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Hi

We have not had a caravan for years.. its mind boggling the choice. Has anyone got any thoughts re cars to tow a 4 berth single axle caravan and also any advice on choosing a 4 berth.. it only for two of us. Also 85% rule?

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Posted (edited)

First of all, a warm welcome!

 

It depends what you want? You say 4-berth, but is that for four of you, or one that’s marketed as a 4-berth but is really a posh 2-berth with a fixed bed? Have you seen anything that you like?

 

Do you already have a car? If so, what is it?

 

I’m sure everyone on here will want to help you, but we could do with somewhere to start, as your question is a bit like asking where in the world you should go on holiday (not with a car or caravan).

Edited by nigel207
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An idea of your budget would also help! £100k is worlds away from £10k, but both are doable.

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To get any useful advice you need to set some parameters. What's your budget? Do you have an existing car that will be your tow vehicle? Do you want a fixed bed? What sort of use are you intending i.e. are you likely to be using sites with good facilities that you will use or is your preference for good in van facilities?

The more information you can provide the better will be the advice you get - and you'll get plenty :D

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15 hours ago, nigel207 said:

First of all, a warm welcome!

 

It depends what you want? You say 4-berth, but is that for four of you, or one that’s marketed as a 4-berth but is really a posh 2-berth with a fixed bed? Have you seen anything that you like?

 

Do you already have a car? If so, what is it?

 

I’m sure everyone on here will want to help you, but we could do with somewhere to start, as your question is a bit like asking where in the world you should go on holiday (not with a car or caravan).

Sorry about that about sums us up !..we want a four berth for two of us with a fixed double bed or Island bed.We hope to live in Spain in the winter.. car wise we  not bought yet.

13 hours ago, KnausCol said:

To get any useful advice you need to set some parameters. What's your budget? Do you have an existing car that will be your tow vehicle? Do you want a fixed bed? What sort of use are you intending i.e. are you likely to be using sites with good facilities that you will use or is your preference for good in van facilities?

The more information you can provide the better will be the advice you get - and you'll get plenty :D

Budget wise 11,000 and we will be using sites for most of the time ty. 

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:welcome:Did you pass your driving test(s) after 1997, that could cause a few issues too.

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The first point if you want a fixed bed is layout.

There are three basic options for fixed bed four berths, side bed, transverse bed and island bed.

The side bed allows for a shorter overall length which should also produce a lower weight. It does allow plenty of room to go past as the toilet will normally be at the rear and you should get a decent sized toilet compartment. The wardrobe can be small however if it is opposite the foot of the bed and if the person sleeping next to the wall needs the toilet they have to climb over their partner.

There are a few with the bed tucked into one rear corner and a small toilet compartment alongside.  This is the shortest of all but if you are living in it over winter might be just too small.

The transverse bed across the width of the caravan is the middle option. They will normally fold inwards during the day to give more space and pull out at night. The downside is the gap between the bed and the wall when down will be very tight and any one trying to get past may have a squeeze or climb over the foot of the bed. You need to see how much room there is on any model to see if you can live with it.

The island bed means a longer and usually heavier caravan. The big advantage is both parties can get out of their own side without problem. These caravans do not normally have external access to the under bed area which can means carrying bulky items through the caravan where with the others you can drop the flap and put things in. You also have to watch the weight you put in there as it is easy to overload the rear which is not desirable.

This layout will normally have a centre toilet compartment. This is useful if you are using the caravan for four people but otherwise is just a matter of preference although it can make the front lounge look small.

There are continental models with a fixed bed across the front, this is another way of keeping the size and weight down. It means no view out the front when on site though and will probably be too small for your plans.

If the combined maximum weight of the car and caravan exceeds 3,500 kg you need a B+E licence.  If you passed your test before 1997 you should have this but if not you need an extra test to get this.

Weights also have to be looked at. I would suggest you visit the Caravan and Motorhome club web site and check advice as there is a useful fact sheet on this and most other subjects.

 

 

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Is the £11k for the caravan, the car or both?

