Thursday, 17 July 2014

10 questions to ask when buying a caravan – what you need to ask before you buy


 unnamed

We often write about camping in tents – because that is what we do.    But when it comes to the questions to ask before you buy a caravan, then we wouldn’t have a clue!     

Lucky for you all, we have a guest post by the people at Caravan Camper Megastore, who can provide you with 10 tips to ask BEFORE you buy a caravan.

At the end of this story, we also want to hear what questions you would (or have) asked before buying a caravan.


For many, the ultimate retirement dream is to purchase a trust-worthy caravan and venture off into the world. Whilst it’s a major lifestyle choice, buying your own caravan comes complete with the freedom to do what you want when you want, and enjoy years of well-earned relaxation and adventure.

It doesn’t mean to say though the choice is an easy one.

The process of searching for and subsequently purchasing the right new caravan for your needs and lifestyle can get a little overwhelming, and finding the right one tends to involve tackling a wealth of information first.

We check out 10 crucial questions to ask your new caravan salesman before making the big purchase to ensure you’re getting all the right material.

caravan2

 

1. How Much Will This Cost Me?


This seems like an obvious question – especially when you’re looking at the price tag attached to your new caravan of choice but look at it as a reality check. Caravan prices can start around $10,000 and work their way right up to the $100,000. You’ll need to find out the overall cost of the caravan, exactly what this price includes and whether the price is negotiable at all.


2. What Are ALL the Annual Running Costs and Can I See a Breakdown?


Buying a caravan is the easy bit, but it’s important you consider all the running costs that go with it. This all depends on the caravan you’re interested in buying but it’s best to always ask the salesman what additional costs are hidden in the initial purchase price.

Whilst the costs (both initial and running costs) of a caravan can be pricey, the upside is you’ll get as many holidays as you can squeeze in over the next 10+ years.


3. If there is an Urgent Need to Sell, Is there a ‘Buy Back Price’?


If you fall into any problems after you purchase your new caravan it can be a good idea to consider any re-sell options. Maybe there’s been a sudden change and you need to up-and-leave the country to move somewhere where you cannot keep your caravan or perhaps you need the money urgently – in these cases, second hand values can be a stab in the wallet for you.

However, asking for a contractual agreement in the case of illness or death can help to guarantee a buy back percentage based on the agreed value of the caravan. Some places can definitely offer this, and for those that don’t you may need to consider insurance for such circumstances.


4. How Long Has Your Company Been in the Business for?


Purchasing your caravan from a well-established company will ensure you’re going to be looked after. You want to look for a business that is reputable, trustworthy and where possible seek customer testimonials.


5. What is Your Caravanning Experience?


A salesman’s own personal caravanning experience is vital for the information you can receive about your caravan options. Adequate personal and professional experience will ensure that the sales rep can give you the right information to help match a caravan to your lifestyle, needs and wants.

Their product knowledge is important for what they’re selling so take note how much information they’re giving you. Some caravan dealers employ agency workers – professional sellers that may not have the same caravanning experience as someone who’s been working with the company or in the industry for a lengthy period of time. Don’t be afraid to suss out how long they’ve been working for and what their knowledge about the industry entails.


6. Does Your Manufacturer meet all the Standards and Design Rules?


Ensure the manufacturer meets all the country standards and design rules in the area. This will eliminate any problems registering your vehicle or applying for the right insurance claims in the event of an accident or problem.

Doing some research into this before you go and look at caravans will go a long way, but make sure you ask the sales rep for information showing that these standards are all met.


7. How Self-Sufficient Can I Be in This Caravan?


Self-sufficiency is a big thing for a caravan buyer because no doubt, you’ll be bush-camping for weeks on end in it. How well is your chosen caravan set up for what you’ll need? Does it have a three-way fridge? Does it match your electricity needs or will you need to run your car or a generator to keep them going?

It’s ideal to write out what features are essential for your caravan choice and your lifestyle and consider what’s vital and what’s desired. Whilst a toilet and shower can be luxurious, don’t forget these are things you’re going to be cleaning too. Most caravans will enable you to buy additional accessories in the future too, so for the desired list these can be things you add on at a later date.

