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Mr Plodd

Caravan showers, time to make them optional ?

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In a utopian world caravan manufactures would have available a selection of wheeled boxes of varying dimensions, finishes and prices accompanied by a catalogue of layout, equipment, fixtures and fittings packages of varying styles and prices. The buyer then rolls up to their dealer, picks the box size of their choice and chooses the package option they want to go with it. The order is then fulfilled by the manufacturer. In other words, achieving the impossible by pleasing all of the people all of the time. ....until you come to sell or p/x it and discover it's too bespoke to you and no one else!

 

To have or not to have a shower is very much a personal preference and since the greater majority of caravans sold in the UK are manufactured with one fitted it does seem to suggest that expectation is very high. Personally, when on a site with facilities we use them if they are clean and well maintained but we also often select sites with no facilities e. g. CMC North York Moors and Thetford Forest, in which case we need the shower as we're getting too old for a "dirty weekend"! :lol:

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There are two results of having a non-mainstream van (i.e. one that lacks what most consider to be a standard fit-out). As it's considered to lack something, you have to find someone who's happy with that fit-out and it can take a long time to find such a person. The other is that in order to shift it you will have to drop the price, unless you are totally lucky and your first viewer is happy with the fit- out and willing to pay top dollar. Dealers are aware of such things and will offer reduced part exchange or buying in prices to take the issues into account as it's likely to affect their margin.

 

Our first campervan was built on a SWB Transit which is about the same length as a LandRover Discovery. The same firm built another model on the same base van, but with a washroom with shower, basin and toilet, plus an oven and a 3-way fridge. You could say a mini motorhome.

 

Ours didn't have the washroom, but did have a proper toilet. It also didn't have the oven, that's what Remoska's are for and it's fridge was a bit smaller and of the compressor type, as the Transit framework wouldn't allow vents at that particular position. What it did have, instead of all that, was a 2ft deep 'boot' between the rear wheelarches, yes a big empty space. We used the space for a bespoke removable dog crate, which kept our beardies safe, under control and gave them a kennel they loved. The crate was strong enough for lots of gear on top and there was space for all the usual stuff, like cables, hoses, levelling blocks etc, which you'd have trouble accommodating in the mini motorhome version. With the crate removed the space was used for, bicycles, furniture collection, moving house, trips to garden centres and the tip etc. Folk have used them for golf trolleys, disability scooters, scuba gear, climbing ropes and stuff, all of which would challenge the mini motorhome variant.   

 

But which one sold best, by a long way?

 

Of course the mini motorhome was the best seller, despite the fact it was about £5k more when new, couldn't accommodate all the stuff I've mentioned  and the washroom was so tiny it was a real challenge to use for most people. So having it all overcame practicality for most buyers. 

 

Me? Well ten years on I've bought another one, though this time on a MWB Transit, but the only major difference is just that the 'boot' is 3ft deep, not 2ft, everything else is the same.     

 

 

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  This thread reinforces the old adage about not being able to please all of the people all of the time.  We rarely use our on board shower, preferring site facilities (as long as they are good) .  On the cooking front, Leedslass makes good use of both full oven and microwave - thank goodness!     :)

 

John.

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On 26/01/2019 at 12:23, Weekend Traveller said:

I used to do offshore yachting and long tours on a motorcycle with a 2 man ridge tent, it is possible to live and be perfectly content without a shower or lots of other so called essential conveniences . I find the modern, self indulgent mindset of life being unbearable if we are not 100% happy is somewhat disturbing.

In my younger days one of my employers insisted that we spend every second month in the bush without the luxury of a tent.   The other employer gave us more luxurious quarters in the form of a 2 berth caravan and being the youngest I had to sleep in the awning.   Caravan had gas lamps and shower was the nearest river or waterfall.   Toilet was any unoccupied any bear hole!  :D

Now being retired I like my comfort and luxuries!

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Like others, we rarely use the onboard shower but find it invaluable for hanging long coats / dresses etc and storage of things we don't need on a daily basis. Just because it says it's a shower doesn't mean that's how you have to use it!

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The 72 hour deodorants must be very popular :ph34r:

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It keeps the neighbours away. ....

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10 hours ago, Gordon said:

 

So you do use the shower compartment, just not for showering in ;)

 

 

You are correct, they do come in handy for allowing wet items to drip into the shower tray. 👍

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We use the Shower, Cooker and Microwave. The option I would like to see manufacturers give us, would be a decent upgrade on payload, say an extra 250kg. This would allow a user to have a Mover, Self Levelling, Air con, Roof Satellite dish and carry bikes on the back and put the awning in the van. It would not require different layouts, just a different axle and possibly chassis.

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8 minutes ago, SimonT said:

, would be a decent upgrade on payload, say an extra 250kg.

