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Hey, I am going back to caravaning after a few years off. I have swb Renault Trafic minibus/van. Does anyone know if there are any specific drawbacks to towing with a van as opposed to a car ? Any advice based on experience would be particularly useful. Thanks in advance.

Edited by Jingleman

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Check the van's Towing Limit and GTW as some vans have very low towing capacity.

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34 minutes ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

Check the van's Towing Limit and GTW as some vans have very low towing capacity.

 

In my experience van's tend to have particularly good towing limits, the problem  is far more likely to be the snobby sites that don't allow vans.  

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If the payload  and towing limit allow (it seems that it's the smaller vans the seem to have lower limits) I would have thought a van would be a great towcar as you have the space to take things that the caravan payload won't allow.

 

The main drawbacks would be that they are mostly front wheel drive and any problems associated with width /length in solo use plus the possible snobby sites (though I see plenty of vans on sites).

 

WRT front wheel drive, this would only be an issue if you do a lot of winter CL type caravanning. We manage fine with a RWD car though. A lot of vans seem to fit car parks better than the pumped up pickups which are very on trend these days

 

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i would say the main drawback is that many sites dont allow vans as tow vehicles on site.

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6 minutes ago, Robbido said:

i would say the main drawback is that many sites dont allow vans as tow vehicles on site.

Thats not the case, usually it's sign written vans that arent allowed on sites, all others generally are not a problem. I spent 5 years towing with a LWB Merc Sprinter and not once was refused site access.

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There is an urban myth that rigs using vans as a tow vehicle are sometimes refused entry by some sites and I have no doubt that sometimes it might happen, but generally  it isn't a problem.

Lots of people now use vans instead of cars for daily driving, there's a definite trend in that direction. In any case what is a panel van conversion/campervan if not a sign written van?

The problem is that using a van to tow is a favoured practice of the travelling community and used to be a way of identifying a traveller rig, which sites are wary of allowing in. Equally traveller rigs can be towed by top of the range Mercs etc, so as a detection method it rather fails, but you can understand those who've had a bad experience, or worry about one, adopting a negative attitude.

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16 minutes ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

There is an urban myth that rigs using vans as a tow vehicle are sometimes refused entry by some sites and I have no doubt that sometimes it might happen, but generally  it isn't a problem.

Lots of people now use vans instead of cars for daily driving, there's a definite trend in that direction. In any case what is a panel van conversion/campervan if not a sign written van?

The problem is that using a van to tow is a favoured practice of the travelling community and used to be a way of identifying a traveller rig, which sites are wary of allowing in. Equally traveller rigs can be towed by top of the range Mercs etc, so as a detection method it rather fails, but you can understand those who've had a bad experience, or worry about one, adopting a negative attitude.

What colour is the van, if its white you may have problems on French sites if you fancy a trip abroad. You can spot French 'travellers' a mile off. ..........Pristine White Van (Transit or Sprinter), a massive Twin Axle German caravan also spotlessly clean and usually in convoy with 3 or 4 others. Probably the reason why some French sites don't allow TA's

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Some fellow caravanners are quite stand offish too. I spent a week at Clumber Park and exchanged the usual good mornings etc with my neighbours, on one side they completely blanked me. After about 5 days they were moving on but they had problems with their electrics, they were faffing about for an hour, I was about to go out but asked them if they needed a hand. They reluctantly spoke to me and said they had a problem with their caravan lights. I got the tools out of the van, found their 7 pin plug had burned up and melted the earth pin, the socket on the car was OK, I had an old but good 7 pin plug in my van, I swapped it over, everything working as it should.

Mrs Grump Neighbour had made a cup of tea and they both apologised for blanking me, they admitted they thought I was a traveller and wanted nothing to do with me.

I explained the use of my van was to transport around my model aircraft, when they looked in the back they were amazed.

They offered to pay me but I refused just suggested they made a donation to Lincolnshire Ambucopter which they did £30!

Vans are great tow vehicles, the stereotyping can get in the way though.

 

AJG

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Sign written vans can be a problem as said and on a few sites that I use such vans are not allowed to park along side the owners caravan.

 

On those sites, once pitched they must be parked in the car park outside of the barriers into the site.

 

 

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Have been using my work van for the last  year and a half with no problems what so ever, at no time have I come across any snubbing both from wardens or neighbours.   My van is 3. 5 Ton rear wheel drive, everything is carried in the van apart from clothes, food and alcohol  :D 

EA2848FB-B109-4698-873B-4925E2A008D6.jpeg

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One of the problem when towing with a van was the suspension effecting the caravans warranty, I don't know if its still the case.