Make sure though, you ask the salesman what can and can’t be added on.


8. How Much Does it Weigh and What Kind of Tow Vehicle Will I Need?


CARAVANtips


For many, towing the new caravan is a default choice so if this is the case for you – make sure it’s going to offer a comfortable travel. You’ll want to ask how much the caravan weights and make sure you have the right vehicle with towing capacity to assist.

For caravans, it’s usually 300kg for a single-axle caravan and 400kg for a tandem-axle caravan.

Off-road caravans tend to be much heavier than blacktop caravans, and additional items like water tanks will need to be included in the load capacity too. One of the biggest problems people run into is buying a caravan that doesn’t match the vehicle that’s going to be towing it.

Weight is an all-important factor and can be easily overlooked, so check the specifications and shop around if need be.


9. What Warranty is involved?


The warranty length on your chosen caravan is a good indicator of the manufacturer’s belief in the product. The longer the warranty, the better the product tends to be. Warranty length is important, as is after-sales care so be sure to ask when services and repairs can be performed.

Make sure you check on the location of where these repairs can be made too.


10. How Reliable is this Caravan Going to Be?


Chances are you’re purchasing a caravan because you want a good 10+ years of adventure, relaxation and freedom so finding something that is reliable is essential.

Check the caravan for a number of things before you make the purchase.

You want one that has a strong chassis and a thick, long drawbar.

Consider the tyres and how safe these will be for what you’re after. Check what kind of a hitch the caravan has too.



These are just 10 questions you might want to ask, but there might be a whole lot more.   If so, share the questions YOU think should be asked when buying a caravan -  leave a note in the comment section below.
 

Big thanks to Caravan Camper Megastore for sharing their insights into buying a caravan.



Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson, who writes for Caravan Camper Megastore – Australia’s extensive range of caravans and campers to suit virtually any budget or requirement. You can catch her on Google+.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Camp More. Work Less.



A wordless Wednesday post (sort of).

This picture captures what many of us aspire to.





If you want to join us over at our Go Camping Australia Facebook Page, we would love to see you there.





Monday, 30 June 2014

A pop up camper inspired by the Opera House



Want to camp in style?


Then the Opera Mobile Suite Camper would appeal.      And you don't have to be a genius, to see where the inspiration for this camper came from.


Made by the Dutch company, Your Suite in Nature (YSIN) it's a pretty and expensive looking vehicle which will definitely make you stand out from the crowd. 


Whilst this pop up camper first came onto the market a number of years ago, its design has stood the test of time.


It's features include:


  • 2 electrically adjustable beds
  • teak flooring
  • boiler supplying hot water to the kitchen
  • outdoor shower
  • hot air heating
  • ceramic toilet
  • top loading fridge
  • LED lighting



Now for the bad news......apparently, production on this has stopped for economic reasons.  

So you can put your wallet away, and just enjoy looking at it from afar.  







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Monday, 23 June 2014

Going to the toilet when camping: it’s not that scary


camping toilet



How to go to the toilet when camping seems to be the biggest fear and obstacle about camping, and why people don’t go. 
   
When you ask someone why they don’t like to camp, the toileting problem is the most frequent one I hear.   

I was recently reading a camping story over at another blog and in the comments section, this fear was expressed by so many women, and was one of the key reasons not to head outdoors.

If you are new to camping, and a little worried about it, then fair enough - because that was me.    I was a 5 star hotel sort of person, but without the income to actually go to 5 star hotels!

I too, wasn’t a fan of this idea of not having a toilet nearby when my husband said "we need to go camping".

Starting off camping, I had to have a toilet, and we purchased a Porta Pottie for the girls in the family on my insistence.   In those days,  I couldn’t possibly imagine not having a toilet!     And yes, it has been a godsend some days with a younger child who always wants to go.     It also alleviated some stress, knowing that in the middle of the night, there were options that didn’t involve running to a distant toilet (or no toilet at all).      
As time has gone on, the need to take it on trips has lessened.

Why?  

