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To buy a caravan on a whim?!

(55 Posts)
shiveringhiccup Tue 09-Aug-16 22:03:14

On a total whim today I have now got wildly carried away with this idea and am THIS close to bidding on one... AIBU??

We're a small family. We like countryside type holidays, although I do like having mod cons (yes I mean a shower). Very small car but there are caravans out there that I think we could just about get away with in terms of weight.

Pros/ cons/ horror stories/ tales of joy and delight in caravans?

ABloodyDifficultWoman Tue 09-Aug-16 22:17:05

If you can afford it and have somewhere to put it - and most importantly of all will actually use it then I can't find an argument against! I'd love to have one but I'm alone in that want sad

bearleftmonkeyright Tue 09-Aug-16 22:21:15

We have a caravan and I really wasn't keen on the idea of getting one. After one holiday i loved it. We have camped but it is just so much easier with a caravan. Ours is an old one, we onky paid £500 but we have revamped it a bit. It's great, a really cheap easy holiday.

averylongtimeago Tue 09-Aug-16 22:22:33

We bought a caravan when our DC were 4, after we went to get the tent out for our holiday and it had gone mouldy in the loft.
It was second hand, and by today's standards a bit basic. We had a fantastic time! Move on 30 years, we have just swapped to a camper. My now grown up DC have a caravan, their DC love it too. We have caravaned all over the UK, and over to France Spain and Italy.
There is every type of caravan site to suit all tastes and budgets, some no more than a field with somewhere to empty the loo, others with every facility you can think of. The caravan or the caravan and camping club have their own network of sites, so well worth joining.
You can get lightweight caravans - check the caravan club website for lots of helpful information about what your car can safely tow.
Modern caravans have proper cookers, fridges, heating, hot water and showers. Go for it!

chocoLit Tue 09-Aug-16 22:23:53

Would love one!! Have you seen one to buy??

averylongtimeago Tue 09-Aug-16 22:27:36

We kept a basic stock of food essentials in the van, once a month I would stick a few clothes in, we would pick the DC up from school and go. Not far, up to a couple of hours away but it was great. We didn't have lots of money, stayed on basic farm sites but we all loved it.
We stored the van at home, but a local storage yard charges about £240 a year (Midlands)

busyboysmum Tue 09-Aug-16 22:28:42

We did this 10 years ago. We loved travelling pre kids and really missed it when the babies started coming. I bid on eBay spur of the moment for a £1,000 caravan which came with everything needed. We had the most amazing year of fun with our boys who were then 4 &1 that the following year we upgraded again via eBay to a top of the range van. We sold our existing van for the same as we bought it for. We've since had another child so upgraded a couple of years ago to a 6 berth. Our boys have had the most fun, adventurous, sociable, free upbringing all due to the caravanning. We go most weekends and longer in the holidays. We're always bobbing off to the seaside or the Lakes or the Dales of the Peak District, messing about on rivers, fishing, crabbing, exploring this beautiful countryside of ours.

seahorse92 Tue 09-Aug-16 22:29:35

What car do you have ? The vans Max load should be 85% of the cars weight to tow safely, and no more than 100% match to be legal

Most 'Lightweight vans' are around 900kg MAM

seahorse92 Tue 09-Aug-16 22:31:08

You should view a van before you buy it, lots are riddled with damp, buy a damp meter to take viewing with you, any reading over 15% is an issue

shiveringhiccup Tue 09-Aug-16 22:34:19

Ooooh this is making me excited, thanks everyone.

Seahorse the car has a curb weight of about 700kg so it really is little... I've seen a couple of super lightweight ones that have an unloaded weight of 500-600kg, do you think that would work or would it be a nightmare towing it?

Alternatively I guess we could hire a car when we use it until we upgrade car but that kind of defeats the point of the cheapness!

busyboysmum Tue 09-Aug-16 22:36:09

Yes totally get it checked for damp before buying. It's one of the most common problems and really hard to remedy.

seahorse92 Tue 09-Aug-16 22:36:31

Find out what the max weights of the caravans are that's what you need to be going off... As long as they arnt more than your cars weight youl be ok, but the lighter the better. Freedom caravans are lightweight

seahorse92 Tue 09-Aug-16 22:45:31

Ohhhh forgot to say smile engine size can be important too- you need 'pulling power' 1.6 or above is usually best

AnnieOnnieMouse Tue 09-Aug-16 23:06:53

Plus I believe you now also need to pass an extra test to tow one.
It isn't just the weight of the van itself you need to consider, but also the weight of the stuff you put inside it, and how you distribute that weight.
own driving licence so old I can drive a 3.5ton truck on it as well as tow a caravan

practy Tue 09-Aug-16 23:08:52

A friend just sold hers. She said it used up so much petrol towing it that it really wasn't that cheap a holiday.

busyboysmum Tue 09-Aug-16 23:17:19

It just makes holidays so much more instant and available. A bag of clothes, a bag of food and you're off.

The petrol isn't an issue that I've ever noticed tbh.

Catsize Tue 09-Aug-16 23:27:20

We changed our car to buy a caravan - sounds like you will have to too. 500kg for a family caravan sounds a bit odd, especially if you want a bathroom!

Togaparties Wed 10-Aug-16 00:07:39

no more than 100% match to be legal

Rubbish! You can legally tow up to the max towing weight of the tow car which could well be more than 100%. 85% is recommended for caravans though due to their relatively low weight in relation to their high sides.

I believe you now need to pass an extra test to tow on

Again not true, you need to pass an extra test if your original pass date is '97 onwards but only to tow an outfit with a MAM of greater than 3500kg. It is very easy to get an outfit that is below this.

seahorse92 Wed 10-Aug-16 00:17:07

Sorry OP it seems I have you the wrong advice. I didn't think you could tow a caravan that weighed more than your car but it appears im wrong smile hope you find one you like you will love it

seahorse92 Wed 10-Aug-16 00:20:24

Have= gave , sorry

AnnieOnnieMouse Wed 10-Aug-16 00:25:32

Ah, thanks for the correction - I know that there are courses that you can do with the caravan club, as reversing a caravan is quite tricky.
Take into consideration insurance, breakdown cover and site fees.

seahorse92 Wed 10-Aug-16 00:29:23

In fact you may wana ignore all my advice it's all a load of crap I've just realised sorry confusedblush

Caravanning is great though! and if you buy a cheaper van if you don't take to it you can always sell on

shiveringhiccup Wed 10-Aug-16 10:59:33

This is all so helpful, thanks all.

Seahorse your advice is good! apart from the bits that weren't right grin Didn't know you could get damp meters - I definitely need to get one for next time we move house!

Hmmm well me and DH are totally sold on the idea but the practicalities are trickier than I thought - does seem very unlucky that I could find a caravan light enough (that isn't just a single bed on wheels). Might need to look into other options then. I guess at some point in the next few years we'll need to get a bigger car anyway so until then maybe we could hire a car when we want to use the caravan, seems extravagant but it would still be cheaper than getting a holiday cottage or whatever.

shiveringhiccup Wed 10-Aug-16 11:00:20

Also what's the deal with the loo? How gross is it to empty?

And hahaha strikethrough fail ^

Chihuahualala Wed 10-Aug-16 11:07:16

We have a motor home, the loo isn't that gross to empty.

well DH says so anyway

We do only use the loo on there for middle of the night, first thing in the morning number ones as a rule though. DH has occasionally for the other.
Go for it OP!

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