You know by now I don’t do caravan reviews. I leave it to people far better at it than myself. I have however over the years written a few articles about caravan design ( Never admit to being a caravan designer ) and waffled on as we looked around pondering the merits of changing our caravan. We kept ticking boxes…. but never enough boxes to actually go for it and buy a new caravan. Well a few months ago I received the marketing info from Bailey about it’s 2022 caravans and to be honest I only gave them a cursory look through. While we were away recently I started looking at what they’d sent out. I also had a link to a video done by the excellent Lee Davey (Twitter: @TinTent ) Bailey’s brand ambassador about the Bailey Alicanto Grande Porto
A full link to the Bailey of Bristol website with details is here: https://www.baileyofbristol.co.uk/touring-caravans/alicanto-grande/alicanto-grande-porto/
A few things that tick our boxes straight away are the centre wash room and larger bed (more room for our cat!) and the generous wardrobe space. One of our (Err… Sue’s) comparisons is always how much hanging rail space has a caravan got when compared to our current Swift caravan… and the Alicanto Grande Porto has three wardrobes which add up to slightly more rail space we currently enjoy.
A key box ticker for me though is the great through locker at the rear of the caravan. There are very few caravans that offer external lockers on the off side, which is really where you need your ‘stuff’… be it mains hook up lead, waste water pipe, waste hog, fresh water hook up kit etc.etc. When setting up I find I’m always having to walk between the off side and front gas locker or near side lockers to get all my bits out. I can see that with the Alicante Grande range being able to store all that stuff in a locker on the off side will be a great feature. The only thing that you would have to be careful of is putting too much stuff in at the rear of the caravan, but Bailey have you covered to a large extent by having the gas locker close to the axle centre line and not at the front which always requires some counterbalancing by the designers you will have greater flexibility when loading.
So what else is ticking the boxes for me?
Well, you see the small lockers either side of the bed… Bailey show them with books in…
Well to me these are shoe lockers… for some reason we always seem to have a collection of shoes by our caravan door and nowhere to store them without the usual routing through dozens (I may exaggerate here) of shoes that don’t belong to you to find one pair that is actually yours. That is a box ticker right there!
Another tick is where the powered roof vent is installed…
….right above the stove top and above the microwave. It would have been ascetically pleasing I guess to install it on the centre line of the caravan, but for efficiency as close to above where all the steam and smells are created is as good as it gets (an extracting cooker hood would have earned a gold star not a tick… but they are getting close!)
Oh… here’s another one…
Our current caravan has the usual three gas and one electric ring… the only problem is that the electric ring is lower than the supports for the pans on the gas ring. This severely limits the size of pan you can use on the electric ring. Hurrah… The cooker has been redesigned, OK I know it’s not Bailey that have done this… but someone somewhere had a lightbulb moment and the electric ring is now raised up and you can use a larger pan. Small things I know, but it’s the small things ticking boxes that turn something from being good to being great.
While we are in the kitchen… finally a microwave that doesn’t have the spinning plate of doom. I always have the vision of our microwave plate sliding out and landing edge on to the glass cover of the hob breaking it each time we open the microwave door after travelling.
A quick visit to the bathroom…
Most mid bathroom caravans take advantage of the ability to close off the area from the rest of the caravan by having a door that is dual function… closing off the living area or the bathroom. Not unique I know but Bailey seems to have created a huge sink and toilet area even with the door closed and a massive area when the door is used to close off the living area. Enough room to swing a cat…. not that I would ever swing our cat Henry round! With the pocket door to the bedroom closed, it makes a great changing area with plenty of ‘elbow’ room without having to close window blinds each time.
I know it’s not a ‘first’… but top marks too for installing a roof vent in the shower cubicle… an easy way to vent all the steam when using the shower. Something lacking on our current van.
So what have they missed out on for me?
As most caravans are used on pitches which are designed with EHU bollards, water taps and waste outlets to the rear of the pitch… I still think that you could save punching holes in the sides of caravans to install water and EHU connections. With the Alicanto Grande Porto‘s design, you could install the electrical and water connections in the rear locker on the off side and have an access hole in the floor for your cable and water pipe. Rather than a 25 metre electrical cable you may be able to get away with only carrying a 10 metre cable. American RV’s and travel trailers have been doing this sort of thing for years. OK I know that for the electrics there are a couple of regulations that need to be catered for, but I’m sure they are not insurmountable and I’m also sure that not having to create holes to install and seal expensive “connection boxes” for power and water could be a cost saving.
The caravan comes with two (in the case of the Porto) ALKO wheel locks. I’d much prefer the Bailey Nemesis Wheel Lock to be supplied instead… or at least an option to choose between the two as a zero cost option when buying a new caravan.
Sue would really really like a hair/makeup mirror… one that can be articulated… maybe with lights…. and a perfect place would be for us on the TV mount in the bedroom. We don’t have a TV in the bedroom and maybe one of those useful accessories could be an optional illuminated mirror and mount to fit on the TV do-hicky…. I’m sure Sue wouldn’t mind if it had “Bailey” branding on it either!
