Recommend a 2 berth caravan

May 2, 2020
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I'm new to caravanning & am looking to buy a used 2 berth , approx 10 years old. Reading some reviews there's a lot of talk about 'leaking' with various models. So can anyone recommend a good van for me please, thank you 🤗
 
Jan 19, 2002
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Hi Gary. Start with the intended towcar. Check what the towing limited (braked) is and the kerbweight. Take about 85% of the kerbweight and then you have a starting point for the weight of van you can tug.
Then decide what layout choices you have/prefer within the weight limitation of the car. I suppose the smallest vans would have parallel benches with rear corner washroom and end kitchen (Lunar Ariva is one example). Then the parallel seats (in either case likely to be long enough fro 2 singles, or made up into double) with side kitchen and rear bathroom (e.g. Swift Alpine 2). For fixed beds there are several choices of either peninsular or side bed, or even 2 singles separate from the front seats.
I suspect there are good and bad vans of any age and manufacturer, but there are excellent examples that will have had little use and have been well maintained serviced and damp checked. You will find some dealers keep vans of the age you are seeking, although even then may be sold as seen or with a 3 month warranty.
If buyig privately then ensure you see the van at the owner's premises and that sales/serv ie records are available, and if you have a cravanning friend take them along too. In either case you can get an engineers report before purchase for some reassurance.
Good luck, and once dealers are open will be good fun to visit a few to see how far your money goes!
 
Jan 31, 2018
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WE loved our Avondale Argente but you really are in a big market; time to have a look at the back of the caravan mag at layouts and wander the dealers and the web.
 
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May 2, 2020
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Hi Gary. Start with the intended towcar. Check what the towing limited (braked) is and the kerbweight. Take about 85% of the kerbweight and then you have a starting point for the weight of van you can tug.
Then decide what layout choices you have/prefer within the weight limitation of the car. I suppose the smallest vans would have parallel benches with rear corner washroom and end kitchen (Lunar Ariva is one example). Then the parallel seats (in either case likely to be long enough fro 2 singles, or made up into double) with side kitchen and rear bathroom (e.g. Swift Alpine 2). For fixed beds there are several choices of either peninsular or side bed, or even 2 singles separate from the front seats.
I suspect there are good and bad vans of any age and manufacturer, but there are excellent examples that will have had little use and have been well maintained serviced and damp checked. You will find some dealers keep vans of the age you are seeking, although even then may be sold as seen or with a 3 month warranty.
If buyig privately then ensure you see the van at the owner's premises and that sales/serv ie records are available, and if you have a cravanning friend take them along too. In either case you can get an engineers report before purchase for some reassurance.
Good luck, and once dealers are open will be good fun to visit a few to see how far your money goes!
Thanks audiorob - whaw that is comprehensive! Will take note of your advice 🤗
 
May 2, 2020
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WE loved our Avondale Argente but you really are in a big market; time to have a look at the back of the caravan mag at layouts and wander the dealers and the web.
Thank you JezzerB - personal recommend is fantastic. I have trawled online with a myriad of options. My problem has been, when we saw one that looked right I encountered inherent problems with the model on reading the review/forums. Thanks again for your recommend 🤗
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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They don't make Avondale any more and hence cheaper on the 2nd hand market, but all the bits and bobs inside are generic ie loo, pump, cooker etc. You'll find this with any caravan-it's only panels and cupboards that are in house-they're a kit of parts. (from very few makers) .Our 2008 was well ahead of its time and the cupboard doors solid wood with ply infills so very easy to repair eg if a hinge came lose and very comfy. Don't be put off with parts etc; just make sure it is damp tested whatever you like and if poss has a service history! Most of all-have fun looking!
 
