Nick News, Spotlight

Nick’s News – Elddis Crusader Zephyr and wrap up warm for the holidays

Nick HardingNick’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 week

Phew, that’s Christmas done and not exactly dusted – more like fully rained on – for another year and, as I type, the New Year on the very near horizon.

The Christmas break gave us the ideal excuse in the Harding household to debate where to go next year and already some plans are at the formulation stage. I think I’ve already told you the Cumbrian Coast 200 route is definitely down for a start-the-season trip, as is Easter on the Isle of Bute.

We’ve got a sprinkling of festivals to look forward to and there’s still summer – Italy is the twinkle in our eye at the moment, but who know how things are going to pan out, Covid-wise? It’s lovely to have plans, though. 

Here’s to a happy, touring  2022. 

In the news

Look to the future – it’s only just begun?

What’s 2022 going to bring? More staycations, more challenges for the supply of leisure vehicles to keep up with demand – caravans and, especially,  motorhomes. In turn, the secondhand market for both these leisure vehicle sectors is going to stay pretty tight, which is not the greatest news for newcomers to our lovely pastime. 

Who knows what twists and turns there are to come in the Covid pandemic, too. Will we all be vaccinated and boosted sufficiently to carry on the touring lifestyle, or will there be restrictions on where we can travel? 

I can’t see anything but increasing popularity for staycationing – dreadful word, I know, although it is a rather neat sum-up for holidaying at home – and yet, from my own general touring in 2021 I found it wasn’t too hard to avoid any overcrowded locations throughout much of the UK. 

Caravan crush

Elddis Crusader Zephyr – a slimmer attraction

If a Buccaneer Commodore is all too much for you, why not go for an Elddis Crusader Zephyr and pocket the £7,000-plus price difference?

It’s £32,444 for the latter, and you still get a lot of luxury for your lolly. You might even find the 2.30m body width less exacting than the 2.45m favoured by the flagships of most manufacturers’ range-topping offerings – indeed, all its obvious rivals are at that maximum width. 

This 6.96m long Crusader is nevertheless a twin axle of some presence. It has the much-favoured (at any price point) floorplan formula of a rear transverse island bed, with ensuite washroom (split shower and toilet rooms) and kitchen facilities over the axles, plus a generous twin-settee front lounge (with leather upholstery one of several tempting options). Arguably, the only other “essential” not on the standard equipment list is the £564 100Watt solar panel. 

Not that the Zephyr is poorly equipped. It’s got more than most people will need – Alde heating, 153-litre Dometic 10-series fridge, Pioneer stereo, Al-Ko ATC and the like – yet “maxes-out” at a reasonable 1,800kg. 

Three good: Low-level island bed comforts, popular floorplan, attractive blend of space and comfort.

Two bad: Solar panel only an option, could the shower be a bit bigger? 

Perfect for… Staying slimmer but keeping up the luxury.

Also consider: Bailey Alicanto Grande Faro, Coachman Laser Xcel 850, Swift Elegance 835.

Wrap up warm?

Winter walk, anyone? The secret is in your clothing and footwear that’s appropriate to the weather. Wrapping up warm and staying dry – arguably the latter more important than the former – are key. As the saying goes, any fool can be uncomfortable. 

So, start with a good jacket (and remember, you don’t necessarily want something that’s going to make you too hot, if you’re active). Keela (the Scottish company that provided some 750,000 gowns to the NHS through the Covid pandemic), has its Talus jacket at £139.95 and it’s that almost-perfect combination of low weight, waterproofing and wind resistance, thanks to a ripstop outer shell and Primaloft Gold insulation. It’s available in men’s and women’s styles and a good choice of colours. 

Decathlon is currently offering women’s Wedze (£49.99) and, men’s Piste £79.99) Ski Jackets in some rather snazzy designs, as well as a wide choice of sizes – both of which will keep you cosy even if you’re not planning to take to any slopes. 

Or, if you want to supplement what you’re already wearing, how about something like the Hoodligan Blanket from Kelty. It’s a £45 poncho/blanket hybrid, with special CloudLoft insulation, which packs into its own hood when not in use – perfect for keeping in your leisure vehicle if space is at a premium.