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!