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Just About To Get Into Caravanning


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Hello all, I have just joined this  site with  a view to buying a caravan. I would be very grateful for any help from you members.

I am very green and trolling the net for advice,  basically I'm looking for a caravan for myself and partner and would like something that has a separate bedroom  as we have 2 dogs and would like them separate from us at bedtime. 

Is this something that exists or am I wasting my time?

Our budget would be up to £10,000. 

Thank you for any suggestions

Steve

Edited by JanandJay
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First off the use of CAPITALS is viewed shouting and rather impolite! 

 

Have a read of This thread  for starters. 

 

In order for others to assist you it would help to know what car you have as cars, along with HGV’s have legal restrictions on what weight of caravan they can tow. 

 

Oh, and :welcome: to this forum. 

Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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  • Gordon changed the title to Just about to get into caravanning
  • JanandJay changed the title to Just About To Get Into Caravanning

hi mr plodd, thank you for your reply and apologies for the capitals. point taken.

i currently drive a bmw x3 and my partner a toyota rav both of which we would hopefully use to tow a caravan when we do purchase one.i must say it is all a bit daunting with so much to go into , but looking forward to it.

i will have a look at the link you forwarded. thank you

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16 minutes ago, littlebasher said:

Guess i'll be the one that asks what year you passed your driving test !

hi, i passed in 1976. no convictions. 

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Picking the best caravan to suit you (first time) is a dark art. It took me 3 caravans before i settled on the perfect layout for us - cost me many $$$$ !

 

Best thing you can do, is to visit some dealers and have a good look around at various layouts until you find the one that works best for you.

 

Small considerations can make a big difference - like will you be using the bathroom for showering / toilet? If you plan to use the toilet block (as many do), then there's little point in choosing a layout where the bathroom takes up a large part of the caravan.

Lunar Solaris 524

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Visit as many dealers as you possibly can and look at as many caravans as you can to get a “feel” for what’s available. 

 

When looking at various caravans take careful note of what you don’t like in each one (it will be a smaller list than what you do like) Then decide on what you are, and are not, prepared to compromise over. That will narrow your list down a fair bit. 

 

One of, if not the, most important decision is whether you want a fixed bed or a “make up” one If you decide on fixed the next question is French bed (against the side wall with a bottom corner cut off) which requires a fair bit of co-operation when it comes to the inevitable night time visit to the loo, or island bed where each can slide out at the side with disturbing others. If a “make up” bed then don’t forget about storage capacity for your bedding, Then there is the option of two single beds, but they tend to be pretty narrow at 2’3” usually. 

 

Three final bits if advice.

  1. Dont rush!
  2. Be ruled  by your head not your heart.
  3. Be exceedingly cautious if buying from anyone other than a dealer, there are some real “rogue traders” out there who operate from home selling rubbish (especially at the moment) 

Oh and if buying privately be sure to get your own damp report from an independent caravan technician. It will cost you a few quid but it will either tell you it’s a good ‘un, or more importantly stop you buying  a pile of poo!!

Water ingress in caravans is insidious and can be very expensive to get repaired.

 

Good luck, enjoy your research, and welcome to the fraternity. If you have any questions then just ask, but try and ask specific questions as that way you will get specific and targeted answers. There is a vast amount of experience and knowledge  amongst the forum members, so don’t be shy in tapping into it. 

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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Firstly you need to look at your cars towing ability. There will be a towing limit which should not be exceeded but you also need to look at the kerb weight of the car, you can add 75 KG for the driver and some luggage. If the maximum towing weight exceeds the kerb weight of the car ignore that as a limit. The recommended maximum weight of a caravan , shown as the MTPLM is no more than 85% of the cars curb weight for beginners. This is based on very old research and with modern cars and caravans most of us feel it is now rather low, and I would say 90% is not unreasonable, although you have to make your own mind up there. 

The point here is that with very large flat sides a caravan is far more susceptible to cross winds and the effects of large vehicles passing so the car has to have enough weight to control the caravan. Both the cars you mention are regarded as good tow cars and should not be a problem when towing if the weights are right.

Can you get the layout you mention for £10,000 is possibly the problem. Due to the Covid problems caravans have become very popular and the values have rocketed with a severe shortage of stock, several dealers have none and others very little. Possibly some of these will come back onto the market next year and prices will drop but that is speculative. 

There are caravans out there for £10,000 but II am not sure they will have a layout for you unless you accept a folding door across the caravan from the bedroom area. There are models with a proper bedroom in the back with the toilet and shower area in the middle but this is a generally relatively new layout and there may not be many at your price level but you can try searching dealers. If you do not have a decent level of knowledge about caravans and cannot bring someone who does know with you I would avoid private sales as there are a lot of rogues out there flogging tarted up wrecks, stolen caravans and more. A good dealer is the safest bet I am  afraid.

I would follow the advice given earlier on visiting dealers if you can and seeing  what is available but do check if they have anything you would consider before going and check if they need you to make an appointment.

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Our caravan has a screen that can be pulled across to separate the back from the front so if one of these would work, you could put the dogs in the back sleeping area and then use the front make up beds and the central bathroom without involving dogs. It is a 2011 Elddis Avante 515. MTPLM 1499 kg, I do not know if your cars can tow this since you have not put your car weights down.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I thoroughly second Mr Plodd's advice about researching lots, and listing what you don't like. It's really worth seeing lots of caravans, ( if such visits are currently possible), even ones you don't think you'll like,  getting in them, seeing how light or not they are, imagining where you'd keep things, thinking how it would work in a howling gale with sideways rain as well as imagining it in glowing sunshine, how you'd move round in it, to see what's practical for you, and making a list of what doesn't appeal. That really helped us, and changed our aim enormously when buying our first van. As a result we've had it for 4 years and have no intention of changing as long as it keeps going,

I suspect virtual tours via the net may be helpful but nothing like the real experience of actually getting inside and getting a feel for it, so patience may be even more needed at present. 

