Nigel Donnelly

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Bailey Orion is a range of smaller, entry level caravans and fits into the range below the Olympus models. The 400-2 is a end-washroom two berth model and the smallest, lightest van in the Bailey Portfolio.

Pitching and setting up

We pulled the little 400-2 with our Subaru Outback test car and thanks to the 1076kg MTPLM, it seemed there was no van there at all. Even the diesel Volkswagen Golf or Mazda 3 will find it easy tugging the Orion to a site. Once there the van is easy to manoeuvre by hand, and its Al-Ko stabiliser, buttonless handbrake and prominent steady bolts mean a quick setup. The gas bottle is located on the side of the van to save space at the front, but access could be problematic for those less able to cope with its small hatch.

Lounge

Lounge space is something you get a lot of in the 400-2. In fact, it feels almost all-lounge. We managed to get five around the table with ease and six would have no problem sitting down to dinner. For two people there is plenty of overhead locker space, finished in attractive woods. The pattern used on the front bench fabric wasn't to our taste but the colours are bright and inviting, accentuated by a good sized Heki rooflight overhead.

Kitchen

In terms of overall feel, the Bailey Orion as an entry-level van to the Bailey range has a great kitchen that doesn't feel markedly different to the new Pegasus or Unicorn ranges. In terms of equipment, it is different of course, but definitely not enough to put you off. The only real difference is a smaller oven, which combines the oven and grill in one unit instead of separately. You still get a modern microwave, three-burner gas hob, 107-litre Thetford fridge and mixer tap with stainless steel sink. As with the lounge, the interior LED down lighting is superb.

Washroom

We had little niggles with the Elddis 302's washroom. Not so here. The Orion 400-2 has a spacious end washroom with 90cm of legroom in front of the toilet and a full-sized shower despite the curving roof towards the back of the van. You get a Thetford C-250 swivel toilet, Belfast sink and a good amount of storage including a wardrobe and cupboard beneath the sink unit.

Beds

Lounge by day, bed by night, the Orion 400-2 is really everything you need for a caravan holiday. The bed is put up quickly and efficiently by pulling out slats on runners and using the side cushions to form the front double – which measures an impressive 6ft 1in x 6ft 6in.

Storage

To save space, Bailey has fitted the wardrobe in the washroom. This isn't the ideal solution for some people, but it doesn't make the washroom feel small. In the kitchen there's a cream-coloured cupboard above the hob with shelving and a cupboard beneath the cooker for pots and pans. Considering the caravan is catering for two, Bailey has been generous fitting eight overhead lockers of a good depth and solid feel to the hand. There's even a small sideboard for TVs, admittedly mostly filled by the gas canister accessed by an external side locker, but there is a small shelved cupboard in there, too. Outside, you get two wet lockers in the front corners.

Technical specs

Berth2
MiRO959kg
Payload129kg
MTPLM1076kg
Interior length4.184m
Shipping length5.347m
Width2.19m
Height2.63m
Awning size825cm

Verdict

The Orion can be matched with the smallest towcars and in its 400-2 guise offers surprising amounts of space, a good spec list and a pleasing build quality for the money. These small vans beg the question: do we really need any more than this?

Conclusion

Pros

  • Small on weight but not small on interior build quality and equipment
  • Like the Elddis 302, the Orion is really accessible, making caravanning an option for people with small towcars and post-1997 driving licences

Cons

  • The interior woods are great, but we're not sure about that upholstery pattern and colour scheme
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