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The birth of the light caravan is looming

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5 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

"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.

Being uncomfortable and/or disturbing your partner when leaving or entering the bed is not enjoyable, nor is being disturbed when they enter or leave.

If using a caravan is not enjoyable why do it?

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That suits young couples with a small car and a couple of surfboards/mountain bikes and just used as a place to crash. NOT us!!!!

Horses for courses.

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We love our lovely fixed double bed comfort so I would be sad to see it go.

 

Looking at things the other way round though, it would be nice not to need to own a large car. I see some of our friends have downsized to smaller cars now (they don't have caravans) and they seem to be so much better than small cars used to be. I do wonder if we will need to downsize our car at some point in order to stop all this greenhouse warming too.

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14 hours ago, Fireman Iain said:

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. 

 

 

 

You say that you are a big guy so its obvious that a small(er) van will not be suitable for you or weight challenged people. I understand that and agree with you. Smaller vans are NOT for you.

 

We use our van for the sole purpose of touring the country and to visit different places. We rarely spend more than two nights on any particular site and a small(er) caravan suits the bill very well. Different strokes for different folks.

 

Off the top of my head, a small van has the following advantages compared with traditional vans are :-

 

With an awning there it is likely there will be more floor area than in a traditional caravan.

Cheaper to buy from new.

You load on necessities rather than a truck load.

Easier to tow with less drag & more fuel economy whilst towing.

You can probably tow with a normal saloon type vehicle.

No special licence is required.

Small caravans take up less space in garages and storage yards.

Likely to be cheaper on ferries.

Easier to manoeuvre generally.

 

I hope that answers your question Iain

 

Edited by BOAC
Word edit

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2 hours ago, Stevan said:

 

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.

 

 

 

It all depends on your definition of live. 

 

I am age 76 and I do not have limitless energy but Petal and myself do have a comfortable place to live whilst touring. That's our take on it.

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5 hours ago, David55 said:

I would say how ever that Im not interested in moving to an 8' wide caravan

Why not? Mine's 8'2" and it makes quite a big difference to the standard width ones and it's no more difficult to tow (including UK roads)

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We're planning on taking Gobby the Gobur Folding Caravan to France and Spain again, after the inaugural visit last Winter. It will be a bijou, pied a terre experience, but the 3am trip to the loo is only 1.5 steps each way, and I hope that the weather will be good enough to use the awning without dismantling it when the heavy winds are forecast, otherwise 'cosy' is redefined as breathing in turn ...

There are advantages and disadvantages [very good mpg, very low ferry fares because Gobby is a large trailer rather than a caravan, courtesy of DFDS v. cosy living, restricted amounts of workspace, piffling front box capacity], but still a lot of fun and a nice way of 'living' in winter, rather than huddled by the radiator, bemoaning the Scottish Winter and freezing my bits off.

I can see the advantage of a full-sized caravan, but I can appreciate Gobby's 'shoebox' roof that prevents water ingress and damp problems. 'Pay your money and take your choice' time.

Steve

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3 hours ago, stevew1 said:

 

Or maybe sit outside 😎😎

 

We enjoy caravanning as a way of life in retirement .

We can go where we want when we want-outwith school holidays of course😀.

Being a two hour tow away from the most remote area in Europe we are incredibly privileged.

And of course The West Coast Highlands  are only two hours west stunningly beautiful have sailed it and caravanned it for over 40 years and its still a buzz to head over to Kintyre.

Just preparing to visit a favourite East Coast destination Fraserburgh Esplanade home of the UK pelagic fishing fleet our visit coincides with the art festival week just hope The Wife restricts her art purchases!

One of the big pluses for us is the flexibility we can switch destinations at any time-vital with our rainy Scottish weather.

However I think we will see the end of towing big caravans in the next decade or so the pastime flies in the face of the rising power of the green lobby.

We used to tow our racing sailboats all over Scotland 40 years ago visiting other boat clubs and racing against them in our class upwards of 150 travellers at a weekend-all gone-the cost of fuel killed trailing sail boats to other club regattas stone dead🙁.

Curiously not caravanning-yet.

You can see governments-of any hue-are not going to make towing caravans easy even those under 700K-in the upcoming future.

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20 hours ago, FrankBullet said:

 

 

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!

There is already a longer option on the Basecamp, you buy the awning made for the caravan and double the length and space. Ok, one of you would be under canvas so to speak.

 

We have a 200 air awning on the back of ours which is lighter, cheaper but smaller than the Basecamp awning .

 

We chose the van because it is ideal for using her wheelchair, the door is wide enough to allow access via a ramp and the beds can be folded back to give space when needed.

