Motorhome/caravan/trailer tent

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  • Motorhome/caravan/trailer tent
  • daftvader
    Member

    Morning… having seen a few threads about caravans, I figured there would be opinions abound on this subject….
    the boss wants a motorhome. I’d rather have a towable option for ease of travel after pitch up, and looking at the current crop of trailer tents like those made by Opus I’m really liking them!
    Cheers

    tjagain
    Member

    What compromises do yo want to make? would the motorhome have to double as a daily driver?

    Big motorhomes – great to live in shite to drive. Little ones good to live in, cramped for a family and bikes have to go on the outside ( which I hate). Caravan – you have to buy beige elastic waisted trousers

    nbt
    Member

    I don’t have any beige trousers, though one oy my pairs of walking trousers does have an elasticated waist.

    IHN
    Member

    Bikes can be inside a small camper, if the layout is right.

    But, yeah, pick your compromise.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Trailer tent is still a tent so you have to accept that they won’t have heating, shower, toilet, insulation – and they will be noisy when it rains and you’ll be able to here all the noise your fellow campers make.

    Caravan/motorhome delivers a more isolated experience and more ‘home comforts’ and also a far quicker arrival/departure experience (and you don’t need to find a dry day and somwhere to pitch your ‘van if you have to pack up on a rainy day). Needs off road staorage (ideally in a garage – they still get some damp even if ythey have a tarpaulin over them).

    Caravans – much trickier to travel with than a motorhome (ime), susceptible to side winds, you need to have a car that will tow even if you only need a small car the rest of the time. pitching a bit more involved than a motorhome as you have separate water and waste tanks. You can use the car for day trips. Has to have off road storage – if it’s away from where you live it’s a pain as you either have to pack everything in the car and then drive to the ‘van or pick the van up, come home and load then reverse on your return.

    Motorhomes – driver up, turn on the gas, plug in an electric cable and you’re good. Days out – you need to find car parks without height restrictions (and even then you can get tickets if you’re over bay boundaries). Storage – on the road is ok depending on where you live, if not see caravans. Diesel engines increasingly being banned from towns and cities.

    We have a 7.2m long motorhome and a dog and it works for us but there are compromises involved (less so as the dog means we tend not to visit museums and the like so mostly we’re out and about when away).

    daftvader
    Member

    Tbh it’s mostly an issue of space. My estate with roofbox isn’t quite big enough for a family of 4, dog and camping gear for more than a weekend… I would be happy getting an i800/transit custom type of thing and then upgrading all our camping gear. Or a caravan and a better car for towing (I have an avensis estate petrol which doesn’t quite have the grunt for towing) that then gives us the freedom of not having to worry so much about going places after set up…

    nbt
    Member

    Don’t get too hung up on the “you must have a diesel engine for towing” myth. We use a Volvo v50 with a 1.8 petrol engine for towing – previous car was a 1.6 petrol Skoda Octavia. The petrol engine has to work a little harder than a diesel when setting off and on hills, but towing is such a small part of how we use that car that we’re happy to accept the compromise as we don’t want a diesel engined car for the mileage we do. Longer term I’m looking at the new hybrids, the VW Golf hybrid with a 1.4TSI petrol engine should be fine for what we need

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Needs off road staorage (ideally in a garage – they still get some damp even if ythey have a tarpaulin over them). This (plus comment abotu havign somethwere to pitch and dry applies to rtrailer tents – reread what I wrote and not sure it’s clear.

    daftvader
    Member

    wwaswas yeah, I think a trailer tent is out of the picture…

    daftvader
    Member

    @nbt it’s mostly that I want a newer car as mine is a little beaten and old! 😇

    nbt
    Member

    If you can afford it fair enough. I’d rather not spend money on a new car unless it’s necessary, but I’m afraid it might be for us 🙁

    daftvader
    Member

    @tjagain I mostly wear shorts so I COULD get some of those trousers!

    kittyr
    Member

    From what I saw at the weekend the caravaners didn’t have a quicker strike time than tents – what with all having massive awnings to deal with, careful packing of cars (I guess towing weight limits the stuff left in the van?) the water tanks to disconnect etc.

    daftvader
    Member

    having been in both the camper and the caravan with my brother in law… bot seem to take the same time….