The importance of getting your own independent engineer to assess it is also vital. The dealer we found assured us his engineer was independent, he just happened to employ him to maintain his caravans. Yeah. Sure. As a result of an independent approved engineer's visit, we got a set of new tyres, and a few other things more, out of the agreed price.

Good luck.

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Do you know any one who caravans who could advise or even go with you to view 99.9999% of caravaners are helpful and will point you in the right direction if its towards a van or away from a van hope you find what you want just don't rush check and check again  .

now retired and loving it

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Posted 28th of October. Last visited 28th of October. 

Hopefully not  a one day poster

Lunar Solaris 1 Limited Edition Hopefully Behind A

BMW 520D MSport Touring. ...

 

***** Jack of all Trades. ... Master of None *****

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14 hours ago, JanandJay said:

Posted 28th of October. Last visited 28th of October. 

Hopefully not  a one day poster

 

Maybe decided it wasn't such a good idea after all..:unsure:

Citroen C5-X7 Tourer+Avondale Rialto 480/2
https://jondogoescaravanning.com

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The simple answer would be to have a small awning. My dogs have never come into our caravans to leave hair and smell. The bed is wrapped up in an old sleeping bag if it is going to get cold and they have been quite happy. They quickly accept that the door entrance is as far as they can go.

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30 minutes ago, BigTrev said:

The simple answer would be to have a small awning. My dogs have never come into our caravans to leave hair and smell. The bed is wrapped up in an old sleeping bag if it is going to get cold and they have been quite happy. They quickly accept that the door entrance is as far as they can go.

 

Keeping their beloved child substitutes (sorry dogs) out of their caravan/house/car would be viewed by some owners as being worse than boiling babies! 

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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Absolutely Andy! Count us amongst them. Our two fur babies are Cockapoos so no smell and no fur to worry about but yes they are mud magnets so throws over the settees are a must. At night Doug is in his bed between the settees while Roxie is firmly wedged between us on the bed. 

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We tow a 4 birth swift challenger with an X3.  Be aware BMW (and VW) don’t wire the factory fit tow bar to charge fridge whilst towing. A retro fit should include. You’ll find it can tow most caravans. Any reputable dealer will run your cars through an outfit check before advising what stock is suitable . There’s plenty of outfit checkers online. 
Like cars, caravan prices vary depending on build quality  and options.  All makes have a budget, mid and top end ranges. The layouts can look similar but the materials and extras differ. Layout is quite personal as others have mentioned.

we too have a dog with a fixed bed with a pull blind from the wardrobe that keeps her in sitting area at night. When folded in it gives the feeling of space. Dog bed fits between front seating on floor nicely.

We like the stable door. Can have top open while closed bottom half keeps dog in.  Swift have stopped this on newer caravans.

On board water pump, led lighting, fly screens and blinds, solar panel, bbq point , motor mover and tyron bands are all extras to look out for. Layout plans are available online for most caravans going back 15 years.

Check for regular service history too.

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1 hour ago, Ellemm said:

 

We like the stable door. Can have top open while closed bottom half keeps dog in.  Swift have stopped this on newer caravans.

I think most manufacturers have dropped the stable door. Shame. We use a narrow stair gate in the doorway instead. 

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I have a stable door on my Bailey Phoenix, But I think it was one of the “extras” as it’s a dealer special version. 

Edited by Mr Plodd

Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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My Knaus too has a stable door and my old Compass from years ago did, but they don't seem very common these days.

Life is not a rehearsal . . .:)

Porsche Cayenne S Diesel & Knaus StarClass 695. Previously Audi S4 Avant & Elddis Super Sirocco

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3 minutes ago, KnausCol said:

My Knaus too has a stable door and my old Compass from years ago did, but they don't seem very common these days.

My 2019 Compass has the stable door as standard.

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13 hours ago, Tuningdrew said:

Absolutely Andy! Count us amongst them. Our two fur babies are Cockapoos so no smell and no fur to worry about but yes they are mud magnets so throws over the settees are a must. At night Doug is in his bed between the settees while Roxie is firmly wedged between us on the bed. 

TD, exactly the same as us, 2 x Cockapoos and Jax in his bed and Doris snuggled up on the bed..... Must be a 'poo thing...

 

Our Elddis also has the stable door which we love and would be one of those things that would influence any future purchase

2018 Volvo XC60  D4 AWD + Penshurst Premier Plus (AKA Elddis Affinity 550)

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One of our top three requirements when we were looking for a new van last year was the 2-piece door.

 

Most of the Hymer Group vans have this feature - the Elddis Avanté, Elddis Affinity, Elddis Crusader, Xplore, Compass Casita, Compass Capiro and Compass Camino - but not the Buccaneer range.

 

John

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23 minutes ago, Johnaldo said:

One of our top three requirements when we were looking for a new van last year was the 2-piece door.

 

 

Just demonstrates how we all have different requirements when choosing our vans.   A stable door is way down on my list of priorities.   My Avondale has a stable door fitted.  In ten years of ownership I can't recall ever having used it as such.  

Citroen C5-X7 Tourer+Avondale Rialto 480/2
https://jondogoescaravanning.com

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We love the extra daylight the stable door allows in. As you say,  we vary in our wants. It always looks to us from the outside that most modern vans seem to have less windows than older, too.

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