Wednesday, October 30, 2013

TechnoRV Visits the Motorhome and Caravan Show

The Motorhome and Caravan Show is the UK's largest camping show with over 100,000 visitors this year. It was held in the NEC in Birmingham which is the largest exhibition complex in the UK and occupies 19 halls! Luckily they are organized side-by-side so you can easily walk from one hall to the next, as long as your feet will permit it.

As children, both Tracey and I had camped in the UK. A thoroughly miserable experience. My recollections are of wet grass, cow pats and lying on a blow-up bed in a tent watching a river run past me and wondering at what point my bed would up and float away with me on it.

It is perhaps for this reason that caravans and more recently motorhomes are becoming increasingly popular here. The campsites are still quite basic, many are simply farmers fields with no facilities, but there are more and more resort-style locations being built.

Looking back now at the show, one of the things that struck me most was how expensive everything is here compared to the dollar. A 1.6 to 1 exchange rate doesn't help, but I was still shocked. For example, a small Airstream trailer costing $60-70,000 in the US would cost around $117,000 here. Having an A-class in the US (our trusty Dolphin) meant that we were drawn to the A-classes here. I couldn't bring myself to look at an RV called a "Dethleffs", that just seemed to be tempting fate too much. There was a lovely German Concorde Charisma, but at $265,000 with no slides I quickly moved on.

After a much welcome cup of tea ($3.50!) we thought we'd found our ideal RV. It was an Auto-Trail Chieftain. It's a C-class which had a double bed at the back, clever pull-down beds over the cab, a good sized kitchen and a handy British-weather-defeating umbrella built into the door! But still no slides and at 29' long it would be a hand-full on these tiny English roads. Back to the drawing board.

I've always loved the VW Camper vans and we saw a very cool one with lots of extras which was new. In fact, it was one of the last ones in production which probably explained the $54,000 price tag. But style comes at a price right?

Perhaps there was nothing here for us? But then we say it. The Zone Caravan. Retro, customizable and very, very cool. Available in over 240 colors, I could see my daughter Ally's name all over this one ath the exhibition. Resplendent in shocking pink. Pink cushions, a pink couch, a 40" flatscreen TV and teenie frying pans. Teen paradise. Plus you could pull it behind your rig and never have to see the mess!

Slideshow of our Visit