Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: "Pop top" caravans  (Read 875 times)

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. If your half-term booking has not been cancelled, please please adhere to social distancing & masking & frequently sterilise your hands.
"Pop top" caravans
« on: August 28, 2020, 10:16:00 pm »
I'm seeking to buy a pop top caravan. 
Not an Eriba as, in my opinion, they are well over-priced compared to other pop tops.
I'm looking at Rapidos and Fleurettes instead which, IMO, offer much better VFM on older 'vans.  (Expert caravanning friend also recommends rigid rather than canvas sided pop tops). 

I have a few on radar across South/South West England and I'm viewing one just a few miles away tomorrow (Sat) as a starter.

So TASers, have you any experiences with pop top caravans - or any other type of compact 'van actually - that you might, please, offer/impart ??

[In part, I'm thinking a caravan will allow me to economically/flexibly escape the Cornwall summer-invasion in future so that I can actually enjoy quiet beaches and tranquil villages, with nice tea-shops and pubs etc, somewhere/anywhere else ! 
Everywhere is totally packed-out/jammed-up down here this Friday leading into the late bank holiday w/end !!  It's really quite horrible.]
« Last Edit: August 28, 2020, 10:54:57 pm by arobwk »

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2020, 11:21:34 am »
Why a pop up? How about a normal campervan?  There's loads of them about.

I made a mistake and bought a coach built rather than a van conversion, and it was a number of years older than a van the same price at the time.  Wish I'd bought that one, but thought I needed more space than I really did.

It had a long gear stick and I never got used to it.  My cousin bought it from me and they've done a huge amount of touring about since then.  They love it - keep it ready to go and on Friday evenings load food and drive off.

Hope you find something to suit
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2020, 02:48:51 pm »
I have an Eriba, the second smallest.  Yes they are more expensive than other makes, but they do hold their value well if you look after them.  And of course there is a forum, and a FaceAche group, rallies, and so on.

I'm not sure how viable it is to think you will find anywhere quiet in July and August; it's not just Cornwall which is heaving.  In normal years I pretty much just hunker down at home for those months, then go out and about before and after when it is much quieter, especially midweek.

If you have any specific questions about life with a pop-top, options and facilities, towing, sites, or whatever, fire away!
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2020, 09:19:50 pm »
I was with my family today and we were speaking about the Highlands and Islands.  I told them the story about Sue (Maran breeder) who sold up her lovely big home and antique business and went touring in a Winnebago?  Anyone remember that?
 
She went over the Applecross road with that big beast (and on the ferry to Orkney and Shetland)  :innocent: , and detailed it in her blog.  What she didn't know was that one of the  4 x 4's with caravan behind that she encountered was that of my friends Eoin and Enid   They were terrified when they met the 'bago.   Never remembered to tell her before she passed away.  :'( :'(
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2020, 10:28:20 pm »
Why a pop up? How about a normal campervan?  There's loads of them about.


Is a question each of us must answer in our own circumstances, and there are many factors which will play heavier for some and others lighter.

The very basic choices are between :

  • one vehicle only or two?
  • if two vehicles, factor in the cost of running two vehicles (no no claims bonus on second, for instance)
  • if one vehicle only, one big thirsty one, a bit harder to navigate and park in country towns, or one smaller one which is nippy about lanes and towns, and tows? (and isn't so thirsty when not towing)
  • convenience of small nippy vehicle to go to the shops or out exploring once you are settled in your base vs having to strike camp every time you realise you need something else from the shop
  • ease of striking camp : it does only take me about 20 minutes (if that) each end in the Eriba (without awning) but it would be quicker with a campervan
  • forays and parkups when en route from camp to camp : slightly easier in campervan
  • "wild camping" less obvious in campervan ;)
  • cost of purchase : campervans many times the price of a sturdy caravan
  • cost of running : vehicle maintenance dwarfs caravan maintenance; depreciation massively more on campervan than some caravans

In my case, I did not want to run two vehicles and I like to run a very fuel efficient car, so that was a huge factor for me.  (It's nearly as thirsty as a campervan when towing, but it drinks a lot less all the rest of the time.)  Also, I did not want an outfit that was unreliable, and a campervan that was new enough to be as reliable as my little runabout would have cost 5-6 times as much as the caravan I bought.

