Martin Roberts

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Our columnist Martin Roberts is having fun conjuring up ideas for the tourer of the future – but what advances in caravanning technology do you want?

Blue-sky thinking is all the rage. So, empowered by the azure firmament of summer 2016, let’s push those boundaries, board the helicopter, take a step back, embrace the elephant in the room and contemplate the caravan of the future. Here are a few characteristics that I think are indispensable:

1. Articulated

Well, it would make negotiating those winding rural lanes easier!

2. Open-topped

This would make the most of the sunshine and really embrace the outdoor lifestyle. You could say we should make the most of what little British sun we get, but after many a blissful hot day in summer 2016 in my van, I'd like this just to enjoy the UK at its best. Is there any sensible reason why most vans have a solid roof? “Sleek, aerodynamic efficiency,” I hear you cry. Oh, give me a break! I want the wind in my hair and the feel of the sun on my back.

3. Even lower weight

To enable the smallest and most economical of tow cars to haul the caravan of the future. Or even a bicycle – one with lots of gears, of course.

4. Self-levelling

No more pesky car jacks or levelling feet for me. I want to arrive at a pitch and be playing pool on the roof extension – at the touch of a button! That is 21st century caravanning!

5. Self-cleaning

I’ve never understood why designers limited this capability to ovens. Why can’t this be extended to every household appliance and, well, item. Self-cleaning bed linen, self-cleaning bathroom, self-cleaning children...

6. Soundproof

Look, no offence, but when I’m on my pitch I’d like to turn the Marshall stack to ‘11’ and do my best Jimi Hendrix, but I do not want to be kept awake by melodic snoring from next door.

7. Expandable

Surely, it’s not long before we see aluminium bodyshells replaced by some kind of flexible carbon-graphenekryptonite alloy that’s not only very strong but also expands like an elasticated waistband to accommodate the bulging contents of the tourer.

8. Green

Not in an environmentally friendly way (more of that later), but in a colour kind of way. I still don’t understand why almost all caravans are white. All cars aren’t white. All buses aren’t white. But caravans are. Why? To stop them from getting too hot inside in the summer? Are you kidding me? In Britain? A site full of, say, green and yellow caravans would look lovely.

9. Movable

Although a mover is still the height of caravanning one-upmanship, I’d like to take it to the next level and soup up these objects of desire. Forget the weaselly little electric motor; I want screeching rubber and 0-60mph in less than four seconds. I want wheelies. I want cornering on one wheel. I want surprised boy-racers at the traffic lights. I want ... a drag caravan!

10. Double-decker

Why has no one ever thought of this? Why are all vans on one level? Imagine the advantages of duplex living. Communal areas on top, with floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, the sleeping area below, with space for more fixed beds than you can shake a stick at. You’d have to be careful where you towed it, but a ‘windup’ version would work for low bridges.

11. Recyclable

At the end of its useful life, I want to be able to break the caravan down into manageable chunks that can fit in my various recycling bins.

C’mon, Mr Bailey, Baroness Swift, Lord Lunar and Uncle Elddis. The gauntlet has been laid before you...

Visit Martin’s website for information about him, his books and his property training weekends, and follow his adventures on Twitter.
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