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NEWBIE - Straight in with a question about layouts?


molokoid
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Hello all,

 

A quick background to me before i attempt to plunder the collective brains and knowledge for nuggets of valuable info!!

 

From warwickshire, family with 2 young-ish kids (8yo + 6yo), dog(s) pending, have never owned a van or motorhome but have rented the latter probably 20+ times over the years.  Motorhomes suited those occassions as it was always travel to a static location (festival, fishing trip etc).  But having just spent a significant sum on the family summer holiday to the caribbean that i didn't really enjoy much (because of the lack of independance / variety of location), i've come back and declared we'll be buying a caravan, which thankfully has universal support!

 

So after a visit to one retailer (Swift and Buccaneer) and a good nose around some of the layouts, i've at least got some firm thoughts on required layout (watch out, here comes the knowledge plundering!)...

- After a layout that has;

-- at the very back has ideally bunk beds that are ideally transverse.  If that's not poss, then bunk beds that are not transverse (hmmm what's the right term?!).  and if that's not possible twin beds.

-- bathroom in the middle (and like the idea of a walk through, so kids can access and adults access without disturbing each other) with some solid-ish doors that can at least quell noise from front to back.

 

Other than that, i'd be looking for something new, not really set a budget as yet, but can justify a spend of £25k+ if it needed it, we have a Discovery 5, which unfortunately we never got with the towing pack so will need to retrofit.

 

So, that's my hello and shameless request for help, which will be most welcome.  I plan to also attend the show at the NEC in Oct, but would like to have an understanding of which brands do the desired layout in advance to get my head around all the research and options in advance of getting carried away inside them!

 

TIA

 

Bill

 

Edited by molokoid
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When viewing like yourself with not a lot of idea of which layout have dealer set it up as will be when children in bed and you still up, then with all of you at night.

For your wife and yourself see it as two singles and a double.

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Hi Bill and welcome:welcome:

 

Here is a link to a site to search for caravans where you can search for any particular layout and then see which vans are available. Hope it is of some use in your search.

 

Graeme

 

http://www. caravanfinder. co. uk/caravan_layouts. html?berth=4

 

 

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If you get a copy of Practical Caravan ( or use the WH Smith library ) there is a section that gives the layout of virtually all UK caravans in production.

 

Ian

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1 hour ago, gmc15 said:

Hi Bill and welcome:welcome:

 

Here is a link to a site to search for caravans where you can search for any particular layout and then see which vans are available. Hope it is of some use in your search.

 

Graeme

 

http://www. caravanfinder. co. uk/caravan_layouts. html?berth=4

 

 

Thanks.

 

Is there an equivalent search engine for new anywhere?  Aware it does pop up new models if a retailer has listed them, but just been through all the 4,5,6 combinations and couldn't quite find anything suitable.

1 hour ago, David Park said:

When viewing like yourself with not a lot of idea of which layout have dealer set it up as will be when children in bed and you still up, then with all of you at night.

For your wife and yourself see it as two singles and a double.

Will definitely ask for this once i've done the 'desk research' and know which brands offer what i'm after!

 

Thanks for the tip.

1 hour ago, Tandem Man said:

If you get a copy of Practical Caravan ( or use the WH Smith library ) there is a section that gives the layout of virtually all UK caravans in production.

 

Ian

I'd had a good look over their website, but if the magazine offers a layout guide i'll get down the newsagent tomorrow.  

 

Thanks 

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First an most important point: if you passed your driving test on or after 1st Jan 1997 then you only have a Class B licence which limits you to a total plated train weight of 3500Kg. As you have a Disco that doesn't leave much room for the caravan!

You will need to and should that the extra test to give you B+E which allows you to two up to 7500Kg with limitations. Your wife should also consider getting the B+E so that you can share driving.

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14 hours ago, molokoid said:

Other than that, i'd be looking for something new, not really set a budget as yet, but can justify a spend of £25k+ if it needed it

Thats a healthy budget. I wouldn't be put off looking at some secondhand examples/ ex demos of continental vans. As you may see from some of the posts new vans can sometimes need a bit of TLC.

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Before parting with so much hard earned cash you might want to hire a van for a holiday or buy a cheap and cheerful used van of the layout you think you want. Many people change their minds about what they want after a few nights, and the depreciation on a new van after only a week or two can be frightening!

