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Going smaller

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After over 25 years of tugging, we both fancy going a lot smaller, at present we are towing a 7. 5 mitre Swift Coastline 584SE this has been fantastic as we have been staying in Spain & Portugal for 6 months at a time then touring Britain over the summer, we now fancy only 3 months abroad and moving back home. We have a long time to start looking before buying, car wise we even seen caravans i. e. Eriba that can be towed by a car small as a Kia Soul. What is everyone's thoughts on small cars & caravans?

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You appear to be considering downsizing with a vengeance.  I'd suggest you try before you buy if that's possible.

John.    :)

 

ps  Some of the Eriba 'vans are heavier than they look.

Edited by Leedslad

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3 minutes ago, Leedslad said:

You appear to be considering downsizing with a vengeance.  I'd suggest you try before you buy if that's possible.

John.    :)

 

ps  Some of the Eriba 'vans are heavier than they look.

That's our thoughts we may hire for a week to see how it works out, we can look at conventional caravans, Eribas but as you say some are heavyweight or even pop ups.  

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We have had one like this for the last 12 years -  about 850 kg empty and payload of 350 kg on top of that.  Body length 4. 20 metres, shipping  length 5. 20 metres

 

We love it for overseas summer touring but would you live in it for 3 months  or over winter? 

 

IMG_0565.JPG

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1 minute ago, moorgate said:

We have had one like this for the last 12 years -  about 850 kg empty and payload of 350 kg on top of that.  Body length 4. 20 metres, shipping  length 5. 20 metres

 

We love it for overseas summer touring but would you live in it for 3 months  or over winter? 

 

IMG_0565.JPG

 

1 minute ago, moorgate said:

We have had one like this for the last 12 years -  about 850 kg empty and payload of 350 kg on top of that.  Body length 4. 20 metres, shipping  length 5. 20 metres

 

We love it for overseas summer touring but would you live in it for 3 months  or over winter? 

 

IMG_0565.JPG

What model is that? We are very fortunate as we are living in our caravan just outside Bournemouth so can pop into the Eriba importers. We need to find out if with a awning we can cope with going smaller, we would use it in Spain etc over winter and as long as it can keep us warm over night we will be ok.

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The only comment I would make about a small (micro?) caravan is you need to to consider VERY fully how you would get on if you were away and you had a few days where it rains non stop. At that point a small caravan will feel VERY small indeed.  

 

Its a bit like a pal of mine a few years ago (when I was running a Motorhome) he said his Mrs wanted to get an old style VW Camper. I pointed out he had three small children and asked how he fancied them all living in what was basically something the size of an estate car. He now has a BMW X5 and and a six berth tag axle caravan PLUS awning.

 

Andy

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we had an eriba touring for a couple of years a while back and enjoyed taking it abroad. I suppose our main thoughts (once you learn to duck) are its fine while the weather is good either in the UK or abroad but if you want to caravan all year round or have pets the lack of space can be depressing. We went the opposite way buying a larger caravan 

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Our caravan is huge https://www. tabbert. com/en-int/caravans/puccini/layout/puccini-560-e-25-2. html

we love it, however, Diesel is about as popular as Ebola here and to tow our 2 tonne caravan at 60 mph (here in Germany) legally the towing vehicle needs to have an empty weight of 2200kg, we can tow it with a lighter car but only at 50 mph. So once our 15 year old daughter no longer wants to come with us we’re going to swap our caravan for something with an MTPLM of kess than 1500 Kg, we might even take the in-laws motor home over if they get to the stage they’re no longer up to it. The days of big heavy luxury caravans are over.

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Be warned---if you are used to space, be it a hoose or caravan, and downsize, it takes some getting used too.

We have a 16-17ft Elddis and have seriously thought of going for the smaller option to make towing easier. When it comes to the crunch, we just can't envisage the space we would lose in a smaller van.

Maybe that's why we live in a barn instead of a cosy wee hoose.

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We were away just before Christmas and the only other Caravan on site was an Eriba pop top, so they obviously do get used all year round.

 

I'm a big fan of compact and I'd say that if there are just the two of you and you don't mind making the bed up each day, then I'm sure you'll enjoy the benefits (smaller car, easier pitching, lower fuel costs).

 

We are a family so we need a fairly decent sized van and we can't be faffed with relying on an awning so it works for us. If it was just the two of us I think we'd either have a conventional 2 berth that could be towed by a focus sized cars or one of the smaller fixed bed vans.

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I'd love an Eriba and have no issue using one over the winter, if it's cold just drop the top down - Eriba's have been year-round vans for decades. My wife's need for a proper shower is what limits them to us.

 

We don't have a big caravan but when it's the two of us we will have a 2-berth 'van towed by a family hatchback, I was looking around a Lunar Stellar yesterday and the amount of real space you get is vast when you remove a fixed bed, okay you make up th lounge but so what.

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On 18/01/2019 at 20:38, Coastine said:

 

What model is that? We are very fortunate as we are living in our caravan just outside Bournemouth so can pop into the Eriba importers. We need to find out if with a awning we can cope with going smaller, we would use it in Spain etc over winter and as long as it can keep us warm over night we will be ok.

Do you really want to spend time just coping? surely you want to enjoy your time. In reality how much would you save by downsizing? 