 

How much would you be prepared to pay for this? Bearing in mind you seem to have  (or want) all the ' goodies'  it wouldn't appear that you would mind paying say another £1,000 or so?? 

 

geoff

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44 minutes ago, SimonT said:

We use the Shower, Cooker and Microwave. The option I would like to see manufacturers give us, would be a decent upgrade on payload, say an extra 250kg. This would allow a user to have a Mover, Self Levelling, Air con, Roof Satellite dish and carry bikes on the back and put the awning in the van. It would not require different layouts, just a different axle and possibly chassis.

 

So true, then even without all your list of "toys" a much higher percentage of caravans on the road would be legal on their weights.

I very much doubt a £1000 jack in price would be needed, though probably would be asked, but at sub a 5% price increase to make a van legally usable as a touring van I would, and indeed have paid it.  

IMO a payload to make the van legal for other than a really minimalist family should be mandatory and the NCC's removal of a suitable battery for UK built vans from the originally agreed European standard formula, defies any justification.

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Where do you get the information that the NCC removed the requirement for a battery from 'originally agreed European standard formula' JTQ?

 

To handle a further 250kg might not require a different set of chassis frames but probably would need a stronger, more expensive axle and set of tyres. It would probably also prove to be an uneconomic sales proposition, not necessarily just because of the extra cost, but combined with the mania for low weights that UK manufacturers' marketing and the caravan press have induced in UK caravan buyers.   

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I remember taking part in a discussion where the argument was that because Campsites provide electricity via a bollard, weight could be saved by not having any gas appliances or gas bottles. Although some agreed with this idea, the majority did not.    I see a parallel in the argument put forward to build caravans without a personal shower.   I certainly would'nt buy one. .

Edited by bessacarr425

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Just now, bessacarr425 said:

I remember taking part in a discussion where the argument was that because Campsites provide electricity via a bollard, weight could be saved by not having any gas appliances or gas bottles. Although some agreed with this idea, the majority did not.    I see a parallel in the argument put forward to build caravans without a personal shower.   I would'nt buy one. .

 

I know Elddis made them for a very short period but not enough customers wanted them

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19 minutes ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

Where do you get the information that the NCC removed the requirement for a battery from 'originally agreed European standard formula' JTQ?

 

 

 

http://www. tourerinfo. co. uk/payloads/pdf/TC-Payloads-FAQ-final-revision. pdf

 

Note: European type approval regulations do not take into account some things that are currently included in the user payload (e. g. leisure batteries.

 

No,  in Europe they are included in the MIRO where the vans are designed to use a leisure battery. , ie van's with built in chargers.

But the NCC decided we will keep with the old UK system and leave it in the user payload allowance.

 

Your guess as to why is as good as mine, though my opinion leaves them decidedly discredited.  

IMO they would struggle to convince me the majority of buyers will use vans without one.

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JTQ

 

You have obviously forgotten that the NCC is an organisation paid for, and who’s prime purpose is to represent, the leisure vehicle TRADE and their interests, not the consumer.

 

I wonder just how many caravans that have been purchased over the last, say five years, left the dealerships WITHOUT a leisure battery! I bet it’s a VERY small percentage but STILL the NCC “choose” to leave the weight of an LB out of the MIRO.  

 

ANDY

Edited by Mr Plodd
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43 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

JTQ

 

You have obviously forgotten that the NCC is an organisation paid for, and prime purpose is to represent, the leisure vehicle TRADE and their interests, not the consumer.

 

 

 

No Andy, I have zero doubt about the NCC's prime purpose and how the industry in general regards its one and only source of funding, so reminiscent of the stance of the UK's  old motor industry.   It was not a sound long lived  business model, only held up as long as it did till its punters finally woke up.

 

 

Edited by JTQ

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As I've said before, if you want a battery in MIRO, supplied ex-factory you know how it would be with UK manufacturer's, they'd fit the cheapest, lightest battery they could and then owners who wanted something better would still have to buy it and any extra weight would still come off payload.

 

And lots of Continental vans are offered with a basic poverty spec. with no battery or charger, they are cost options, so they still come off payload.

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16 minutes ago, Steamdrivenandy said:

As I've said before, if you want a battery in MIRO, supplied ex-factory you know how it would be with UK manufacturer's, they'd fit the cheapest, lightest battery they could and then owners who wanted something better would still have to buy it and any extra weight would still come off payload.

 

And lots of Continental vans are offered with a basic poverty spec. with no battery or charger, they are cost options, so they still come off payload.

 

Why have you assumed the battery has /would be supplied  by the van builder, just to be able to allow for it in the  MIRO? They already manage to allow for an LPG bottle without supplying it so somebody there ought to do the weight sums for the recommended battery. Or being a tad technical, they could contract out doing the maths!

