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.
It’s time to hunker down, I reckon. The latest Covid news – and I’m sure there will be more developments between me writing this and you reading it – is not good, yet we still all have a part to play in keeping transmission levels down.
But, I’m in a celebratory mood. This month sees me reaching 20 years of continuous membership of the Caravan and Motorhome Club. Over that time, I’ve benefitted so much from everything from its authoritative technical advice to its huge network of UK sites, smaller-scale Certificated Locations (CLs), which are exclusive to members, and campsites abroad. Frankly, long may it continue.
In the news
Tow heavy – it’s official now
It has finally been confirmed! As of December 16th this year (2021) anyone with a full driving licence can tow a caravan weighing up to 3,500kg. In other words, any caravan. That brings everyone into line with us more mature drivers who passed their driving test before January 1997.
Do check your towing vehicle details to ensure your car is OK to tow if you’re going for a heavier unit. Maximum towing limit and gross train weight are the two key figures to consider. Oh, and check your insurance while you’re at it.
And I’m sure all road users will feel comfortable to accept government advice that you take proper training from a qualified instructor if you are considering towing a caravan of any weight and size, most especially if it’s your first time.
Smile – the grandparents are here
Kids love their grandparents; it’s true. A survey of five- to seven-year-olds for the www.playlikemum.com website has found that youngsters like being with their grans and gramps because they make them smile.
They also prefer being with their grandparents over any other family member, apparently. Playing games together is another key reason, plus, of course, the fact that grandparents are more likely to dish out treats than anyone else in the family.
As someone who’s become a grandparent by proxy in the last two years, I can’t wait to take two-year-old Thomas and his slightly younger cousin Millie off on what will hopefully be the first of many camping trips.
Motorhome for me?
Adria Sonic Supreme 700 DC – the stuff of silver dreams
Over here and under-rated? A-class motorhomes from Adria tend to sneak under the radar, which I think is a little unfair. The Slovenian company has been making coachbuilt motorhomes since 1982, and its reputation on the international scene is second to none, which is just as well, because it exports nearly every caravan and motorhome it makes.
Finished in silver, the 7.5m-long Sonic Supreme 700 DC boasts luxury from all angles. It’s a proper four-berth, with rear island double bed plus a typical A-class pull-down double over the cab area. The lounge settees can be converted to forward-facing seats for travel. It’s all based on Fiat’s latest Ducato chassis-cowl.
Supreme is Adria’s highest level of specification. Such is the skywards-heading way of motorhome prices at the moment, the 700 DC tops £103,000, but that’s before you add any goodies, such as automatic transmission, upholstery upgrades and the pretty-much-essential £3,850 Lux Pack.
Three good: Well made, stylish and innovative
Two bad: Price of extras and availability could be an issue
Perfect for… The grandest of touring adventures
Also consider: Dethleffs Esprit I 750-2 DBL and Rapido i96,
Grab an end-of-year bargain?
As per my suggestion last week, if you’re looking to buy Christmas presents, boy are you cutting it fine. There are some interesting bargains to be had, though, especially if you’re not overly worried about meeting that December 25th deadline.
My pick of the special offers is from Snooper, where there are also a couple of dash cams with significant reductions. Its Tyre Pilot STP1400 tyre pressure monitor is down to £59.99 from £99.99 – although I must admit I struggled to access this offer at the time of writing.
Still searching for ideas? You need a torch. Check out the portfolio at Princeton – starting with the £6.95 Tec Pulsar Handheld 10 Lumen Water Resistant Light. And yes, the name is bigger than the light itself!
Further up the price scale is the £59.95 Alloy-X 400 Lumen Waterproof Pen Light, which can be powered via a couple of AAA batteries or a USB connection.
A little call-out, too, for Ethical Superstore. As you’ve probably surmised, all of its huge portfolio of homeware, grocery, cleaning, beauty and gift products is ethically sourced. And it’s offering half price delivery in time for Christmas if you order anything before 2pm on Wednesday 22nd December.