Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Buying a vintage caravan ... ! x


I am dreaming of my very own little vintage caravan to hook up to the car and take away with Mr Moo and me on little adventures! 

I am yet to find my little van, but am having fun looking and learning about caravans and so thought I would share a few handy tips that I have gained! 

Image from Google

ooh ... being suitably distracted by this caravan ... its a cross stitch kit from Past Impressions 
Me thinks it needs to go on my Christmas list!!

So my tips ...

My first tip, is probably the most important.

Pop to see the Vintage Caravan of your dreams before you buy ... !!

It seems so obvious when I say it, but do please!! There are so many tempting vintage caravans for sale but ... give yourself a radius you are happy to travel to view a caravan. You will find out so much more about the lovely Caravans, and you can make sure its definitely the van for you!!

Or, as I have done on the ones I viewed ... fall more in love with them!

 I have been so tempted at times to bid for a van I am unable to visit, but the more you visit the more you will be sure of what you want from a caravan!

Take someone in the know ... !!
It is worth taking someone with you that knows a little about caravans, knows where to look for damp, is happy to look at the underneath of the van, and can ask those questions you'd never think about. 

We take Dad, he will not proclaim to be an expert but he knows a little after Mom and Dads own adventures in a van. With Vintage Vans the floors are wood and being a carpenter by trade Dad knows what to look for!
A damp meter ... !!

A brilliant little machine that finds out the damp, if there is any, in the van. Being Vintage they may have suffered damp problems. If the seller says they have dealt with any damp problems the van has previously suffered from, the damp metre will tell you how successful they have been!

Check around the windows and skylight, check down the inside of the seams, check in the cupboards and under the seats.

Water can get in around the seams, around the awning seams, around the windows or if the seals have rotten through the edges of the window openings. Ask if they have replaced the seals of the windows? Have they resealed all the seams, before painting the van?

If there has been any damp or leaks, ask what work they have done to rectify any issues.
I have to say though that none of the vans I have looked at have any damp, they have all been good solid vans!

 Take something to lie on ... !!

Yes, get on the floor and look underneath! Look at the metal work, has been painted? Has the suspension been cleaned up and freed of rust? As the floor is wood by the edges of the van will be joists supporting the ends of the floor boards, are these soft? Feel the floorboards themselves, are they soft?

Ask about the brakes, have they been replaced? Ask about the tyres, are they new? When were they last replaced?

Try the workings of the caravan ... !!

If the van is hooked up, switch all the lights on! Close all the curtains! Try the gas, if you buy the van it would be strongly recommended that you get the gas serviced see if it all works! Some of the old vans may have gas lights, ask if these still work as they may just be there for decoration, which is good!

Try the water pump, obviously to see if it works, but it is something like this that may have a little technique to get the water in the pipe! At one I saw recently we realised you had to pour water into the pipe before it would start pumping water though it! Its a Vintage Van so there will be little quirks!

See if you can make the bed! Just so that you know how it all fits together and all the bits are there!! If its a fourth berth with a hammock, how does the hammock fit?

Sit on the seats!

Open the cupboards, look under the seats!

Open and close the windows ... !!

I love all the nosiness when looking at a caravan, opening and closing the windows mean you can check the windows work, see what the seals are like have they rotted, are they clean, have they been replaced!

 Ask lots of questions ... !!

Mine include ... and I ask these before I visit as if the answers raise concerns I will decide whether or not to visit.

Do you usually cover it while not in use?
A cover protects the caravan against the elements, and will be worth an investment when you find your perfect Vintage Caravan ... after all we want them to last many more years!

Has the caravan been regularly services, if so when was the last service and were any issues raised?
The service will check the electrics, gas, tyres, brakes, chassis, jockey wheel, as well as many other things on the van! I have been recommended, and I pass this onto you too, while you can do all teh checks when you visit a service will confirm all is ok with the caravan.

What work did you do in the refurbishment?
If the van you are looking to buy has been refurbished its good to know what work they have done, this should all be confirmed as you look around the caravan.

What is the unladen and laden weight of the Caravan?
Your car will only be able to pull a certain weight of caravan, your cars service books should give you the details of the total braked weight you car can pull. Apologies now if I state the obvious, the unladen weight is the weight of the caravan without all your bits and pieces, the laden weight gives the weight of adding in all these bits. The caravan club recommends that you limit the weight to 85% of the Kerb Weight or Maximum Allowed Weight of your car.

Would you mind telling me the reserve price?
If you are looking at a van on ebay, and there is a reserve price, ask what it is. The reserve price may exceed your budget.

Could you confirm what is included in the sale i.e. gas bottle, awning, hitch and wheel lock etc?
If these are included in the sale then it will be something you won't have to buy once the caravan is yours, if they are not included you need to add them to your shopping list!

The towbar ... !!

If your car hasn't got one obviously you need one ... ! My quotes have ranged from £225 to £300, and one great tip my Dad gave us at the weekend was to let the garage know that you are buying an old van as New Caravans have different connections these days. You will only need a single plug towbar if you are only going to be using electric to power the lights and plugs!

Well, I think thats all the tips I have learnt so far on my hunt for a lovely Vintage Caravan!! No doubt there is still lots to learn ...including once I have it how to tow it and look after it ... and of course enjoy it!!

Feel free to ask any questions ...and I will attempt to answer them from my limited knowledge!

And if you have brought a vintage caravan, do feel free to add your own tips, or correct any of mine, to the comments below ... I am still learning!!

bye, bye for now,




  1. I hope you get your vintage caravan! It will be so lovely for you to decorate! ^_^

  2. I too hope you find your special caravan, and you've covered all the 'looking to buy' points so well in this post it's sure to be of huge benefit to many out there with the same desire as you. All the best!
    Joy x

  3. How exciting!! I had a little old sprite but the gutters weren't kept clear while I was away for a couple of years and 3 of the corners went and the burner went very rusty. Now I have Maud my Scandi converted vito but I dream of one day having another little caravan in the back garden... Hope you find a good un soon!! Cx

  4. I expect the one I used to spend holidays in as a child is now classed as vintage! Someone told me the other day that you can get tow bars that you can take off when not using which I think is a good idea as I have seen many a dent caused when drivers forget there is a towbar. Oh and if you need somewhere for accessories and caravan bits (not vintage) etc I know somewhere near Malvern - give me a shout!

  5. How exciting. We have an old trailer tent but it was given to us so the only question we asked was "Do you want anything for it?" No OK then we will have it!!! My auntie has just bought me vantastic which has some good tips in too (especially the mans tool kit to take with you) Jo x

  6. We had a van, Bluebell, who we rigged up with a platform in the back that we put a mattress on and then stowed our camping gear below. We had many good adventures in her trekking across the USA. You are sure to find just the right caravan for your adventures as you continue to investigate :)
    Gracie xx

  7. What a great post! very informative. i will bookmark this, you never know when the urge to buy a vintage caravan might strike, and this would prevent a rash decision! I also love the embroidery, i'm off for a look, Heather x


Thank you for leaving a message its lovely to hear from you and I enjoy reading the comments you leave.

Thank you,