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Caravan vs Trailer Tent vs Air Tent vs Campervan
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DIY Ace
 


Member Since: 06 Feb 2019
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 222

United Kingdom 2005 Discovery 3 TDV6 HSE Auto Bonatti GreyDiscovery 3
Caravan vs Trailer Tent vs Air Tent vs Campervan

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give...

With two young kids (aged 1 and 3) I am looking forward to taking them exploring the UK and Europe by road over the next 10-15 years. We've been camping the last few years in the Lakes and Cornwall in a midrange Vango pole tent but I'm bored of the setup and take-down process, it is awkward in the rain (the Lakes trip was VERY wet) and whilst it only takes an hour or so that is still too long to make it worthwhile for a two night stop. Particularly, setting it up in the dark on a Friday is not fun. Over the next few years I want to be able to get away for short trips at short notice, in comfort. I'd love to be able to pick the kids up from school on a whim and head off without having to get all the gear out and loaded each time.

I'm at a crossroads and cannot decide what to get / do. I'd love some advice please from anyone with experience in these things. My needs are:

Four berth, ideally a double bed and bunks (or two singles)
To be able to prep in advance and get away after work early evenings for long weekends
To be comfortable enough for longer trips too, four-six weeks over summer
If a tent, to be really quick up/down - thinking air tent etc
If a caravan, not too large as it will need to stay on the drive
Preferably a shower and WC (we have a porta potty thing for the tent)
Warm enough for winter trips, which we've not done before

I have loads of experience with tents, none with caravans nor trailer tents. My wife and I toured Aus for six months on honeymoon in a camper and that was awesome - so utterly convenient for there. My worry with one here is that if we settle up somewhere for a few weeks we will need to pack up every day just to go off the campsite. Hence I reckon a caravan, but reservations are around it being stolen and having to stare at it on the drive all the time. Hence I then thought about a trailer tent, but acutally their footprint size is not much smaller than a full caravan. Some of the larger air tents look great, but setup time is still going to make short overnight trips boring - lighting, cooking stuff, etc.

Caravan seems the best all round option. I'd love to try one for a week but I'll need to invest in a tow bar for the D3 and also do my trailer licence.

Any thoughts on the best solution?

For a van I'm thinking £8-10k budget for a decent second hand one. For a tent maybe £2k or so for a full new setup. I think motorhomes are out of budget. A neighbour has a £40k VW T6 but I'm amazed how small they are inside given the price.

Thanks again.

Rich.
 2005 Discovery 3 HSE Auto. Bought Feb 2019. 134,000 miles and counting...
2009 Freelander 2 XS Manual. Bought Sep 2013. 132,000 miles and counting... 
 
Post #209118510th Oct 2019 11:21 am
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Pelyma
  


Member Since: 06 Jan 2005
Location: Patching, Sussex
Posts: 14621

England 

I think it depends how you are intending to use the item. If you are going to tour moving on every few days then a motor home is the best but you’ll need an awning perhaps to give you more space.

If you’re staying in one place for extended time then a caravan works well, a porch awning will be quick to take down and put up avoiding the dramas of the tent. Year round trips are fine and if you store it reasonably ready then you can get away for those short notice weekends. You might however be better off storing it away from your home to save putting a big sign up that you are away! You’ll also need to budget for an annual service which will be about £200. I sold my parents’ caravan recently that was ready to go, well looked after and fine for a young family for £5k. It might be better to buy a cheap older van initially to make sure you like this style of holiday and to be sure of the layout and then buy a new/newer one after the first year.