Things I had not factored in included that it's not so easy to pick up provisions en route with a caravan behind - although I do usually manage to find two slots facing in a supermarket car park, or a double length space on a roadside.  And that I felt nervous about leaving the car and caravan parked up out in the wilds if I wanted to do a walk en route to or from my destination, although I am getting less anxious about that these days.  Wear on the car tyres mean I replace my car tyres very much more frequently now, and buy better quality ones.  One that sounds silly, but really affects my choice of travel route and times : the parking at motorway services for caravans is always a gazillion miles from the actual services, and if you have a dog with you, in hot weather that means either bringing the dog to the services with you and risking leaving it tied up outside, or half setting up the caravan and putting the dog in there while you go to use the facilities.  Or, carrying plenty of water, forgoing the Costa coffee, and, ahem, making ones own arrangements for ablutions.  (Not a problem if your caravan has a bathroom; mine has a bucket :) )

I have friends with caravans and friends with campervans, and each can see things about the other choice which would be nice.  For me, I would like the additional freedom of just deciding to stop here overnight; there are many, many more places you can (in practical terms) do that with a campervan than a caravan.  And similarly, deciding to fit in an extra walk on the last day.  It can be done with the caravan but it requires a bit more planning, knowledge of the roads - and more luck with parking.  But friends with a campervan envy me being able to set up camp and then pop to the shops in the car, and being able to leave the 'van set up while I go out exploring for the day, come back and fall straight into bed.  And having the nimble little runabout (which is pretty cheap to run) to use both when away and around locally when I am at home.

It's always going to be a tradeoff, I think, and each of the factors will weigh differently for each individual - and may change as one's circumstances change, too.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. If your half-term booking has not been cancelled, please please adhere to social distancing & masking & frequently sterilise your hands.
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2020, 04:05:36 pm »
Well, SiN has pretty much covered all the things I've been pondering while deciding which way to go (so thanks Sally for putting considerations into some order). 

With a limited budget and looking at MOT histories of older motor homes for sale, I've decided a towed caravan is the least risk and very much the most cost effective way to go, albeit with a few comparative cons as mentioned by SiN.   
And, what I have come to appreciate re pop top options is that they are designed to tuck-in behind the tow vehicle to reduce drag, thereby reducing fuel costs, and normally obviate the need for add-on wing-mirrors and will normally fit into a normal domestic garage for storage. 
I'm not sure I would personally wish to try park up in a supermarket car-park with one attached, but it would definitely be more viable than with any type of "standard" caravan.

Any other experiences/thoughts from caravanning members please ?

(BTW, the pop top just a few miles from me was sold before I could get to see - seller put off my viewing request to better suit his availability, but then sold it under my nose so to speak - probably to someone who bought at risk without viewing !  Oh well, I hope they will be happy with their purchase.)
« Last Edit: August 30, 2020, 06:26:50 pm by arobwk »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2020, 06:43:30 pm »

And, what I have come to appreciate re pop top options is that they are designed to tuck-in behind the tow vehicle to reduce drag, thereby reducing fuel costs, and normally obviate the need for add-on wing-mirrors and will normally fit into a normal domestic garage for storage. 

Yes to being snug and easy to tow, and fitting into a domestic garage.  But depending on your towing vehicle and the 'van you choose, you may still need extended wing mirrors.

The reason in the end that I narrowed my search to exclusively an Eriba Puck L was that every other option (apart from the even tinier Puck) was wider than my car, and I didn't want the faff.  I actually didn't specifically want or need the pop-top as I am average height for a woman my age :).  But now I have got it, I love having it, mainly for the ventilation - although as it's canvas-sided, it does let noise in (and out), as a tent would.  Which can mean that I am less cocooned in my own world in the evening than I would be in a non-pop 'van.  It's only a problem in summer / school hols really; other times of year I rarely even notice it.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. If your half-term booking has not been cancelled, please please adhere to social distancing & masking & frequently sterilise your hands.
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2020, 03:26:32 pm »
My car's width is 1.82m without mirrors so fingers crossed on not needing add-on wing mirrors with a narrow pop top.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2020, 07:33:35 pm »
My car's width is 1.82m without mirrors so fingers crossed on not needing add-on wing mirrors with a narrow pop top.

Check the widths of the pop-tops you are interested in.  I found very few caravans of any type that were much less than 2m wide ;)  (And bought one of the two types I found ;) )
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Ghdp

  • Joined Aug 2014
  • Conwy
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2020, 08:52:24 pm »
  I told them the story about Sue (Maran breeder) who sold up her lovely big home and antique business and went touring in a Winnebago?  Anyone remember that?
 
I remember some of her later posts. She sounded knowledgeable, brave, unique, funny and I would have liked to have met her

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2020, 09:29:00 pm »
darkbrowneggs, yes, who could forget her?  :bouquet:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. If your half-term booking has not been cancelled, please please adhere to social distancing & masking & frequently sterilise your hands.
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2020, 12:16:20 am »
A Trigano Rubis 310 pop-top has now been bagged - hopefully will bring her home from Devon this Wed' if weather behaves.  Weather important as there are so many accessories to load into the 'van or car and we don't want to be doing that in the wet !
Had to pay a bit more than budgeted for, but it's in great condition (in particular, underneath is absolutely clean/sound) and I won't need to buy any additional accessories what-so-ever for "camping" or for use as a small-holding Winter welfare facility.
I'm poorer than I had expected/would like to be, but I'm happy!

