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Compass Casita 866 8Ft Wide


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Being at a loose end today me and the youngest popped into Leeds Caravan Centre (very friendly but not pushy people there, by the way).

 

The 866 layout in both the Compass Casita and Elddis ranges is of interest to us, but not really as our van is not yet a year old!

 

For those that don't know, this is a wider than normal van, with standard front dinette, decent sized dinette in the middle with the kitchen and a good bathroom, fixed bunks and mini table in the back. The middle dinette converts to a small double bed, making it a 6 berth.

 

It's interesting because, like our own van, you get a proper shower, fixed bunks at the back, a dinette that is actually of use and an area for the kids. We find some other family vans fail to separate the kids and don't really provide a separate dining area. The disadvantage with our own van is that the bathroom confines the middle of the van and there is certainly no option of leaving the double bed in place. This new layout from Explorer fixes both those issues.

 

So what did I think?

 

  • The central dinette is big enough to seat four easily.
  • In the summer months, you could leave the front dinette made up as a double and still retain the other area for eating or pre-bedtime lounging for two. In winter, I think you'd miss the lounging space at the front.
  • The bathroom is ok, but not much bigger than on our own van - there's just a bit more space around the sink
  • The little table at the back feels like a near miss. It could be a lot better, At the moment I think the kids would mostly ignore it other than for homework duties and just steal the other more comfy seating
  • We're not buying (it doesn't make sense, it would limit future towcar choice and I don't trust the build quality)

Overall, it's a great first attempt to make use of the width in a family van.

 

I do wonder whether they could produce a wider version of the slightly shorter vans. As twin axles, these models are pushing into the biggest of SUVs for towcars. We'd be somewhere near 100% and our car is a bit heavier than most being an older design. You could make the bathroom a bit shorter and still make the most of the extra width in the design.

 

Sorry for rambling, but what do others think?

 

A-F6TD-E

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If the 8 ft vans at family prices start to sell well then expect all main stream manufacturers to be looking very closely at following suit. With the big twin wheel (heavy) vans, as a buyer you may as well go to 8 ft and enjoy the extra space anyway.

 

I've watched vans go from 6 ft average to 7'6" average over the years and it's always Space that wins. Given the push that some manufacturers have had at reducing weight and the future intent to reduce it further. (Those that do not will fade away). Then 8ft holds little minuses and many pluses. Other views will be forthcoming.

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Kia KX 3 auto / Bailey Alicanto Grande Estoril and Swift Challenger 570 (2010 model Not towed - used as a static)
 

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Thanks for posting this.

We were tempted by this van. We are a family with two girls aged 15 and 11 and wife's parents sometimes travel with us So, as you say, the rear small dinette is really a space filler for all but small kids . .

We have an 8ft wide van and love the feeling of space. It really makes a huge difference. Currently have twin bed layout.

Even if I was convinced about the layout, I couldn't convince myself about the quality.

I think you're right though, the (British) manufacturers will start to develop better layouts using 8ft widths going forward.

 

Kenzo.

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We have had a 8ft wide Buccaneer Cruiser for nearly a year now and the extra space and spec are excellent IMO

I think more and more manufacturers will be going to 8ft wide as demand increases, not everybody's choice but suits us.

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Do people find the wider vans much more awkward? I guess it depends on where you park and the kind of pitches/sites that you use.

 

Our current van is 80cm longer than the old one (at 7. 48m shipping length). Extreme care was needed maneuvering through some French sites this year and the mover was almost essential to use some pitches. If it was wider too, I think that would compound things a little.

 

I've been thinking about using the width though and decided that our current layout (Sprite Major 6TD) could really benefit. It would make the rear lounge super comfy or the rear bunks much wider (i. e. great for teenagers). It would also give more space around the kitchen, which would be nice.

 

Being a twin axle, the Compass is a further 57cm longer than our new van. I think I'd use that to give our layout more work surface in the kitchen on the near side and a tiny bit more bathroom/small dresser in the front dinette on the offside. That's if I wanted to add at least 250kg to the MTPLM. ...

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As for us its a no brainer. with transverse bed gives so much more passing. kitchen area is not like the old swift. where u could not pass each other in the aisle. but one big factor was it made me use the towing mirrors. as before i used to get away without them. and with the new see down the side law,i can see why. i still use my car mirrors mostly but got the benifit of that bit extra when needed. now i critises people without them.

65 volvo geartronic se nav, 2016 buccaneer cruiser, 2017 buccaneer commadore, 2018 swift kon-tiki 669 auto, 2015 range rover 3. 0 sdv6 autobiography dynamic auto

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Most of the 8ft wide vans are fitted with a power mover, at a cost, we have the powrtouch awd 4 wheel mover excellent piece of kit,we have never had a mover before but would recommend this one.

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the 8ft family vans are selling really well we ordered our Galera a month ago and delivery isnt until mid march !! and this is before the NEC

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Beware of country lanes !

Skoda Scout 4x4 pulling a coachman Amara 520/4 at 93%---- when full!

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I would need to knock my house down to get an 8ft wide 'van down my drive so an obvious no for me. I am happy with my 7ft 5 'van and don't feel the need for any more space.