 

No, the continental van's batteries, at least with Hymer, don't come off the payload, they are both factory fitted and included in the van's MIRO.   And with Hymer they are anything but the lightest, cheapest on the market. Just culturally wholly different to the UK industry, but priced to reflect this.  

Of course the more you include in the MIRO the less the payload for a given chassis rating. But my view is if the item has to be there, then as the European standard, it is a MIRO item. Then the user payload is just that the things the user will or will not take, not having to include some of the items that make the van itself viable.  

Here in the UK we just have a system that fools the uninformed into believing they have a payload figure, when much of which they have not.

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The marketing strategy in the UK is so much different to the Continent. In the case of cars and caravans, it is usual in the UK to offer a fairly comprehensive specification as standard or at least optional packages including a selection of various fittings and equipment.

On the other hand, in order to keep prices attractive, Continental manufacturers tend to offer a very basic product as standard, but then leave the customer to choose from a whole plethora of factory-fitted options with price lists often as long as your arm. Even the colour of the taps in the washroom can sometimes be specified, so one can choose between chrome or white (or beige if the sink is more that colour). Very often, countless combinations of upholstery design and quality are also possible, not to mention technical options, like choosing individually which window is supposed to be fixed or hinged. Therefore, apart from top-of-the-line models, very few Continental caravans have a shower as standard, but it is nearly always offered as an option.

 

1 hour ago, JTQ said:

No, the continental van's batteries, at least with Hymer, don't come off the payload, they are both factory fitted and included in the van's MIRO.   And with Hymer they are anything but the lightest, cheapest on the market. Just culturally wholly different to the UK industry, but priced to reflect this.  

 

 

That might be the case for Hymer's sold in the UK but I cannot think of any Hymer with a battery as standard on the Continent. Anyway, whether the battery is or is not included in the MIRO has nothing to do with it being fitted as standard in the factory, but whether the manufacturer included it at the time of type approval.

 

Edited by Lutz

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1 hour ago, JTQ said:

 

Why have you assumed the battery has /would be supplied  by the van builder, just to be able to allow for it in the  MIRO? They already manage to allow for an LPG bottle without supplying it so somebody there ought to do the weight sums for the recommended battery. Or being a tad technical, they could contract out doing the maths!

 

No, the continental van's batteries, at least with Hymer, don't come off the payload, they are both factory fitted and included in the van's MIRO.   And with Hymer they are anything but the lightest, cheapest on the market. Just culturally wholly different to the UK industry, but priced to reflect this.  

Of course the more you include in the MIRO the less the payload for a given chassis rating. But my view is if the item has to be there, then as the European standard, it is a MIRO item. Then the user payload is just that the things the user will or will not take, not having to include some of the items that make the van itself viable.  

Here in the UK we just have a system that fools the uninformed into believing they have a payload figure, when much of which they have not.

 

Some Hymer's JTQ, some Hymer's, or rather Eriba's. 

 

The Touring ranges don't have a battery or charger etc in standard spec and if you want them factory fitted they're a cost option and come off the payload.

 

UK manufacturer's put a nominal 16kg for a battery in the 50kg allowance for household items that's included in the NCC minimum payload formula. So whilst it's not in MIRO there is an allowance. If it was in MIRO then the payload allowance would be 16kg less.

 

Eriba Touring owners get fooled into thinking they have 350kg payloads because that's what the poverty spec. standard van has. Pimp it up with all the cost options that most UK supplied Touring's have and suddenly it's just 150kg or so, just like UK vans.

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As we have always used our shower as store for laundry etc - I have to say yes, I would rather have the room tbh

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We could have bought our van layout without a separate shower - Elddis did the same layout but with a wet room in a slighty shorter van.

 

We use the shower on CLs, ones with unheated toilet blocks, ones with coin showers and ones where the showers are busy or dirty. It's great for cleaning the kids and the laundry bag lives there.

 

Our last van had a wet room but the sink was outside in the bedroom and that worked surprisingly well.

 

We looked at some lovely Hobby vans but the wet room in those looked very compromised. I think we'd also struggle without an oven and we'd really miss the proper combi blown air - gas is expensive. I don't think there's any kit they we'd choose to leave out though we could easily manage without the microwave and would swap out for an even bigger fridge.

 

Edit: I don't see a correlation between kit levels and chatting to others. Probably any reduction in sociability is due to the changing nature of camping

Edited by svimes

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We are going to an all singing and dancing site at the weekend.  I am sure the shower block will be excellently heated.  But according to bbc weather app the maximum temp is going to be 5C.  So do you think I am going to trudge in that weather backwards and  forwards to have a shower or for that matter a number 2 no chance!   My morning routine will be get out of bed put kettle on make a coffee, have a shower while it’s brewing.  Finish shower pour and drink coffee and then, maybe just maybe consider getting dressed.  

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Much the same Fred though I always dress in at least something post showering, the body might have once been a thing of beauty, but time is very cruel.  ;) 

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