I went away for a week in my parents caravan first, then bought my own and after a couple of years changed it, that was 16 years ago and we’ve had fabulous free range holidays and even now at 16 and 20 my kids want to go away in it. Thumbs Up
 DS3 TDV6 HSE - Silver with Alpaca (old one) Gone
DS3 TDV6 HSE- Silver with Alpaca (new one) Gone
D4 HSE Lux - Montalcino Red Gone
Porsche Cayenne V8 Diesel S 
 
Post #209119110th Oct 2019 11:42 am
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1967jester
 


Member Since: 05 May 2010
Location: Usually in the North East though I have been known to travel
Posts: 4330

England 2015 Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 HSE Lux Auto Fuji WhiteDiscovery 4

I use a variety of kit & all have their pros & cons, however have found that with the kids a caravan works well.
Cons - slower travel time, access to some places can be restrictive, storage
Pros - can leave bedding etc in situ depending on layout, pull up-open door & kettle can be on in 5. Allows use of car when you’ve unhitched allowing runs to shop or bust getting around, other than when using a full awning no set up/take down hassle (currently debating a fitted wind out awning for shorter stays. No 2nd road tax/insurance etc.

We’d thought about a motor home but the added tax/MOT/Insurance & purchase expense of a decent 6 berth. After using one for a week the pack up bed before moving to have seat access & the aforementioned killed that idea for us.
 Paul.

06 Java Black HSE - gone
12 Baltic Blue HSE - gone
15 Fuji HSE Lux
Club Biscuits, mmmm nice!
Traxide/Luna hybrid & Yellow top
Some Prospeed bits
+ some other stuff
Club N.E.R.D.s. 
 
Post #209122010th Oct 2019 1:29 pm
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Andy Foster
 


Member Since: 27 Dec 2009
Location: Liverpool
Posts: 6217

United Kingdom 2015 Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 SE Tech Auto Santorini BlackDiscovery 4

We use an Oztent with our caravan. Very easy to put up which cuts down on the arguments Rolling with laughter I do the tent and SWMBO sorts inside Thumbs Up


 D4 MY15 SE TECH
D3 gone but never forgotten. 
 
Post #209122410th Oct 2019 1:39 pm
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pjm-84
 


Member Since: 04 Oct 2016
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 736

United Kingdom 2005 Discovery 3 4.4 V8 HSE Auto Zambezi SilverDiscovery 3

I have a T5 California and its great but a right pain when you want to head out for the day.

Whilst the California is expensive, the depreciation is the true price. As such the Cali holds its value well unlike LR products. Thumbs Up
  
Post #209122610th Oct 2019 1:46 pm
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Rnclayton
 


Member Since: 13 Apr 2018
Location: Radstock, Bath
Posts: 493

Wales 2010 Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 XS Auto Buckingham BlueDiscovery 4
Re: Caravan vs Trailer Tent vs Air Tent vs Campervan

DIY Ace wrote:
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give...

With two young kids (aged 1 and 3) I am looking forward to taking them exploring the UK and Europe by road over the next 10-15 years.....

I'm at a crossroads and cannot decide what to get / do....

Hence I reckon a caravan, but reservations are around it being stolen and having to stare at it on the drive all the time....

Any thoughts on the best solution?.....

For a van I'm thinking £8-10k budget for a decent second hand one.....


Rich.


These are all the things I went through about 4yrs ago. We always loved camping in a tent. We have a really big 4 bedroom Outwell. Nearly killed us, putting it down in France, with the heat.

Decided on a caravan. We looked around at layouts first, then once we had decided on that, we started looking at the caravans. We have 3 children, so went for a fixed bunk beds, and side dinette/single for them. Has a shower and toilet, but honestly, we never have used it.

The 2nd hand ones at the 'Dealers' were not good. Fridges removed, damp, damaged etc, and high prices being asked. Found one on a private sale in the end. Paid £5k for it. It is parked on our drive. Every now and again, it is a little annoying that it is there.

We do keep it relatively ready to go, then just top it up with what we need, then leave straight after work on a Friday for the weekend.

We are going to Cornwall for half term in October. We are setting it up with the beds ready. Will drive down on Friday, then the children can get straight into bed (depending on what time we get there).