 

We have recently returned from a 15 night trip which we managed quite easily.

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40 minutes ago, marchie1053 said:

'Pay your money and take your choice' time.

That just about sums it up methinks.

image.png

Our current setup - while expensive to get to the site - has minimal impact on the environment once pitched up as the 500cc motor in the "run around" just sips fuel for the duration of our stay, and we run on the same EHU as other outfits. 

Previously we have had caravans that required large towcars, that naturally cost more to tour the area being visted. We've also had light caravans that only required a small engine car to tow from A to B, and naturally the smaller engine was sufficient to transport us comfortably around the area we were staying in with the 'van. I also have a one man Activo back-pack tent so that probably has the lowest impact on the environment of all.

image.png

The way things are going, I think the days of the heavy, all singing, all dancing, caravan are numbered.

Gordon. 

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6 hours ago, ancell said:

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😂😂

 

 

This probably does show one of the core points here - the industry has developed and progressed, largely, around group of people, probably the parents of baby-boomers. This model has worked well for decades but, how do I put this, those customers will not be around for ever and the industry needs to plan for new customers. 

 

There is the license change in 1997 and the current trend for car downsizing that means the 1500kg 7.5m van really will become less popular, customers will expect a standard level of quality (cost and size aren’t the definition of achieving this going by this forum) but will use the inside and outside space differently - the market yet to be tapped into is those more active rather than those who wish to sit in their TA affair watching the world go by.

 

I have a number of friends who love the look of the Basecamp and would seriously consider a family version; frankly, it doesn’t have the ‘air’ of a caravan and is seen as a halfway house to a camper van which is the acceptable way (for many) to tour.

1 hour ago, Minion 63 said:

There is already a longer option on the Basecamp, you buy the awning made for the caravan and double the length and space. Ok, one of you would be under canvas so to speak.

 

He is only ten, but early at the moment 

Edited by FrankBullet

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15 minutes ago, FrankBullet said:

This model has worked well for decades but, how do I put this, those customers will not be around for ever and the industry needs to plan for new customers. 

Or, to describe matters more bluntly, these customers are heading steadily, but inexorably towards biodegradability, calling at incontinence and failing joints and other interim stations. :rolleyes:

Steve

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We love our Pegasus Rimini , Beds can be left made all day , heaps of room to walk by to the rear bathroom, no waking the cook when the night call comes, and plenty of room in the single beds for our sizes. The only down side is the locker \ wardrobe in the bathroom is a bit of a nuisance to get to at times.  I don't think anything smaller I would like and we can handle and tow this size quite well so not for us.

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5 hours ago, TBTSeventeen said:

We love our lovely fixed double bed comfort so I would be sad to see it go.

 

Looking at things the other way round though, it would be nice not to need to own a large car. I see some of our friends have downsized to smaller cars now (they don't have caravans) and they seem to be so much better than small cars used to be. I do wonder if we will need to downsize our car at some point in order to stop all this greenhouse warming too.

 

Future market for a specialist tow car rental company?

 

today on the M6 I spotted a Tesla with a fitted towbar, I wonder if it’s for a caravan.

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25 minutes ago, marchie1053 said:

Or, to describe matters more bluntly, these customers are heading steadily, but inexorably towards biodegradability, calling at incontinence and failing joints and other interim stations. :rolleyes:

Steve

 

And these customers will no doubt be replaced by the ones that now travels in a Bongo with their surf boards. I can't see them getting a small caravan now or later.

 

 

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It remains to be seen whether or not the medium to large SUVs suited to towing todays vans actually are phased out.

Admittedly current projections and government proposals are pointing in that direction and the industry is launching more and more hybrids and EVs, but the best laid plans of mice and men............

 Future trends are very hard to predict, and who would have guessed, when we bought our first caravan in around 1990

that by now, the average caravan would be 5 to 6 metres long and be towed by a 4x4? In those days, the average van was 12 to 14 feet long (we had a 12' five berth) towed by a Ford Sierra.

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45 minutes ago, AndersG said:

 

And these customers will no doubt be replaced by the ones that now travels in a Bongo with their surf boards. I can't see them getting a small caravan now or later.

 

 

 

Exactly that

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4 hours ago, AndersG said:

 

And these customers will no doubt be replaced by the ones that now travels in a Bongo with their surf boards. I can't see them getting a small caravan now or later.

 

 

 

But the macro environmental trend is against using big  heavy vehicles to tow 7.75 metre long plastic ( non bio degradable)boxes around the UK and beyond.

