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Steveo515

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Hi everyone. I am thinking of buying my first caravan and would like some advice please. Any comments welcome. I want to buy second hand and would like to know any pros and cons on first time buying. I am after a 4 berth van and a fairly light one. what makes are most comfortable? Please any advice will help me.

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Look at as many as possible. Don't just look around, try them as far as possible. You will find some beds seats e. t. c are not as big as they appear visually. So if it's a fixed bed then see if you fit. Same with showers seats bunks e. t. c.

Is it theirs to sell - can't prove that - walk away.

The biggest killer of conventional vans is damp. There are plenty of well maintained dry vans so don't buy trouble.

Can my car tow it = No walk away or change car.

Damp test - Refused - walk away

Layout suitable - No walk away.

Looked after - No walk away. Caravans are are poor liars for wear and tear. If it looks hard used then it will be. Conversely you will find some vans of great age that are still mint.

Get expert help - The money you spend having a van expertly assessed and damp tested may well be the best money you spend.

Got it - Enjoy it and don't give a dam for whether it is 1 year or 20 years old.

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You need to pick a layout you like then get searching for certain models. I needed a 4 berth, but didn't want the side dinette layout that make into bunks, or a fixed bed. i ended up with a 5 berth twin dinnette layout that makes up into 2 double beds, the 5th bed is a pull out bunk which will probably never get used.

 

If buying private you need to get an independant engineer to check it over (about £40-£50), mainly for damp, but 1st give it a good check by yourself.

 

Get yourself to a large dealer and have a look and try the different layouts.

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This site is very useful but as stated above the best thing to do is go round all the dealers testing them !

 

Caravan Finder

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Hi everyone. I am thinking of buying my first caravan and would like some advice please. Any comments welcome. I want to buy second hand and would like to know any pros and cons on first time buying. I am after a 4 berth van and a fairly light one. what makes are most comfortable? Please any advice will help me.

 

Agree with the posts above. We spent weeks looking at different layouts when changing to our first fixed bed van. I MEAN weeks, I was a regular visitor to our dealer and spent ages in the vans almost playing!! I pretended to cook a meal - how easy to have pans on the hob, preparing something etc etc. It helped me discount several vans as there was no handy 3 pin plug. I stood in the shower & found it just too small. Put the table up and tried to imagine us round it.

 

Time spent researching is well spent and the dealer whoever wants your pennies so should be helpful. Also don't be shy of asking what else will you give me if I buy this van?

 

Good luck, happy hunting,(I LOVED doing that bit) come back & tell us how you get on & what you've found.

 

MumnTed

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One of the caravan magazines has a caravan listing in the back which includes pictograms of the various layouts with codes that link to the lists. Try and visualise how you would use the different layouts that fit your requirements then look for those layouts in the main listing. Although these are for currently available models the list includes wieghts, dimensions and new costs which will at least help you to know what you are looking for and what is advertised actually is.

 

Start off at the dealers looking at new and second hand and confirm your feelings from the initial research. One of the types I had picked out turned in to a no go for me when I realised that the cooker was hard up against the shower cubicle so the pans on that side could not have the handles turned out when I saw the actual van, a small niggle of the forecourt could turn in to a major pain once you are living with it.

 

Always examine a possible purchase carefully and even take along somebody if not a caravan specialist, another person technically savvy can pick up other things you might miss. Watch out for soft furnishing placed to hide problems, cloths on a chipped sink, cushions over a damp patch etc. When you look inside the cupboard don't forget the back wall.

 

If buying privately check for evidence of genuine ownership, paperwork, do they know how things work, neighbour went to look at one and the bloke could not fit the hich lock so he left it. When getting to the point of buying does everything work, what is included i. e. gas bottles, EHU lead, locks or awning. All these sorts of things can run up to quite an expense if you are going to have to buy them separately, mine was a little bit high in price but as the owners had hardly used it the awning, water containers etc had never been unpacked. A number of people like to incorporate mods etc. to suit their own requirements, provided they are properly done there is no problem with that but is it documented.

 

Most people in this line know what vans go for so if it is really cheap be suspicious, be prepared to pay a fair price.

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The Caravan Club advice on buying your first van can be viewed here:

 

http://www. caravanclub. co. uk/media/22441/thinking%20of%20buying%20a%20touring%20caravan. pdf

 

the Camping and Caravan Club advice starts here:

 

http://www. campingandcaravanningclub. co. uk/helpandadvice/gettingstarted/newtocaravans/

 

This site will help you decide if the van is light enough for your car:

 

http://www. whattowcar. com/

 

or you can ring the Caravan Club on (01342 326 944) and they will advise you on how well the van you are interested in matches your towcar.

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Why not pop up to the caravan show at the NEC in a couple of weeks. Not necessarily to buy, but to look at a big variety of layouts, sizes etc. You'll be surprised at the range of choice. Then do as the Hairy Fool suggests, imagine yourself living in the van, cooking, eating, watching telly or playing games or whatever turns you on in the evening, sleeping, washing/showering. Little things, like can you sit on the toilet comfortably (sounds daft, but this is why we rejected the Bailey we liked in all other respects).

It took us nearly six months to pick our first van and the wait, while frustrating, was well worth while in the long run as we have ended up with a van we are completely happy with. .

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Hi, Steveo515, Welcome to the forum. You will find there are many very experienced members on here

with many miles of towing under their wheels. (I am one of the relative newbies!) But to help them

to help you we'll need a little more info, such as, the size of your towcar, whether you passed your driving test

before or after January 1997 (Makes a difference to how heavy your outfit can be) and also your

approximate budget.

First thing: Buy a damp meter! It will cost you around a tenner but could save you a fortune

Then, as has been wisely said, start the legwork. Depending on budget, troll around the dealers,

or private ads, not forgetting that certain online auction site!

HTH,

Marc.

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