Choosing The Caravan

2012 – 2013

Hereford Caravan

About a year ago, the idea of buying a caravan started to tap persistently in our brains. I mean, the bane of the motorist, the blight on the landscape, something for Jeremy Clarkson to blow up. Could we possibly be serious? We had the time so why not find out?

A trip to the Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham seemed a logical first step. It was quite an eye opener. For a start the range of ‘vans available is astonishing but when you start looking around you realise that there are only a limited number of layouts and this is what you have to decide on first.

Our original thinking was that a fixed bed would be an obvious ‘must have’. If we were we going to be living in it for prolonged periods we didn’t want to be making the bed up every evening. We soon realised that, for us, this was going to be a problem. They simply weren’t long enough to fit Neil.

The show was also very revealing when it came to the quality of internal fixtures and fittings. Considering this is the chance dealers and manufacturers get to show off their range and take orders for these brand new vans, you’d think they would be a bit more careful about how they were presented. Broken latches and misaligned cupboard doors were common. On some the fabric was such poor quality it was already starting to suffer. If nothing else this helped us decide which brands we wouldn’t touch under any circumstance!

As complete novices, dipping our toes into the world of caravanning for the first time, it seemed sensible not to splash out on a brand spanking new ‘van and watch the value plummet the next day just by virtue of the fact it had been bought. A “previously loved” model seemed like a much better idea so we could at least try out the whole experience without laying out loads of lolly. With this in mind our next step was to start visiting dealers with second hand models for sale. We saw some lovely caravans, no doubt about it. And dealers can be very persuasive. If we had been in a position to buy immediately, our money   would have been handed over, all without really thinking it through.

During this period we had both been reading everything we could find about caravans on the internet and I joined the Caravan Talk forum. It was on here that one of the members mentioned that they left the sofas in the lounge area made up as two single beds, also mentioning the dimensions of these beds. These were longer than the fixed versions we’d seen and it gave us some real food for thought, trying to work out how we would be using the caravan.

Venturing further afield, we went to a huge dealership whose staff left us to wander round the used caravans on our own. It was here we saw the Arizona for the first time. It was the model that had been mentioned on the forum and, well, I just knew. From Neil’s internet research he reckoned this one was a bit overpriced, particularly as it didn’t come with any extras. There may have been room for negotiation, of course, but, as there was no hurry, we should check out some private sales first.

I’ve always said we would find the right caravan at the right time for us. And so it turned out. We found ‘Arry on a drive in Derby. She came with an awning and most of what we needed to get started. A four year old used van is unlikely to ever be perfect but this was pretty damn close. The rest, dear friends, is history.

What came with the caravan?

Full Awning with extra end bedroom

2 Aqua Rolls

Water Pump

Wastemaster

Toilet with left over chemicals

2 Ramps and Wedges (Chocks)

Half full Camping Gaz bottle

Intruder Alarm

Tracker

Motor Mover

Alko Wheel Lock

Hitch Lock

Step

 

What Did We Add?

Porch Awning – Kampa Rally 260

Replaced Water Heater Element

Replaced Blind

Extra Gas bottle

Bedding (including single memory foam mattress topper)

Outdoor light-weight aluminium table

Two recliner garden chairs and mattresses

Cadac Safari Chef Barbeque

Melamine Plates and Bowls

Glasses and Ceramic Mugs

Cutlery and utensils

Saucepans

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