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Subjects To Be Aware Of When Looking At New Caravans

Feb 9, 2008
When looking at a touring caravan there are several quite different layouts to consider.
For families with two or more children, fixed bunks are very popular, particularly if children wish to bring along friends.

Smaller families or couples that occasionally take grandchildren often prefer caravans with side bunk beds that during the day convert into a small dinette area, these caravans usually have large end washrooms with a separate shower.

Layouts that have become increasingly popular in the past six or seven years are those that have a fixed double bed. These are particularly suited to caravanners who travel in pairs, as the other sleeping accommodation can often be compromised; unless the caravan is one of the larger twin axle models where a couple more single berths can be fitted in.

The other major issue to consider when selecting a new caravan to buy is the weight of the unit. Twin axle caravans are usually the largest and heaviest of the vans on the market. These are often the models that contain fixed double beds and large shower and toilet areas; consequently they are very popular with people that spend a large amount of their time caravanning. For these larger caravans a four-wheel drive towing vehicle is ideal, although some of the larger saloon and estate cars may make suitable tow cars.

When calculating towing weights it is the kerb weight of the tow vehicle that is the important figure, the caravan should safely fit within an 85% ratio, although you could pull 100% and still be legal.

All caravans have a published un-laden weight and loading margin for all essential and personal equipment. These figures are known as 'mass in running order' and the 'payload'. Payload is usually broken down into essential habitation equipment, personal effects and optional equipment. The final figure quoted is the 'maximum technical permissible laden mass' or MTPLM for short! This is the weight that the caravan should not exceed when fully loaded. The margins given are usually more than ample, and caravan owners would be hard pushed to exceed the loading figure.

The majority of new caravans sold in the UK are sold with a 3-year warranty, which; as in the motor industry this is dependent on an annual service. This ideally should be carried out by the supplying dealer, in order for any manufacturer updates and if necessary any warranty work to be undertaken.

In addition to the 3 years, the majority of new caravans now come with a 6-year body integrity warranty; this covers such items as water ingress and panel delimitation. Like the 3yer warranty, it is also dependent on annual servicing.

Once you have chosen your new touring caravan and you know that you can tow it, the next subject that will have to be explored are other items that you will have to purchase in order to use it.

Although most new caravans now come equipped with some of the kit you will require, there are still other items that will have to be considered before embarking on your first trip away.

You should find a spare wheel, mains electric lead and a step are included with most new vans, the stabilizers tend to be built into the hitch head so these also usually come as standard.

This leaves essential equipment such as water containers, gas cylinders and a battery that must be obtained in order to start caravanning. Things such as sleeping bags, kettles etc. you may already have; but if not your local camping and caravanning shop should have a varied selection to choose from.

The final piece of equipment that you may wish to consider is a full awning; which will in effect double your usable space, especially useful when you are with the family or away for a week or more. With the addition of an inner tent you can have extra sleeping accommodation. Porch type awnings are genuinely quicker to erect and lighter in weight. These are ideal for keeping all those shoes and boots from getting stacked up in the doorway of your caravan. The larger types of these can be roomy enough for a table, chairs and other pieces of equipment that you do not wish to clutter up your caravan with.

Your local caravan dealer should be able to help with all of the above, advising on the different models and products available. Building up a good relationship with a dealer can only help in making your whole caravanning experience a positive and enjoyable one.
About the Author
Caravanning expert Thomas Pretty looks into which considerations should be made when looking at new caravans . To find out more please visit http://www.homesteadcaravans.co.uk/
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