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Looking for first caravan


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I'm looking at getting my first caravan. I would like a small caravan 2 birth, 4 if possible, would like the weight to be under 1100kg and have a shower.

Went do my local caravan dealer today and fell in love with the Swift Basecamp but the price was way out of my budget. 

I don't want to spend to much on my first caravan probably up to £7000 budget. 

If anyone could recommend a caravan similar to the basecamp but within my budget I would greatly appreciate it 

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I recommend you spend half that amount!

Your first van may not be the ideal one for you, and the cheaper you buy the less you lose after a year.

Rough it and buy a 10 to 15 year old van that's dry and see how you get on, and what you want from a van.

As you want a shower, I suspect you are headed for smaller sites rather than large ones with all the amenities, and as such, get a van with a shower cubicle rather than a shower in the toilet - it saves a wet mess!

Are you constrained by your towing licence or car capacity?

 

 

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12 minutes ago, AlwynMike said:

I recommend you spend half that amount!

Your first van may not be the ideal one for you, and the cheaper you buy the less you lose after a year.

Rough it and buy a 10 to 15 year old van that's dry and see how you get on, and what you want from a van.

As you want a shower, I suspect you are headed for smaller sites rather than large ones with all the amenities, and as such, get a van with a shower cubicle rather than a shower in the toilet - it saves a wet mess!

Are you constrained by your towing licence or car capacity?

 

 

Not with my license but the MTPLM my car can pull is 1250 . 

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Freedom micro caravans come to mind.
There are quite a few around on auto trader and ebay.

 

The Basecamp is lovely with a 200 porch awning on the rear. Your main problem is that they are fairly new so have not depreciated enough for your budget.

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59 minutes ago, AlwynMike said:

I recommend you spend half that amount!


I wouldn’t!

 

I’b buy the best you can afford after spending time looking around, that’s what we did and no regrets. If I had bought some of the older vans we looked at for £3-5k I think Mrs FB would have called a halt to caravan holidays a long time ago!

 

Given the brief, I’d be looking at the best 2-berth Bailey Orion (I think it’s the same as the Pursuit, the 400/2).

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Just now, Stevan said:

I'm with AlwynMike, what you initially think you want is seldom what experience tells you you want!

 

From long watching of caravan forums, most first-timers modify their needs/wants after a year or two's caravanning so I'm with AlwynMike as well.

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2015 VW Touareg 3. 0 V6 TDI + 2013 Lunar Clubman ES

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When we were on holiday in the summer, a friend came to stop with us in his tent for a few days. He quite fancies a caravan so we took him to a nearby used dealer and spotted a lovely little Lunar Arriva which seemed to have pretty well everything including awning, motormover, water barrels etc. and was within OPs budget and weight limits. Think our friend found it a bit too chintzy though, and would prefer something like a Basecamp, though like the OP he's not prepared to spend that much. 

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43 minutes ago, FrankBullet said:


I wouldn’t!

 

I’b buy the best you can afford after spending time looking around, that’s what we did and no regrets. If I had bought some of the older vans we looked at for £3-5k I think Mrs FB would have called a halt to caravan holidays a long time ago!

 

Given the brief, I’d be looking at the best 2-berth Bailey Orion (I think it’s the same as the Pursuit, the 400/2).

The Orion and the Pursuit look nice. Thanks

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Probably a Lunar Ariva as the best to live in caravan of that size. The T@B might be a bit basic but is well made as is the Sport & Fun.  If you are lucky you might find a good Eriba which is great for build quality although a bit of an individual taste.

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We bought our first caravan which we thought was the best layout for us. After two seasons we had learned a lot  , we then knew exactly what we wanted. Our second caravan we have now had for seven years, it's the perfect layout for us.

Alan 

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The OP should do a bit of homework first to ensure what his vehicle can tow/handle in terms of pulling power etc, and what his driving licence permits him (or any other family member) to tow. That may hold sway on his choice of van.

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2018 Passat B8 Estate 150GT TDi150 towing a 2018 Bailey Unicorn S4 Seville

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As woodent says, find out max weight you can tow, then how many will you sleep single/fixed ormake up a bed every night? once that is sorted set your budget and look! 

New but 2018 Caravalaires at Marquis and Lunars due to their issues are super cheap at the mo!

 

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46 minutes ago, Jezzerb said:

As woodent says, find out max weight you can tow, then how many will you sleep single/fixed ormake up a bed every night? once that is sorted set your budget and look! 

