The Chamberlain's Camping stories and photo's
We are avid outdoors folk and try and get away from the city whenever we can. Many years ago, we camped with a tent and enjoyed it tremendously. The only downside was packing of a trailer with everything we would need. A couple of years before our son was born in 1989, we purchased a Caravette 6. This is one of the pop top caravans and no, we were not planning on having a big family. The Caravan had everything we would require and the size of the interior was perfect.
The top bunk allowed us to change nappies in comfort while the bottom bunks allowed the kids to sleep in comfort with the aid of side panels so they would not fall out of their beds at night.
For some reason a good number of years later, we sold the caravan and the camping trips dried up. This actually became a depressing time as we really enjoyed our outings.
In 2003, May, we played with the idea of purchasing a caravan. We went to a number of dealers, however, in the end, Jurgen and Roland from Comet Caravans helped us with our selection. We ended up purchasing a brand new Gypsey Romany "Blue Series".
In hindsight, would we purchase the same caravan? Well, yes we would. As it happened, not one year later while on holiday in Cape Town without the van, our caravan was stolen out of our yard. We were gutted. Especially the kids! I was on the phone to Jurgen the same day asking if there were more available. Fortunately our insurance paid out and we were able to purchase another one exactly the same. Although the payout was a bit less, I was overall very happy with the insurance guys.
We try and get away now as often as possible. My son is currently 15years old and my daughter 13. They love to get away and often, they both load and check the caravan is ready for an outing without me having to do anything apart from hitch the caravan on and drive to the resort.
We believe in simplistic caravanning, we take as little as possible but sufficient for an enjoyable stay. For instance, we do not have a wash up table or drying rack. After dinner, we put all the plates, cups, knives and forks into a washing bowl and take them down to the communal washing area. We do have a microwave stowed and pull it out onto a table for the duration of our stay. Although we do have a full tent, we often simply take the rally awning. The kids have a separate 4 man Sunseeker tent that they live in.
We started towing our new Gypsy Romany with my Volvo S40 T2. Boy, does this car have power. I could cruise up a hill and accelerate at the same time. Only draw backs were space for two adults and two "Growing up" teenagers as well as a terrible tail drop. The suspension just did not feel right and I was always on edge when driving. On the flat at about 110, she cruised like a dream. It was simply the out of way roads where the suspension would bounce due to the bad roads that made me clutch the steering wheel tighter.
In July 2004 when we went to Swadini and decided to give my wife's Toyota Camry 220si a try. The tail drop was also there but not as bad and the space was lovely. Power was a drawback. The car is 10 years old with 290 000 km's on the clock. She is getting to be a good old lady but her towing days are over. She otherwise handled like a dream.
In July, for our 15 wedding anniversary, we traded in the Volvo for a 2.2 diesel Nissan X-Trail. I initially had my reservations, it was diesel. However, the power was close to the Volvo's and the fuel consumption good by the book. We took the car out for the first time to Loskop dam and I was very happy. Although the books all say 86kw and 240nm at 2000 and 4000 rpm respectively, Nissan have made some modifications to the Turbocharger, intercooler and injectors which increases the power to 93kw and 270nm respectively. It is something to feel that power band at 2000 rpm when pulling the caravan. Fuel consumption on the first tank (Not Towing) was 8l per 100 km's. Towing the caravan 12 l per 100km's (look here for additional fuel consumption info). The tail drop is not even noticeable and the vehicle very spacious. An added benefit of this car is a 6th gear.
Bottom line, the stability, power and spaciousness make this car perfect for us and the towing combination is fantastic. The kids love it and have plenty of space. Even the rear seats recline allowing them to sleep in comfort if they want.
We try and go away as much as possible which is at lease every 4 to 6 weeks apart. We also tie outings in with the school holidays which allow us to go away for a week at a time.
To the left are some reports on a number of our outings together with photo's where possible. There is also a calendar showing our past and future outings for the year.
I will try and update the site on a regular basis as and when we go away. I will hopefully have a digital camera soon which will make this all much easier.
Enjoy and many regards,
The Chamberlain family.