveago and Hill Wimp like this.
  10. CarlP

    CarlP Guru

    Don't buy a wobble box. Just don't.
    Mrs M, Cycleops and mudrock like this.
  11. Phaeton

    Phaeton Veteran

    Oop North (ish)
    Just a thought on the motorhome thing & why we have not gone down that route apart from the hugely inflated buy prices, once you are on site & you want to go out or the day you have to pack everything away. When you get back you have to hope nobody has blocked your way back to your pitch. Depending where you intend to go do you want to be driving a bus around everyday, it may even restrict some of the places you could see.
    Illaveago and keithmac like this.
  12. Gert Lush

    Gert Lush Senior Member

    Just googled it, you are right it is 3500kg. I know that they won't have that worry I was saying about my experience. Just waffling really haha.
  13. I thought camping meant staying in a 4* hotel?
    jayonabike, Illaveago, srw and 2 others like this.
  14. Caravan pros
    You have a car to travel about in.
    You don't have to bolt everything to the floor, just to drive out for a pint of milk.
    Generally more spacious than a camper.
    Better for longer stops due to size and equipment.
    Often separate battery, heating and elec system to your main vehicle.(though many campers now have separate systems)
    Living,cooking...body....smells all separate to main vehicle. Can become a real.issue after a long tour
    If the car is stolen, you have somewhere to live
    If the car breaks down, you have somewhere to live while its in the garage.
    You are not considered to be on a festival, midlife crisis or trying to escape life.

    Camper pros
    Pull up and sleep.
    Stop pretty much anywhere.(wild camping allowed)
    Large comfy space for passengers on long tours.
    No towing fears
    No reversing issues
    More mobile..much, much more mobile.
    Other drivers dont hate you.
    Other drivers dont assume you have retired
    Illaveago likes this.
  15. Phaeton

    Phaeton Veteran

    Oop North (ish)
    All other points are correct other than these,
    Think most people will still have issues due to size
    Not really
    Yes they will
    Yes they will
    All other points are correct other than those, :smile:
    jonny jeez likes this.
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