January 2012 issue
EUROPE IS certainly in the news at the moment, and it's all over the latest issue of Britain's best-selling caravan magazine, too. But there won't be any defaulting as we strive to come up with some fabulous Continental touring ideas, and we've got some suggestions to make sure your holiday never needs a bail-out.
So let's hitch up, mount the ferry ramp and cross the Channel. Editor Nigel Donnelly joins 40 ralliers on our latest Reader Rally, to the Loire in France, while readers Andrew and May Clark embark on an odyssey from the Netherlands to Poland, to take in the delights of the Baltic coast.
Knowing where to go is one thing, but if you're new to Continental touring, then you'll need some friendly, expert advice on how best to do it. So we've got some handy tips to make you all Euro-stars from Nigel Hutson. With over 30 years' caravanning experience, and a lot of it in Europe, Nigel's valuable insights are essential reading. Keeping up the foreign flavour, there are also reader postcards from Luxembourg and Germany, and site reviews from Spain and France.
In our Showroom new product reviews section, we test four brand-new caravans for 2012. Twin fixed beds have suddenly become every manufacturer’s must-have layout, and they're being added to line-ups all the time. We put two upmarket offerings, the Elddis Crusader Shamal and the Swift Conqueror 570, up against each other in the Twin test. And we're very pleased to conduct a Live-in test of our Best Caravan for Small Families 2012, the Lunar Lexon 520.
We also test the 1-RV Edge M21, a US-built caravan designed for the UK, and see how it tows on a varied but challenging towing route. Elsewhere, there are first drives of the Ford Focus Estate and Volvo V60, while our Towcar test is a 4x4 clash between the Kia Sorento and Vauxhall Antara. Finally, the Isabella Minor gets a thorough assessment in this month's awning review.
And don't miss our Caravan Genius section, full of handy hints, tips and insights to help you get the most of your hobby. Highlights this issue include your caravanning questions answered in Doug'll Fix It, while Caravan College takes a look at water containers. We have a step-by-step guide to fitting a device which checks your caravan lights from the comfort of your towcar, and a round-up of clever things for caravanners in Caravan Genius.
If you're interested in buying a used tourer or towcar, then you’re in the right place. We assess the Fleetwood Colchester as a second-hand buy, and look at early Subaru Foresters. In Second-hand Shoot-out, we compare luxury two-berths from Bailey and Swift costing under £14,000.
And there's more, including Talking Tourers, Andy Jenkinson's Scrapbook, a seasonal edition our New Kit products round-up of the and one page of classified adverts. Enjoy the issue.
January issue contents in full
Stop here first for touring tips, deals, news and views, plus our crossword puzzle
Your news and views from the sites, as well as posts from our Forum
A 10-year warranty isn’t better than a six-year one, says The Bore
My van blew over!
Mike Clarkson recalls being trapped in his upturned tourer after a freak wind storm
Nigel and Helen Donnelly join 40 ralliers on our latest Reader Rally, to the Loire
Where we stayed
Boating and fishing are among the activities at the lakeside site Les Bois du Bardelet
Andrew and May Clark discover the allure of the beautiful Baltic coast as they journey from the Netherlands to Poland
Crossing the Channel
Planning your first European trip? Follow our guide to trouble-free, pleasurable touring
Our readers write to us about trips to Luxembourg and Germany
Your views on great touring sites in Spain and France
It’s the new caravan season, and we roll up our sleeves for some serious inspection and intensive use of new models from leading manufacturers.
We judge a close contest between fixed-twin-beds from Elddis and Swift
Lunar Lexon 520, 2012’s Best Caravan for Small Families
The 1-RV Edge M21 is a US-built caravan designed for the UK
Ford and Volvo rework two very different, petrol-powered towcars
Kia’s popular Sorento takes on a challenge from Vauxhall’s 4x4 Antara
Isabella’s Minor is a little roomier than other porches, but it’s big on easy-to-use fittings
Our fleet — where we’ve been and how we got there
A new concept for digital radio on site, plus tips and Talking Tourers
Doug’ll fix it
Have caravan queries or quandaries? Ask Doug “Fix-it” King
Doug King replaces the hitch overrun assembly on our Elddis Wisp
Step by step
This gadget lets you check your caravan’s road lights single-handed
Which water container is best — and how do you use it?
Used caravan buyer
Colchester’s mid-market Fleetwood broke convention with its innovative and distinctive layouts
Save 16% of the cover price and get an Autoglym valet kit, worth £41, FREE
We compare luxury two-berths costing under £14,000
From matches to motors, send your tough tug questions to Towcar editor David Motton
Used towcar buyer
Don’t overlook the Subaru Forester, even if it’s not a diesel
Quirky, fun gifts — big and small — for all the caravanners in your life
Buying and selling
Save hard-earned cash with our listings of used caravans, awnings and accessories
Essential touring knowledge for beginners and experts alike
More unusual and unlikely caravans from yesteryear, courtesy of Andrew Jenkinson
Updated with prices and data — now in a user-friendly format
Top 25 new towcars
Here’s our choice of the 25 best new towcars on the market
50 top accessories
From TVs to car boot liners, here is our pick of the best kit