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The birth of the light caravan is looming

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13 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.

 

That's not family cars but cars for young people or as the second car.

The second most popular car is the VW golf and this is a quote from the towcar awards.

 

"First and foremost, it tows brilliantly. Having put the Golf through a lane-change, an acceleration test and an emergency stop, our What Car? road tester rated the VW’s towing ability as second to none in this weight division, a view reinforced by data from the Al-Ko ATC sensors on the caravan."

 

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8 hours ago, Stevan said:

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!

 

The trend away from conventional hatchbacks towards heavier SUVs shouldn't hide the fact that 85% of those lighter hatchbacks weights still allowed a reasonable choice of family caravans

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30 minutes ago, AndersG said:

"First and foremost, it tows brilliantly. Having put the Golf through a lane-change, an acceleration test and an emergency stop, our What Car? road tester rated the VW’s towing ability as second to none in this weight division, a view reinforced by data from the Al-Ko ATC sensors on the caravan."

 

 

A 2.0TDi would be up to towing my van, possibly something a bit heavier but not a 1500kg 7.5m affair.

 

I can see more family layouts coming in the 6.5m vans in coming years, let’s be honest the Sprite Musketeer and various Bailey Orion layouts would still stand the test of time. Shame the new Bailey Discovery model doesn’t have a family-orientated layouts...yet.

 

 

Edited by FrankBullet

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16 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.

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!

 

On a CMC site at the moment in the Cotswolds and the motorhomes are far more numbered than caravans .

 

I think in the future we will see more of these light telescopic type caravans that close up the road then expand once on site and more carbon fibres in the chassis and body .

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave

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5 minutes ago, CommanderDave said:

I think in the future we will see more of these light telescopic type caravans that close up the road then expand once on site and more carbon fibres in the chassis and body .

Dave

However you will still have a weight issue that will required a "heavy" chassis to transport the load.  IMHO the future is chalets and AirBnB as both will probably have wired wifi and no one on this planet seems to be able to live for a day without wifi and social media contact.  :D

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I've very recently moved to a small van, a Lunar Ariva, which is fine for me and my Westie. After over 30 years of towing with 4x4s, I now enjoy the economy of towing with a micro camper. One vehicle for spur of the moment and one for longer. My 4x4s seemed, at one time, to be for other people's benefit ie, towing motorhomes out. Why is it that most motorhomes don't carry a towrope?

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On 13/09/2019 at 05:55, 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.

 

I was a teenage paperboy when we tried to maintain our Empire  ie The Suez Crisis suddenly there were Isseta bubble cars and Messerschmitts everywhere😀.

Economic/political forces can bring on change in just a few years eg the boom in demand for EVs and motorhomes.

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2 hours ago, Durbanite said:

Now seems that maybe electric cars may not be good for the environment as they could cause more damage than any polluting diesel vehicle.  See https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-49567197

I saw the broadcast news article that this is based on.  Firstly it's nothing to do with electric cars, it's to do with power generation and distribution (SF6 is used in switchgear in both).  Secondly there has been alternative switch gear available (as stated in the broadcast item) for over 50 years.  SOmeone just needs to poke a sharp stick in the right place with the power generators, especially as the move to "renewables" is increasing the amount of switching etc because the individual generating units are so small.

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20 hours ago, Guzzilazz said:

I saw the broadcast news article that this is based on.  Firstly it's nothing to do with electric cars, it's to do with power generation and distribution (SF6 is used in switchgear in both).  Secondly there has been alternative switch gear available (as stated in the broadcast item) for over 50 years.  SOmeone just needs to poke a sharp stick in the right place with the power generators, especially as the move to "renewables" is increasing the amount of switching etc because the individual generating units are so small.

Not sure how you can say it has nothing to do with electric cars when EVs get their power off the National Grid?

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We're at Lyndon Top overlooking Rutland Water and the motorhomes/campervans /RVs completely outnumber the caravans. There's also been a BCC rally on the site and the steward reckons he's had 2/3 motorhomes etc. 

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2 hours ago, Durbanite said:

Not sure how you can say it has nothing to do with electric cars when EVs get their power off the National Grid?

 

The use of electricity and the use of SF6 are not intrinsically linked.

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20 hours ago, FrankBullet said:

 

The use of electricity and the use of SF6 are not intrinsically linked.

That may be true but the switchgear is used to enable the electric to be passed down the line to the consumer as it is part of the distribution process. 

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42 minutes ago, Durbanite said:

That may be true but the switchgear is used to enable the electric to be passed down the line to the consumer as it is part of the distribution process. 

 

Correct, but they are not intrinsically linked.

 

It is a bit like saying owning a boat and using it on a local lake is killing the Great Barrier Reef because ‘boats do harm’.

 

It is the same as putting 2 and 2 together and getting a box of legless frogs as the answer.

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One thing I just don't get is why on so many (all?) of these tiny vans the front is so heavily sloped.

Yes, it's less like a brick, so more aerodynamic, but it represents a huge loss (in proportion) of the interior of what is an already small space.

And think about it, the "poor" aerodynamics is only an issue when the van is in motion (say 8hrs total for a site 4hrs away) but the loss of space is there all the time you are in occupation, so far in excess of the travel time.

 

And the smaller the van, the more extreme the slope seems to be !

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1 hour ago, daveat92 said:

One thing I just don't get is why on so many (all?) of these tiny vans the front is so heavily sloped.

Yes, it's less like a brick, so more aerodynamic, but it represents a huge loss (in proportion) of the interior of what is an already small space.

And think about it, the "poor" aerodynamics is only an issue when the van is in motion (say 8hrs total for a site 4hrs away) but the loss of space is there all the time you are in occupation, so far in excess of the travel time.

