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The birth of the light caravan is looming

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Having a smaller caravan than the traditional ones offers many advantages,  but with one big disadvantage - and that is space, but if there are only two or three persons then THIS  example of one might suit. 

 

I forecast that other manufacturers will soon jump on the bandwagon to make smaller traditional layouts which might be an attractive alternative to larger vans.

 

If you own a traditional van, would you consider buying a smaller van in the future, and what would persuade you to buy one regarding specifications and layout?

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As a couple we have always had 4 berthers and have got used to the space so a smaller van isn't for us but we acknowledge that Eribas seem popular if a bit expensive.

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We used to manage pretty well with a lightweight, 4 berth, 10ft long Sprite 400 in the late 60s, in the early 70s Caravans International (the Newwmarket based producers of Sprite and Eccles caravans) produced the CI Sprint which was an extremely lightweight 4 berth 12ft caravan (I seem to remember the cupboard doors were only around 1/4" thick) that could be towed by a Ford Escort (just about) and easily with the likes of a 1.6 litre Cortina, so lightweight doesn't necessarily mean a micro caravan. 

There was a market for reasonably sized lightweight caravans, there's no reason they can't make a comeback. 

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Strictly speaking this would be "re-birth" rather than "birth" as caravans in the 70s to 90s were, on average, very much smaller and lighter than modern ones.

Following that, there have been many such vans over the years, right up to the current Sprite Alpine2, but they hardly take the market by storm.

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We tour in a teeny tiny Xplore 302.  Fantastic.  You just have to get used to caravanning a little differently and going back to, very comfortable, basics.

mel

 

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I’m all for lighter vans, I don’t agree with some people’s perception that light = poor quality but then I do drive an Audi A2 which is very light and built like a bank vault but then it wasn’t ‘cheap’ brand new but 141k and 15 years later it’s proved outstanding value.

 

The Basecamp is a fantastic van but only 2 berth (there are three of us), a wonder if a slightly longer version will be available at some point - I really like a lot of the details in them from the fold-up seats for storing inside the van and canvas drawers.  Likewise, the new Bailey Discovery is really the 2020 van of all those coming to the market I am keen to see, the challenge is whether you can see signs of cost cutting - our Pursuit is relatively lightweight and not big, there’s very little wrong with it as a design to be honest and if it wasn’t for the ever growing son I think we would be happy to keep it longer but the lounge feels like it will get smaller not bigger!

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There’s only 2 of us, but I can’t see us choosing a smaller van. Our current  van is 7.5m and c1500kg, any future change will probably be longer, wider and quite a lot heavier. 

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My caravan is 2.5m wide, lights to hitch is about 8m (not sure off the top of my head) and it weighs (MTPLM) 2 tonnes.

Our daughter will soon be fleeing the nest and our fat greyhound hasn’t got long left so I said to Mrs B the other day “I think we should sell this and buy something smaller”............she gave me a death stare !!!

I think our future is Motor-homing, the days of big, heavy, luxury caravanning are over. 

Edited by Borussia 1900
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I did think about getting an Eriba a couple of seasons ago.

But that was before gusting storm force 10 was forecast overnight at Killigruer.

We slept soundly through it all in our Swift Conqueror 560 1680 MTPL.

The couple next door in their Eriba did not-the wind moved it 3 feet plus with them inside.

The Wife is now used to her caravan stuffed with her footwear and several essential outfits so we might get another caravan but it will be bigger and heavier.

No motor home for us we like travelling in comfort and peace and quiet.

Our expedition roaming is over we stay in one location for one to three weeks at a time.

Having said that we will be booming and rattling along next summer in a hired motor home returning to Orkney and the Outer Hebrides😀.

The mini caravan will probably appeal to fit active outdoor types-at least that’s the segment targeted by advertising.

Of course towing restrictions on modern licenses encourage light weight caravans this segment might become the UK caravan future?