May 2, 2020
15
7
15
They don't make Avondale any more and hence cheaper on the 2nd hand market, but all the bits and bobs inside are generic ie loo, pump, cooker etc. You'll find this with any caravan-it's only panels and cupboards that are in house-they're a kit of parts. (from very few makers) .Our 2008 was well ahead of its time and the cupboard doors solid wood with ply infills so very easy to repair eg if a hinge came lose and very comfy. Don't be put off with parts etc; just make sure it is damp tested whatever you like and if poss has a service history! Most of all-have fun looking!
What great advice, thank you. Yes damp does seem to be an issue as we saw a Bailey Orion which looked nice but the damp issues were well documented. Looking forwards to getting out & viewing some models after lockdown. Thanks again & stay safe 🤗
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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If you look across several forums you will find numerous report of damp. They can affect most makes and models although German caravans do seem better. But saying that from around 2010 there has been a concerted effort by British makes to improve. One of the biggest changes has been the use of construction materials that are impervious to moisture and so do not rot. But as said above do ensure any van you like has a recent damp test and it’s always good to check service history too. Just because a van has had damp shouldn’t rule it out as if it’s been professionally repaired it should be AOK. For what it’s worth all my caravans have had damp, two have had whole front and/ or rear panels repaired due to cracking. But once the repairs were completed under warranty I then had good service with only a minor few issues of damp returning in other places.
Adria seem to have a good reputation in surveys of pre owned and new caravans.
 
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May 2, 2020
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If you look across several forums you will find numerous report of damp. They can affect most makes and models although German caravans do seem better. But saying that from around 2010 there has been a concerted effort by British makes to improve. One of the biggest changes has been the use of construction materials that are impervious to moisture and so do not rot. But as said above do ensure any van you like has a recent damp test and it’s always good to check service history too. Just because a van has had damp shouldn’t rule it out as if it’s been professionally repaired it should be AOK. For what it’s worth all my caravans have had damp, two have had whole front and/ or rear panels repaired due to cracking. But once the repairs were completed under warranty I then had good service with only a minor few issues of damp returning in other places.
Adria seem to have a good reputation in surveys of pre owned and new caravans.
Once again Jezzer thank you. Some great info & reassurance. I guess with a model of about 10years or so old most problems have been well & truly aired 🤗
 
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Oct 8, 2006
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If you can get a Bailey Pegasus 462 2010 at the right price it will take some beating. Lots of room, big shower in a big bathroom, but most of all the beds can be used far more easily as two singles than most caravans as the under-bed storage pulls forward to make a wider bed. If you prefer a double bed it is HUGE!

As it was the top of the range in 2010 (the Unicorn, now the top, didn't appear until 2011) it has lots of bells and whistles - like a kitchen extractor fan, ATC, full Tracker and alarm, and a full spare wheel, plus a 10 year warranty on the body. One thing it does not have is an external TV aerial socket but that is easily fitted inside the battery box. You <will> need a mover, and if it has not been done already it is worth £66 to get the MTPLM uprated - you get an extra 173Kg payload.

The downside is that they tend to be nose heavy so, despite what others on here will doubtless advise, you may need to pack some extra weight at the back end. We had a couple of full Really Useful boxes (Rymans stock them) inside the wardrobe in the bathroom. It made no difference to handling or stability whatsoever. They should have been fitted, but if not it is also worthwhile fitting shock absorbers - cost about £60 a pair, take about 20 mins per side to fit (wheel removal and jacking up not required) and you will only need a spanner and a torque wrench - can't remember if it was 17m or 19mm.

The only thing to check is that there is no damp inside the front side lockers under the trays, and also look under the front edge for rotting of the outer floor cover - both are easily rectified by a dealer. Indeed if the van is under 10 years old, provided it has a full service history and the ownership transfers have been done, such repairs will still be covered by warranty
 
Nov 11, 2009
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If you can get a Bailey Pegasus 462 2010 at the right price it will take some beating. Lots of room, big shower in a big bathroom, but most of all the beds can be used far more easily as two singles than most caravans as the under-bed storage pulls forward to make a wider bed. If you prefer a double bed it is HUGE!

As it was the top of the range in 2010 (the Unicorn, now the top, didn't appear until 2011) it has lots of bells and whistles - like a kitchen extractor fan, ATC, full Tracker and alarm, and a full spare wheel, plus a 10 year warranty on the body. One thing it does not have is an external TV aerial socket but that is easily fitted inside the battery box. You <will> need a mover, and if it has not been done already it is worth £66 to get the MTPLM uprated - you get an extra 173Kg payload.

The downside is that they tend to be nose heavy so, despite what others on here will doubtless advise, you may need to pack some extra weight at the back end. We had a couple of full Really Useful boxes (Rymans stock them) inside the wardrobe in the bathroom. It made no difference to handling or stability whatsoever. They should have been fitted, but if not it is also worthwhile fitting shock absorbers - cost about £60 a pair, take about 20 mins per side to fit (wheel removal and jacking up not required) and you will only need a spanner and a torque wrench - can't remember if it was 17m or 19mm.