As to your question about the 85% thing, it is at its strongest a guideline for the inexperienced, although it is controversial to say the least (plenty of previous threads).

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You need to do some homework-go look at lots of caravans at dealers-decide what you like, look at the weight and then buy the car that more than satisfies that weight-max weight  not unladen-good position to be in if you can do this unlike us on our first van-we had the car and couldn't change it so were limited to 1500kg. My wife always wanted a truck so we bought a Nissan Navara Techna-loads of kit economical, and I made the mistake of saying , we can tow nigh on anything-3500kg towing limit-kerbweight over 2000kg, and towball limit 150kg. So she went out and bought a Bucanneer Cruiser-we'll be in debt for a while!!!

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I think we should all calm down until the OP has advised if the £11k budget is for both :-)...rather than collectively handing out loads of great information beforehand...in no way meant to offend anybody but it will just ease the process.

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Vist caravan dealers lok inside many both set up day time and night time and try to elimate some layouts.

 

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Regards, David
Ford Kuga ST line 2ltr. Diesel 2017,  Bailey Pursuit 11 400/2 2018, Emove em303 motor mover, Hyundai 1000i Generator.

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3 hours ago, Flat_at said:

:welcome:Did you pass your driving test(s) after 1997, that could cause a few issues too.

Well before ty

 

2 hours ago, Wildwood said:

The first point if you want a fixed bed is layout.

There are three basic options for fixed bed four berths, side bed, transverse bed and island bed.

The side bed allows for a shorter overall length which should also produce a lower weight. It does allow plenty of room to go past as the toilet will normally be at the rear and you should get a decent sized toilet compartment. The wardrobe can be small however if it is opposite the foot of the bed and if the person sleeping next to the wall needs the toilet they have to climb over their partner.

There are a few with the bed tucked into one rear corner and a small toilet compartment alongside.  This is the shortest of all but if you are living in it over winter might be just too small.

The transverse bed across the width of the caravan is the middle option. They will normally fold inwards during the day to give more space and pull out at night. The downside is the gap between the bed and the wall when down will be very tight and any one trying to get past may have a squeeze or climb over the foot of the bed. You need to see how much room there is on any model to see if you can live with it.

The island bed means a longer and usually heavier caravan. The big advantage is both parties can get out of their own side without problem. These caravans do not normally have external access to the under bed area which can means carrying bulky items through the caravan where with the others you can drop the flap and put things in. You also have to watch the weight you put in there as it is easy to overload the rear which is not desirable.

This layout will normally have a centre toilet compartment. This is useful if you are using the caravan for four people but otherwise is just a matter of preference although it can make the front lounge look small.

There are continental models with a fixed bed across the front, this is another way of keeping the size and weight down. It means no view out the front when on site though and will probably be too small for your plans.

If the combined maximum weight of the car and caravan exceeds 3,500 kg you need a B+E licence.  If you passed your test before 1997 you should have this but if not you need an extra test to get this.

Weights also have to be looked at. I would suggest you visit the Caravan and Motorhome club web site and check advice as there is a useful fact sheet on this and most other subjects.

 

 

That's fab information ty.. we will go and do our homework 

1 hour ago, charlieboy2608 said:

I think we should all calm down until the OP has advised if the £11k budget is for both :-)...rather than collectively handing out loads of great information beforehand...in no way meant to offend anybody but it will just ease the process.

Caravan 11,000 car not included ty for pointing that out 

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20 minutes ago, mac marge said:

 

 

That's fab information ty.. we will go and do our homework 

Caravan 11,000 car not included ty for pointing that out 

£11k gives you plenty of choice, and an age range that puts you into modern construction if that's your preference. Opinions differ as to whether Bailey Alu Tech or the various incarnations of Swift Group SMART are better.

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4 hours ago, Stevan said:

£11k gives you plenty of choice, and an age range that puts you into modern construction if that's your preference. Opinions differ as to whether Bailey Alu Tech or the various incarnations of Swift Group SMART are better.

