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Subject Topic: caravanning for dummies!!! Post Reply Post New Topic
Message posted by cathmc11/8/2007 at 10:14pm
Outfit:  outwell montana 6     Location:  st helens
Joined: 30/7/2007
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We currently have a tent and enjoyed camping for the last six years, but after the summer we have had, we are seriously considering buying a caravan. The only thing is we don't have a clue where to begin. We have been to a couple of dealers to have a look around at caravans but are really none the wiser. I haven't a clue about what sort of tow bar to get, insurance, how much we can tow, basically anything !?! Is there anyone who can help with a dummies guide, or who can point me in the right direction. We have a limited budget so have found some of the postings about buying caravans on a budget useful.

I'd be ever so grateful for any hints, tips and information you could offer and we could hopefully have a much better season in a caravan next year, thanks Cath



Post last edited on 11/08/2007 22:58:52

Message posted by michael11/8/2007 at 10:20pm
Outfit:  Caravan now Sold     Location:  Lancashire
Joined: 30/6/2002
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lots of advice here 23the caravan needs to be 85% of your cars kerb weight.the towbar will need to be made for your car only under new rules.94/20/ec.insurance depends on value and where stored.dont be afraid of asking any question. buy a damp meter if buying private.

13 Avoid Caravan Crime
13 Buying Secondhand



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Message posted by raymcm11/8/2007 at 11:18pm
Outfit:  Avante 556 Smax 2.0 TDI     Location:  None Entered
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It dosnt need to be 85% of the cars weight, its recommended to be less than 85% but not by law.

Message posted by bunnyrabbits12/8/2007 at 5:26pm
Outfit:  nebraska XL and now lunar venus too     Location:  Fife Bonny Scotland
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dont buy a very expensive first van.  We were campers for years and years and moved to a caravan for the first time this year.. Our kids range from 15 to 1yr old and if I was to get seriously worried about the doors being shut rather firmly, toilet flushed constantly, jumping on beds etc., we would freak.  (this is a novelty value of course). Just do it, and the best experience you will have is something solid to lean against when reading at night!  That and having an oven.  We do spend a lot of time in the awning though.

bunnyrabbits x    


Message posted by alan12612/8/2007 at 7:50pm
Outfit:  Fleetwood Garland and Almera      Location:  West Scotland
Joined: 04/11/2004
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you are in the best place for advice Cath, I assume you are fed up with drying sodden tents, re-tensioning guylines at 3am and taking an age to pitch and strike camp???

yeah it came to me at about 3am at innervoulin near calander when I was trying to sleep in the car due to the tent being bent to angles that arent right due to the gales that having a van was a bloody good idea, only thing I need to do is find one within budget that doesnt have damp



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Message posted by GARRYB10112/8/2007 at 8:40pm
Outfit:  ELDDIS AVANTE 505     Location:  MANCHESTER
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Welcome to the site, firstly if you are buying a relatively new caravan most large family saloons will tow pretty much anything apart from the large twin axle vans. However do seek advice when buying an older van as they can be much heavier even the small 2 berth ones.

We had a tent forst to see if we liked the outdoor life, once we knew we did we upgraded to a caravna and got the best we could afford and have not looked back.


Message posted by gloebear12/8/2007 at 8:42pm
Outfit:  Bailey Pageant Bordeau Galaxy TD      Location:  Norwich
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Hi

First off what type of car do you have?? as this will have a direct affect on the weight of the caravan you can tow.
Secondly how many berths do you require??

When we first started we looked at the dealers and then at the camping mags from the supermarkets/newsagents.  As there was only the two of us we decided on a 2 or 4 berth and took into account we could only tow 1150 with our zafira 1.8 petrol.

What towcarcar is a great site where you can match your car with as many caravans as you lilke and they will give you an overall view.

Other factors such as the towbar really need to be fitted by a specialist to be on the safe side as your caravan will be a precious cargo.

Insurance is covered in the caravan mags quite regularly giving you the best deals around and lists all insurance companies.  There is also advice on buying secondhand and list of alll caravancs and their weights which will help you decide.

When we visited the dealers they advised us our tow limit and pointed out all vans that would be suitable so very good to get an insight before you buy.