The only thing to check is that there is no damp inside the front side lockers under the trays, and also look under the front edge for rotting of the outer floor cover - both are easily rectified by a dealer. Indeed if the van is under 10 years old, provided it has a full service history and the ownership transfers have been done, such repairs will still be covered by warranty
I’d agree on them being nice caravans. Our Sprite is significantly nose heavy and little apart from a single Calorlite bottle (10 kg weight full) plus grip tracks, and steady blocks go into the front locker. One front under seat locker is full of installed equipment so can’t be used, the other stays empty when travelling. Then two light aluminium recliners lay towards the front between the seats on the floor. The rest of the payload is then distributed from the axle rear wards. I can then get noseweight down to 75- 80 kg with a modicum of fluid in the loo and flush tanks. It tows fine but awning, heavy stuff etc goes in the car.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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How small do you want to go? We have an Xplore 302, which is less than a 1000kg MPTLM. It is teeny tiny, but does the job. Elddis do not get good press on damp, but have to say this is our second Elddis and both have been fine.
mel
 
May 2, 2020
15
7
15
If you can get a Bailey Pegasus 462 2010 at the right price it will take some beating. Lots of room, big shower in a big bathroom, but most of all the beds can be used far more easily as two singles than most caravans as the under-bed storage pulls forward to make a wider bed. If you prefer a double bed it is HUGE!

As it was the top of the range in 2010 (the Unicorn, now the top, didn't appear until 2011) it has lots of bells and whistles - like a kitchen extractor fan, ATC, full Tracker and alarm, and a full spare wheel, plus a 10 year warranty on the body. One thing it does not have is an external TV aerial socket but that is easily fitted inside the battery box. You <will> need a mover, and if it has not been done already it is worth £66 to get the MTPLM uprated - you get an extra 173Kg payload.

The downside is that they tend to be nose heavy so, despite what others on here will doubtless advise, you may need to pack some extra weight at the back end. We had a couple of full Really Useful boxes (Rymans stock them) inside the wardrobe in the bathroom. It made no difference to handling or stability whatsoever. They should have been fitted, but if not it is also worthwhile fitting shock absorbers - cost about £60 a pair, take about 20 mins per side to fit (wheel removal and jacking up not required) and you will only need a spanner and a torque wrench - can't remember if it was 17m or 19mm.

The only thing to check is that there is no damp inside the front side lockers under the trays, and also look under the front edge for rotting of the outer floor cover - both are easily rectified by a dealer. Indeed if the van is under 10 years old, provided it has a full service history and the ownership transfers have been done, such repairs will still be covered by warranty
Cracking advice Woodentop thank you. I will need to read a few times & maybe Google to get the most out of your advice but we'll worth the time & effort I think 🧐
 
May 2, 2020
15
7
15
How small do you want to go? We have an Xplore 302, which is less than a 1000kg MPTLM. It is teeny tiny, but does the job. Elddis do not get good press on damp, but have to say this is our second Elddis and both have been fine.
mel
Thanks Mel 🤗. Not sure about size at the moment, it doesn't have to be big just comfortable as there's only myself & my wife. Will have a look at the Xplore 302 with an open mind 🤔
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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Thanks Mel 🤗. Not sure about size at the moment, it doesn't have to be big just comfortable as there's only myself & my wife. Will have a look at the Xplore 302 with an open mind 🤔
Mines up for sale via Caravans for Sale and CMHC classifieds. Plus all the kit too. See Market Place thread on this forum.
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Damp is one of the biggest issues that has befallen the caravan market, and sadly the older a caravan is the more likely it will be prone to it. I know that sounds very negative, but at a decade old I suspect at least 50% of caravans will have some form of damp problem at some time in its life.

It's not possible to identify any make or model that has a track record of staying dry. Even when consecutive identical caravans come off the production line, there's no way for the consumer to know if the one they get will or won't leak!

Proper repairs can be very good, but the problem is unless you know exactly what to look for not many people would be able to tell the difference between good and poor repairs, which is why its so important to have a professional independent inspection done before you agree to purchase a secondhand caravan.

if you get a damp caravan, apart from the cost of making repairs, the truly annoying thing is some caravans don't leak, which shows the basic design must be about OK, so its down to manufacturing inconsistencies, which the industry has failed to properly address.