New but 2018 Caravalaires at Marquis and Lunars due to their issues are super cheap at the mo!

 

 

No restriction with my license but the MTPLM my car can pull is 1250 @ 85%.

My car is a 2016 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 turbo (197bhp). The caravan will mainly be for me and my son but also for my wife and 3 kids (with awning) occasionally. I want as small caravan as possible for this and I'm willing to setup a bed nightly if needed 

 

1 hour ago, Woodentop said:

The OP should do a bit of homework first to ensure what his vehicle can tow/handle in terms of pulling power etc, and what his driving licence permits him (or any other family member) to tow. That may hold sway on his choice of van.

No restriction with my license but the MTPLM my car can pull is 1250 @ 85%.

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If you are only able to pull 1250 kg and you want to have three berths for all the family to use then your options will be very restricted. I cannot find any current models that fit that requirement although there might just be something in the second hand market, but you will be looking at the very basic models. If the towing capacity is higher than that I would to say you will have to go a bit over 1300 kg and you will find a few there.

Possibly the kids will sleep in the awning though.

Do watch the weight of the awning, as this if in the caravan will use a lot of your weight allowance, particularly if you have a sleeping extension.

85% is not law but advice, but most cars can manage a bit over this without problem, but try and keep as near as possible to that.

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14 minutes ago, Lee247 said:

The 304 looks like a good option

Quick answer, we loved the Xplore we viewed.

 

Long answer,

We own a 3 year old Coachman Pastiche 575, bought new. It's a long single axle caravan, it's on a seasonal pitch but we tow it twice a year, and it's a real pain in the bum, my car can handle it no issue, but even so, hate it, and I'm a lorry driver nowadays.

So we considered selling up, storing it locally and in Cornwall, or changing it for a smaller one, thinking being on smaller easier to set up, tow, handle, store at home etc. I'm not interested in keeping up with the Jones's, a caravan has so many parameters to it that simply buying the biggest isnt the answer so many an issue can be raised, so for me small was better and the Elddis range was without doubt the most eye appealing. We wanted our own shower so the micro caravans were ruled out, but having said that we saw a pear/tear drop one last year being towed by a Fiat 500 that once set up with a very large awning looked amazing, it almost tempted me!

But as it turned out we are sticking with the Coachman for another year, on the seasonal pitch, we love our time in the caravan so 2020 caravaning is sorted, at least for another year!

Edited by Wellys and Mac
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Three points to the OP:

You say it can tow 1250Kg at 85%, ergo the vehicle weight should be about 1470Kg. If you look on one of the door pillars or door edge (usually nearside on a Vauxhall) you will find a plate with four figures on it. The larger of the two at the top is the maximum train weight, the smaller is the gross vehicle weight. Subtract the smaller from the larger and you have the maximum towing weight of the car. The weights marked 1 and 2 are the front and rear axle limits respectively.

Second when you get a towbar fitted go for 13pin to future-proof it. If the caravan you buy has 2x7pin then buy an adapter. It is VITALLY IMPORTANT (write it on the order so it is a condition of contract) that you tell the towbar fitter that you require the socket fully wired for charging and fridge:  many EU built or designed towing fittings do not come with fridge wiring, and some don't even have battery charging wiring.

Finally you say you have no restrictions on your licence - that is not what I meant. If you took your driving test on or after 1/1/97 then you will only have a class B on your licence which allows you to tow a plated train weight of up to 3500Kg. Take the result of the subtraction above and add the MTPLM (maximum technically permitted  load mass) if it comes to 3500Kg or more you will need to take an extra driving test to get your licence uprated to B+E. If you passed your  test before that date then you have so-called grandparent rights which allows you to have a GTW of up to 7500Kg.

 

Now watch someone come along and flame me......!

 

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2018 Passat B8 Estate 150GT TDi150 towing a 2018 Bailey Unicorn S4 Seville

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17 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

Three points to the OP:

You say it can tow 1250Kg at 85%, ergo the vehicle weight should be about 1470Kg. If you look on one of the door pillars or door edge (usually nearside on a Vauxhall) you will find a plate with four figures on it. The larger of the two at the top is the maximum train weight, the smaller is the gross vehicle weight. Subtract the smaller from the larger and you have the maximum towing weight of the car. The weights marked 1 and 2 are the front and rear axle limits respectively.

