Just starting to investigate caravan life. Made the mistake of showing my wife @hungryhalibut little Eriba and she has fallen for their charms. Visited an Eriba dealer this week to check out what they are like in real life. We we’re impressed. Lots of questions for first timers so may need to get on the Eriba forum. Any advice on next steps?
That one is the same as our Dora. The advice I’d give you is get the fixed bed, as it makes life so much easier. We have a Thule wind out awning, which is so much easier than putting up a big heavy thing. You also want an electric mover, which is massively handy. We had an Ultraheat electric heater put in this year when in for service, and it’s so useful. You can leave it on very low on chilly nights, which is something we’d never do with the gas. It also saves a lot of gas when on an electric hookup on site. If you don’t already have a towbar, a detachable one is so much nicer than a big ugly thing permanently attached to the car.
To us, Dora is a marvel and we’ve already had six weeks away this year.
One more thing. We have an onboard water tank, which is so much easier than the removable tanks that some Eribas have. We had the removable tanks with our previous Eriba, a smaller Familia, and they were a right pain. We also have a hot water boiler, which we don’t use much but is very useful if you want to wash up in the van.
Just shout if you have any questions.
That’s great advice thanks HH. The bed thing was an interesting one as we assumed the extra seats that converted into a bed was the obvious choice. But having been inside and spoke with the helpful sales guy, we can see the benefits of the fixed bed. Will also take your other points on board. Most helpful. Cheers.
Another question HH. Other than usual insurance have taken any additional security measures as I would worry about it being quite a desirable target sitting on my drive. I would assume decent wheel and steering locks?
If you are anywhere local to me you’d be very welcome to pop over and have a chat. If you are looking at the Troll and there are only two of you, the seating area is more than adequate. Some people are happy to make the beds every night but to us, it was a real pain. You have to store the duvet and pillows sonwhere, whereas with the fixed bed you just make it before you go and that’s that. There is a vast area beneath the bed that can be used for storage, which you don’t get with the seats.
You need a wheel clamp and a hitch lock. It’s possible to get a post concreted into the drive and then attach the van. But with a wheel clamp and hitch lock the only way to steal it is to pick it up and put it on a flatbed truck. It weighs over 1,000kg and hopefully the neighbours would notice if someone rocked up with a crane.
Thanks for the offer, but think we are a bit far away, being up Liverpool way. We have an Eriba dealer in Southport plus have had great advice from the dealer near Tebay Services in the Lakes.
Premium cars have electrically retractable towbars like the ones on Audi vehicles.
The main issue we had with our mobile home was leisure batteries and keeping them charged. I don’t know how this plays out with caravans but if I was buying another mobile home I would look at solar charging add-ons.
Good point William and something to consider.
The key thing is to remove the main fuse in the winter. That will stop the battery running down. We always put the battery on charge the day before we leave, and turn the fridge on so that it’s nice and cold ready for the journey. The electrical connection to the car ensures it’s kept cold while travelling. The only problem comes with the overnight ferry, so we simply leave the fridge empty and buy stuff when we get to France.
My parents started caravanning when they were in there late fifties and thoroughly enjoyed it for many many years they only stopped touring when they got to an age where they struggled with touring aspect so they sited the van on a favourite site in Devon and the owner would store it at a reduced cost out of season.
Some good points raised a Mover is a must it makes it so much easier plus a removable towbar. I always fitted fathers vehicles with a Brinkmatic towbar with swing up electrics if that option was available.
Security can be a problem, I was the Transport Manager for a company based at our main vehicle workshops some 6 miles from home so my parents stored the van there.
The yard had houses on two sides with a thirty foot hedge and bank to the back and other side access was through a pair of security gates locked with a full insurance approved chain and lock.
The van could not be seen from the road and had the best wheel clamp and hitch lock fitted that money could buy.
I went in to work pretty early one morning just after seven and one of the neighbours said mother and father have left early today which was rather strange as I had just left both at home.
When I looked the van had gone nobody heard or saw anything it had simply disappeared over night !!!
The police were called said that this was quite a common occurrence and to the professional thief wheel clamps and hitch locks were not much of a deterrent they recommended that we fit a GPS tracker to his new van.
Fortunately all our HGVs had a full GPS based anti theft system so I got a similar system fitted along with the usual visual deterrents.
Enjoy your touring, mum and dad had wonderful times (The dog enjoyed it as well) and met so many nice people that over the years became firm family friends.