Last thing - enjoy it,  far better then a tent any day - we have no regrets and have even now extended ours by buying an awning to give additional space, at least you can take this down the day before when its dry and not have to take home everything wet!!!

Dont forget storage if you have not got the space at home as this can be a big problem.

HAVE FUN17



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Message posted by tparkes12/8/2007 at 9:06pm
Outfit:  geist Xclusiv 550     Location:  sunny nottingham
Joined: 20/11/2004
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You also need to consider  the layout that you prefer, how many beds you need, etc. Best thing to do is go round some dealerships and get a rough idea of what you need space wise and go from there.  We moved to a caravan from a tent this year and its the best thing we ever did.  So much more comfortable and no draughty tent we love it!

Message posted by Mrs Mop13/8/2007 at 8:00am
Outfit:  Willerby Salsa     Location:  Callington Cornwall
Joined: 24/7/2006
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We started from scratch just like you we didn't have a clue, we were campers prior to that and really liked the way of life.  Firstly we went and looked around dealers and asked lots of questions, then I started buying the magazines as this gives you lots of information you never even thought about, then we visited caravan shows, by then you will have built up quite a lot of information that you never knew before.  We had a 2 litre estate car which we thought would be fine to tow, but dealers have a computer system they put your car information in and then they tell you what sort of caravan you can tow with it, you may then decide to change your car.   I dispute the person  who said the family car can tow most caravans apart of twin axles, we had to change our car and we don't have a twin axle van. We decided on a fixed bed, because I usually go to bed before husband, so that suits me.  You also need to have the space to store one, or arrange storage facilities, caravan dealers can help with sites that don't advertise, we found storage and started paying about 3 months prior to getting the van, as it secured it for us.  The rest you learn as you go on, and of course this forum can help with everything you need to know.  We have now been carravanning about 1 year and we have come a long way with regards to experience.  Best decision we ever made, hope it's the same for you

Message posted by Ulti-Mates13/8/2007 at 12:05pm
Outfit:  Sterling Excel 550 - Honda CR-V Mk4     Location:  South Gloucestershire
Joined: 26/10/2003
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Hi

I think the towcar is the starting point - that will immediately narrow the choice of vans down from the infinite choice available.  I too would dispute the remark that most family saloons will tow almost anything, except twin axles.  Newer vans are made of lighter materials, but have increased specification making them heavier overall than older ones.  Therefore, the newer the van you are considering, the harder they are to match up with a family car.

Then you need to think about when you will use it, and how you will use it - and that will start to determine the layouts and features that will suit you.  Once you have been looking around for a while, you will recognise that the same layouts are repeated across all makes and models, often in 3 grades of entry-level, mid-range and luxury.

Your budget will further determine which vans to be looking at.

Read everything you can, there are a number of magazines, caravan shows and of course this forum. The Caravan Club's website has loads of advice available to non-members - including guidance on buying and towing etc,.


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Message posted by cathmc15/8/2007 at 10:25am
Outfit:  outwell montana 6     Location:  st helens
Joined: 30/7/2007
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Loads of great advice, and plenty more to think about. Still not sure which type of caravan we will be getting, but will be doing plenty more looking and reading up on them. Thanks very much, Cath

Message posted by maryloo15/8/2007 at 1:21pm
Outfit:  Cristall 530ew     Location:  Wakefield West Yorkshire
Joined: 31/3/2006
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Welcome to the mad world of vanners.

You can get loads of info on here. But I would consider going to a good local dealer and asking them for their help. They love it.

We went to Peter Roberts in Honley Huddersfield and Andy and Peter were great. They took us by the hand and sorted us out, checked if our car was Ok for the van and generally looked after us.

We recently bought a new van from Moorland Leisure in Leek, and felt let down, back to Peter and Andy for servicing etc.



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Message posted by 664DaveS15/8/2007 at 2:43pm
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Remember once you have purchased your caravan  there are the extra costs!

Towbar and electrics, insurance,gas bottles,awning?Water/waste water containers. If you buy second hand you may get all of these, if you can get a copy of the caravan club mag, there are often bargains to be had.(Or local paper)

good luck



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Message posted by Scampi15/8/2007 at 3:47pm
Outfit:  None Entered     Location:  Leeds
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We bought our 'van from Castlecroft in Radcliffe.  Sales staff are excellent (if you go, ask for John).


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