There are a few sure signs that spring is just around the corner: the first sightings of daffodils, the evenings getting lighter and the doors opening on the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show at the NEC in Birmingham.
The show is one of the biggest of its kind and represents an exciting time for anyone who calls camping a hobby as they lay out their holiday plans for the year and visit the show to be inspired or perhaps even buy some new kit. But it is an enormous show and there’s a lot to see – so with that in mind I thought I’d share with you some of the highlights that our magazine team thought were the most interesting at this year’s event.
A grand day out
No doubt one of the main highlights of the show this year is the hotly anticipated Volkswagen Grand California, making its UK bow here in Birmingham. The campervan is a big brother to the already iconic California and was definitely one of the most popular units on show. It’s packed with smart, space-saving design and clean and clinical lines that make it eye-catching and appealing. The ‘van on show was the 600 model, which features a rear transverse bed and optional raised bed at the front over the cab. But there is also a 680, which has a larger, longitudinal bed at the rear only.
Good thing, small package
Most people who know caravanning are aware of Bailey’s Unicorn range, so a new addition to that lineup is always going to cause a stir. At the show this year, the Bristol-based brand launched the Unicorn Merida – a new two-berth, single axel caravan that is just perfect for a couple wanting a small, but capable caravan.
The ‘van is just under five metres in length but it feels plenty roomy enough inside thanks to an end washroom and front lounge area that converts to a good-sized double bed at night. Best of all, it’s an affordable option starting at about £23,000.
Cycle camping evolved
Now this one is one of my favourite things I saw in the entire show – the B Turtle tent trailer from Austrian company Gentle Tent. Essentially, it is an aluminium trailer that is designed to attach to a bicycle (Gentle Tent recommends an e-bike as it’s quite weighty), but can support a specially designed inflated tent that takes just 90 seconds to inflate.
This product should really speak to those who hark back to the days when cycle camping was all the rage – it makes a different kind of camping accessible. Gentle Tent plans to offer the B Turtle on a rental system, first in Europe, then hopefully in the UK too, so watch this space.
You may not have heard of Kabe, but it’s a Swedish motorhome brand with over 60 years of experience making and selling top end camping units in Europe. It also happens to be the ownder of caravan giant Coachman, and utilised the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome show to display one of its motorhomes, the Travel Master 780 LGB – a four berth motorhome on a Fiat Ducato base.
On the face of it, it might not seem anything special, but it’s kitted out with quality components and furnishings throughout and certainly attracted a lot of attention passers by. We anticipate this won’t be the last you see of the name Kabe.
Keeping it green
Opus is well known for its excellent trailer tents, particularly its Air inflatable trailer tents. At this show, it took the opportunity to showcase a new design that is a collaboration with car manufacturer Nissan. The new Air Opus Nissan benefits from Nissan’s new ROAM portable batteries, that not only supply the unit with a week’s worth of power off grid (under what Nissan calls ‘normal use’), but is also made from reclaimed Nissan Leaf electric car batteries. How cool is that?
The trailer tent also benefits from the usual high spec including kitchen, mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and even a digital projector and pull down screen.