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 Caravan Week
I can’t believe the cooler weather we’re getting this year, compared to last when we were all stuck at home and temperatures were approaching tropical (at least, that’s how I remember it).
Most of us are pretty hardy, though, and it really doesn’t take much to keep cosy and dry when the weather isn’t so great.
Plus, if you’re out on site now and the amenities blocks are all closed, using your onboard facilities arguably means you’re going in and out less – and with doors closed you’re not using your most obvious form of heat loss!
In The News
Two tyres to tow?
Good to see the UK tyre trade charity TyreSafe has introduced new labelling for tyres as of this month, as well as revisions to how retailers tell customers – bringing them into line with other products. They’re being phased in as previous stock gets replaced (so, an instant indicator of how new your new tyres rally are?).
It’s a necessary message, but do check your tyres, especially those on your caravan – and even more especially if it’s been sat around for a long period.
Meet your hero
Daniel Walton, OlPro
Congratulations, OlPro. The accessories specialist has just been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade. Not bad for a business that began as a twinkle in the eyes of husband-and-wife founders Daniel and Lisa Walton exactly ten years ago. OK, they boasted long experience in the leisure sector before that, but nevertheless to start a company from new that’s since seen its turnover grow every year is a formidable achievement – especially when you’re also bringing up a family.
From crockery to awnings, OlPro hasn’t been afraid to offer things that are just a little bit alternative to the norm.
As Daniel says: “I’m so pleased with how we’ve been able to grow our company significantly during this time. But more importantly, we’re proud to be a business that really gives back to the community and we will continue to use our successes as an opportunity to help and support local communities, charities and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.”
Latest of these is a tree-planting project involving tens of thousands of trees to help the company move towards a stated carbon neutral ambition.
OlPro? All go, more like.
Wingamm Rookie L – what a body!
Italian brand Wingamm has announced the first of what it hopes will be a number of agents across the UK for its all-GRP micro caravans. It’s BC Motorhomes in Ayrshire.
Bigger sister to the two-berth Rookie 3.5, it’s the 6m-long L variant that appeals more to me. It sleeps four and has a rear French bed with washroom alongside, as well as that bit of extra living space all round.
It’s very light, too. The 940kg MTPLM can be upgraded to 1,200kg if you want extra load-carrying capacity. Prices starting from £25,000 reflect the Rookie L’s more upmarket appeal.
Biggest selling point is the tough, all-GRP monocoque body. And yes, it is all a bit different to the usual, run-of-the-mill stuff.
Three good: 15-year water ingress warranty, door on UK nearside, light weight
Two bad: Limited UK dealer network (for now), needs more windows
Perfect for… being a bit different
Also consider: Barefoot, Tripbuddy
Get out more – with a new awning
Leading caravan awning manufacturers haven’t been resting over the past year. There are actually quite a few new models coming onto the market. Here’s my usual very quick overview.
Quest’s Elite Snowdown is an inflatable porch awning that’s also designed for seasonal pitching (if you want a traditional poled version check out the Westfield Vega from the same parent company).
Following its take-over of Kampa, Dometic has been rebranding its awnings, hence models like the Dometic Ace Air Pro series – but they’ve also used it as an excuse to upgrade sizes, add a front canopy and improve ventilation here.
Vango has additions to its portfolio – the Riviera 420 and Balletto Air range, the latter a trio of porch units in varying sizes.
If you want the very best (and if finances allow), for a full awning for seasonal pitching, Isabella has reintroduced its Forum Etna, complete with built-in flexibility in terms of the configurations – porch, canopy, annexe, etc – that best suit your particular needs.