I didn't have any problems when I towed with a van, apart from taking too much with us :)

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You definitely will have problems at some French municipal sites due to the "traveller" syndrome.

 

One (very good) site that I use regularly will view your rig from the office window and reject anything that has a commercial vehicle towing or has twin axles (motorhomes included). It's a long standing rule they have and many won't listen to reason, even when it's perfectly clear that "travellers" are not involved.

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3 hours ago, segapod said:

You definitely will have problems at some French municipal sites due to the "traveller" syndrome.

 

One (very good) site that I use regularly will view your rig from the office window and reject anything that has a commercial vehicle towing or has twin axles (motorhomes included). It's a long standing rule they have and many won't listen to reason, even when it's perfectly clear that "travellers" are not involved.

All the more reason to avoid France.

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We were treated with extreme caution by the people "in charge" of a municipal campsite in France a few years back. They had a crumpled up brown envelope with the words Kia Jeep written on it and they didn't want us in their at all. We had a Jeep - a brand new beautiful top of the range Jeep. Eventually they let us in but every time one of us went to the toilet or shower we were escorted by the site Commandant or his wife who waited whilst we completed our work, we assume to ensure we didn't spoil the facilities. I guess a van would have been fine on that site.  

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I have a 3. 5  ton GVW Ford transit, rwd it's max train weight is 5750 kg, so no problems there! I can honestly say it's by far the best tow vehicle I've ever had and that includes  4x4s. You can hardly tell the caravan is behind, with it having a relatively long wheelbase and hefty rear suspension stability is superb. You can take up to 1500kg of payload in the van as well as towing the caravan, so no need to worry about throwing extras in, just in case. Apart from the fact that it's slightly more noisy and a little less comfortable than a car, as a tow vehicle,it is in every way superior.

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2 hours ago, AJGalaxy2012 said:

All the more reason to avoid France.

What a sad statement (presuming it's not a tongue in cheek comment)?

 

Any caravanner (or even more so - motorhomer) who doesn't avail themselves of the delights of France is denying themselves the most rewarding experience.

True, the French can have some rather odd attitudes and illogical laws - not always endearing to us - but the country is so beautiful, varied and spectacular that I happily forgive them most of their foibles and I'm just grateful that we discovered the delights of camping in France early enough in life to make the most of it.

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2 hours ago, AJGalaxy2012 said:

All the more reason to avoid France.

lol, nice one AJG

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2 hours ago, segapod said:

What a sad statement (presuming it's not a tongue in cheek comment)?

 

Any caravanner (or even more so - motorhomer) who doesn't avail themselves of the delights of France is denying themselves the most rewarding experience.

True, the French can have some rather odd attitudes and illogical laws - not always endearing to us - but the country is so beautiful, varied and spectacular that I happily forgive them most of their foibles and I'm just grateful that we discovered the delights of camping in France early enough in life to make the most of it.

I agree with what you say about France, their attitude is the very reason I no longer visit there. plus I tow a twin axle anyway.

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More importantly is whether you have a B+E driving licence as it seems the gross weight is over 3000kg for either van or minibus?

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15 hours ago, Borussia 1900 said:

lol, nice one AJG

 

 

Do you have a  problem with all things French? :unsure: 

 

Psst-   what is the significance of 1900 in your name?

 

 

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12 minutes ago, beejay said:

 

 

Do you have a  problem with all things French? :unsure: 

 

Psst-   what is the significance of 1900 in your name?

 

 

No, AJG's comment appealed to my sense of humour.

 

I am a club member and season ticket holder at my local football club who were formed in 1900 https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Borussia_Mönchengladbach

 

Borussia VfL 1900 Monchengladbach

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1 hour ago, beejay said:

 

Do you have a  problem with all things French? :unsure: 

 

 

 

Not at all, I avoid at all costs :D:D:D

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1 hour ago, Borussia 1900 said:

No, AJG's comment appealed to my sense of humour.

 

I am a club member and season ticket holder at my local football club who were formed in 1900 https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Borussia_Mönchengladbach

 

Borussia VfL 1900 Monchengladbach

 

 

And I thought you supported top of the league Borussia Dortmund founded in 1909. :blush:

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46 minutes ago, beejay said:

 

 

And I thought you supported top of the league Borussia Dortmund founded in 1909. :blush:

Es gibt nur eine Borussia :)

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