Nick’s News – Nick Harding is an expert in all things motorhomes, caravans and camping. Each week, Nick explores products, locations, holiday ideas and essential community information on our behalf – It’s a Hard-ing Life for Nick, but here is what he found this week.
My motorhome week
I’m writing this just at the point that campsites in England are re-opening (April 12th). And I’m lucky enough to have booked pitches at the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s Site at Burford, as well as one of its Certificated Locations – Wold’s End – for a bit of touring in the Cotswolds.
Fortunately, I’m in a Bailey Adamo 69-4 motorhome, which I’m testing for the Caravan and Motorhome Club Magazine, so the ruling that sites can’t open their toilet block facilities isn’t going to be a particular issue.
It’s making me think though. I wonder if a possible future scenario is for campsites of a specific size – let’s say of 20 pitches or more, but that’s completely arbitrary – not to have any shared toilet and shower facilities at all. If it kept pitch prices down, there may be some merit for a network of sites offering minimal facilities that are also open to all-comers. I could see myself as a regular attendee. What do you think?
In the news
Popping up – Club sites
It seems the Caravan and Motorhome Club has beaten me to it as far as my comments above are concerned. Its announcement of two pop-up campsites – Beale Life Wildlife Park in Berkshire from July 26th to August 2nd, and Beaulieu Estate in the New Forest from July 2nd to 29th – are surely forerunners of what we can expect from many campsite operators as they attempt to meet the soaring demand from us staycationers.
Surely there will be more announcements along these lines. It’s also a reminder, if you need such a thing, that campsite pitches across the UK are booking up fast and supply is going to struggle to keep up with demand.
Hire an Auto-Trail here – or there
Manufacturer Auto-Trail has announced links with 27 companies offering its motorhomes for hire across the UK. It sounds like a great idea to me, because if you were thinking of buying a particular model it’s an ideal way to try it out before you take the plunge of purchasing.
It also means, if your heart was set on ordering a new Auto-Trail but have found stock simply isn’t going to be available in time – a situation that’s affected all manufacturers this year, for obvious Covid and Brexit reasons – you could still find yourself going away in an Auto-Trail for at least some sort of holiday.
Motorhome for me?
Sun Living V65SL – the cost of living?
Finding Adria’s Twin series van conversions a bit much? You can get back to basics with the same manufacturer’s Sun Living V models. Just as Auto-Trail has been blazing a, er, trail with its lower-priced Expeditions, so Adria has similar expectations for its Sun Living offerings.
Based on Fiat’s near-ubiquitous Ducato, the V65SL is the extra-long, 6.36m variant that offers not just a front lounge but also a rear twin-settee area – the latter could actually be left as a bedroom if required, with single beds or a double.
The only thing is, Adria can’t hammer down that price as much as we’d like. It starts at around £46,000, but there are a few options packs that will tempt you on towards the £50,000 hurdle – and I’d argue the £1,820 Pack 1’s cab air con, passenger air bag and cruise control make it an essential.
Three good: Adria build quality, rear seat/bed flexibility and smart pricing
Two bad: Price-creep options and sliding door is UK offside
Perfect for… full facilities in a van conversion, at a keener start price
Also consider: Auto-Trail Tribute Compact 680, Benivan 122, Roller Team Toleno L, Swift Select 184
Multi-purpose shelters – the space savers?
As we emerge post-lockdown, we’re going to start wanting some items of kit previously never particularly thought of as essential, such as shelters, for example. They’re ideal for meeting other folk whilst still maintaining social distancing and keeping fresh air around you to a maximum. All this at the same time as offering some protection from the harsher elements.
Dometic’s £644 HUB is an inflatable activity shelter, which can stand alone or you can order an optional connection tunnel to link up to your campervan or SUV. Zip-in wall panels – featuring windows or mesh – and an annexe are also available at an extra cost if you want even more privacy or protection.
Another inflatable offering is the Outwell Air Shelter. Again, you simply pump it up for instant cover, with a choice of wall panels also optional. Prices start at around £350.
Meanwhile, Quest’s Screen House – available in two sizes and priced from around £250 – uses an integral extending frame system so it can be put up by one person in seconds. Its sides are mesh, but you can order additional panelling to complete your enclosure.