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    From what I saw at the weekend the caravaners didn’t have a quicker strike time than tents – what with all having massive awnings to deal with, careful packing of cars (I guess towing weight limits the stuff left in the van?) the water tanks to disconnect etc.

    It’s up to you how efficient you are. Tent camping can be a 4 person backpacking tent with minimal stuff – we did Aviemore for 6 days this year in a tent, using the Prius; however we missed a fair few comforts and if you want those then a big tent and the chairs, beds, kitchen, stove etc etc all take some packing up.

    Awnings are optional, you can also take them down the day before which you can’t do in a tent. You can also get smaller awnings, our inflatable is far easier to put away than our old full awning was.

    In terms of car, a Passat/Mondeo is plenty for the lighter end of the full-sized caravan market. You can still tow an 18-19ft van, but check the weights.

    Comfort of caravan/motorhome cannot be overstated for family type holidays in the UK. You don’t need to be isolated from your surroundings because you can still sit outside if you want, and even in the rain you can have all the windows open and still be mostly outside. It’s not the same as being actually indoors.

    Trailer tent never seemed like that great of an option to me, it’s still canvas and you still need to tow. But probably easier than the big tent option.

    It might take time to set up a caravan with getting water and waste sorted out – but then you probably gain that back by not having to walk over to the toilet block to pee/wash up. And you can stay in places that don’t have them.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Caravans – much trickier to travel with than a motorhome (ime), susceptible to side winds

    If you load and set up right, it’s really not that bad actually. We’ve towed in some pretty windy weather and been surprisingly ok. You must make sure the nose weight is correct, and that the tyres are pumped up properly. We have a 1350kg MTPLM van with one axle and the tyres need 65psi. Which is why you can’t use car tyres on it. If buying old caravans this is something to look out for cos people sometimes fit them. I see a lot of vans swaying about on the motorway, and it looks like low tyre pressure is the culprit.

    daftvader
    Member

    @molegrips we have various sized of tent, from a weekend robens green cone and a massive 6 man family thing. but as the kids are getting bigger they take more room, plus if they want bikes etc thats extra hassle as they wont fit on the roof with the roof box there etc etc. hence the choice (now) between motorhome or caravan.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    If you load and set up right, it’s really not that bad actually

    It’s not *that* bad, just a lot more difficult than a motorhome in sidewinds, when HGV’s go past, plus the additional stresses of driving on country lanes or through towns with a large ‘van.

    I’ve done both and even with a 7.5m motorhome (we had a 6.5m caravan) it’s a more relaxing journey.

    And if you ever have to reverse back on a narrow road due to an hgv or tractor a caravan is a liability, especially uphill when the brakes decide to engage 🙂

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Country lanes and small towns are much more of an issue than wind, I reckon.

    Premier Icon djflexure
    Subscriber

    We had a trailer tent for 10 years and replaced it with a trailer plus a tent. Latter was much cheaper, more flexible, carried more cargo. Just a thought.

    daftvader
    Member

    @djflexure that is also a possibility on the cards….

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    Selling ours in 2 weeks, it’s been brilliant but time for he next chapter…

    Just saying

    https://singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/i-want-a-caravan-thats-not-a-caravan/page/6/#post-6458709

    daftvader
    Member

    @tiger6791 I spotted that thread last night! 😁

    Country lanes and small towns are much more of an issue than wind, I reckon.

    I agree, never been worried in strong winds towing the caravan but little roads can be a pain, but OTOH little roads & towns can be a pain in a MH. (& not in the Xtrail that pulls our caravan)
    Horses for courses & compromises innit.

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    We’ve had no regrets with it, we’ve used it loads from the Lakes to Dorset, New Forest, Isle of Wight, to through France and down to the Med.

    It’s very different and gets plenty of attention, it’s light, easy to tow and non faffy. We have none of that aquaroll water and waste set up. You basically park up, level and plug in.

    2 bikes on the front and kids bikes in the garage inside it

    Awning is a blow up tent type so up in minutes and feels more like a tent when sat in it on an evening. Hate those rigid square box marques that people spend ages putting up.

    For us it was the perfect upgrade from a tent.