We looked at both Alutech  and Smart on a very rainy day at Michael Jordan’s.  Both brand new.  The Swift was nice and dry inside, the Bailey had water dripping from the failed roof joint. 
Salesman said it was nothing to worry about, a lot of them do that and it’s an easy fix. 
We bought a Swift from Chichester Caravans instead. 

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28 minutes ago, Tuningdrew said:

We looked at both Alutech  and Smart on a very rainy day at Michael Jordan’s.  Both brand new.  The Swift was nice and dry inside, the Bailey had water dripping from the failed roof joint. 
Salesman said it was nothing to worry about, a lot of them do that and it’s an easy fix. 
We bought a Swift from Chichester Caravans instead. 

That just about shows the state of the industry doesnt it?  "This ones a load of (bad language removed) sir but dont worry well scrub it up good for you".  Unbelievable contemt for customers spending large amounts of money.

Ern

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Hi 

     We were in the same boat as you and we decided on an Island bed just so much easier when you are staying for a considerable time in the caravan and gives you a separate bedroom to the rest of the caravan Yes there is more weight but not that much and if you have visitors to stay you have the double bed to the front so no issues with sleeping space we also have an awning with an annex and bedroom just in case family come to visit. Our choice was an Adria Adora 612DP and it covers all our needs and it's under 1500kg loaded so not to heavy one thing it didn't have was a motor mover and would advise to get one and  Satolite system that will give you free to air in all areas you travel in like home from home. If you can get these as part of your package great as I think it's a buyers market in these times 

Regards

Pat

 

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1 hour ago, Tuningdrew said:

We looked at both Alutech  and Smart on a very rainy day at Michael Jordan’s.  Both brand new.  The Swift was nice and dry inside, the Bailey had water dripping from the failed roof joint. 
Salesman said it was nothing to worry about, a lot of them do that and it’s an easy fix. 
We bought a Swift from Chichester Caravans instead. 

Gosh, MJ must be able to sell caravans easy!

Glad you didn't.

Regards, David
Ford Kuga ST line 2ltr. Diesel 2017,  Bailey Pursuit 11 400/2 2018, Emove em303 motor mover, Hyundai 1000i Generator.

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33 minutes ago, David 38 said:

Gosh, MJ must be able to sell caravans easy!

Glad you didn't.

Been bought out by Marquis. Friend of ours bought a Benimar MoHo from them. Her experience of their “aftersales”  was not good. Such a shame as the used to have a really good shop with knowledgeable people. Now just men in suits moving Caravans and Motorhomes. 

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We had a nice Swift group van, a 2014 Sterling Eccles Quartz, transverse bed with Alde heating.

It was dry with the “SMART” construction, ( unlike our earlier Swift group vans).

Our older, 2010 and earlier Baileys were fairly good too.

The dealer we got the Quartz from was abysmal at fixing what was just poor workmanship regarding fixtures and fittings, so a good dealer is key if you go that route. They may or may not be hard to find, note that  there is no naming and shaming allowed on here. Having said that, you can find recommendations for good ones, so some on here will likely be able to help you with dealer suggestions for those in your locality.

 

Layout is key, so spend a bit of time sitting in each one and think about how you will use the van. If you intend to do a lot of cooking, then kitchen equipment and worktop/ storage areas may need consideration and comparison. If you read a lot , (drink a bit😧) or watch TV, then a comfortable lounge area is also likely to be high on the priority list.

Onboard washroom space may also be of importance, especially if you prefer not to use site facilities.

 

Once you have settled on a layout, you may wish to compare available vans for your chosen layout by consulting magazines or a caravan website to see size, weight and equipment details.

From this, the size and weight requirements for a towcar could then  be determined.

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Posted (edited)

Personally I'd recommend the Bailey GT65 verona built on the ALUTEC (Baileys New at the time production method) platform.

Well within your budget-it has the bed off the side (french bed) with an across the rear bathroom.

Good size lounge settees into the bargain too!

Should come with an ALKO wheel lock from new.

It has ATC as standard (anti-snake device).

Light in weight MTPLM of 1450kg so opens up your possible towcar choices as well.

Hopefully you may even find a caravan that has a motormover fitted which is worth £000's :-)

Edited by charlieboy2608
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