First time buyers

Aug 19, 2020
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Hi all.
First time buyers here and brand new to caravanning.
We're looking at getting a small caravan for 2 +dog, and have seen what we think is a good van nearby. It's a Stirling Eccles 480, 2016 model.
Is there any advice you would give before we take the plunge into buying it, or anything we need to ensure we have/the van comes with etc?
We've done our homework on towing weights, and the van is well within the limits for cat B license, but any advice is greatly received.
Thanks
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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Hi and welcome to the forum.
Is the caravan being sold by a dealer or is it a private sale?
Check the ownership documents if the caravan is being sold privately, the caravan should be CRiS registered with the CRiS number etched into the caravan windows and the registration kept by the previous owner.
Check the service book to find out if the caravan has been serviced every year since new and ask if there is any damp in the caravan and if any repairs have been carried out , get the confirmation of no damp in writing.
On a private sale it might be best to engage the services of an approved mobile caravan engineer to carry out a damp test and to give your prospective purchase a check over, it could save you money in the long run.
You should expect there to be a leisure battery, electric hook up lead and a step with the caravan, any other items such as an awning are a bonus.
On a private sale it's important to ensure that the vendor has the right to sell the caravan so don't meet with them in a lay by or motorway service area, go to their home.
Good Luck
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Hi Welcome to the forum
i think (Parksy ) has told you all you need to know ..
There no outstanding finance on the caravan
 
Aug 19, 2020
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Hi guys, thanks for the replies.
It's being sold by a dealer, so will have a pre sale inspection, damp check etc and 12 months warranty minimum.
There's no leisure battery or gas bottles included but we want to do some wild camping so will look at higher capacity batteries to buy separately.
Any recommendations on where to look for batteries or spec to buy?
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Hi guys, thanks for the replies.
It's being sold by a dealer, so will have a pre sale inspection, damp check etc and 12 months warranty minimum.
There's no leisure battery or gas bottles included but we want to do some wild camping so will look at higher capacity batteries to buy separately.
Any recommendations on where to look for batteries or spec to buy?
Get a well known brand of battery. Bosch, Varta,Lucas,Exide, Banner. Some good brands are all made by the same multinational but they are still good. I steer clear of online battery purchase as I had a bad experience trying to return a defective battery to an on line supplier in north Wales. A used battery is classified as hazardous waste and requires a licence carrier to transport it. I found local suppliers not that much more expensive as they’ve responded to online competition.
 
Jul 3, 2020
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What do you mean 'Wild Camping' or do you actually mean. 'Off Grid'. camping. Which are two different things

Off Grid camping, is basically a campsite where you have no electric hook up, in most cases there won't be any toilet block prevision, only a cold water tap, water waste disposal, a rubbish bin, If you've haven't got your own chemical toilet, they refuse you.

Wild Camping, is basically illegal, as now most councils will have by-laws to prevent unauthorised camping, many years ago you could camp almost anywhere in the New Forrest, find a clearing set up your tent and away you went. Try it now you will at best be moved on, at worst be fined. This includes any overnight stays in the various car parks.

So most people who do Wild Camping, use tents and go way off the main beaten tracks.

But if you're buying from a dealer, I'd would buy from them (often a lot of dealers, will give you a period of time where they will give you a discount on other pieces of camping kit you buy from their store) if you explain that you will be camping off grid, they will provide the right size battery, and will even be happy to pop it in for you.

But do keep in mind, unless you have some way off recharging a battery while away, it will have limitations to how long is will last. So perhaps considering solar power to help to keep it topped up. Another problem with off grid camping, is that not all of the electrical equipment will work. In my caravan, if I'm not using the electric hookup, then I can't use my microwave, and I think if I remember rightly my cooker ignition lighters won't work either, not the one electric solid ring that on the hob.

This will be the same with any television you might purchase for the caravan, if you got a standard domestic caravan, its not going to work on the battery electrics, so you need to ensure that you've got one, that runs both of 12v and the standard 240v.

I see that you have a dog, so a very good quality lead tether is a very good idea, we have t2 dogs, and during the day their water bowl we keep outside but at nighttime, their water bowl is place in the shower tray, so we don't knock it over as we venture to the bathroom, and they don't slobber and dribble all over the floor...
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Wild camping is legal using a tent pitched out of sight of any road or house - but even then the land owner's permission must be sought.

So by definition, wild camping in a caravan or motorhome is illegal.
 
May 7, 2012
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Except in most of Scotland, but if you try it here you may find you are unpopular as there has been considerable trouble with this.
 
Aug 19, 2020
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Thanks guys, I was meaning more off grid than full on wild camping, although it is legal in Scotland so we may end up up that way as we want to do the North coast 500 at some point.
The van has a solar panel already, so we're set for that.
Very good call about putting the dogs bowl in the shower overnight, she's a sod for dribbling all over the floor after having a drink so will definitely be doing that...
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Thanks guys, I was meaning more off grid than full on wild camping, although it is legal in Scotland so we may end up up that way as we want to do the North coast 500 at some point.
The van has a solar panel already, so we're set for that.
Very good call about putting the dogs bowl in the shower overnight, she's a sod for dribbling all over the floor after having a drink so will definitely be doing that...
So what other equipment have you got for off grid
Towsure sells Batteries and Gas bottles
 
Aug 19, 2020
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So what other equipment have you got for off grid
Towsure sells Batteries and Gas bottles
Currently we have next to nothing. Put the deposit on the caravan yesterday so will pick it up soon, learning everything else as we go.
We will be getting two gas bottles, leisure battery is something I'm looking into. We've been advised that an AGM battery would be best but unsure what size/capacity we would need. So far advice on here has been very helpful and have read some posts to gain info. The salesman told us not to buy a battery direct from them as they mainly sold van specific sizes, lead acid and wouldn't be suitable for more off grid camping
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Thanks guys, I was meaning more off grid than full on wild camping, although it is legal in Scotland so we may end up up that way as we want to do the North coast 500 at some point.
The van has a solar panel already, so we're set for that.
Very good call about putting the dogs bowl in the shower overnight, she's a sod for dribbling all over the floor after having a drink so will definitely be doing that...
You'll find that everyone living on or near NC500 is totally fed up with wild campers - it's what they leave behind that's so objectionable.
 
Aug 19, 2020
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You'll find that everyone living on or near NC500 is totally fed up with wild campers - it's what they leave behind that's so objectionable.
I can understand that, but I'd think that's the minority of visitors. Legally, I don't think they can object to responsible visitors who leave the places as they find them though.
I'm sure there's plenty of sites to stop at along the route, but it's the freedom to stop and setup camp where we want to that appeals.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Powerplus Advanced LP85 AGM Leisure Battery
Length mm 278
Width mm 175
Height mm to the top of Terminals 190
(you will have measure the battery box when you get it)
 
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