    Some photographs from various holidays to bore you all

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/eGzLppKastTbjEaK6

    ElShalimo
    Member

    If you got your licence after 1996 the default categories and weight<span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”> restrictions are different to pre-97 licences.</span>

    It’s really worth checking this on DVLA website before you make any decision

    daftvader
    Member

    @ElShalimo I will need to get my B+E licence, it’s not too expensive tbh

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    You don’t need the extra license for a normal car and caravan. But perversely, if you have a big SUV and a normal caravan, you can exceed 3,500kg train weight even though it’d be easier to tow than with a small car.

    daftvader
    Member

    @molgrips I didn’t get my licence till 2004 so all the rules had changed by then. I need to do a new test for car and trailer

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Only if the total weight is over 3,500kg. Which it won’t be unless it’s a large SUV.

    Premier Icon pocpoc
    Subscriber

    Got to check the towing limit of the car as well. Our Peugeot 5008 1.6HDi (2010) has a towing limit of 1200kg.
    Search for 5 or 6 berth with MTPLM of 1200kg on autotrader brings up 3 results nationally!
    If the limit was higher then…
    The car weighs 1480kg, so 85% of that is 1258kg – not much different.
    However, that would total 2738kg so leaves plenty spare for people and stuff to get in at under 3500kg (I’m on a post-97 license too).

    As an example, a 2010 Mondeo estate is 1600kg weight (with 2000kg towing limit). 85% of that is 1360kg, which would still leave 540kg for people and things – could be cutting it a bit fine if you had 5 adults in the car.
    However, a search on Autotrader for 5 /6 berth with MTPLM of 1300kg gives 27 results (a few of which are trailer tents and ‘test’ ads) – so much more choice.

    However, none of these are brand new – in my opinion the new caravan industry is facing a ticking time bomb with regards to weight. If they can’t get the weights down to make it easy for people to tow without having to get additional licenses then they are going to lose a lot of business as people with post-97 licenses simply won’t see it as an option. This is also in conflict with the fashion for heavier SUV vehicles and more gadgets in caravans themselves which all add to weight.

    Premier Icon Tiger6791
    Subscriber

    Mine is super light weight!!! Just over 800kg 👍👍

    Pretty much gadget free though

    daftvader
    Member

    just looked at the rules and @molgrips you’re right…. however i would be happier getting the training as i have never towed anything unless it was attached to my bike! and i suspect that the Lady of the house will want something a bit bigger than usual!

    trail_rat
    Member

    The irony being that the trailer test is actually quick and painless to get

    I paid 360 quid inclusive of test fees for a mornings refresher. Test at 1pm in the instructors car and trailer.

    By 2.30 I was legal to tow 3500kg

    daftvader
    Member

    @trail_rat sounds good to me!

    geomickb
    Member

    We have a TT (technically a folding camper) and love it.

    We inherited it and I wasn’t sure at first if we would like it.

    Pros:
    * tows OK with our 1L Focus.
    * can push it up our steep drive by hand
    * all camping gear is kept in it, so no need to carry anything it our inappropriately sized family car (usually have bikes/boat on top so no room for topbox)
    * can be pitched in 10 minutes, just open it out and it’s good enough to sleep in at weekends
    * awning can be pitched if we are staying longer than a couple of nights
    * can be stored on drive
    * not as desirable to thieves (mate just had caravan stolen)

    Cons:
    * it’s not as warm as a small tent or caravan and so we don’t use it in winter
    * not as soundproof as a caravan
    * not as quick to set up as a caravan
    * if it gets wet you need to open it out to dry when you get home

    We do talk about upgrading to a caravan but this would mean upgrading the car and paying for storage somewhere.

    trail_rat
    Member

    @trail_rat sounds good to me!

    Quality trailer training at livingston – 2 years ago.

    What i will say is – dear god they like a slip road round livi which was a shock coming from aberdeen

    ElShalimo
    Member

    If you passed after 97, which test do you need to do to be able to drive one of those big 7+m motorhomes that weigh 4-5T?

    It’s pretty scary that , the same day I nervously scraped through my test in an F reg Nissan Sunny, in 1989, I could have legally jumped into a 7.5 tonne truck and towed a BFO trailer despite never even have driven on a motorway before.

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