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I don't know if this will be any good for you , but there is a caravan show in Malvern 3 counties showground on 5th to 7th October When looking at caravans, don't just walk in and out, you and your family should sit in a van for 10 mins or so to see how you all fit in .   As for asking for a door to shut out the noise, I don't think that's going to happen, when you get your dog/s train them all together, no shouting, no barking :lol:

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2 hours ago, Stevan said:

Before parting with so much hard earned cash you might want to hire a van for a holiday or buy a cheap and cheerful used van of the layout you think you want. Many people change their minds about what they want after a few nights, and the depreciation on a new van after only a week or two can be frightening!

Excellent advice. I wish I had thought of it when I bought the first caravan we had.

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7 hours ago, Woodentop said:

First an most important point: if you passed your driving test on or after 1st Jan 1997 then you only have a Class B licence which limits you to a total plated train weight of 3500Kg. As you have a Disco that doesn't leave much room for the caravan!

You will need to and should that the extra test to give you B+E which allows you to two up to 7500Kg with limitations. Your wife should also consider getting the B+E so that you can share driving.

 

Yep, definitely old enough to be holding the required license. And it’s just a brand new model of caravan I’m after, so the wife also holds the oldie license!

7 hours ago, Stevan said:

Before parting with so much hard earned cash you might want to hire a van for a holiday or buy a cheap and cheerful used van of the layout you think you want. Many people change their minds about what they want after a few nights, and the depreciation on a new van after only a week or two can be frightening!

 

Didn’t imagine you could hire caravans, so will have a look around to do just that as agree. Paper research on what’s wanted won’t beat actual experience.

6 hours ago, joanie said:

I don't know if this will be any good for you , but there is a caravan show in Malvern 3 counties showground on 5th to 7th October When looking at caravans, don't just walk in and out, you and your family should sit in a van for 10 mins or so to see how you all fit in .   As for asking for a door to shut out the noise, I don't think that's going to happen, when you get your dog/s train them all together, no shouting, no barking :lol:

 

Will definitely attend this one as closer in distance and calendar than the NEC one.

 

how do the two shows compare?

6 hours ago, joanie said:

I don't know if this will be any good for you , but there is a caravan show in Malvern 3 counties showground on 5th to 7th October When looking at caravans, don't just walk in and out, you and your family should sit in a van for 10 mins or so to see how you all fit in .   As for asking for a door to shut out the noise, I don't think that's going to happen, when you get your dog/s train them all together, no shouting, no barking :lol:

 

I think my hope for the hard doors came from seeing a walkthrough transverse bathroom, which would have been a perfect layout had it got bunks or a twin at the end (it had a double instead)

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the Malvern show usually has a good selection of new caravans plus all the accessories stands and food and drink. It takes us old folk about half a day and they allow dogs as well. The main show in the NEC is massive  and has everything and when we used to go, years ago now, we never got to see everything as there's so much of it.  

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  • 4 weeks later...
On ‎27‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 17:07, molokoid said:

 

Yep, definitely old enough to be holding the required license. And it’s just a brand new model of caravan I’m after, so the wife also holds the oldie license!

 

Didn’t imagine you could hire caravans, so will have a look around to do just that as agree. Paper research on what’s wanted won’t beat actual experience.

 

Will definitely attend this one as closer in distance and calendar than the NEC one.

 

how do the two shows compare?

 

I think my hope for the hard doors came from seeing a walkthrough transverse bathroom, which would have been a perfect layout had it got bunks or a twin at the end (it had a double instead)

Sounds like a Bailey Unicorn Segovia,  list price is slightly above that but I am sure there's deals out there esp if you can find a demonstrator.  

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By all means check out the caravans at the show, however its better to buy somewhere close to home as its no fun having to travel for miles for warranty work.

Also ask about the dealer before parting with money ;)

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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If you go to the show take one very important item with you and that is a tape measure.   Do not under any circumstances take the brochure as accurate.   Van manufacturers are expert at presenting info in a shall we say a 'rosy light.'  Beds etc may be much smaller than you think.   Believe it or not some are much bigger as well.

 

Then before parting with your money insist on seeing and then read the manufacturers warranty, then read it again.   Not the short version in some brochures but the proper document.   If the dealer claims they have not got it, walk away.   You will be amazed to find some manufacturers are advertising 10 years warranty.   Read the small print and you will find the exclusions mean that many items are not covered for more than 12 months.   Other manufacturers are much better.

 

Yes there are deals to be done, never pay anything like ticket price.   My favorite that fits your bill being the Bailey Segovia

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At 8 years your eldest in a couple of years will be growing quite tall so when checking any bunk beds it might be better for an adult to also try them. Dogs are for life and will take up all yours and have a large impact on what you can do. In a caravan there is not that much room so probably dogs may need to spend a lot of time in an awning.

