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.
What’s my next trip out in a camper going to be? It’s a slightly weird one, but not as atypical as you might think in the life of a try-anything freelance leisure vehicle journalist.
I’m off to spend a night in an Auto-Sleeper kitted out with Whale’s latest underfloor-fitted heating and hot water systems. It’s Whale itself that wants me to verify the quiet running of its products and how they perform when things start to get a bit too cold outside. I’ll let you know how it goes…
In the news
Go for the tow – from November 15th?
That date, November 15th, is the one where anyone with a full driving licence can tow trailers – including caravans – of laden weights up to 3,500kg. In case you’re wondering, that’s a hefty old unit to lug around.
Our typical mainstream flagship caravan models here in the UK tend to top out at around the 2,000kg mark. I can only think of one leisure vehicle that gets anywhere near that 3,500kg mark and it’s the latest Airstream 251B – an 8.25m long, 2,750kg twin axle affair.
It’s a tad concerning, to say the least, to hear that someone who’s just passed their test – or indeed has never towed before – can hook up to something that even experienced caravanners would hesitate at, and be out there on our roads without any further qualification, or even tuition.
Caravanners tend to be a decent lot, however, and I trust the huge majority of folk will tow within their capabilities. I can thoroughly recommend some extra tuition, as provided by both the Caravan and Motorhome Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club. They offer programmes of one-day towing courses. Others are available and you can ask your local dealer for more information.
Water way to go – Ford’s future?
A motorhome that can extract clean water from the air? If you think that’s the stuff of the future, it’s closer than you think. Ford is currently trialling one of its Rangers around the United States of America, showcasing a tie-up with Watergen, which specialises in “atmospheric water generation”.
The company’s externally mounted Mobile Box measures 630mm x 530mm x 460mm and claims a world first in being able to grab drinking water from the air around it. It can collect up to 25 litres a day, which, in turn, means no need to carry excess amounts of water, hence saving on fuel economy and even the plastics used for containers.
It relies on a 12V power supply and replaceable filters and really looks like it could be a vital ingredient for those who want to go truly off-grid in their leisure vehicles… in the future!
Buccaneer Commodore – champion contender at the weigh-in
Buccaneers sit proudly at the top of the Elddis portfolio. They’re big, they’re heavy and they’re high on luxury. They’ve got presence. They’ve also got a lot of goodies on board. Everything from E&P’s latest self-levelling system to underfloor heating.
It’s all wrapped up in a pretty standard front lounge/end bedroom with island double and split washroom facilities, along with the kitchen mid-van. It’s roomy, even by normal 8ft-wide, twin axle standards.
Three good: Seating comfort, sky-high equipment levels and sheer presence
Two bad: Only one drainage point in the shower and the usual weight issues
Perfect for…Caravan connoisseurs
Also consider: Coachman Laser 675 Xtra or Swift Elegance 835
Christmas comes early, 2021. Part one…
Here are some early Christmas gift ideas for the caravanners and motorhomers in your life. First off, how about a pair of foldable Raptor Response emergency shears from Leatherman?
These are designed for cutting your way out of any emergency, but could also come in handy for more everyday scissor tasks. In stainless steel, they weigh just 157g, come in a choice of three colours and cost £89.95.
Or, how about a PastBook? That’s a new-tech way of way of almost instantly preserving images of memories past from various sources, like your phone, computer, Instagram or Dropbox, in a single publication that lasts forever.
Alternatively, for something a bit more down-to-earth, Thatleisureshop.com has a small stock of half-price wheel clamps from Maypole.