My parents kept their van upcountry in NI in a farmer’s barn. They started out with a pop-top Ford Transit when they were fifty in the 70s and gradually worked their way up to a Hymer S820 which they bought in 2001. They had a fixed route every year: to Greece in late Spring and via France to Murcia in the autumn. They had their friends at every port of call and were missed when they didn’t appear any more.
They visited us every year on their way and I have many happy memories of the times spent with them in their “home away from home”.
Their last trip was to Spain just before Dad’s 91st birthday!
After Dad passed away we brought the Hymer over to Germany and spent quite a few holidays in it in Austria, Switzerland, South of France, Elba, etc. Unfortunately there were quite a few issues one way or another and the cold winters were hard on the batteries. When lockdown came around we decided it was sadly no longer viable and sold it on.
When we go camping again, which we surely will, we will doubtless rent a mobile home, as it was just too much trouble to look after one, have it serviced and MOT’d every year etc.
Of course for people in retirement with more time to travel it makes sense to invest in one’s own vehicle.
Quick update. Deal done on an Eriba Touring 542 60th Edition. Went for fixed bed, electrical mover and heater upgrade as suggested @hungryhalibut so many thanks for all the advice
Very nice, some great vacations await.
The Eribas have a lot going for them. They have a very stylish and distinctive appearance, are well put together, and due to their relatively small size and weight are easier to store and don’t require a big heavy vehicle to tow them (apart from the twin axle 2.5 ton behemoth). Their payload capacity is remarkable.
Their downside is that they are not very spacious, and for their size are not cheap.
We looked very seriously at them 5 years ago when we bought our caravan but for us the limited interior space was not going to be practical. We ended up with a Bailey Unicorn 3 Vigo. Overall we have been very happy with it indeed, the fixed island bed and large fridge are particularly nice. The Alde wet central heating is really good as well with the advantage that it can run on bottled gas or the site’s electric. Larger caravans also tend to have better cooking facilities.
The only real gripe is that the seats in the “living room”, while perfectly comfortable to sit in, are just a bit too short to stretch out on.
It came with a solar panel as standard, and that in conjunction with the bottled gas mean that it’s possible to have long weekends with no mains electric at all. (We take several power banks to charge phones etc). Having our own shower on board means that we have been able to have lovely breaks on small sites which don’t have sanitary facilities.
I would strongly recommend joining the Motorhome & Caravan Club (Formerly the Caravan Club) as this gives you access to their network of CL (Certificated Location) sites - there are literally hundreds of these, and some of them are as little as £12 per night. Their larger club sites are a lot more expensive and can be a bit regimented.
My shift pattern means that we don’t get away as often as we would like, but that will be changing within the next 6 months or so. We have had lovely longer breaks in France and Holland.
We are fortunate that we have enough room to keep it on the driveway, it is secured with hitch lock, axle lock, removable posts set into the driveway, and has a tracker (although not a very high spec one). To be honest, if someone is determined enough, these measures are only able to slow them down, and IMO the best security that we have is that it is clearly visible from the street.
Eribas are really for people who don’t like caravans but want more comfort than a tent. We belong to the Camping and Caravanning Club, which has a much more varied membership and units on site. To me there is nothing worse than serried ranks of boring white boxes, occupied by people who go inside at 7pm and watch TV. You get people with satellite TV that swivels around to find the right channel. On our last campsite, someone had an inflatable sofa outside!! If people want such home comforts, why not stay at home. The fact that Eribas are small and simple with a two ring hob, no oven, no microwave is really the whole point.
For about 7 years, we had a Pennine folding camper, which was basically the bottom half of a caravan with the top half of a tent. Coincidentally with funds becoming available for a caravan, my arthritic knees were making the crawling around inside it to push the poles up and attach the sleeping compartment inner linings very painful indeed. Up to that point it had served us really well, much quicker to set up than pitching a tent, and no faffing about with airbeds! I still miss sleeping under actual canvas, but the tin tent is so much more comfortable.
We also belong the the Camping and Caravanning Club. Their club sites are far more pleasant.
That’s great news, you are a quick mover! Will you get it in time to go away this year? We are off to the Peak District next week for some walking. And no doubt rain. That’s the trouble with living on the south coast: when we go away it’s almost invariably colder. In the U.K. anyway. Next year we have six weeks booked in France. Fingers crossed!
I see that the 542 is the one with the split bed arrangement. We have a double bed across the van, which makes for fun in the middle of the night if Mrs HH needs to get up for a wee.
What Motorhome or Caravan do you have? What is good about it? What not so good?
Ooh just discovered this. Think I’ll head over there!