As we have got a bit older, the one negative about camping has become the effort of erecting our tent and even more so, packing it away at the end of our stay, especially when wet!
My brother-in-law, Robert, has owned caravans for as long as I have known him. At first, I used to think that it was quite a large expensive outlay for an item that you only get to use a few times a year, plus the expense of towing. However in recent years, we have been looking more and more at this option. One problem is the you need a fairly powerful and heavy vehicle to legally tow a large caravan in South Africa. Sprite Caravan's used to make a light caravan for the smaller tow vehicle called a "Scout". They discontinued the original light model in the 1990's and then made a much heavier version for a few years, but this has also been discontinued.
After spending many hours on the internet looking at various caravans, I eventually came across a site for the "Skipper Tent Trailer".
This is more or less what one used to term, a "Pop UP" caravan. This would enable us to tow it with our present 1.6 litre vehicle with no problem. I found a used one for sale on Gumtree in Sedgefield on the Garden Route and contacted the seller. It was an almost new unit and his reason for selling was that his wife had developed back problems and could no longer camp. We eventually agreed that Colleen and I would travel up there on a Friday to inspect the van and if all was to our satisfaction we would pay for it and take it away. Sedgefield is about 5 hours drive from Cape Town. Anyway, the set day dawned and we set off on our journey.
We arrived, looked at the Van, which had been set up by the seller, liked and bought! An hour after arriving there, it was packed up, hitched to our bakkie and we were on our way home with our new aquisition. However, we had decided that it would be foolish to simply drive all the way home the same day and would stay over for the rest of the weekend and camp in our new van. We booked into the ATKV resort in Hartenbos and set up the van on a seafront site.
We did struggle a bit to set it up for the first time, but are now very used to it and have it set up within 45 minutes of arriving at our destination. The start of many new adventures to come.
The first big plus was our fuel comsumption for the trip. I calculated the fuel we used not towing to fetch the van compared to towing it home and there was almost no difference. It towed like a dream.