Because as our children got older, they became more adept at telling us when they needed to go – in advance – and also for the girls, better at going behind a bush!  
    
Plus, having had to use good drop toilets, makes another worry disappear!    Not all drop toilets are vile and smelly.     Some are better than flushing ones, and once you don’t think about it too much (and how it all works),  a drop toilet becomes part of many campers everyday experience.

It has been a slow progression to get to this point.    I wasn't an automatic outdoorsy camper after one trip.


But don’t think you can’t go camping because of the lack of a toilet right next to you.  Going to the toilet is only a small part of your getaway from suburbia.        


You don't need to buy a fancy portable loo, especially if camping is only an occasional outing.    But if you want to,  they do give you some peace of mind (but remember, someone has to empty it).

There are plenty of cheaper options out there – its about finding what works for you.

When we have longer than 1 night stay camping trips, we frequently look at the camping facilities available where we are headed.   And if there is a toilet is one of the main things we investigate.        If not, we then have to think about logistics and if we need to pack the Pottie, or consider the old fashioned option – taking a shovel. 

Small camping steps 

 

If you insist on always having a flush toilet nearby, then you can always start off with small camping steps – try a caravan park (ideally not in peak times).   Some caravan parks have specific bush camping areas, but with the mod cons nearby.  Set up your camp as close as you want to the toilet, so its not a long dash to it.      Get used to the idea of leaving one form of accommodation (tent/caravan/trailer) to do your business in another building!
   
Heading outdoors has many rewards; physical, emotional and mental.      
      
Don’t give up on the idea because of a toilet.


If you want to comment on why you do (or don't camp), then we would love to hear from you. 




if it scares you

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Campfire grill for your spare tyre! A clever camping accessory.



Sometimes a camping gadget captures our eye and we think will anyone else be interested? Apparently, in the case of this one, the answer is yes!  

If you want to always be prepared to cook over a campfire, then this piece of camping equipment might appeal.


Our Facebook Page shows this camping grill, which attaches to your spare tyre.






And you wanted to know more, so here it is.


Made by Front Runner Outfitters, a South African company, this grill clamps to your spare tyre and has the following features:


Features


  • Laser cut stainless steel grill on solid steel legs.
  • Grill and griddle sections for campfire cooking options.
  • Hooks over a spare wheel (secure with ratchet strap or wheel cover – not included).
  • Fits 29” to 37” tires (740mm to 940 mm)
  • Weighs 6kg


tyre grill

campfire grill for car

campfire grill



Where to buy?


Front Runner has an Australian distributor - http://www.dolium.com.au/

Plus I have also seen them online at expeditioncentre.com.au



How much?

$145



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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Flamping – it’s flying and camping and not just for a Kardashian


et-bike-ride

Flamping.  

Not your everyday terminology when you think about camping is it?     Not sure what it’s all about? 
 
You are not alone.   

Plenty of people wouldn’t know that it’s a term being used to describe the combination of flying and camping  (a bit like glamorous camping = glamping).        Not sure if flamping is a term that will take off (bad pun, couldn’t help myself).

Unless you are a Kardashian or mega wealthy camper, you probably won’t fly to your next camping location, so how does it work?

British company, XploreAir has created a bike, that can fly, but has a built in tent!    It is called the Paravelo and can fly at up to 4000 feet, and go at the speed of around 40kph. 



flying bike

It works with  an integrated backpack which releases a para-wing, using a two-stroke gasoline engine to power the craft’s three-bladed carbon fiber propeller.   So, its like a bike, pulling a long a trailer with a big fan.


Not only is it a way to beat the traffic, but now you can fly up to 3 hours to your destination, and go camping!



flying bike tent
The tent that comes with the bike


The Paravelo is not yet out on the market, but if you interested in flamping, then you can read all the details at XploreAir or watch a demo in the video below.





How practical is it?

Safety concerns? 

All of that would need to be looked at, but good on the creative team for their ingenuity.  I won’t be flamping any time in the near future, but it is a worthy addition to our camping gadget collection!


