Although micro-caravans have been around since the first car pulled the first van more than a century ago, they seem to receive little attention from manufacturers. If you see them here in the UK, there’s a good chance the model in question will be an imported brand.
One such import is the Carabinata Mini, built by Saly, a Turkish firm that’s been around since 1976. It should appeal if you are looking for a van that is easy to handle and can be towed by a vehicle with a lower towing limit. This is a basic, no-frills tourer, although you can upgrade the spec.
Pitch and set-up
The Saly has a simple profile with low-key graphics. Built on an Al-Ko chassis, it has four corner steadies and a long drawbar, which is partly used for the front locker.
That locker holds one 4.5kg gas cylinder, with space for wheel chocks and so on. The wheels are steel and there’s no AKS stabiliser fitted – although this caravan shouldn’t need one. The four corner grab handles will make handling the Saly easy.
The neat exterior is finished in a slightly dimpled effect. We would prefer a smooth surface for easier cleaning.
There is a mains inlet towards the rear just behind the axle line. It’s placed quite low down, but still provides easy access. The rear road lights are set straight onto the back panel, with no moulded units to house them. This is the same for the reflector triangles and numberplate light.
On the offside front corner is the fresh water inlet for the Saly’s 60-litre on-board water tank. The waste outlet is on the nearside, along with an awning light. The entrance door is at the rear.
As you might expect in a van this size, the seats are on the short side. The upholstery is plain and slab-like, but supportive, and there are two scatter cushions.
There is room here for up to four to dine in comfort at the sturdy table, which clips into place on the front wall. There are blinds, fly screens and curtains on the windows.
The side kitchen is relatively plain in its design. A Dometic twin-burner hob is fitted in line with a cold-water sink. This is quite deep, but there’s no drainer. Considering the van’s compact size, though, there is a good amount of worktop.
A side window, complete with blind and a flatscreen, and a mini-heiki roof vent allow in plenty of daylight. A mains socket is also positioned in the kitchen, with two light switches nearby, for the washroom and the lounge. A 50-litre Beko fridge is also fitted, although it is mains-only in operation.
As you might expect, the washroom is basic, with only a cold shower. It does come with a corner handbasin and a small cupboard moulded into the unit. There is also a mirror and a 12V strip light above, with a concealed mains socket (which we would only plug a shaver into). The large side window offers light and ventilation, and privacy with the blind lowered. There’s no cassette toilet – a Thetford Porta Potti 145 is supplied.
The lounge seats aren’t long enough for single beds, so you will have to make up the double. The table is used for that task, unclipped from its window-still fittings and with the leg folded up out of the way. It slots between the seats and the cushions fall into place. These are square, so they are comfortably flat.
For all of its good points, the Saly is rather limited in terms of storage capacity. There are some shelves, and two plastic moulded containers on the door. Neat pouches just under the front windowsill, although not huge, will prove handy for small objects.
There’s a small cupboard on the offside with a shelf where you could place a TV, but the absence of overhead lockers is something we think should be addressed. Storage is provided underneath the lounge seating (although the water tank takes up the offside area), while the kitchen offers a bit more cupboard space, but with no wardrobe, you’re only going to be taking the absolute essentials.
Perhaps an option of having a wardrobe instead of the washroom might find favour, or even fitting a hanging rail in the washroom.
The Saly Carabinata Mini has some strong competition in this growing market sector. It has many good points, though, such as its weight, the surprisingly spacious lounge and the spec, which can be upgraded.
Night-time illumination is also very good and the seating quite comfortable. It’s easy to tow and manoeuvre, and for customers looking for a basic tourer at a reasonable price, it could fit the bill.
The Saly feels sturdy, too, with solid build quality. This is a nice market, but if you’re seeking an easy-to-handle mini, this is one to add to your shortlist.
- Thumbs up: Spacious lounge for its size, washroom, lighting
- Thumbs down: No wardrobe, mains-only fridge, lack of lockers
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There is room here for up to four to dine in comfort at the sturdy table, which clips into place on the front wall
|Interior Length||2.50 m|
|Shipping Length||4.15 m|
|Spec list||Fridge, Shower, Flyscreens and blinds, Thetford Porta Potti, Al-Ko chassis, LED awning light, Gas hob, On-board water tank, Mains electrics|