If a 10Y old caravan is perfectly dry, and it has a full history of inspections and services, then I guess it suggests it might last even longer, but you have to balance that against the the fact the older it gets, the more likely it is to develop damp problems
 
May 2, 2020
15
7
15
Damp is one of the biggest issues that has befallen the caravan market, and sadly the older a caravan is the more likely it will be prone to it. I know that sounds very negative, but at a decade old I suspect at least 50% of caravans will have some form of damp problem at some time in its life.

It's not possible to identify any make or model that has a track record of staying dry. Even when consecutive identical caravans come off the production line, there's no way for the consumer to know if the one they get will or won't leak!

Proper repairs can be very good, but the problem is unless you know exactly what to look for not many people would be able to tell the difference between good and poor repairs, which is why its so important to have a professional independent inspection done before you agree to purchase a secondhand caravan.

if you get a damp caravan, apart from the cost of making repairs, the truly annoying thing is some caravans don't leak, which shows the basic design must be about OK, so its down to manufacturing inconsistencies, which the industry has failed to properly address.

If a 10Y old caravan is perfectly dry, and it has a full history of inspections and services, then I guess it suggests it might last even longer, but you have to balance that against the the fact the older it gets, the more likely it is to develop damp problems
I have had a lot of help on this site & this response adds to the wealth of knowledge & experience for which I'm very grateful. I guess it's about choosing what's right for you, your vehicle & then checking as required. Thank you & to everyone - good health. 🤗
 
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Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Gary,
The overriding advice has to be very careful when choosing a second hand caravan, especially as the ones you have suggested will be 10 years old.

Use your head not your heart. When it is again possible to, go and look at caravans at dealers, to work out what layout will work for you. Looking in the flesh is far more effective than browsing specifications alone. If possible take a friend or relative who already has a caravan, as they may help to identify the points that might make a big difference.

Once you have a clear idea of which layout works for you, you can then do more research to find which s/h models will fit the bill.

Think about and write down question's you want to ask, be careful about how you word them, for example don't ask "Does the caravan have any damp?" as the seller might be able to legitimately say "No" because the damp it had has been repaired. Instead consider asking "Has the caravan any history of damp?" It's worth pointing out that dealer's are lawfully obliged to answer questions like this as accurately as they can. So be wary of answers like "As far as I know, it hasn't" which basically means they don't know. It's a good idea to get written responses, or to have a friend witness the conversations as an insurance should you have problems after you agree to purchase.

If you find a strong candidate, especially at the age you are considering, do arrange to get it independently inspected. There are plenty of mobile caravan engineers who can offer this service. Money well spent to avoid future costs.

This might all seem tedious, but as the buyer, you want to ensure your spending wisely. After all an honest seller should have nothing to hide, so if a seller won't cooperate, then that should be a signal to look elsewhere.

I do advise to try and get the youngest caravan you can afford as I have previously pointed out the older a caravan is, the more prone it will be to developing costly problems.

If you purchase from a dealer, you will be in stronger position when it comes to consumer rights if things start to go pear shaped, but you might find a financially more attractive deal with a private sale, but there are greater risks if you later find hidden problems.

Caveat emptor or Buyer Beware.

Good luck.
 
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May 2, 2020
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Hello Gary,
The overriding advice has to be very careful when choosing a second hand caravan, especially as the ones you have suggested will be 10 years old.

Use your head not your heart. When it is again possible to, go and look at caravans at dealers, to work out what layout will work for you. Looking in the flesh is far more effective than browsing specifications alone. If possible take a friend or relative who already has a caravan, as they may help to identify the points that might make a big difference.

Once you have a clear idea of which layout works for you, you can then do more research to find which s/h models will fit the bill.

Think about and write down question's you want to ask, be careful about how you word them, for example don't ask "Does the caravan have any damp?" as the seller might be able to legitimately say "No" because the damp it had has been repaired. Instead consider asking "Has the caravan any history of damp?" It's worth pointing out that dealer's are lawfully obliged to answer questions like this as accurately as they can. So be wary of answers like "As far as I know, it hasn't" which basically means they don't know. It's a good idea to get written responses, or to have a friend witness the conversations as an insurance should you have problems after you agree to purchase.