I’m not going to go on about the onboard water tank, built in WiFi, it’s security features, Al-Ko ATC and flashy coloured lighting… I’ll just turn it into just another magazine style review if I’m not careful, but I just wanted to point out some of the things that have been ticking our boxes and made us take notice.
Thanks for reading all this… you get a tick in the box for that!
If you own a 2022 Bailey Alicanto Grande Porto, I’d love to hear what you think about it…. and if we see you on site… can we pop in and have a nosey round…. We’ve not been able to see one in the flesh yet!
The build quality of Bailey caravans have gone down hill and the customer services is almost none existing
Simon Barlow said:
Having received various communications from people like yourself, I think I can say the build quality has generally dropped with nearly all UK manufacturers. So much so we have decided not to look for a new caravan but instead a 5th Wheel caravan from the 5th Wheel Company in Wales.
I have a 2019 Cabrera, had a look at the new Bailey’s at the weekend. While this layout has improved some things. 8ft wide makes a huge difference.
I won’t be upgrading to a new one this time. Front top quarter cupboards open and hit the plastic valance for the center window surround. I think this shocking and how it got to sale I don’t know without being snagged. Awning power socket is still where the porch awning sits on the new cabrera. It’s a pain unless you go full awning. Then a press stud in the shower wall to hold the screen in transit. It didn’t look stainless. So I cant imagine it not rusting and ruining the shower cubicle.
I generally felt the interior has gotten more plastic as well. I know it’s lighter. But you don’t seem to gain on payload.
The front window is huge. A very nice touch.
It’s a great caravan. I’m a Swift man through and through but must admit these do tick most all my boxes in that particular layout.
Until I find that 1980s front table that extends and stays on two levels! VHS was still a thing when all the other caravan manufacturers stopped doing that! And then Bailey goes and does that in 2022!
All the others now have extending tables that click up to the same level as the front part of the chest of drawers. But not Bailey.
The idiotic USBs above your head when you sleep, with nowhere for the phone or watch to go whilst you charge them, is a minor irritation you can fix yourself with an aftermarket shelf.
Can I live without a front locker to put wet cables and things away in? Hmmm. That’s the main thing that makes me be very reticent about getting a Bailey.
Simon Barlow said:
Despite being Swift owners for 11 years now…. my leaning is towards Bailey as in my mind they have been making year on year improvements that I’d like to see. I thought Swift lost the plot when they decided to ‘loose’ a side locker and install a pull out TV mount. Someone had been watching too many American RV videos featuring outside TV’s IMHO. I’m still waiting for a manufacturer to come up with a ‘pull out external kitchen’ Australian style. As long as it comes complete with Australian sunshine.
The pull out TV mount is only something you get on dealer specials. And it’s in a separate new smaller locker adjacent the existing one by the way. So you don’t lose any existing lockers. 😄
There are pull outs kitchen conversations for Swifts in Oz. I’ve seen one with a kitchen sliding out from under the transverse bed of a 580. So in the nearside from the back locker.
Simon Barlow said:
Still not a fan of the TV thing… and the conversions great for the Australian market… but I’ll stick to a Cadac.
We ordered one of these but then saw the Coachman 850 Laser Xcel and cancelled the Bailey, based on quality & workmanship. Similar layout, works perfectly for us.
We did look at another similar Bailey, twin axle, equally long name, and realised the toilet cassette hatch opened door-side, into the awning. So you’d be traipsing through your awning with (potentially dripping) thetford cassette. Someone in the design team has never been caravanning…
Rod Carter said:
At 6′-2″ I have difficulty with caravan beds, none of them are ever long enough even to roll out a Duvalay!
Simon Barlow said:
Ah… I’m 6′ on a good day and almost know your struggle.
Our 2005 Lunar Lexon 640 had a very similar arrangement except we had a L shape lounge. We liked the layout as we could one the bathroom window for our cat to use her toiler in the awning. She could come back the same way. Biggest problem we found is that you cannot store anything under the island bed while travelling in case you have the tail wagging the dog. Our current caravan has the island bed immediately behind the rear axle so you can carry a few bit and pieces under the bed.
Simon Barlow said:
I know what you mean about a rear island bed and weight. Thankfully the only thing we would need to store under there is the aquarol and the wastethog, both which are more bulky than weighty. One advantage of having a pickup to tow… all the big heavy stuff goes in there. we can easily put 800Kg in the bed and not affect our vehicle or towing limits.
Mark Cooke said:
No Bailey haven’t built the perfect caravan. I haven’t even looked at it . With current company size structure and buying set up it can’t be done.
Modem caravans are built to a price not for a reason.
Cheep plastic is the down fall of most of them just wait 3 years and see the list of things that don’t work !
Simon Barlow said:
Hi Mark…. I did say “have Bailey built OUR perfect caravan” not ‘the’ perfect caravan. I think everything now is built to a price. I was brought up with the IKB mentality for engineering…. “why use two half inch bolts when you can get four in there and a bit of steel to back it up” so nearly everything to me looks under done… I guess that’s why I’m a bad reviewer. I’d end up doing a nut, bolt and screw count on the thing. That said, God’s composite (wood) does have issues and alternative materials can be an improvement. I’d love to see a caravan with a composite carbon fibre floor and no chassis.