Looks like a world economic recession is already casting its shadow thanks to the US/China trade war this will hasten the move away from £20-£30K+ caravans towards cheaper smaller lighter vehicle/caravan outfits.

 

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6 hours ago, ancell said:

 

But the macro environmental trend is against using big  heavy vehicles to tow 7.75 metre long plastic ( non bio degradable)boxes around the UK and beyond.

Looks like a world economic recession is already casting its shadow thanks to the US/China trade war this will hasten the move away from £20-£30K+ caravans towards cheaper smaller lighter vehicle/caravan outfits.

 

 

I've not seen a trend towards smaller cars and I don't expect to see it.

You don't need a super massive car to tow. Our Yeti is compact and does 55 -58mpg solo on the motorway but will tow normal family caravans with ease.

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2 hours ago, AndersG said:

 

Our Yeti is compact and does 55 -58mpg solo on the motorway but will tow normal family caravans with ease.

That depends on what you call a "normal family caravan"!  MTPLM of over 1,500Kg is pretty normal and quite a few medium sized SUVs and many family saloons have towing limits  too close to this for comfort.

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2 hours ago, AndersG said:

 

I've not seen a trend towards smaller cars and I don't expect to see it.

You don't need a super massive car to tow. Our Yeti is compact and does 55 -58mpg solo on the motorway but will tow normal family caravans with ease.

My previous car was a 2.2 Diesel Honda CRV and it had a maximum legal towing limit of 2000 Kg but I wouldn't want to tow my 2000 Kg caravan with it, I fear it would be a case of the tail wagging the dog. In fact my German caravan registration documents state that to tow @ 100 Km/h the tow vehicle must have an empty weight of at least 2000 Kg (my Pajero is 2350 Kg), if I still had the CRV I would be restricted to 80 Km/h.

I would like a new car but my options are extremely limited as not many modern cars weigh more than 2 tonnes, this is why I suggested to Mrs B that we think about downsizing the caravan.

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10 hours ago, Stevan said:

That depends on what you call a "normal family caravan"!  MTPLM of over 1,500Kg is pretty normal and quite a few medium sized SUVs and many family saloons have towing limits  too close to this for comfort.

 

Ford Fiesta was the most popular car sold last year and this year to date closely followed by the Vauxhall Corsa.

I find it difficult to believe that a caravan of 1500K could be within the 80% rule for even 30% of UK vehicles.

We are a niche part of the UK leisure market and it  has been my experience in the last decade that choice of vehicles capable of towing our 1560K and now 1680K caravans is getting increasingly restricted.

It appears to me we are approaching a move towards  lighter pod type “caravans”.

Having said all that I am baffled by the boom in new motorhome sales.

Just back from Dunnet Bay where there were never more than 6 caravans and at one night down to 3 caravans - site full every night of motorhomes including a massive extending side pod Winnebago towing a VW car!

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2 hours ago, ancell said:

 

Ford Fiesta was the most popular car sold last year and this year to date closely followed by the Vauxhall Corsa.

I find it difficult to believe that a caravan of 1500K could be within the 80% rule for even 30% of UK vehicles.

We are a niche part of the UK leisure market and it  has been my experience in the last decade that choice of vehicles capable of towing our 1560K and now 1680K caravans is getting increasingly restricted.

 

But this is nothing new! Back in the day, very few people tried to tow family caravans with a mini or a Ford Anglia or Hillman Imp, the equivalents of the Fiesta and Corsa of today. Many would be seen being towed by a Ford Cortina, Morris Oxford etc.

But often seen towing family caravans would be the  less common Ford Zodiac, Austin Westminster or Vauxhall Wyvern.

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24 minutes ago, Stevan said:

But this is nothing new! Back in the day, very few people tried to tow family caravans with a mini or a Ford Anglia or Hillman Imp, the equivalents of the Fiesta and Corsa of today. Many would be seen being towed by a Ford Cortina, Morris Oxford etc.

But often seen towing family caravans would be the  less common Ford Zodiac, Austin Westminster or Vauxhall Wyvern.

 

If you go back 20-30 years a typical family

saloon (2.0 Vectra-size) could tow a typical family caravan at 85-90% - not sure that is necessarily the case now.

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1 hour ago, FrankBullet said:

 

If you go back 20-30 years a typical family

saloon (2.0 Vectra-size) could tow a typical family caravan at 85-90% - not sure that is necessarily the case now.

It is very difficult to make direct comparisons because the likes of my Vauxhall Antara, the Kia Sorento, Skoda Kodiaq etc simply did not have equivalents back then. These are now fairly normal family cars!

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