If you find a strong candidate, especially at the age you are considering, do arrange to get it independently inspected. There are plenty of mobile caravan engineers who can offer this service. Money well spent to avoid future costs.

This might all seem tedious, but as the buyer, you want to ensure your spending wisely. After all an honest seller should have nothing to hide, so if a seller won't cooperate, then that should be a signal to look elsewhere.

I do advise to try and get the youngest caravan you can afford as I have previously pointed out the older a caravan is, the more prone it will be to developing costly problems.

If you purchase from a dealer, you will be in stronger position when it comes to consumer rights if things start to go pear shaped, but you might find a financially more attractive deal with a private sale, but there are greater risks if you later find hidden problems.

Caveat emptor or Buyer Beware.

Good luck.
Thank you ProfJohnL for your invaluable advice on which I will act upon. It does seem a bit of a mine field but am determined to make the best of the challenge & have fun with it. Have already eliminated some vans because of mass so whittled it down a little. Now on to mid or rear based kitchen for weight distribution, it's all good 😁
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Thank you ProfJohnL for your invaluable advice on which I will act upon. It does seem a bit of a mine field but am determined to make the best of the challenge & have fun with it. Have already eliminated some vans because of mass so whittled it down a little. Now on to mid or rear based kitchen for weight distribution, it's all good 😁
Our first and second caravans had end kitchens and mid washrooms. They didn’t cause any problems towing as regards stability. They didn’t have Alko or Witterhoff stabilisers on the tow hitch but I did use the heavy spring steel lever type to both caravans. But you don’t see that type of stabiliser around much these days.
 
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May 2, 2020
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Our first and second caravans had end kitchens and mid washrooms. They didn’t cause any problems towing as regards stability. They didn’t have Alko or Witterhoff stabilisers on the tow hitch but I did use the heavy spring steel lever type to both caravans. But you don’t see that type of stabiliser around much these days.
Many thanks "otherclive" will bear in mind the stabilising systems when considering pros & cons 🤗
 
May 7, 2012
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As said earlier start with the car and work out what it can tow.
If you are looking at a 2 berth there are only two common layouts, the ones that squeeze the toilet and kitchen in the back and those with the toilet across the back and a side kitchen. The first tends to be a way of keeping the length down, so it is more a question of what suits you which way you go.
Two berths tend to be shorter and should be more stable without the long sides of others that can catch the wind, the downside is they are far more difficult to reverse. If reversing worries you motor movers can be fitted from about £600 upwards.
At ten years old you should be looking for a good example rather than worrying about the make, as said earlier the working parts are all more or less the same and so you only need to settle for the level of fittings you want.
The real problem can be damp. When purchasing make sure that there is a recent clear damp report or have a mobile engineer do one for you. Make sure that everything is working and it is demonstrated to you. Videoing this helps when you come to try and operate things later.
There are plenty of models for sale out there, so take your time and do not be afraid to bargain with the seller.
 
May 2, 2020
15
7
15
As said earlier start with the car and work out what it can tow.
If you are looking at a 2 berth there are only two common layouts, the ones that squeeze the toilet and kitchen in the back and those with the toilet across the back and a side kitchen. The first tends to be a way of keeping the length down, so it is more a question of what suits you which way you go.
Two berths tend to be shorter and should be more stable without the long sides of others that can catch the wind, the downside is they are far more difficult to reverse. If reversing worries you motor movers can be fitted from about £600 upwards.
At ten years old you should be looking for a good example rather than worrying about the make, as said earlier the working parts are all more or less the same and so you only need to settle for the level of fittings you want.
The real problem can be damp. When purchasing make sure that there is a recent clear damp report or have a mobile engineer do one for you. Make sure that everything is working and it is demonstrated to you. Videoing this helps when you come to try and operate things later.
There are plenty of models for sale out there, so take your time and do not be afraid to bargain with the seller.
Some great advice Raywood thank you👍. I must admit I've been so impressed with the level of support from the caravanning community - it gives me lots of optimism 😁🤗
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Wait till you get on site; everyone was so helpful when we started and still are-I broke my foot and we were struggling to get the awning up with me on crutches; chap came across and helped my wife-and whereever you go what ever you forget-bottle opener early on for eg, someone will help. Caravanners are a great bunch in general.
 
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