It is a quite large twin axle, but plenty of room for the rainy days with the children. We have a Full, 3/4, and porch awning. Tend not to use the full awning too often, as it is only with the steel telescopic poles, and takes ages to put up and down.

Good luck in what you decide.

Richard
 MY07 Freelander2 SE Santorini Black - Gone
MY10 D4 XS Buckingham Blue 
 
Post #209122710th Oct 2019 1:48 pm
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DIY Ace
 


Member Since: 06 Feb 2019
Location: Hampshire
Posts: 222

United Kingdom 2005 Discovery 3 TDV6 HSE Auto Bonatti GreyDiscovery 3

Caravan seems the logical route and these early comments (thanks!) seem to confirm that. As I say, we've done a campervan trip for six months and it was great, but it is easy with just two adults and less to set up and pack away etc. I am not keen on doing that with two kids and also the extra tax and servicing etc (which I hadn't considered before) will kill that idea completely. At least until we are retired anyway!

Googling more this afternoon, seems I should get a small compact caravan. Easy to store at home, just big enough for a long weekend away. When we go away for longer trips I can get a side awning as a living room. Wont need that for short trips. How does that sound?

This seems a great layout and very compact. With a side awning for longer trips it would suit all situations: http://www.elddis.co.uk/xplore/xplore-304

R.
 2005 Discovery 3 HSE Auto. Bought Feb 2019. 134,000 miles and counting...
2009 Freelander 2 XS Manual. Bought Sep 2013. 132,000 miles and counting... 
 
Post #209122910th Oct 2019 2:07 pm
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J@mes
 


Member Since: 10 Nov 2008
Location: Bomber County
Posts: 4328

England 2014 Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 XS Auto Corris GreyDiscovery 4

We had a tent but found it really didnt work with young children as there was nowhere to put them safely while setting up. Other than leaving them strapped in the car seats for another couple of hours. With the caravan we arrive, legs down, electric on, aerial up, TV tuned....and that's them entertained inside where we can safely shut them in (aged 18 months and 5 years) until we've finished setting everything else up.

With the awning theres somewhere else for them to play, again safely because you can trap them in, toilet training was easier as you've got your own, bed time was easier as you can make a caravan properly dark. Meals are easier as you have a cooker/hob/microwave rather than using a stove on a stand outside (although I still BBQ) keeping it clean inside is easier as you have the awning for shoes/coats/prams.

We enjoyed renting as a couple but we found life much easier with a caravan and young children .
 2014 D4 XS
2005 D3 SE - Gone 
 
Post #209123110th Oct 2019 2:08 pm
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Grianaig
 


Member Since: 08 Jul 2014
Location: Tyne and Wear
Posts: 1187

Scotland 2014 Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 XS Auto Indus SilverDiscovery 4

Everything J@mes said. We had no kids but a large dog. With the awning there was a place to dry him and the wet towels, wellies and waterproofs. Kept the inside of the caravan dry and clean in the wet weather. Self sufficient for cooking and toilet. Loved it. Towing with a 2a petrol in the 70s was slowish and expensive. Caravans were heavy having t & g flooring and aluminium panels.
 2014 MY Discovery XS Indus Silver. Sadly gone. Second last LR of forty eight years continuous ownership.  
Post #209124110th Oct 2019 2:38 pm
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M3DPO
 


Member Since: 22 Sep 2010
Location: Notts.
Posts: 6130

England 2014 Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 HSE Lux Auto Corris GreyDiscovery 4

With 1/2 a century of Caravanning experience Shocked from just 2 of us to 3 children and back to 2 of us again and owning and running a 200 pitch site the best advice I can and do give to anyone starting out is buy the smallest caravan you can that is practical, not the biggest, do not be swayed by the beauty of large new caravans on a sales pitch. The most used caravan we have ever owned was 12 foot with a full size awning.
You just cannot go wrong with a respectable caravan and children, I have toured France several times, Switzerland, Germany(where I bought a new Hobby), Austria, Scotland and Wales many times, with and without children.
If you intend using it in winter look at foreign made caravans(Hobby, Hymer etc) as they are designed and insulated for 4 season use, few English vans are.
 It can when others can't,
It will when others won't,
It goes where others don't. 
 