2018 Swift Elegance 580  towed by a 2018 Volvo XC60 D5 Power Pulse R Design

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the 8ft family vans are selling really well we ordered our Galera a month ago and delivery isnt until mid march !! and this is before the NEC

 

 

 

I think we will see more 8 ft caravans in shorter lengths as plenty of Adria's and Hobby caravans are sold here and the island transvers bed suits 8 ft wide caravans better allowing room at the bottom to move round .

 

 

Dave

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Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I ordered the 840. Maybe surprisingly it is for children and the dealer is fitting a curtain across front lounge to match. The idea is that the children then have their own bedroom and have kind or outgrown bunks, at least ideally. The front settees make 2 single beds for them and are still usable as seats by day. It was the central wrap around dinette that really sold it to me.

 

I think weight good, I will have a mover and weight upgrade to 1800kg. Still quite light for size of van and could be worse for towcar choice.

 

I am slightly concerned that shipping length is 8. 05 for 866 and 840, I may try to adjust something to try to make it 8. 00m or less. The concern is flagging problems at some sites being over 8m, I go to a lot of sites and dont want to be sent to a jumbo pitch etc. Compass/Elddis should have made it 8 or just under in my opinion. Any thoughts on the shipping length?

 

ps It will make me use mirror extensions, good for me as I kind of got away without before.

Edited by Davedave
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I ordered the 840. Maybe surprisingly it is for children and the dealer is fitting a curtain across front lounge to match. The idea is that the children then have their own bedroom and have kind or outgrown bunks, at least ideally. The front settees make 2 single beds for them and are still usable as seats by day. It was the central wrap around dinette that really sold it to me.

 

I think weight good, I will have a mover and weight upgrade to 1800kg. Still quite light for size of van and could be worse for towcar choice.

 

I am slightly concerned that shipping length is 8. 05 for 866 and 840, I may try to adjust something to try to make it 8. 00m or less. The concern is flagging problems at some sites being over 8m, I go to a lot of sites and dont want to be sent to a jumbo pitch etc. Compass/Elddis should have made it 8 or just under in my opinion. Any thoughts on the shipping length?

 

ps It will make me use mirror extensions, good for me as I kind of got away without before.

You do pay additional on the ferry as the length exceeds 8m. I doubt if you can shorten it. I would not worry about sites that state 8m maximum length as you only exceed it by a few centimetes or inches. The bonus is that the longer A frame makes for a much better tow.

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Thanks for reply. I know grey territory but maybe I should just say it is 7. 98 etc at sites. I dont think it will make a practical difference as you say, but think some sites booking systems might flag it up if it says over 8m.

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Thanks for reply. I know grey territory but maybe I should just say it is 7. 98 etc at sites. I dont think it will make a practical difference as you say, but think some sites booking systems might flag it up if it says over 8m.

Earlier this year we contacted a number of French sites regarding the length being 8. 14m and none stated that they could not fit us in. As it happened we ended up going across with our Luanr which was just under 8m and the pitches were adequate for a 8m caravan. Not had any issues on a UK site yet.

As you say state the caravan is 7. 99m in length as they are hardly going to measure however I am told that the ferry companies know the specifications of all caravans and do check, but not sure whether to believe this or not. Not really prepared to take the chance so declare our length at 8. 14m and height at 3m as we have a satellite dome. It adds on about £25 for the trip.

Maybe someone can clarify whether they actually check the length?

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We always book 7. 9m haven't had any problems anywhere, think when you tell them the make of van it is, sorts other issues out, if you know what I mean.

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Thanks for advice. I dont mind the extra £25 say for ferries, it is really just the booking in at sites (mainly UK), I will now just say 7. 99 when booking. I like certain normal pitches at sites I go to regularly and dont want to be shunted to jumbo ones or just barred for being just over 8m.

 

I am aware that the 840 is probably more desirable to certain groups and I am going to have to be more careful with security, I just bought a 19mm chain with matching squire padlock (meant to be non croppable) to thread through offside wheels (with locking nuts) as well as usual usual alko receiver etc on other side.

 

Thanks

Mike

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BTW does the caravan come with the Tracker Retrieve or Tracker Monitor. You may need to check with the dealership. The Tracker Retrieve is a useless piece of equipment as you have to notify the tracking company if the caravan is stolen and if the caravan is in storage this may be hours, days or even weeks before you know.

In addition, if a low life breaks into the caravan the alarm may sound, but if you are out of earshot you will not hear it or the storage may just ignore the alarm. Not worth paying the subscription.

We have the Phantom Tracker in our caravan and we are notified immediately if some one enters the caravan illegally, moves the caravan without our knowledge or the battery drops below an acceptable level. In addition, we know the mileage the caravan does every month.

You may be better off either not having a Tracker at all or fitting the Phantom Tracker.

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just going onto the length. we put ours down at over 8m on the cc web site,and when we went to book into a site in the summer it would not let me book it as the site only alowed 8m max. i had to phone the site direct to ask . and they did say it was ok for a inch or 2 but some had big america rv and they cannot accept them.

65 volvo geartronic se nav, 2016 buccaneer cruiser, 2017 buccaneer commadore, 2018 swift kon-tiki 669 auto, 2015 range rover 3. 0 sdv6 autobiography dynamic auto

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That sort of thing is exactly what my concern was, it is a bit annoying Elddis went over 8m by a few cm. not an accident I am sure 7. 98 etc used where possible with other models/makes. I dont really want to have to negotiate every time I book a pitch.

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