Best caravan to live in for 6 months

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Hi all, :giggle:
Just tiptoeing into the world of caravans with a stint of 6 months full time on the cards!
Having just sold my house I'm about to camp on my mum's drive for around 6 months in order to lightly renovate her house in preparation for sale so we can move in together before winter arrives again.
Mum has dementia so this arrangement keeps me nearby but still having my own space to relax.
I'd be very grateful for advice from seasoned caravaners on the following, if it's ok to bullet point.
• Fixed bed? (Seems the most practical solution for comfort and convenience).
• Best internal configuration over all for long-term use.
• Scary things to look out for so I don't get burned as have never bought a caravan before.
I'm sure there are many things I'm not thinking of :geek: so feel free to pitch in and set me straight! 😆
 
Nov 30, 2022
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First question really is what's your budget ?

Are you going to "live" in it, or merely use it as a bedroom?

A fixed bed would, in my view, make best sense as you don't want to be faffing around every night making it up. Do you want a caravan with a double bed, or one with a couple of singles?

Layout is a highly personal thing but if going fir a fixed double you are almost certainly going to end up with a front lounge and an end bathroom (unless you are looking at a fairly new caravan with an island bed and tge bathroom amidships)

Bathroom, will you be using it as a full bathroom, I.e. using the shower as well, or just the toilet (which of course will need emptying every few days.

Heating and cooking. Gas is an expensive way to heat a caravan so you will need a means of connecting to the house electrics. I would advise you get an outside EHU socket installed on the outside of the house near to where the caravan will be. (that's the same thing as is used at a campsite)

Damp is what kills caravans. Water gets in through a joint somewhere, soaks into the timber frame (unless it's a fairly new caravan which doesnt have a wooden frame.) and the rot sets in. It's very expensive and time consuming to rectify. So if buying privately take someone along with you who knows about caravans to check for damp. Or make it a condition of purchase that you obtain a damp report from an AWS (approved workshop service) engineer.

If any seller gets twitchy about that then walk away as they probably know it will fail. (Do a Google search for mobile caravann servicing near to you. They will have the knowledge and equipment to check fir damp. They charge for it, but it could save you buying a pike of.......

If buying from a dealer you will get some form of warranty. If buying privately you get none.

Keep asking questions on here about anything you are unsure of.
.
 
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JTQ

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There is potentially a Local Authority issue looming if you intent to live on a particular location, site, for more than 28 days.
Whether doing so will be picked up, or more likely reported, you will need some strategy to address that possibility.
 
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First question really is what's your budget ?

Are you going to "live" in it, or merely use it as a bedroom?

A fixed bed would, in my view, make best sense as you don't want to be faffing around every night making it up. Do you want a caravan with a double bed, or one with a couple of singles?

Layout is a highly personal thing but if going fir a fixed double you are almost certainly going to end up with a front lounge and an end bathroom (unless you are looking at a fairly new caravan with an island bed and tge bathroom amidships)

Bathroom, will you be using it as a full bathroom, I.e. using the shower as well, or just the toilet (which of course will need emptying every few days.

Heating and cooking. Gas is an expensive way to heat a caravan so you will need a means of connecting to the house electrics. I would advise you get an outside EHU socket installed on the outside of the house near to where the caravan will be. (that's the same thing as is used at a campsite)

Damp is what kills caravans. Water gets in through a joint somewhere, soaks into the timber frame (unless it's a fairly new caravan which doesnt have a wooden frame.) and the rot sets in. It's very expensive and time consuming to rectify. So if buying privately take someone along with you who knows about caravans to check for damp. Or make it a condition of purchase that you obtain a damp report from an AWS (approved workshop service) engineer.

If any seller gets twitchy about that then walk away as they probably know it will fail. (Do a Google search for mobile caravann servicing near to you. They will have the knowledge and equipment to check fir damp. They charge for it, but it could save you buying a pike of.......

If buying from a dealer you will get some form of warranty. If buying privately you get none.

Keep asking questions on here about anything you are unsure of.
.
Just to add to Plodds advice you don’t need an EHU socket outside. Get an electrician to fit an external 3 pin 13 amp socket and you can the connect your caravans Electric Hook Up (EHU) cable using an adaptor this allows you to use the 3 pin 13 amp socket on your wall. The link below shows what to use. They are readily available on line or from caravan /camping outlets. With mine after connecting I wrapped a plastic shopping bag around it and then used Duct tape. This reduces the probability of water ingress.