Post #209127310th Oct 2019 5:49 pm
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1967jester
 


Member Since: 05 May 2010
Location: Usually in the North East though I have been known to travel
Posts: 4330

England 2015 Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 HSE Lux Auto Fuji WhiteDiscovery 4

Just to add to my comment. We used an annexe on the end of the awning as a ‘playroom’ for the kids. Fitted groundsheet, waterproof backed carpet & zipped the door up at night to keep their stuff out of the way
 Paul.

06 Java Black HSE - gone
12 Baltic Blue HSE - gone
15 Fuji HSE Lux
Club Biscuits, mmmm nice!
Traxide/Luna hybrid & Yellow top
Some Prospeed bits
+ some other stuff
Club N.E.R.D.s. 
 
Post #209127810th Oct 2019 5:59 pm
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Grunders
 


Member Since: 30 Apr 2011
Location: Manchester
Posts: 2113

2008 Discovery 3 TDV6 XS Auto Stornoway GreyDiscovery 3

I’ve got a camplet trailer tent, easy to tow, takes 20 mins to set up and I store it in the garage, The beds (sleeps 4) are so comfy, memory foam mattresses, and great for moving from location to location in a matter of time, quicker to set up than a tent






 If it ain't broke... Take it apart anyway, how else you gonna find out how it works  
Post #209130210th Oct 2019 7:23 pm
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Mogwyth
 


Member Since: 03 Oct 2014
Location: Pwllheli
Posts: 3906

Wales 2005 Discovery 3 4.4 V8 HSE Auto Zambezi SilverDiscovery 3

We have done the whole gamut from leaky 2 man tents. through family tents, trailer tent, small caravan, TA palace on wheels and now A class motor home.

And I have to say the best with the kids was the trailer tent, as Gunders says easy to store, easy to put up comfortable, tons of room once the awning was up, although we used ours as much without as with.

Even on our A class not sure I it would work with kids, with a VW camper that would be cosy and you dont get much for your money.
 ==================================
05 D3 HSE V8 4.4
04 MG TF 135
03 MG TF 115 Cool Blue Edition
02 MG TF 160
00 Hymer B564 Lionheart
1971 Series III 109
 
 
Post #209133910th Oct 2019 9:18 pm
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Ken
  


Member Since: 20 Feb 2006
Location: In my Bowler
Posts: 10821



Love my T6 4 motion
  
Post #209137111th Oct 2019 5:05 am
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Gareth
Site Moderator 


Member Since: 07 Dec 2004
Location: Bramhall
Posts: 24894

United Kingdom 2013 Discovery 4 3.0 SDV6 HSE Lux Auto Fuji WhiteDiscovery 4

Typing this sat in my caravan!

I’ve been caravanning since I was about 4 years old. Parents had an ancient Elddis and towed it with a 65 3.8 litre Jag S Type! I remember gas lights, damp walls, canvas awning that weighed a ton and Censored in a bucket 😂.

Now have a modern 4 berth with fixed bed, central heating, satellite tv, and lightweight awning.

We have an inflatable porch awning, and a full size alloy pole awning. To be honest, they take the same time to put up. It’s the hammering of pegs into hard ground that takes the time.

We store the caravan locally, for less than it would cost to insure a moho.

It’s great to have freedom to explore when setup.

It is slow to tow sometimes, and manoeuvring takes practice. One problem yesterday driving here was no where to park at services. You can’t just park it in the car park and usually have a special area miles away or slum it with the lorries. I have to say, it can be very unpleasant in some lorry park, smell like some drivers water their tyres if you get my drift!

I camp when on my own, but the caravan gets a lot of use.
  
Post #209139311th Oct 2019 7:30 am
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