 

And the smaller the van, the more extreme the slope seems to be !

 

One thing I note about our Pursuit is that the front is very upright; I suspect this is to the detriment of economy but it does mean we have the sofas directly going to the front of the van (no drawers or shelf to speak of) with maximum usable space.

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I recently came back from a return trip from Derby to Scarborough and that was using the hilly, cross country route. My Fiat recorded 31 mpg for the trip, towing my Ariva so I was impressed. Next time I'll try it without the Aircon on.

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18 hours ago, colonel said:

I recently came back from a return trip from Derby to Scarborough and that was using the hilly, cross country route. My Fiat recorded 31 mpg for the trip, towing my Ariva so I was impressed. Next time I'll try it without the Aircon on.

and leave the MIL behind!  LOL!  :D

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On 11/09/2019 at 21:25, ancell said:

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?

 

There's surely no Right and Wrong here, it's down to personal preference, but I'd like to reassure you, Ancell, that our tiny 5mx2m, 19 yr old pop-up caravan happily survived a very wind-blown few weeks on the Outer Hebrides this May without any problems, and was a dream to tow on those single track roads. And it's our firm plan to go back again, too! (Currently one of us late 60's, other 70, if you're wondering.)
One of the site owners  there expressed quite strongly his personal dislike of large  heavy MH's driving on those same tiny roads.
Again, it's all down to personal preference, but our experience here was that the caravan, parked on site, made it easier to drive an estate car round the remoter parts than a larger vehicle. But it's only fair to add that caravans were in a small minority. The only downside we could see was having to book space on the ferries. Again, a small caravan helps here.
Extra hint - given the brilliance of the light (we were lucky!) driving from South to North was a good idea. Enjoy your trip.
 

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1 hour ago, Richard_Y said:

There's surely no Right and Wrong here, it's down to personal preference, but I'd like to reassure you, Ancell, that our tiny 5mx2m, 19 yr old pop-up caravan happily survived a very wind-blown few weeks on the Outer Hebrides this May without any problems, and was a dream to tow on those single track roads. And it's our firm plan to go back again, too! (Currently one of us late 60's, other 70, if you're wondering.)
One of the site owners  there expressed quite strongly his personal dislike of large  heavy MH's driving on those same tiny roads.
Again, it's all down to personal preference, but our experience here was that the caravan, parked on site, made it easier to drive an estate car round the remoter parts than a larger vehicle. But it's only fair to add that caravans were in a small minority. The only downside we could see was having to book space on the ferries. Again, a small caravan helps here.
Extra hint - given the brilliance of the light (we were lucky!) driving from South to North was a good idea. Enjoy your trip.
 

Last visit to the Hebrides was two decades ago in a split windscreen Volvo no seat belts no brake servo drum brakes etc oil filter was steel wool in a can renewal of filter was by washing the wool in petrol.

It was jolly exciting😀.

We intend to use a Fiat Aero with fixed bed for our trip in 2020.

The Wife hates making up the bed every night I am hoping the Aero will be easier to handle than a coach built on the single track roads.

At least it wo nt leak😀.

I cannot see the continuation over the next two decades of the present 1500K+ caravan it appears to go in a different direction to everything developing in vehicle technology ie lighter greener easier to reuse components/materials.

I can see the advantages of pop ups perhaps they will gain popularity.

 

 

 

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I'm with you there,  Ancell - more lightweights with greener material, yes.
And as to pop-ups:  for the 30 seconds it takes to pop the roof up, we reckon that the saving in wind resistance, and also tolls on French motorways,  is well worth the slight loss of storage space.
Ours isn't an Eriba, they have cult status and therefore cult price-tags, but it suits us beautifully.

 

I can see that the previous Volvo might have been harder work, too ...  our up-to-the-minute  2004 model made it all easy!

However one travels,   as you obviously know, the Isles are a magical destination possessing a very strong call to return.

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It’s a shame Rapido left the small pop-top market, always quite liked them.

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3 hours ago, FrankBullet said:

It’s a shame Rapido left the small pop-top market, always quite liked them.

Agreed! I've seen some Silvers, and wait to be corrected by any current owners reading this, but have been told Rapidos were better built. Ours certainly seems good at nearly  20 years old. The only problem I'm currently aware of is sourcing spares. (Presently seeking the  draught excluder type strips which fit to the ends of the flaps which lift to become the upper sides.)

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When I read thatAncell was going to use a 'Fiat Aero' it  made me pause as I'd never heard of a model of that name. A quick Google and I found  a YouTube video by a Scottish camper rental company referring to them. Even more Googling revealed that they're actually the Weinsberg Aero. Weinsberg being the budget brand of the Knaus Tabbert Group. The Aero is a 6m long Fiat Ducato based panel van conversion which, unusually for a Continental produced camper, has the sliding door on the UK nearside. So not as wide as a coachbuilt motorhome and not as long as some PVC's which can run to 6.4m. Standard Adria Twin clone layout with half dinette up front, midships washroom and kitchen and rear lounge/widthways bed that's about  6ft 1ins long. The only issues inherent with such layouts is the aisle between washroom and kitchen can be v narrow and the half dinette seatback tends to be v upright and uncomfortable to sit in.

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Posted (edited)

People, especially the aged amongst us should be rightly concerned that towed caravans will soon be a thing of the past.  The trend will be for very small caravans.  Or the alternative, campervans.  Huge tag axle motorhomes will also disappear but will take a bit longer.  So make the most of your caravan while they are still acceptable.  Young people in general have no enthusiasm for traditional caravans. They are a new generation with modern ideas.

Edited by bessacarr425
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