 

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There's only two of us but we will not buy a van without a fixed bed or without a nice bathroom with a separate shower.

Bed and bathroom is nice in our current van but the kitchen is to small and we will probably buy a new slightly bigger van this winter.

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Not for us though! I like driving my Land Rovers, and I like the space of a decent sized caravan!

If I cannot do that, I feel my box beckons!

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2 hours ago, Fireman Iain said:

There’s only 2 of us, but I can’t see us choosing a smaller van. Our current  van is 7.5m and c1500kg, any future change will probably be longer, wider and quite a lot heavier. 

 

Why bigger?

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58 minutes ago, AndersG said:

There's only two of us but we will not buy a van without a fixed bed or without a nice bathroom with a separate shower.

Bed and bathroom is nice in our current van but the kitchen is to small and we will probably buy a new slightly bigger van this winter.

 

 

There is nothing like comfort and I have to agree with you. The best van we owned  had an end bathroom with separate shower.

 

Getting used to a smaller van has meant we have had to do a brain software modification. We are finding that we have had to modify our routine whilst caravanning but after three trips we are discovering many more advantages over the disadvantage of loss of space. All I can say is, don't say no till you have tried it.

1 hour ago, ancell said:

 

Of course towing restrictions on modern licenses encourage light weight caravans this segment might become the UK caravan future?

 

 

 

Good point :goodpost:

4 hours ago, Nanamel said:

We tour in a teeny tiny Xplore 302.  Fantastic.  You just have to get used to caravanning a little differently and going back to, very comfortable, basics.

mel

 

:goodpost:

 

Xplore 302 Not for Firemen though  :D

 

For a more more modern caravan have a look at Adria I rather fancy this one myself.

 

Anyway, thanks to all for their comments. Interesting.

 

Good luck with the death stare Bo :D

Edited by BOAC
additional link insertion

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Why bigger? In a word, space. 

 

Your OP suggests many advantages of a smaller caravan without really enlightening us as to what they are. And they aren’t obvious to me.

 

We pay for storage, So I can fit as big a van as I want in there, I like big 4x4’s, and I’ve got my lgv licence, so I can tow anything, and even the biggest caravan doesn’t phase me. Plus I’m a big guy, so extra space in the shower or bed in a bigger van is good news. I’m an early riser and Kay likes a lie in, so we like the separate bedroom space of a fixed bed van. 

 

I genuinely don’t see what advantage a small caravan will offer us. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Fireman Iain said:

 

 

...... OP suggests many advantages of a smaller caravan without really enlightening us as to what they are. And they aren’t obvious to me. .....

 

 ..... I genuinely don’t see what advantage a small caravan will offer us.....

 

 

 

I think the linked promo video takes care of that, it is clear that this van is not really aimed at current caravanners downsizing, it is offering a different entry point for new caravanners. 

 

 

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Manufacturers are still bringing out more 8' wide caravans so can't see any indication that they are thinking smaller. We wouldn't be interested in going smaller we tried a 2 berth when the kids stopped coming and hated the lack of space. Currently we have a 1500kg fixed transverse bed towed by a 4x4 and no intention of down sizing as we love the space. I would say how ever that Im not interested in moving to an 8' wide caravan

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9 hours ago, Fireman Iain said:

I genuinely don’t see what advantage a small caravan will offer us.

 

In the future it'll give you the chance to carry on caravanning - if you insist on space you'll need to switch to using hotels.

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46 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

In the future it'll give you the chance to carry on caravanning - if you insist on space you'll need to switch to using hotels.

 

I think we are talking in years, perhaps over a generation - if you are in your 50’s and like a big van then this will probably be of limited impact.  If your idea of a holiday is sitting in your caravan watching the world go by then smaller lighter vans won’t be for you, but if you use it as a basecamp (see what Swift did there!) then the future is bright.

 

The UK caravan industry does need to get wise to this, there are plenty of European manufacturers who can meet the brief, of the availability in the UK was easier then I for one would jump to a Knaus or similar.

