Changing from motorhome to caravan. Advice needed please.

May 19, 2020
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Hi this is my first post on here so hello everyone.

We currently own a beautiful Carthago motorhome but due to health issues we are sadly going to have to sell it and will be looking at either buying a smaller motorhome or changing to a touring caravan.

Both myself and my husband like the idea of a caravan and having a car to get around in when we’re away which would be ideal now that we aren’t quite so mobile. We’ve never owned a caravan before and have only ever had a motorhome, so we would really appreciate some guidance from caravan owners about models, makes and manufacturers etc.

We love our German built Carthago motorhome, it is a luxurious motorhome with all mod cons on board so it’s a very sad situation to have to see it go. We find the build quality absolutely superb and would love to find a caravan with the same build quality and reputation. So- any tips or suggestions of which models and makes fit our criteria would be really helpful.

The layout we are looking for is a 2 fixed single bed layout with ideally a separate toilet & shower, but we are flexible on the separate shower option if we find the right van.

We both look forward to reading your replies and advice.

Happy Tuesday.

Sue x
 

JTQ

May 7, 2005
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Sadly IMO you will not get anything like the build quality of a Carthargo MH in the mass produced caravan world.
We have a 12 year old Hymer caravan which is undoubtedly one of the better build quality caravans, but that's not as good as an earlier Hymer we had and is not in the same class as a Carthargo.
Opulence as opposed to build quality is more easily achieved.

Is a rethink to a lighter Carthargo MH not an option??
 
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Sadly IMO you will not get anything like the build quality of a Carthargo MH in the mass produced caravan world.
We have a 12 year old Hymer caravan which is undoubtedly one of the better build quality caravans, but that's not as good as an earlier Hymer we had and is not in the same class as a Carthargo.
Opulence as opposed to build quality is more easily achieved.

Is a rethink to a lighter Carthargo MH not an option??
Hymer or Knaus have very good reputations compared to U.K. built caravans. Depending on the models they can be towed with a “ normal” car but compared to your MH the payload could be less than ideal especially when you consider that mover, battery, second gas bottle etc come out if payload allowance. But German vans do give buyers the option of a good payload increase. But this would mean a larger Towcar. But you don’t have to get into Discovery territory or large 4x4. There are plenty of nice vehicles out there that will tow heavier caravans.
 
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May 19, 2020
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Hi JTQ,

Thank you for your reply.

We have considered a lighter motorhome but I use a mobility scooter and the payload on a lighter motorhome is inadequate for our needs and my husband no longer has his C1 licence due to health issues so hence the reason we are looking at all options sooner than give up our love of travel and attending music festivals and outdoor events such as Formula One race events etc.

We don’t want to tow a trailer to house the scooter and we really need a vehicle to get about in these days due to recent long term health issues and so a caravan and car option is probably the best solution for us nowadays.

We appreciate by nature the build quality of any caravan cannot equal that of a Carthago motorhome for technical and weight purposes and we do know it’s going to be a compromise but we’re looking for a caravan that comes with a good reputation and is recognised as high regard by both caravan owners and the industry.

So - we’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on which caravan manufacturers and dealers gets the best reviews and which caravans most people consider a candidate for our needs.

Sue x
 
May 19, 2020
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Hymer or Knaus have very good reputations compared to U.K. built caravans. Depending on the models they can be towed with a “ normal” car but compared to your MH the payload could be less than ideal especially when you consider that mover, battery, second gas bottle etc come out if payload allowance. But German vans do give buyers the option of a good payload increase. But this would mean a larger Towcar. But you don’t have to get into Discovery territory or large 4x4. There are plenty of nice vehicles out there that will tow heavier caravans.
Thank you so much we have heard good reports about both of those makes.

We like the look of a Hobby too, so would love to hear opinions relating to a Hobby as we’ve been told various stories about not being allowed on campsites with a Hobby etc. You never know if these stories are exaggerated though do you - so any experiences from actual owners of a Hobby caravan are more reliable I’d think.

We currently own a BMW Gran Tourer car but my hubby is looking to change the car now we are looking to buy a caravan. The car needs to be able to tow the caravan and carry my mobility scooter so sadly our current car is not suitable for that task.

Once we decide which caravan we want to buy we will change the car to match our needs but any tips on towing cars for heavier caravans would be very welcome too.

We just cannot wait to be able to look around the caravan showrooms or outdoor shows now and take a look at some different caravan models but unfortunately we have just got to wait for the current lockdown restrictions to be eased so that everywhere reopens again.