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Interesting thread.   My OH and I discussed this.  We both would love an Eriba Touring,  but only for summer touring.  If we go abroad in the summer the caravan is used for sleeping only, the rest of the time we are outside.   So lugging a heavy van about is a bit of a waste.   But on the other hand  in the winter it is fantastic.   I think if I was living in a van for 3 months I would want more space than an Eriba Touring ultimately I think you could cope but it would be claustrophobic and not the best choice.   An Eriba Nova on the other hand :D  

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9 hours ago, FrankBullet said:

I was looking around a Lunar Stellar yesterday and the amount of real space you get is vast when you remove a fixed bed, okay you make up th lounge but so what. 

We have a similar situation with our Lunar Clubman ES in that we make the bed up each night. As we use sleeping bags and are not very tall it takes me 3 mins to make or strip the beds as we use as two singles 1. 950 x 0. 739m (6'5" x 2'5"). Suits us as we like the side dinette rather than having a fixed bed.

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We are fans of fixed beds, we gave up the best van we ever had (Hymer) in order to have them and however much we would like to downsize it comes back to do we want to make up beds again. Our van is pretty much a bedroom on wheels and we spend as little time as possible inside,   however we dont caravan in the UK and long spells of bad weather are quite rare where we go.

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we once downsized the caravan, bought a smaller one, it  was a foot narrower and 3 feet shorter, we kept it for 2 years and went back to a larger one again. Actually we also downsized in our house and went back up again. I think that a lot depends on how you use your 'van, if it's just to sleep in then small is good, another point is the size of the people using it, we are big people with dogs. The awning is good for the extra room. I think that you need to test one out  first to see how it feels.  

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I have taken your points, maybe going far to smell is not my answer I will still keep on looking but for a conventional caravan but slightly smaller the my present caravan.

Edited by Coastine
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If you're worried about lack of fixed beds in an Eriba Touring there are several layouts with fixed double beds as an option. You lose the rear lounge area but gain an enormousamount of under bed storage. It does mean that you end up with either a singleish dinette across the front or a side dinette as the only places to sit.

 

Kitchens are tiny, with no oven and nowhere to fit a microwave, though you can always pack one, but it can be a pain  to manhandle etc. Washrooms are tiny too and though you can specify shower equipment it's really only for the very short and very skinny.

 

Prices grow very quickly as the base price is for a poverty spec. van and things like boiler and battery charger and controller etc are cost options.

 

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We have had two berth (450 or 460 length) caravans for many years.  Making up the bed every night is normal routine for us and we think nothing of it.  We have never had a larger ‘van with a fixed bed and what you never had you never miss.  A little Eriba would be too small for us - we’re just not used to such a lack of space.  :D

John.

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YIP I also down sized to a 2 Berth after a short break  from touring and apart from making the bed its been ok. Have had the big twins and a fixed bed configuration in the past and was practical at the time as Wee Smeesh would be with us but fast forward 10 years and being mainly me and the odd trip with the Mrs "Wee Berthy" is just fine. Eriba would also be too small for me . ..

 

GAS. ...

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We all know what we mean when we talk about Eriba's, but in fact 'Eriba' is the brand name for all caravans produced by Hymer, with the 'Hymer' branding reserved for motorhomes. This has been Hymer Group policy for at least 5 years, though some importers still seem to insist on their caravans being branded 'Hymer'.

 

What most UK people think of as the Eriba range is in fact the Eriba Touring range of poptop vans. They were built in France until 2009/10 when the Hymer France factory at Cernay was closed and production moved to the main Hymer plant in Germany.

 

When people say that Eriba Touring vans are too small for them they're often not aware of the full range that's available. A lot of people think of the ubiquitous Eriba Puck, which was the smallest Eriba produced. There are still plenty around but production of the Puck finished in 2009, just before the decision to shut the French factory.

 

The current range starts with the 12ft 2ins long  Familia's. The 310 3 berth without washroom and the 320 2 berth with washroom.

 

Then there are the 13ft 8ins long Triton's with four layouts available, from the 3 berth, no washroom 410, through to the 3 berth with washroom 430 model.

 

At the top of the range are the five Troll models. They are all 15ft 5ins long and 4ins wider than the Familia's and Triton's.  The internal layouts vary but they all sleep at least three people. The 540 and 542 have long rear benches/beds that are around 6ft 6ins  and popular with taller owners. The 530, 535 and 550 have shorter rear lounges/beds but slightly larger second dinettes that can fit two children, making them potential 4 berths.

 

Some layouts have the option of a fixed rear double bed, instead of the rear lounge and the washroom cubicles are identical on all models, Hymer using a modular system to reduce cost. The interior design of the washrooms tends to get a makeover about every six years and the current version is, without doubt, the best so far.   

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18 hours ago, Leedslad said:

We have had two berth (450 or 460 length) caravans for many years.  Making up the bed every night is normal routine for us and we think nothing of it.  We have never had a larger ‘van with a fixed bed and what you never had you never miss.  A little Eriba would be too small for us - we’re just not used to such a lack of space.  :D

John.

 I Agee with you.

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We realised that "more is less" when we replaced our worn out full size awning with a Magnum porch and found it gave us double the space outside on our pitch sitting in the sun. When we stopped doing long winters in Spain about 3 years ago, we decided to downsize the caravan to a 2 berth Swift Challenger. We have toured France each summer and had 3 great years so far with the new caravan, and have never regretted the change. We now use an Isabella sun canopy in preference to any other type of awning so we travel very light. We love the simplicity of arriving on site and having everything up and running in minutes. Bed making is nothing really as we sleep on the 2 single bunks.

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Couple of years back we bumped into a chap (not literally!) and his wife who lived full time in an Eriba, although not sure what model it was.

He towed with a van of some sort, which he said helped with storing all the clothes and other items they needed to lug around.  

Seem to recall he had a hanging rail for clothes in the back of the tow van.

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