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1 hour ago, Black Grouse said:

 

In the future it'll give you the chance to carry on caravanning - if you insist on space you'll need to switch to using hotels.

 

 

Hotels it might well be then. Not that I think we have anything to worry about in the foreseeable future. We are in our 60's now so cant see it's likely to affect us.

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While our earlier caravans were both small and light, I welcomed a slight length and weight increase that provided a little more comfort and space BUT today I feel that things have gone too far towards perceived luxury with the addition of unnecessary equipment.

In my opinion a caravan should provide first and foremost a dry and comfortable environment that can be moved by a typical family car, while providing the basics for living (ie somewhere to sleep, wash and cook).

This was all provided by a caravan we owned thirty years ago . . .

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In my long gone youth I spent enough time living in cramped accommodation that ranged from a sleeping bag under poncho to huts and that Basecamp is just too small and brings back not so nice memories.  We now enjoy the luxury of a our large twin axle with all the goodies and have spent the kids inheritance.  :D 

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9 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

In my long gone youth I spent enough time living in cramped accommodation that ranged from a sleeping bag under poncho to huts and that Basecamp is just too small and brings back not so nice memories.  We now enjoy the luxury of a our large twin axle with all the goodies and have spent the kids inheritance.  :D 

 

Thats the point isn’t it?

Pension pots lump sums and inheritance.

There is still a decade plus of the above going to be available to spend-given govt does not get its hands on it😂.

Caravans statics motorhomes cruises holiday homes are some of the well worn paths for the lucky beneficiaries to indulge their dreams.

I cannot see “the lightweight caravan” as a possession to aspire to.

Equally it’s not much good for a family.

Its surely a utility item appealing to couples/singles who wish to travel to the outdoors.

Our experiences are typical for our age group born just after WW2 camping a very attractive option for our young family both UK and abroad then decades of dodgy cheap caravans then over last 20 years just buying newer and newer caravans.

But our government-under pressure from the green lobby? have ensured a change is coming in the next decade for the touring caravan industry it’s going lightweight ie under 700K.

But by then I will be 83-if I am lucky😂😂

 

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2 hours ago, Black Grouse said:

 

In the future it'll give you the chance to carry on caravanning - if you insist on space you'll need to switch to using hotels.

 

Or maybe sit outside 😎😎

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If SWMBO and I could not have a comfortable bed we would almost certainly give up completely on caravans!

Front benches that convert, with significant effort into uncomfortable narrow beds are simply inadequate for adults who are beginning to see the disadvantage of age. Likewise beds that require one person to climb over the other, or the person exiting to have to shuffle to the middle destroying the comfortable warmth of the other.

1 hour ago, Gordon said:

 

In my opinion a caravan should provide first and foremost a dry and comfortable environment that can be moved by a typical family car, while providing the basics for living (ie somewhere to sleep, wash and cook).

This was all provided by a caravan we owned thirty years ago . . .

 

That's fine if your idea of a holiday or break is days of fun filled activities, and the caravan is merely a basecamp to sleep/wash/cook and somewhere to store your clean clothes. (Swift Group absolutely nailed the name!).

For those of us who do not have limitless energy a caravan has to be a comfortable place to live while giving us access to different places/people.

 

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5 minutes ago, Stevan said:

If SWMBO and I could not have a comfortable bed we would almost certainly give up completely on caravans!

Front benches that convert, with significant effort into uncomfortable narrow beds are simply inadequate for adults who are beginning to see the disadvantage of age. Likewise beds that require one person to climb over the other, or the person exiting to have to shuffle to the middle destroying the comfortable warmth of the other.

 

"simply inadequate" ?

 

I suggest that's more a state of mind than reality - I have more than my fair share of the "disadvantage of age" but cope with climbing over when the need arises, and with using the front settees on overnight stops - although the time may come when the front settees are used all the time.

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