 
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Mine in the flesh this morning. Not wrapped but all cables securely watertight with sealing glands in built.
I agree with Mr Plodd . A fixed bed and TV! Plus a functioning chemical toilet.
look at Covenants and neighbours . Use propane gas especially in winter months
 

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Mine in the flesh this morning. Not wrapped but all cables securely watertight with sealing glands in built.
I agree with Mr Plodd . A fixed bed and TV! Plus a functioning chemical toilet.
look at Covenants and neighbours . Use propane gas especially in winter months
The Apuljack adaptor in my link doesn’t show that it has a sealing gland. Perhaps you could give the OP a link to a seller of yours. Cheers
 
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No chance . It’s 20 years old!😜
K&M make a similar one (Amazon) but do not quote its IP rating. There also the boxes that you clamp the two connectors in to, they are IP44 splash proof.

K&M

Adaptor box

PS there are quite a number come up on Google searches that claim IP44 but looking at them I am not so sure. Hence why I adopted the Sainsbury's bag additional covering on mine :ROFLMAO:
 
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The OP is planning on the caravan being in situ for an extended period of time. So why not just fit a socket that is actually designed to do the job in question
No need for plastic carrier bags, concerns about the gland around the cable being watertight., or the need to add in an additional adapter.

Safety must be paramount, thats why caravan sites use the connectors that we all see, rather than a splash proof 13 amp socket being advocated by some. They are fine for occasional use, but in this case we are talking about many months.. Either way the costs are similar, so why compromise?
My caravan is alongside my house, I have fitted the correct EHU socket to connect itvto when required. I also have splash proof 13 amp sockets on the outside wall of the garage to supply garden machinery etc.
Different tasks, different equipment.
 
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I would check if there are any local authority rules to prevent you staying in the caravan. Basically though I would assume that by the time the council got the details from a neighbour and they had time to act to the point of enforcement you would be at or very near the end of the six months you say you need. Having said that a lot may depend on where on the property you put it. If it is out the front people may regard it as a problem and take action, but if it is at the side or rear probably not.
As for what you want I would agree a working toilet, and do make sure you can site it where you can get to the emptying point, a fixed bed a good heater, electricity, a fridge and a comfortable lounge. Size depends on you, but if you do not want to offend the neighbours then keep it small.
I assume you want something cheap that you can sell on afterwards, I would buy a cheap damp meter and make sure it has no serious problems there and that everything works.
 
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Thank you all so much, Mr Plodd, Raywood, OtherClive, DustyDog, JTQ.

Hope it's ok to reply en masse.
On local authority issue: mum and dad had a caravan before my dad passed away, I stayed previously the odd time to help with things and didn't have any problem so hopefully the neighbours won't be too curmudgeonly this time and report it.
I would possibly sleep elsewhere the odd night anyways so that might keep me on the right side of the rules.

My budget isn't enormous - looking around 5 thousand pounds Hoping it will have some resale value afterwards rather than buying a super cheap one that will be difficult to sell on afterwards. Of course, I may just fall in love with the whole experience and decide to keep it!
Have seen some fabulous caravans for 8-10 thousand but they're just not in my budget.

Think I'd definitely look to having a proper electrical point putting in. Am definitely in the better safe than sorry camp.

Definitely want a double bed...can't be a starfish on a single! :LOL:

If buying from a dealer would they have to mention any damp or is it worth buying a meter anyway to make sure and would they mind me poking their caravans? :ROFLMAO:

Think I've addressed everything but still happy to receive any further advice if anything springs to mind.
 
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With your budget you are not going to find too many in a dealers, but you might drop lucky if someone trades an older caravan in. Worth a look at least. A dealer will have to give you some sort of warranty,
 
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The OP is planning on the caravan being in situ for an extended period of time. So why not just fit a socket that is actually designed to do the job in question
No need for plastic carrier bags, concerns about the gland around the cable being watertight., or the need to add in an additional adapter.

Safety must be paramount, thats why caravan sites use the connectors that we all see, rather than a splash proof 13 amp socket being advocated by some. They are fine for occasional use, but in this case we are talking about many months.. Either way the costs are similar, so why compromise?
My caravan is alongside my house, I have fitted the correct EHU socket to connect itvto when required. I also have splash proof 13 amp sockets on the outside wall of the garage to supply garden machinery etc.
Different tasks, different equipment.
You have read into my post precisely what you want to read. Nowhere did I mention a splash proof wall socket, as that would not be my recommendation anyway. The wall socket should be IP66. Why do you also feel the need for “ bold” so often , I’d venture most members are more than capable of comprehending what you write.