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47 minutes ago, Alan Stanley said:

If you go to the show take one very important item with you and that is a tape measure.   Do not under any circumstances take the brochure as accurate.   Van manufacturers are expert at presenting info in a shall we say a 'rosy light.'  Beds etc may be much smaller than you think.   Believe it or not some are much bigger as well.

 

Then before parting with your money insist on seeing and then read the manufacturers warranty, then read it again.   Not the short version in some brochures but the proper document.   If the dealer claims they have not got it, walk away.   You will be amazed to find some manufacturers are advertising 10 years warranty.   Read the small print and you will find the exclusions mean that many items are not covered for more than 12 months.   Other manufacturers are much better.

 

Yes there are deals to be done, never pay anything like ticket price.   My favorite that fits your bill being the Bailey Segovia

Also the new 8ft wide Pagasus Grande Palermo.   Launched today.

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1 hour ago, Alan Stanley said:

Also the new 8ft wide Pagasus Grande Palermo.   Launched today.

 

Also the Bailey Phoenix 760 - link here

 

The advice above from Paul is worth heeding - a lot of UK fixed bunk vans are a tight fit for bigger kids. We have one and its fine for our 3 and 6 year olds.   I can just about squeeze in the bottom bunk but it's not great and there are plenty of strapping 13 year olds out there who would also struggle. If you have your heart set on that layout I would be testing the single bed that makes up from the dinette opposite the bunks - in case your older child needs it before you are ready to sell the van.

 

Adria have just introduced a UK spec twin axle - the bathroom is at the back of the van but their bunks are noticeably bigger than most UK built tourers.   Link here

 

Finally, Hobby do some transverse (not longitudinal) bunks and their bunks are reasonably sized I think.   You tend to end up with a small bathroom though - probably no separate shower, especially if you want a nice lounge.

 

I'd go to the NEC - it's a trek but you do get a showing from the European manufacturers, not just the UK ones.

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22 hours ago, mordred1973 said:

Sounds like a Bailey Unicorn Segovia,  list price is slightly above that but I am sure there's deals out there esp if you can find a demonstrator.  

 

i was looking around the bailey Unicorn Segovia and was thinking of the same thing when reading through this thread. it was listed at exactly 25K also. too much money for me but the layout is ideal from the OP's description 

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20 hours ago, Paul1957 said:

At 8 years your eldest in a couple of years will be growing quite tall so when checking any bunk beds it might be better for an adult to also try them. Dogs are for life and will take up all yours and have a large impact on what you can do. In a caravan there is not that much room so probably dogs may need to spend a lot of time in an awning.

 

I echo the above!  We bought a new Swift Challenger 586 in 2014 with the fixed bunks which were great for our daughter who was 9 at the time.   Two years later we changed it as she'd just out-grown the beds. ........  If you are not going for a fixed bed version, make sure you make up the double bed and try lying on it, some are comfortable, others aren't.

 

We also have a dog (a year older than our daughter) and found that trying to take the dog away and a young child was difficult as inevitably, visiting places that keep a young child occupied aren't always dog-friendly so ours (the dog, not the daughter) stay in kennels each time.   Fortunately we have a good local kennels that she loves going to (and has been going there since she was young) but it is a significant cost to add to holiday costs.   Just something else to consider.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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1st van transverse bunk was ok but the door was next to it so we kept waking kids up when we went in or out.

Second van new is an Adria Altea 542dk Severn. Proper full-size bunks with the dinette opposite with in effect gives the kids their own room, I've slept in the bottom bunk and there is plenty of room. We have one dog who sleeps under our bed and awning / outside at other times.  

They have a longer A frame which is better for towing and can handle a bike carrier. You could buy a new Altea awning and most of the kit and probably have change out of 20k.

As the dinette also makes a bed if one gets too big or doesn't like the top bunk you have another single?

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I have recently been through this process and would recommend you have a day at the caravan show this October at the NEC. There you can try all the vans out, the children can climb into the bunks and try things for size, You will I think find this of great value as all manufacturers are there. There can be very subtle differences between vans of the same layout which when in regular use could be a big plus or minus to your own way of living on site. After seeing all options in one area you can go away and shortlist those that fit your own requirements and progress from there.