I didn't take out my rule to double-check, but it's skinny (supposedly 1.85m) and, with pop-top down, not much taller than either I or my Dacia Duster - neat !


 :) :) :)


« Last Edit: September 22, 2020, 01:04:30 am by arobwk »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2020, 07:06:29 am »
Brilliant, well done :thumbsup:

Don't forget to give us some piccies :eyelashes:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2020, 01:51:52 pm »
Enjoy your new vehicle arobwk.


I also remember 'dark brown eggs' and her epic trip.  I think the huge winnebago thing she bought was a mistake.  Something she hadn't thought of became quite a problem for her and that was that very few garages could do repairs on the thing, especially as it was still under guarantee and she was travelling off the beaten track, and I seem to remember she had to cut a trip short and appeal to her brother for rescue.  Also it must have been like driving an HGV around the tiny roads of Scotland.  Before she bought it I had expected her to get a nippy little van - for us being invisible in the landscape is important, so I was very surprised at her palace on wheels  ;D   We got some lovely poultry from her - all gone now too.  Very sad what happened.
www.scothebs.co.uk

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arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow. If your half-term booking has not been cancelled, please please adhere to social distancing & masking & frequently sterilise your hands.
Re: "Pop top" caravans
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2020, 10:12:07 pm »
 If you are into tales of angst/tribulation/despair/uncertain endings/unexpected sub-plots then this is for you ! - if you have a moment.
 
 I did pick up the caravan today.  It was bit rainy, but not too bad. My ex- came with me for the ride (thankfully as it happens – extra pair of hands).

 
 As a starter, I did feel a wee bit anxious about towing
anything on-road (for the 1st time) over 100+ miles with narrow lanes at the end, but that turned out to be the least of my concerns in the event.  (The ‘van is a delight to tow and I even managed an unavoidable reversing episode "like a pro" !)

 
 
 “Well arob”  instructs the seller  “Go down the High Street and turn round and park up in loading bay outside the pub so you are pointing in right direction.  We can then mandraulically bring out the ‘van through the very narrow, kinked alley-way to connect you up”  (Why he did not re-install the battery-powered jockey wheel - part of the package - before our arrival is beyond me, but I went with the flow.)
 
 
 Well, as we arrived and drove down the High Street we noticed the Special Bobby patrolling !
 I turned when I could and parked up at the afore-said loading bay.
 As I brought out my first wheelbarrow load of stuff to be loaded into the car, I noticed the Special Bobby pass the alley entrance towards my car.  And as I turned into the street, there he was next to my car with booking book in hand and pencil wetted.
 
 I said  "I am actually loading – look here’s a barrow full of stuff” … “But you are not an HGV and cannot stop here!”
 I went on to explain the situation, but   “But you are not an HGV and cannot stop here!”  Oh sugar!  I went into grovel mode:  it took a while, but I finally persuaded him to give me some latitude with an assertion that it wouldn’t take more than 15 mins to connect-up the ‘van. Well it took much longer than 15 mins.

 Apart from having to wait for a break in traffic to bring ‘van into the High Street and turn it (with queues by the end of), it turned out the ‘van’s 13 pin connection (as advised by seller) was not a 13 pin after-all:  that will teach me to actually visually check EVERYTHING. 
 So there we were with a ‘van mechanically connected to my car sitting in a loading bay where I shouldn’t be and a Special Bobby expected to return any time soon plus, legally, a caravan I could not tow because its brake lights etc would not work !!
 Seller went off to see if he could find anyone locally who could sort the electrics mismatch.  That took some  time and during that period my ex- identified that my eldest dog has a “lump” in her mouth (obviously requiring veterinary attention).  This finding coming at a time when everything about our situation seemed extremely awkward and an unfortunate time to identify something of even greater concern.
 
 
 Well, Mr Plod did not reappear before seller found a tow-bar fitter a couple of miles away:  at risk (with no caravan electrics), he led me to them.  We got there slowly without mishap or any purping of car horns from following vehicles.  The fitters kindly sorted the car/’van connection immediately with an adapter (and corrected some ‘van-end mis-wiring in the process !!) for a tenner.  RELIEF – thank you guys !!
 
 
 Finally, in the calm and on the road, my ex- called the Vet and booked slot for tomorrow for Keela.  I’m rather worried, but knowing she’s booked in asap is somehow reassuring.
 
 
 Not a great day:  fingers crossed re vet visit 2mor.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2020, 10:49:13 pm by arobwk »

 

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