It doesn’t seem like 12 months since we were last here, how time flies! Each year the show seems to break the previous years attendance record (last year it was over 33,900 visitors over the four days) and I hope this year the trend continues. Held again at Event City next to the Trafford Centre its the North West’s only big caravan and motorhome show and is the opportunity for some of the biggest caravan dealers to kick the new year off with a deal or two to get the market moving. Although by all accounts this year is going to be a ‘staycation’ bonanza with more and more people choosing to holiday in the UK rather than travelling abroad.
The Caravan & Motorhome Show is on at the same time as the Travel Destinations show, but I do wonder if it might be time to split these as the two shows seem to be getting very busy and competing for space. This year the organisers have decided to open at 9:30AM on both Saturday & Sunday in order to help ease the weekend congestion.
All the main North West dealers had stands…. and all were offering show special pricing.
So what caught my eye at this show?
Well back in October last year we dithered about replacing our caravan… and decided to continue for a while with our current one as it did everything we needed it too, so I wasn’t particularly looking at caravans.
I did however want to drop by the Duvalay stand to get a couple of questions answered. We recently saw Dan Trudgian’s video about their experiences with making up beads and they had settled on a Duvalay solution, and although we have a fixed bed wondered if we could use two single’s on a fixed double bed. I managed to speak to a very busy Liz Colleran, sales and marketing director, about our options and wanted to know if two single toppers would ‘creep apart’ or generally move around. Liz told me that once put in place they tend to stay put. I did have a few other questions and Liz answered these with ease. So, the next thing is to choose the colour and get them ordered!
My next stop was P F Jones. As many of you know I’m still in the process of fitting out our new tow vehicle and the last thing is a bike rack for our two bikes. My initial thoughts ware a simple rack over the Amarok’s Roll-N-Lock bed cover. However as the Amarok is so wide, it wasn’t as simple as I thought. Options for Pick-Up trucks in the UK are somewhat limited. The problem was not only the span, but the mounting points. As I wanted to mount the cross bars across the bed, the only point the bars would mount was the flat surface at the side of the Roll-N-Lock track. There were two manufacturers that made racks and bars that would fit… Yakima and Thule. Yakima manufacture a huge range of roof racks and bike carriers, unfortunately the available range is limited in Europe and although they had a solution, it meant importing it from the USA and that would prove very costly given the current exchange rate and import duty. This left Thule, however the correct mounting foot, although available in the USA (made for the Jeep Wrangler) was not available in Europe. Even contacting Thule directly, I could not buy a set in Europe. I have had to import them from the USA.
Back to the story! Looking at photos of all the bits is fine, and checking tables to confirm size is OK… but there is nothing like a hands on, pull it, push it, slide it, will it, won’t it, get up close look at something which is exactly what I could do on the P F Jones stand. I managed to talk to a young chap that works in the racks and accessories section who spent the time going through the options and how everything could be adjusted round the sports bars fitted to the Amarok. He did suggest I could take the Amarok down to their shop in Trafford Park and they could go through and check everything would fit and be in the right place before I ordered. I’ll be taking them up on that offer in the near future!
My last stop was to put my head in one of our choices for a replacement caravan… It ticked most of our boxes back in October at the NEC but we were looking for a twin bed version. Unfortunately no one seems to make a twin axle, mid bath, rear twin bed caravan. Except Vanmaster of course!
So that’s my little show roundup done. Nothing exciting really, it was more an intel gathering mission for me.
The show is on until Sunday 22nd January and remember it opens from 9:30AM on Saturday and Sunday. There is plenty of parking both at Event City and across the road… or you can park in the Trafford Centre.