As an example we wanted a four berth with fixed singles when checking all options at the show we found the Coachman best for us with one minor example of why being the front lounge having no timber end boards higher than the seat cushion so you can sit stretching out with your feet over the end of the cushion. I can’t impress the value of trying all available vans side by side in narrowing down the choice.

 

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Funny enough we did the same thing a few years ago, we went for two weeks holiday to Cuba with our 18 month old and 3 days after we got back we went and upgraded our caravan as couldn't bare the though of another 2 weeks on a beach.

 

As others have said go to a show and see all the different layouts, but i would suggest dont take the children as they will get bored and your day will be hard work. Narrow it down to a couple you like then after the show take the children to see them at a local dealers.

 

I have never seen bunk beds with a walk through washroom, but have seen twin beds at the rear which could work well for you as the girls will have their own space which during the day could easily be used as a separate lounge area for them. Bunk beds is also possible but very few layouts have the transverse and if buying bunks they are not all the same size so make sure the girls will fit into them for a few years. One layout that might tick the boxes is like the one below which is similar to the old common double dinette layout which we currently have. Its a good family layout but as the kids are getting bigger it does feel quite cramped when we are all trying to get passed each other in the middle section.

 

As for the dogs, make your life easy and stick with the one (been there done that) two dogs and 4 people really is too much in a caravan. When we had 2 we always used to take the awning and they had a crate in that. Now we only have the one he is in the caravan with us all the time but has his own little area to go to out the way which is up by the kids beds.

R-Swift-Sprite-2018-Major-6-TD-layout-A.jpg

Edited by tom_1989
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OP back.  Thanks for all the additional advice.

 

Definitely plan to visit the show and do a full day, without the kids.  We've visited a dealer with the kids already and they loved everyone they stepped into!  The wife on the other hand has thrown doubt over my layout choice.  She would like a fixed dinette to seat 4, which i'm almost certain isn't going to be available with fixed bunks and a mid positioned bathroom.  But that's what a visit to the show will hopefully sort.

 

Anyhow, had seen the Bailey Unicorn Segovia.  Ideal layout (for me), but wasn't overly impressed with the build quality. Need to look further to see if there are different grades.

 

I've also visited all manufacturers websites and have created a longlist to view, either at NEC or dealers.  I was just unsure when looking at websites whether i was viewing their most up to date / 2019 models.

 

Another question, which i will also do a forum search for in a minute, is there any log of what discounts, by brand, people have been able to achieve on new purchases?  

 

Cheers!

 

Also worth me mentioning, as lots of people have said about bunk size and agree, they need to have some future proof in them.  Although it's something i'm always concious of, i'm 6'4", so have to have a bed without a footer anywhere near the end!

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Thanks for coming back OP. !

 

Realistically, this is going to come down to what you both like at the NEC.

 

But coming back to your points.

 

If you mean dinette with fixed table, Not many (any) uk vans have a fixed dinette to seat 4. We have the Sprite Major 6 td which seats 3  and we eat as a family of four at that table by adding a camping stool.

 

Most ( all) family vans will seat four or six and feed them once you get the table out of its store. We only ever use our table outside though.  

 

If you have deep pockets, look at the Swift Elegance Grande 655. It has a proper eating area ( for at least 4), front lounge and rear bunks ( of good size). It's a brand new layout.

 

I looked at a Segovia yesterday. Build seemed similar to other UK makes, tbh, which is a bit hit n miss. It's a good layout though. I just wasn't totally struck with the decor or the rear dinette ( Def a 2 seater when the the lower range Phoenix seats 3). It is Bailey's top spec though.

 

 As for discounts, you should be in a good position as first time buyers. Biggest discounts at the show will be on older models, so Bailey Unicorn and Swift Sprite (as examples) as there are newer models from both manufacturers. The best discounts are on last year's stock. E. g I saw a great Bailey Pegasus Palermo yesterday - now discontinued but sat on a dealership. Hard for you though to chose something like that.

 

Think about what you will need with the van. There is the standard stuff that doesn't really cost the earth - water barrels etc and then there is motor mover and awning that can run to £1000s. Personally, we value the mover but not the awning.   You can get this stuff thrown in when bargaining stalls.

 

Lots of people will have an idea of what a good discount is. A really good starting point is clearly the cheapest new price on Caravan Finder for a particular model.

 

As for being tall, not an issue for me! Best thing to do is to make the bed up at the NeC and try it. I think you are going to be most comfy in an 8ft van with double at the front made from the front lounge. Don't be afraid of asking to have the bed set up.


 

Edited by svimes
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