Second when you get a towbar fitted go for 13pin to future-proof it. If the caravan you buy has 2x7pin then buy an adapter. It is VITALLY IMPORTANT (write it on the order so it is a condition of contract) that you tell the towbar fitter that you require the socket fully wired for charging and fridge:  many EU built or designed towing fittings do not come with fridge wiring, and some don't even have battery charging wiring.

Finally you say you have no restrictions on your licence - that is not what I meant. If you took your driving test on or after 1/1/97 then you will only have a class B on your licence which allows you to tow a plated train weight of up to 3500Kg. Take the result of the subtraction above and add the MTPLM (maximum technically permitted  load mass) if it comes to 3500Kg or more you will need to take an extra driving test to get your licence uprated to B+E. If you passed your  test before that date then you have so-called grandparent rights which allows you to have a GTW of up to 7500Kg.

 

Now watch someone come along and flame me......!

 

Thanks for the advice on towbars. I haven't got one fitted yet.

20191224_154838.jpg

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You have answered my comments. Your licence shows you passed your test in 1994 so you have no problems on towing weight. Looking at the vehicle ratings you have no problem there either.

As you are new to towing the 85% guideline (it is NOT law) is worth observing until you get some experience under your belt: 85% of 1550Kg is 1317Kg- say 1320Kg - which ought to be equal to or less than the MPTLM of the caravan as shown on the plate by the door. However once you have experience towing up to 100% of GVW is not a problem. Having said that I would suggest you Talk to Vauxhall  Tech Support (a dealer is unlikely to be able to help much) and find out if they advise fitting an oil cooler on your car for towing. 197bhp from a 1.6T engine is pushing it so you will likely need to use the revs a bit which may causing overheating problems. It may not be so much of a problem if your engine uses fully synthetic oil but you must keep the turbo well oiled.*

Oh, and don't be surprised if, when towing, you can actually see the fuel gauge dropping: I would not expect much more than low 20's mpg!

*A mistake many people with a high pressure turbo is to switch off as soon as they stop. BAD! The turbo can take as much as half a minute to slow down from high speed, but when you stop the engine so does the lubrication to the turbo when it may still be doing several thousand rpm. Always a good idea to override the stop/start when towing if your car has it for this very reason.

 

Edited by Woodentop
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2018 Passat B8 Estate 150GT TDi150 towing a 2018 Bailey Unicorn S4 Seville

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13 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

You have answered my comments. Your licence shows you passed your test in 1994 so you have no problems on towing weight. Looking at the vehicle ratings you have no problem there either.

As you are new to towing the 85% guideline (it is NOT law) is worth observing until you get some experience under your belt: 85% of 1550Kg is 1317Kg- say 1320Kg - which ought to be equal to or less than the MPTLM of the caravan as shown on the plate by the door. However once you have experience towing up to 100% of GVW is not a problem. Having said that I would suggest you Talk to Vauxhall  Tech Support (a dealer is unlikely to be able to help much) and find out if they advise fitting an oil cooler on your car for towing. 197bhp from a 1.6T engine is pushing it so you will likely need to use the revs a bit which may causing overheating problems. It may not be so much of a problem if your engine uses fully synthetic oil but you must keep the turbo well oiled.*

Oh, and don't be surprised if, when towing, you can actually see the fuel gauge dropping: I would not expect much more than low 20's mpg!

*A mistake many people with a high pressure turbo is to switch off as soon as they stop. BAD! The turbo can take as much as half a minute to slow down from high speed, but when you stop the engine so does the lubrication to the turbo when it may still be doing several thousand rpm. Always a good idea to override the stop/start when towing if your car has it for this very reason.

 

My car does have start stop. It also has 6 gears.  Thanks for taking the time to reply and happy Christmas 

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Some cars, like my VW Touareg, automatically disable stop-start when the tow plug is inserted - although I know some other brands don't.

2015 VW Touareg 3. 0 V6 TDI + 2013 Lunar Clubman ES

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1 hour ago, Black Grouse said:

Some cars, like my VW Touareg, automatically disable stop-start when the tow plug is inserted - although I know some other brands don't.

Funny that. I was of the belief it is the same with our last and present Passats - until BMT operated when we were away in October. The ECU does know about the caravan being connected but BMT still had its way!

2018 Passat B8 Estate 150GT TDi150 towing a 2018 Bailey Unicorn S4 Seville

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