Stay safe everyone.
xxx
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thank you so much we have heard good reports about both of those makes.

We like the look of a Hobby too, so would love to hear opinions relating to a Hobby as we’ve been told various stories about not being allowed on campsites with a Hobby etc. You never know if these stories are exaggerated though do you - so any experiences from actual owners of a Hobby caravan are more reliable I’d think.

We currently own a BMW Gran Tourer car but my hubby is looking to change the car now we are looking to buy a caravan. The car needs to be able to tow the caravan and carry my mobility scooter so sadly our current car is not suitable for that task.

Once we decide which caravan we want to buy we will change the car to match our needs but any tips on towing cars for heavier caravans would be very welcome too.

We just cannot wait to be able to look around the caravan showrooms or outdoor shows now and take a look at some different caravan models but unfortunately we have just got to wait for the current lockdown restrictions to be eased so that everywhere reopens again.

Stay safe everyone.
xxx
There are so many cars out there that will tow caravans that it is almost impossible to advise as each owner will say that theirs is best. You could look at the annual Towcar of the Year awards in PC or on the CMHC/CCC websites. From what you have said I suspect carrying volume will be a key criterion for your car as well as it’s towing ability. Also the type of caravanning that you plan will have a bearing. Will it be all year, on rally grass fields or hard pitches etc, etc. Your own mobility can influence the car selection. I had a Skoda Superb estate 4x4. Lots of luggage space, good Towcar but not good if anyone has mobility issues getting in or out as it’s low down. One car that consistently seems highly regarded is the Hyundai Santa Fe or it’s sister the Kia Sorento. Easy to access, high driving position, good towing reputation, lots of volume and 5/7 warranty which seems rarely to be required.
Happy hunting. Be interested in hearing on progress.
 
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PTA

Mar 5, 2020
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I agree with the above. However...
Your choice of tow car really depends on your budget...to state the obvious!.
Higher end, and expensive, 4x4s have excellent load space and would not struggle towing a heavier German caravan.
LR Discovery?
VW Touareg?
LR Range Rover? (massive but hugely expensive)
BMW X5?
Volvo XC90?
Audi Q7?
 
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May 7, 2012
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Sorry to hear of your problems. I assume given the size of the motorhome your husband probably has a B+E licence but that is the first consideration as from what you say the combination will be over 3,500 kg given you need to carry the scooter as well.
I hope this page on the CAMH website will help,ttps://www.caravanclub.co.uk/CaravanClubApps/Applications/login/login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fCaravanClubApps%2fApplications%2flogin%2fprofile%2fhome.aspx

The first thing I would say is that you probably need to get an idea of the weight of caravan you want to tow and then look at the car. This will need to carry the scooter and withouit details of the size and weight the best I can say is look at something that will swallow it with room to spare. and with the owing capacity you need.
You then need a shortlist which I assume will be large estates and SUV,s. Do bear in mind that the towing mileage is small compared with everyday driving so once you have the shortlist of suitable tow cars, see what suits your lifestyle and go with that.
As for the caravan if you have mobility issues then an L shaped front lounge if you can find one might give you more room. They are a bit thin on the ground though.
Beds are a bit personal but side beds do have the advantage of keeping the length down but if the person next to the wall needs the toilet they have to climb over the other person.
Transverse beds tend to be very tight at the base when down which can also cause a similar problem. The person furthest from the toilet has to squeeze past the foot of the bed or climb over.
Parallel beds do not suffer from this require a longer body.
As for makes, this is far too personal to be sure any of us is right. The continental makers have a better reputation, but there are no statistics to back this up except for Adria. Coachman are the ones who come out best of the UK manufacturers in the magazine surveys. People tend to either praise their make or complain about them and there is a lot of bias in some opinions. I would examine the contenders and make your own mind up. The working parts of all makes tend to be the same, or from a choice of only two makes, so there is little choice there except, for the exact specification.
The idea that many camp sites will turn away a Hobby is not true. UK sites do not seem to do so, but a few continental sites may as a way of banning travelers. The twin axle models do have a higher theft rate though and some insurers will not accept them and some other continental makes but there are plenty that do.
Take your time and make sure you get it as near right as possible.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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One thing the OP should watch is the noseweight of the caravan - that is the weight the caravan when fully and correctly loaded imposes on the tow ball. Most cars will have a limit of the order of 100Kg or usually less which also happens to be the maximum weight that the hitch on the commonly used Al-Ko caravan chassis can handle. If the chosen caravan has a noseweight in excess of 100Kg then it is important to make sure that both the selected vehicle AND the towbar that would be fitted can handle the caravan weight. Any good towbar installer should be able to give you sound advice - note preferably not a vehicle dealer as they usually sub-contract anyway.

