Should we bite the bullet and buy a caravan??!(15 Posts)
We have viewed a 1993 Coachman Mirage 4 berth caravan today. It seemed to be in good condition and great for us and our 2 dd's.
We used to love camping, but this was pre-dd's and pre-dh's spine surgery, because of this he now finds it very uncomfortable on a blow up bed.
Would anyone like to talk me into or out of buying a tourer?? What are the pitfalls to look out for? the highlights etc etc!
We've had a good look on the internet and around a couple of local dealers today and this one seems to be the only one which fits our weight/size restrictions (will be towed by a vw golf and stored on our drive) and is a very good price
Thanks for your reply, We are looking at a very light weight one an have checked the maximum towable weight allowances etc and it comes in at less than 85%. Is there anything else we need to be aware of?
Gosh! what Nightsky said really, I have never seen a Golf tow a van either. Are you sure you are using the laden weight of the van and not its empty weight?
Assumming you have your weights right there are so many benefits being able to just take off on a Friday night on a whim is priceless. We use certificated locations (part of the caravan club network) a lot. The kids have a real sense of freedom. We stayed in a hotel over the summer and all felt very confined.
We also camp, but as DD also has a spinal complaint she finds a proper bed so much more comfy. I have to confess I love the fridge, freezer, toilet, shower double oven and microwave too.....
Golf is FWD. Too much weight at the back and you'd be looking at compromising your steering.
Oh really? The people we have spoken to in the sales room and a guy who does caravan towing training (so more independent!) put all the dimensions of the car and the caravan into their computers and it came out that it would be fine. Arrrgh I'm even more worried about it all now!
That caravan that you've looked at is very light, 770 kg empty and 950 kg top weight. A 1.6 Golf will tow about 1200 kg so you should be fine. You just need to check the towing capabilities of your actual model of Golf.
Thanks for the replies. Still umming and arring, what to do?!
This is a fab foruma for working out weights and capacities www.whattowcar.com/ Make sure you put in the correct car in relation to age The caravan may be on there.
Make sure the layout suits you ie for families I would always have central bathroom with two end beds. Taking into consideration that there may be days when the children have to stay indoors so space is essential.
Request to see last service record and ensure that there is no damp problems - there may be and on occassion it may just mean changing some seals. Check tyres. Make sure fridge works. Dont worry about the shower as they are never pratical just the loo and sink are essential.
Buy an awning 2nd hand (ebay) again buy good makes and not too old. If possible go for carbon tubes.
For the money it may work out good as I would assume around £2K so that would pay for itself in one year considering that a good holiday abroad is going to be £4-£5k. I think you also have to use it for the odd long weekend or for functions (weddings) saving on B&Bs.
If you can get a 5 berth www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Coachman-Mirage-440-5-berth-touring-caravan-/261094735985?pt=UK_Campers_Caravans_Motorhomes&hash=item3cca758071 This looks great for the money. With a 5 berth you get the extra bunk.
Avondale Dart are also lightweight we have one and its great. If you have a caravan breakers close by this is also great as we are always getting bits. Coachman is a great brand. If stored outside then I would recommend a cover to keep damp down as with this age you need to maintain it.
We havent used ours as much as we'd like but then we are extremely busy and tied to business/farm etc.
Pitfalls are the weather, the time to pack it all up, its a self catering but so if camping. Towing in bad weather, fuel consumption on towing. But I would rather a van to camping.
Also find a mobile caravan engineer and pay cash, so much cheaper than driving it to a caravan workshop and paying extreme prices.
My concern was your towing weight but you seem to have investigated that independently. I had a Peug 308 and really struggled to get a low weight van for towing, so traded in for a Mazda Bongo that I'll put a conversion into, and currently surfing for a driveaway awning...perfect for DP, DS(3) and I.
Thank you for all your replies, think we might go for it and join the club!
Great advice about the mobile engineer, will have to find one. Dh is having towing lessons locally and we are googling everything we can about caravaning to get as much info as possible
You'll be fine towing that van with a Golf.
We bought a van this year and have had 3 outings so far, and loved every one. The heating, the running water, the chilled Sauvignon Blanc!!
We have yet to try out the awning, but every time so far we've been set up in about 30 minutes and packed away in the same.
Plus you can camp later in the year. We're going to our favourite campsite in November as they've got loads going on for bonfire night, and we're looking at going somewhere next weekend, which I would never consider this late in the year during my tent camping days!
Thanks mskay, that's exactly my hope for holidays in it!
We've decided to go for it, it's coming next week and dh has booked some lessons to learn the towing basics.
We have a caravan and we use it 7 times a year!We even go away the day after boxing day till the new year-and thats the best thing;being able to have quality family time away any time of the year.I love my 'van-its dry,stays dry and is easy to warm.You will find out what you need and dont need the more you use it-and you don't need to spend a fortune on stuff either.Get it insured-its not expensive-and check your house deeds and with the neighbours that its ok to keep it on your drive.
The biggest fear with a caravan is damp so keep an eye out for it-push your thumbs against the inside walls and if they 'crunch'then its been damp.It can be repaired but you need to keep on top of it.Its worth getting or borrowing a damp meter to check it every now and then.
I'm sure you'll love it-welcome to the club!!
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