After a freezing, uncomfortable night spent in a tent in our garden, we have capitulated! We parked our camping in a tent idylls (at least for when the weather is not so great). We bought a caravan; we bought Campy to be precise.
I’d been trying to figure out what camping style suites us as a family ever since we got hooked on camping again last year.
A campervan, however much I love the look of one, is beyond our budget.
We’ve owned a couple of caravans before- 3 at the same time to be precise- but never toured with them. (We used them while renovating our house.)
I read on some promotional material about caravanning: The great thing about modern touring vehicles is that you won’t miss the creature comforts of home. Central heating, flat-screen TVs, sophisticated cookers and showers are common to most modern vans.
That makes me want to run away from owning a caravan. I don’t want to be that removed from nature! I don’t want a TV, or sophisticated anything. In my heart I am still that camper who will don a rucksack and head off into the wild with just a tent, clothing & food on my back.
I knew if we did get a caravan it would be small, easy to tow and manoeuvre with. All I wanted was a porta-potti (so I don’t have to wander in the night to the campsite toilets with one child or another), some sort of cooking space and a dry, soft place to sleep.
I looked at teardrop trailers, with just sleeping space, T@B caravans and older Eribas- those with the pop up tops- (mainly because of their affordability).
By accident I stumbled upon Campy on Ebay. I’d never heard of or seen this model by Dethleffs. However, this trailer ticked all my boxes… except it was waaaaaaay over my modest budget.
I begged, rejigged finances, borrowed, stole from other (more important) budgets… all the stuff not to do when buying a luxury product. I pleaded with Dadonthebrink to think with me, follow my logic. But ultimately it was love at first sight.
Let me introduce you to Campy:
She is small. Just a whiff over 5 meters long, including her tow bar. Yet she is possibly the cleverest configuration I have seen!
Campy has a small kitchen with a big fridge (for the size of the caravan at least). Two burner gas stove, sink, overhead storage cupboards and one cupboard below.
There is an electric loo (so that’s an upgrade from my porta-potti goal) in a toilet compartment. Two decent cupboards for all our clothes in there too. No shower, but who’d choose the dibble of your own shower over that of hot, good flow shower of the campsite? Not me!
The genius really comes in the seating and sleeping arrangement: Campy has a middle dining area and a fixed end bed.
There is no making the seating area into a bed malarkey every night. In addition, the end bed is raised, so underneath there is oodles of storage, or, as in our case, plenty of space for 3 children to sleep very comfortably.
The dining table slides in and out from under the large double bed: I am sitting by it pulled out just a little bit right now. Perfect for typing on the laptop. Dadonthebrink is already asleep in the bed beside me, the kids snoozing in their den.
There is one more fantastic feature which is a total bonus for us: the front has a large loading hatch. The double bed hinges up and creates ample space for bikes for the whole family to be transported.
So far we’ve towed Campy a 360 miles and she follows like a dream. She’s light and agile. I am comfortable that if I go down a dead end I won’t have to freak out trying to reverse. I unhook her, turn her by hand, hook her back on and off I go.
Oh and have I mentioned she looks really rather special too. 😉
Campy is our answer to getting out and about more. Sure you don’t need a caravan to do that, but we’re hoping it will work for us; she will get us out for weekends when we might shy away from the hassle of pitching a tent, setting up camp, when the weather is not looking as nice as it could be.
We have 2 weeks with her over the Easter holidays.
I’m not saying Campy is everyone’s cup of tea, but so far, a week in, she is proving just the right step up for us from camping in a tent. She embodies my passion about efficient use of space.
What is your camping style?