Thursday, June 16, 2011
We visited the show with Christina's brother Gordon and his wife Lindy who are Brisbanites. On arrival at the show there was a slight sprinkling of rain which, after about five minutes or so abated and thankfully remained at bay for the rest of our visit. The thought of getting wet on our rare visit to Brisbane didn't appeal at all.
The Caravan Expo included camping and associated products eg, electric generators, tents, portable refrigerators, and a range of RVs (Recreational Vehicles). You know, the tortoise-like motor vehicles where you have your house at the back of the vehicle and take it wherever you go. These don't appeal to us as it means you have to pack up your belongings inside the van every time you want to go somewhere. With a caravan it doesn't matter if you leave your plates and cups on the table, you drive off and leave it parked.
As we looked at various caravans, it became quite clear that most of them are similar with features dictated to designers by the need to maintain low weight and specific dimensions. This was, of course, no surprise to us, but it was a surprise that almost all the vans used the same fixtures and fittings. There are obviously few companies that design latches for doors and caravan air-conditioners.
Being novices at anything to do with towing, we were delighted to get a comprehensive explanation of all the ins and outs of ball weight, gross vehicle mass, tare weight etc from a lovely lady called Dale Timms of Nova Caravans, who has apparently spent decades designing and selling caravans. Knowing that our Landcruiser Prado's maximum towing weight is 3,000 kg, is a first step in deciding which caravan to buy.
Now we have several months to research what is available, what we need compared with what we want, to compare prices and buy something suitable for our towing vehicle and lifestyle. Only the Crusader range offers two comfortable leather chairs instead of bench seats, so it's possible that one simple feature - seating - could be the strongest determinant of what we buy after weight and price.
The search continues, but at least now, we know one end of a caravan from the other.