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Monday, 2 June 2014

9 winter hot drinks for camping: #7 has the yum factor

Do you like kicking back and relaxing around the campfire at the end of the day, possibly with a drink of your choice, in your hand?

If you are looking for something a little different on your next trip, then we have put together a list of our top 9 camping drinks for cold nights. And if you are not a camper – then every one of these drinks can easily be made at home!

 

1. Warm Hazelnut Toddy

 

After dinner, this would be the perfect time to try this!

Use at least 3 tablespoons of Frangelico, stirred into a 1/2 cup of hot water, and then add whipped cream (for camping, take a can of cream). Stir it all together and enjoy!

warm-hazelnut-toddy-rs-1692765-l

 

2. Hot Chocolate

Not your everyday hot chocolate from a tin…..Real hot chocolate is what I am talking about.

The drink with chocolate pieces, cream and cocoa!  Lots of variations out there, but they all feature the same key ingredient – good chocolate!!

 

hot choc

Try this one from Taste: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/22815/the+best+hot+chocolate

 

Add your own twist to your hot chocolate – cinnamon stick added to the saucepan when warming the milk.

Adult only Hot Chocolate – you can add Peppermint Schnapps, or Butterscotch Schnapps or Grand Marnier or Honey & Rum (don’t add all these together at once!)

 

3. Hot Spiced Apple Cider

 

If you are making this at the campsite, prior to leaving home, just put the spice ingredients together in 1 bag, so you have it all ready to add to the cider at the campsite.

 

spiced-apple-cider-1

 

And read on to see the caramel version!

Recipe found at: http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/hot-spiced-apple-cider/

 

4. Caramel Hot Chocolate

 

This is another hot chocolate recipe, but different enough from our earlier one – because of the addition of caramel. You can use the caramel that comes from a jar, but the better quality caramel sauces you get, the better the flavour!

Salted caramel sauce will give a different flavour again!

 

caramel

 

Ingredients (for 6 serves, so amend for smaller groups)

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup water

6 milk-chocolate-covered round caramels

6 cups milk

 

Method:

In a large saucepan combine sugar, cocoa powder, and water. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Add caramel lollies; cook and stir until melted. Stir in milk. Heat through. Pour into mugs; top with whipped cream (optional) and additional caramel lollies.

 

5. Warm Vanilla Milk

 

Maybe just before bedtime, this is the one to have! Helps everyone to go to sleep!

Ingredients:

4 cups milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (

Optional: Ground cinnamon, for serving)

 

Method:

Stir in a saucepan all the ingredients, and serve!

 

6. Nutty Irishman

This is also called Irish Coffee.

It combines the yummy drinks of Frangelico and Baileys!  Just make some good coffee and add the rest!    The quantities of alcohol you add of these, will depend on your tastes.   But a good starting point is 1 ounce of each!

 

nutty irish

 

 

7. Milk Chocolate & Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa

 

When chocolate and peanut butter meet, it’s a taste sensation.

 

peanut butter

We generally always have chocolate and peanut butter in our food box, so this one doesn’t take much planning! 

 

Ingredients:

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

5 ounces milk chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup – alter to your chocolate preferences)

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

 

Method:

Warm milk and cream in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add chocolate, and whisk until melted and combined. Continue to warm mixture until thick, about 5 minutes. Whisk in peanut butter until smooth. Serves 2-3 people.

 

8. Baileys and Toasted Marshmallows

 

We featured this before on the blog and it’s pretty good!

 

baileys when campng

Recipe here: http://www.gocampingaustraliablog.com/2013/10/marshmallows-and-baileys-camping-treat.html

 

9. Hot Caramel Apple Cider

This version is easy to make – I have seen a lot more complicated versions, but as you are camping, it’s best to err on the side of simplicity and fewer ingredients.

 

caramelapplecider

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups apple cider

1 1/2 tablespoons caramel sauce (the better the sauce, the better the flavour)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Method: Combine apple cider, caramel and vanilla into a sauce pan.

Heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until apple cider is hot and caramel has melted.

Alcoholic version: instead of the caramel sauce, you add caramel vodka.

 

With any drink involving alcohol, please drink responsibly.

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