Having said all that if your husband is 70 or over or will be soon or has any restrictions you will need to take note of his licence conditions if you end up with a towing vehicle and a caravan that has a train weight (i.e. vehicle+caravan) that exceeds 3500Kg, and note that it is the rated (known as plated) weights that count not the actual weights in use.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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I really wouldn't take the doomsayers about UK caravans too seriously; caravans like motorhomes are kits of parts from the same makers ; we;ve had 3 uk made caravans and loved all of them and bar the latest which we haven't had long and seems the best made so far, have been VERY nicely made and solid. We've loved each one but go and sit in and poke around in as many as you can-one of the shows is ideal and find the one you really like-like buying a house! you do need to bear in mind though that makers do try to keep caravan weights down-not so important in motorhomes.
 
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if you go for a Hobby make sure you have alot of Security and it in a secure compound storage because some of them get stolen ..
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Hi this is my first post on here so hello everyone.



We currently own a beautiful Carthago motorhome but due to health issues we are sadly going to have to sell it and will be looking at either buying a smaller motorhome or changing to a touring caravan.



Both myself and my husband like the idea of a caravan and having a car to get around in when we’re away which would be ideal now that we aren’t quite so mobile. We’ve never owned a caravan before and have only ever had a motorhome, so we would really appreciate some guidance from caravan owners about models, makes and manufacturers etc.



We love our German built Carthago motorhome, it is a luxurious motorhome with all mod cons on board so it’s a very sad situation to have to see it go. We find the build quality absolutely superb and would love to find a caravan with the same build quality and reputation. So- any tips or suggestions of which models and makes fit our criteria would be really helpful.



The layout we are looking for is a 2 fixed single bed layout with ideally a separate toilet & shower, but we are flexible on the separate shower option if we find the right van.



We both look forward to reading your replies and advice.



Happy Tuesday.



Sue x
Edit 1 day later

Following some of the comments below and further research, my statement about Cat BE being reduced to B at age 70 (highlighted in yellow) is not correct. Please ignore that part .

I have left it visible to keep the thread making sense. The remaining parts whilst not now being entirely relevant to the thread may still be of interest to readers


Hello Sue and welcome to the forum.

I sympathise with your dilemma, and it does present some very challenging criteria.

The first thing to point out is the luggage limit of almost any caravan you look at will be much smaller than a motorhome, so in particular your need to have a motorised disability scooter is going to make the issue even more difficult to meet.

You can have some caravans adapted enable wider doors, but none that I know of would provide a "garage" for the scooter, Consequently you will need to ensure the tow vehicle can carry the scooter, which means you'll need to consider larger tow cars such as estates.

If I understand you correctly, your husband will not be able to sustain the medical requirements for driving licence entitlement C1, This would only become a problem as he transits his 70th Birthday. However at the same time the BE entitlement is also rescinded and converts to just B. If C1 cannot be attained due to medical conditions, its likely that BE would also be unattainable.

This will be important because cat B on its own limits the driver to a car and trailer of "combined MAM" not exceeding 3500kg. Importantly these are both the paper specification figures not what the actual vehicles weigh when measured.

To put this into perspective I have a VW Passat which has a GVW (same as MAM) of 2170kg If I only had cat B I could only consider a caravan with an MTPLM (same as MAM) of up to 3500-2170 = 1330kg otherwise I would exceed the Cat combined MAM limit of 3500kg.

The bigger the car, the smaller the caravan will have to be to meet the Cat B limitation.

Can you advise if this is going to be a problem for you?
 
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Hello Sue and welcome to the forum.

I sympathise with your dilemma, and it does present some very challenging criteria.

The first thing to point out is the luggage limit of almost any caravan you look at will be much smaller than a motorhome, so in particular your need to have a motorised disability scooter is going to make the issue even more difficult to meet.

You can have some caravans adapted enable wider doors, but none that I know of would provide a "garage" for the scooter, Consequently you will need to ensure the tow vehicle can carry the scooter, which means you'll need to consider larger tow cars such as estates.

If I understand you correctly, your husband will not be able to sustain the medical requirements for driving licence entitlement C1, This would only become a problem as he transits his 70th Birthday. However at the same time the BE entitlement is also rescinded and converts to just B. If C1 cannot be attained due to medical conditions, its likely that BE would also be unattainable.