IP 66 wall sockets are readily available from recognised manufactueres and outlets, viz



I note your ABB socket is IP44 splashproof.
 
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Feb 25, 2024
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I've spoken to a dealer in York that's got a Sterling Windward 500 for sale and he says one seating area can be used as a permanent bed rather than having an already fixed bed. Not sure if it's worth it for the age but I can keep looking.


Does anyone have any ideas on which older caravan brands tend to have the best longevity and better build quality, as I can look for those too whilst searching. :giggle:
 
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Thank you all so much, Mr Plodd, Raywood, OtherClive, DustyDog, JTQ.

Hope it's ok to reply en masse.
On local authority issue: mum and dad had a caravan before my dad passed away, I stayed previously the odd time to help with things and didn't have any problem so hopefully the neighbours won't be too curmudgeonly this time and report it.
I would possibly sleep elsewhere the odd night anyways so that might keep me on the right side of the rules.

My budget isn't enormous - looking around 5 thousand pounds Hoping it will have some resale value afterwards rather than buying a super cheap one that will be difficult to sell on afterwards. Of course, I may just fall in love with the whole experience and decide to keep it!
Have seen some fabulous caravans for 8-10 thousand but they're just not in my budget.

Think I'd definitely look to having a proper electrical point putting in. Am definitely in the better safe than sorry camp.

Definitely want a double bed...can't be a starfish on a single! :LOL:

If buying from a dealer would they have to mention any damp or is it worth buying a meter anyway to make sure and would they mind me poking their caravans? :ROFLMAO:

Think I've addressed everything but still happy to receive any further advice if anything springs to mind.
For your budget i would look at Auto trader on used caravans and you might find a right bargain with some service history and a damp check but take some one who knows what to look for good luck
 
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For your budget i would look at Auto trader on used caravans and you might find a right bargain with some service history and a damp check but take some one who knows what to look for good luck
Thanks Beachball,

Had a quick search on Auto trader yesterday and found some possibles but wasn't 100% what to look out for so better armed today I'll take another look.
 
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The OP is planning on the caravan being in situ for an extended period of time. So why not just fit a socket that is actually designed to do the job in question
No need for plastic carrier bags, concerns about the gland around the cable being watertight., or the need to add in an additional adapter.

Safety must be paramount, thats why caravan sites use the connectors that we all see, rather than a splash proof 13 amp socket being advocated by some. They are fine for occasional use, but in this case we are talking about many months.. Either way the costs are similar, so why compromise?
My caravan is alongside my house, I have fitted the correct EHU socket to connect itvto when required. I also have splash proof 13 amp sockets on the outside wall of the garage to supply garden machinery etc.
Different tasks, different equipment.
Nice one👏👏. Another job on my list. Never thought to look for one.🥴
 
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If you wanted living accommodation as well as a bed then the Sterling might suit well - make up the smaller double at the back and leave it (reversing and jiggling the cushions to make a flat surface) leaving you with the lounge at the front. If you wanted a small 2 berth to provide sleeping quarters only then something like a Lunar Ariva might suit - make up the front double and leave it be. (or same layout but a bit larger Sprite Alpine / Elddis Xplore.
Might be worth buying a generic direct water connector like this example
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/26156640...QF++i89xhrAkfDyop8PvDtTQ==|tkp:Bk9SR8L82eO8Yw
fits the side of the aquaroll and connects to a hosepipe tap for continuous running water. I suspect you would discharge waste water into an aquaroll to dispose down the sewer.
 
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I've spoken to a dealer in York that's got a Sterling Windward 500 for sale and he says one seating area can be used as a permanent bed rather than having an already fixed bed. Not sure if it's worth it for the age but I can keep looking.


Does anyone have any ideas on which older caravan brands tend to have the best longevity and better build quality, as I can look for those too whilst searching. :giggle:
We had a Swift with twin dinette and the front lounge seats could be left as a double bed whilst the end dinette could be used for meals, paperwork etc. it was a very useful arrangement. It was a Sprite musketeer TD, very flexible arrangement in a compact caravan of 6.5m.
 
