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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?