Modern vans can be cosy in the winter
5:16pm Thursday 16th November 2006 in Leisure
Tradition dictates that by this time of the year, your caravan will be in winter storage, not to be thought about until the warmer weather of spring.
However, more and more people are using their caravans and motor caravans throughout the year, and why not? Modern vans are very well insulated, and all but the most basic models boast blown?air central heating, double glazing, and en suite washrooms with full showers and hot water.
Having spent all that money on a leisure vehicle, it makes sense to get the most out of it and use it as much as possible.
Many Caravan Club sites are open over the winter, but it's still a good idea to book, especially at weekends. Many sites do not use their grass pitches over the winter due to grass erosion in the wet, and who wants mud in their caravan anyway? Hardstandings are the perfect base for the colder months.
On a practical note, it's extremely important to drain the water in your caravan when it's not in use, even between sites when on the road. Leave taps open to drain. When water freezes it expands, and could cause no end of damage to tanks and pipes if not drained away.
Winter caravanning is a great way to beat the blues. What could be better than relaxing in a cosy caravan with a steaming hot mug of tea after a hard day's shopping or walking?
Top towcars take a bow Anyone who tows a boat, horsebox, folding camper or, of course, a caravan, has an interest in the Caravan Club's annual Towcar of the Year Awards.
The latest vehicles are put through their paces with a suitable caravan in tow from Bailey of Bristol. Everything from motorway performance to hill starts is assessed. Each cars' caravanability' is also judged, ie Does it have enough boot space to swallow an awning and camping gear? Can you still open the hatch when a caravan is in tow? Is it easy to access the plug sockets for the road lights?
I only came to realise just how important this competition is when I discovered the staggering statistic that Caravan Club members alone will spend an incredible £1.1 billion on new cars over the coming year.
Last year's overall winner, the Kia Sorento, still walked off as the winner this year of the category All Wheel Drive Under 1800kg', with the Subaru Impreza WRX 2.5 winning the sub-1800kg category.
In ascending order of price, winners of the other (price) categories were: Kia Rio 1.5 CRDi Fiat Sedici 1.9 MultiJet Eleganza Mazda 6 Diesel Estate TS2 2.0 Volvo V50 D5 Sport Mercedes-Benz E320 CDI Estate Overall winner was the caravanner's favourite manufacturer Volvo.
Their V50 D5 Sport Sportwagon' impressed from just about every angle.