This will be important because cat B on its own limits the driver to a car and trailer of "combined MAM" not exceeding 3500kg. Importantly these are both the paper specification figures not what the actual vehicles weigh when measured.

To put this into perspective I have a VW Passat which has a GVW (same as MAM) of 2170kg If I only had cat B I could only consider a caravan with an MTPLM (same as MAM) of up to 3500-2170 = 1330kg otherwise I would exceed the Cat combined MAM limit of 3500kg.

The bigger the car, the smaller the caravan will have to be to meet the Cat B limitation.

Can you advise if this is going to be a problem for you?
Prof
I’m a bit confused. When I passed 70years I retained BE licence entitlement.Which doesn’t restrict me to a outfit weight of 3500 kg. Have I missed something here?
 
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JTQ

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Prof
I’m a bit confused. When I passed 70years I retained BE licence entitlement.Which doesn’t restrict me to a outfit weight of 3500 kg. Have I missed something here?
You are right if the full driving licence was obtained pre 1997.

I suspect if the OP's husband is having his C1 pulled, then he most probably had a pre 1997 licence and so when passing 70 retained his "E" rights.
Meaning he can drive a vehicle itself of up to 3500 kg MVW, and tow anything it is approved to tow, up to another 3500 kgs.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Prof
I’m a bit confused. When I passed 70years I retained BE licence entitlement.Which doesn’t restrict me to a outfit weight of 3500 kg. Have I missed something here?
Hello Clive,
I think you and JTQ are right and I'm wrong, I thought I had seen something about it, and I should have checked before posting.

SORRY.
 
May 19, 2020
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Hi There,

Yes we have double checked my husbands licence which was only recently renewed and he definitely has retained his BE entitlement. He just didn’t apply to retain his C1 as his medical condition would not have covered that entitlement.

No longer having his C1 entitlement is one of the many reasons we are now looking to change to a robust caravan and powerful tow car as this will be more suitable to our current situation and we will definitely be adding options such as a motor mover and an electric levelling system in order to reduce as much of the setting up tasks as possible. I know these options are rather costly but fortunately our funds allow for this, so whatever we can legally add to make towing and setting up a caravan as easy and as safely as possible then please forward us any tips or suggestions of what gadgets and gizmos you use or have had fitted to help do this.

Thank you all again for your helpful and informative advice, tips and suggestions and we look forward to keeping you all updated on how things progress in our journey to find the perfect new set up for ourselves.

Happy Wednesday!

Sue x
 
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Hi There,

Yes we have double checked my husbands licence which was only recently renewed and he definitely has retained his BE entitlement. He just didn’t apply to retain his C1 as his medical condition would not have covered that entitlement.

No longer having his C1 entitlement is one of the many reasons we are now looking to change to a robust caravan and powerful tow car as this will be more suitable to our current situation and we will definitely be adding options such as a motor mover and an electric levelling system in order to reduce as much of the setting up tasks as possible. I know these options are rather costly but fortunately our funds allow for this, so whatever we can legally add to make towing and setting up a caravan as easy and as safely as possible then please forward us any tips or suggestions of what gadgets and gizmos you use or have had fitted to help do this.

Thank you all again for your helpful and informative advice, tips and suggestions and we look forward to keeping you all updated on how things progress in our journey to find the perfect new set up for ourselves.

Happy Wednesday!

Sue x
You might like the Eldiss Buccaneer range. Eldiss are now part of the Hymer group and worked with Henschel on the bonded body construction. They come with many of the features you are looking for.
 

PTA

Mar 5, 2020
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If you haven't towed before it's worth doing one of the towing courses offered by the major clubs. Very useful and good fun with excellent instructors. You also gain a small discount on your insurance. If you decide to go for a twin axle I would suggest such a course is almost essential.
Also, I'm not sure of how limited your mobility is now but there are electric caravan "steps" as well as handles that fit adjacent to the door.
If you going to buy an awning you may find an inflatable awning useful.
 
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I didn't like to say but ours is a Bucanneer-totally in love with it-build quality seems superb with dovetailed drawers and lots of hi tech features; if you find mobility tricky the extra width is great and the ep self levelling a marvel-rock solid when set up on site, on board water tank etc etc. We have had our since Oct 19 and so far so delighted in every way! The underfloor heating is just the icing on the cake!!!!
 
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JezzerB .....surpised you didn't point out the benefits of a double cab pickup with a hard top seeing as the OP is intending to transport a disability scooter.
Sounds like the OP will also be buying a heavy caravan and will need a larger tow vehicle.
 

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