11:22am Friday 14th December 2007
October saw the International Caravan and Motorhome show at Birmingham's NEC.
The latest caravans, motorhomes and accessories were unveiled, and I went along.
Taking my eye immediately was the cute-as-a-button Dethleffs Campy. This fabulous little caravan manages to pack a lot of features into a tiny space. The whole nose lifts up to reveal a cavernous garage' under the front double bed; an area big enough for a couple of folding bikes and all the gear you'd need for a beach holiday.
Or you could load up the area with skis and snowboards and take off to the Alps.
Behind the bed is a dinette that offers a generous space for a couple to dine and recline, and at the tail end sits the washroom, with loo in one corner, and kitchen with fridge and cooker in the opposite corner. All these features are squeezed into a package that weighs in at 720kg unladen, and 900kg loaded.
This means that the Campy is towable by many small cars including, for example, the Peugeot 207CC.
Prices start at £7,859. For more info check out the groovy website at www.dethleffs-campy.de.
On the accessories side, Calor Gas presented its new, lightweight gas cylinders.
Due to be distributed in March 2008, Calor Lite cylinders have been designed with weight-conscious caravanners in mind.
About 50 per cent lighter than conventional steel cylinders, Calor Lite bottles will be available to exchange at Calor Centres and Calor Gas Direct Outlets.
The good folk at Calor assure me that, once Calor Lite is in the market place, we will be able to exchange our traditional cylinders for Calor Lite at no extra charge.
An integral part of the cylinder is the new Gas-Trac gauge, allowing you to see at a glance how much gas is left in your bottle.
However, there really is no substitute for having a second cylinder on standby to allow a seamless changeover when necessary.
For more info, check out www.calorlite.co.uk.
Over on the Bailey Caravans stand, I saw a terrific model that demonstrated the importance of correctly loading your caravan.
Bailey of Bristol sponsors research into towing stability by the boffins at the University of Bath. This could explain why Bailey caravans behave so well on the road. The model on the stand consisted of a treadmill, upon which rode a model car towing a trailer with moveable weights.
With the weights moved to sit correctly over the axle, it was impossible to cause instability in the model outfit. Yet once the weights were moved towards the rear of the trailer, as would be the case in an incorrectly-loaded caravan, the slightest nudge would send the entire outfit snaking out of control.
This goes to show that no matter how many stability devices the manufacturers fit to caravans, the onus still sits squarely on owner to make sure that the caravan is correctly loaded.
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