WE’VE KNOWN FOR a while that Practical Caravan has been a little short of something, so we’ve looked around to see what is missing, writes editor-in-chief digital, Nigel Donnelly.
A brief glance revealed that we have a lot of caravans. Loads of them, in fact. We’ve also got lots of holiday destinations and quite a few tow cars. There’s a lot of letters, plenty of advice and a few accessories, but when we looked closer, we realised what we needed.
We needed more caravanners. And that’s what we now have. You can meet the game folk who make up our new Reader Team. We know that having them on board will mean more opinions, more great ideas and the real touring-field insight to make your monthly dose of PC even better.
For this issue’s travel section, the theme is cool caravanning. Join our Clare as she grabs a taste of Stratford-upon-Avon with her niece, follow yours truly on a weekender in Dublin and go back in time with reader Gary Richardson at the Twinwood festival.
We’ve also come up with some must-reads for newbie caravanners contemplating hitching up for the first time this season. Readers Debby and Jeremy White show everyone how it’s done as they travel across Europe in a caravan to sunny Greece, while Pat Hudson shares her in-depth knowledge and experience of touring in France. We round up 10 great sites for new caravanners and focus on Weymouth in our Good Sites Guide.
Best for tests
Our test team has been busy this month. We take a look at the distinctive T@B L 400TD and put the Venus 500/4 through a demanding live-in test in sub-zero temperatures! Our new caravan layouts in focus feature looks into the appeal of the rear fixed-bed, end-washroom floor plan, and we test an inflatable awning in the shape of the SunnCamp AirVolution Ultima Air 390.
Anyone looking to treat themselves to a new tow car will find our tow test essential reading, as we assess the towing credentials of the third-generation Mistubishi Outlander, in 2.2 DI-D GX5 auto flavour.
Hints, tips and advice
For advice and insights into caravanning, turn to our Caravan Genius section. Regular contributor Steve Trossell profiles the mighty Al-Ko brand, which supplies 90% of the UK volume market with caravan chassis. It also produces a wide range of other products and accessories, as Steve discovers.
Buyers of pre-owned caravans and cars will find much of interest. Used van buyer tracks down the best large family tourers for less than £13,000 and two fixed-beds for under £13k slug it out in our pre-owned comparison test. Used tow car buyer features a favourite caravanners’ tug, the Hyundai Santa Fe from 2006-2012.
All your regular favourites are there too, including Doug King's technical Q&A, David Motton's Talking Towcars and one page of caravan and accessory classifieds. And making his first appearance, TV presenter and caravanner Martin Roberts pens the first of his new ‘Home from home’ columns for us. Enjoy the issue.
June 2013 contents in full
Your shout, our say
Diary and photo contest
Puff over to a steam rally; some of the entries so far to win a Bailey
Why do we get bad press?
Broad Lane Leisure opens a dedicated outlet for pre-owned vans
Stacie’s super savers
Win a ferry crossing to Cherbourg and garden show tickets
Me and my van
Matthew Watson prefers a tourer to a tent, and he’s just 19
The month in travel
Book to join our Reader Rally in Brittany
Strutting in Stratford
Clare Kelly and her niece, Kate, hunt for the cool and creative in historic Warwickshire
Craic in Dublin
Nigel Donnelly goes stout and about in Ireland’s capital
Vintage fun at Twinwood
Gary Richardson takes his classic Sprite to a really retro festival
The road to Greece
Debbie and Jeremy White go right across Europe on their first tour
France the first time
Our guide for newbies
Meet our team
Readers have stories to tell
Top 10 sites for…
Good sites guide
Pitch up in Weymouth
We get inside the stylish T@B L 400TD
How well does the budget Venus 500/4 work?
Floor plan focus
Our guide to choosing a layout
New tow cars
Mitsubishi’s updated Outlander on test; new Range Rover 3.0
SunnCamp’s inflatable-frame Air-Volution Ultima Air 390
Owner satisfaction survey
Win an iPad!
News about our fleet
Get a £30 digital air compressor when you subscribe
How Al-Ko chassis became a fixture for UK caravanners
The latest data on UK vans
Awning buyer’s guide
Used van buyer
Family vans for under £13k
Your questions answered
Used tow car buyer
Hyundai Santa Fe 2006-2012
Complete how-to guide
Buying and selling
Used gear for sale
Home from home
Martin Roberts’ column