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If you wanted living accommodation as well as a bed then the Sterling might suit well - make up the smaller double at the back and leave it (reversing and jiggling the cushions to make a flat surface) leaving you with the lounge at the front. If you wanted a small 2 berth to provide sleeping quarters only then something like a Lunar Ariva might suit - make up the front double and leave it be. (or same layout but a bit larger Sprite Alpine / Elddis Xplore.
Might be worth buying a generic direct water connector like this example
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261566406921?itmmeta=01HQK3PFRVBC4QFNBEHR41GJF8&hash=item3ce692a109:g:wR0AAOSwoANlTi~M&itmprp=enc:AQAIAAAA8CJ--uc8SdCUt5wC+U/ffWhxZ4iYXcxlAJZt0Wy0VjOufDOggiJPAKpp08hQRIgImf9jydcOSM/qz8D9WLnEIjMkJJ4S/LNm3X3EzmvNqrrojhKAAP7dA0a4UQ63cWe46s8laAdfhH+opaOrbAc1XHZgN4+O1sgNTNlUzhAzJi4SZt9lzcymXX071KqItN4gubhfrCrLt20Zjg8JJiJ8MvCsI1BOM+G7qooW4W0vJXQG3syCGrjx6hrNkC7WxHD1D4s/td8UdQs68V14L85Xm/vREL3vr2HsszngkVwEtsQF++i89xhrAkfDyop8PvDtTQ==|tkp:Bk9SR8L82eO8Yw
fits the side of the aquaroll and connects to a hosepipe tap for continuous running water. I suspect you would discharge waste water into an aquaroll to dispose down the sewer.
Good call..I'll measure the length from the outside tap to where the caravan will be sited. Am I thinking right with one aquaroll for fresh water and another for discharged water from sinks and shower? I am pretty much clueless as you can tell. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
I'd definitely use a seating area for reading and watching the odd film or two so a bedroom area and seating would be great.
Do you think the Sterling Windward caravans are good quality over all and does this one seem reasonable for the price asked?

I wish I understood better a bit more of the ins and outs, does seem like it could be a bit of a minefield.
 
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We had a Swift with twin dinette and the front lounge seats could be left as a double bed whilst the end dinette could be used for meals, paperwork etc. it was a very useful arrangement. It was a Sprite musketeer TD, very flexible arrangement in a compact caravan of 6.5m.
That sounds perfect Otherclive - great to have a separate sitting area. I'll have a look see if I can see any for sale. :relaxed:
 
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I'd recommend thorough inspection of dealer caravan ideally by independent expert. Seen a a couple of dealer vans that had passed damp test with rotten floors.

There are few youtube videos on what to look for. More vans you look at more faults likely to see and apply knowledge to next inspection. I'd start with looking underneath for signs of rotten floor as water will eventually find its way to floor.

If planning to convert a couple single beds to permanently madeup double allow for extra mattress topper.
 
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That sounds perfect Otherclive - great to have a separate sitting area. I'll have a look see if I can see any for sale. :relaxed:
Then again, the lowest price one I could see on eBay is still 6,800 for a 2008 model, so they certainly keep their value well! Might be able to spot one elsewhere so will definitely keep that model in mind as the layout looks pretty good for what I need. :relaxed:
 
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Then again, the lowest price one I could see on eBay is still 6,800 for a 2008 model, so they certainly keep their value well! Might be able to spot one elsewhere so will definitely keep that model in mind as the layout looks pretty good for what I need. :relaxed:
Here’s the Practical Caravan review. They finished production around 2012/13 Forget when they first came onto the market.

Have you looked at Caravan and Motorhome Club classifieds. You get members selling because of age or health. Often with all of their kit too. Being a private sale an independent AWS inspection would be advised. A genuine seller should not object. Also check out the caravans previous service records they will show the details of damp surveys.

 
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I'd recommend thorough inspection of dealer caravan ideally by independent expert. Seen a a couple of dealer vans that had passed damp test with rotten floors.

There are few youtube videos on what to look for. More vans you look at more faults likely to see and apply knowledge to next inspection. I'd start with looking underneath for signs of rotten floor as water will eventually find its way to floor.

If planning to convert a couple single beds to permanently madeup double allow for extra mattress topper.
:oops: eek! You'd think a dealer would have a bit more gumption than that and at least some fear of ruining their reputation?
Just goes to show it pays to have a healthy dose of scepticism!

I've got a super comfy topper already so I'll use that I think.

I'll see if there's anyone locally ish that does inspection work so I can ask them to check when I find one that works for me.
 

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