Nigel Donnelly

See other Blog articles filed in ‘Editor's Blog’ written by Nigel Donnelly
   
The Practical Caravan team spent a long summer visiting all the manufacturer's launch events and the Lawns Show last week, in order to compile our shortlists for the Practical Caravan Tourer of the Year awards.

The Practical Caravan team spent a long summer visiting all the manufacturer's launch events and the Lawns Show last week, in order to compile our shortlists for the Practical Caravan Tourer of the Year awards.
Altea 542

No change there. We do it every year, but one thing that has become very apparent is the crushing lack of small family caravans. By that we are talking four berth and five berth tourers, but without a fixed bed. We include side-dinette four berths although these tend to be more popular with couples. We also include twin-dinette five berths. Beyond that though, there is precious little innovation in this part of the market. 

In fact, it left two Sprite Musketeers (TD and EB) and the new Elddis Avante 554. The Elddis is a little on the heavy side but offers dedicated bunks for the kids, a big lounge and a nice-sized washroom.

If you want a wider choice than that, it seems you need to widen your search. A folding fabric trailer such as a Conway or Pennine is a possibility but hardly an all-weather option. And then you have the lightweight imported caravans such as the Caravelair and Sterckman models imported by Staffordshire's Freedom Caravans. Adria also brings in some interesting Altea family models, although the six-berth 542 DT and DK are the pick, rather than the smaller 360 and 390 models.

Is it due to lack of demand or lack of supply? If we hope that young tent camping families may eventually upgrade to caravanning, surely we need a choice of desirable, lightweight family tourers to tempt them. At present, there is very little around doing that job, and it's a worry. 

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