As I write, it’s exactly one week until the doors open on this years Motorhome and Caravan show at the NEC Birmingham. This year is a little bit special in as much as it’s been a few years since I’ve been to an October show. The campsite I’m staying at has been booked for about 3 years now, due to the show being cancelled over the “covid period”
So, what should you expect when attending one of the shows. Well, big halls, lots of caravans and accessories and lots of people. Having said that, I did go to the February 2022 show and I didn’t think there were as many people as previous years.
The NEC did things a bit different after opening up shows after covid, they limited the amount of people by making it a pre booked ticket only event and they’ve kept that going for this show. They’ve introduced the new phenomenon of days actually selling out. Sometimes limiting the number of tickets to a venue increases the amount of tickets sold. You need to purchase a ticket before hand, previously you were able to just buy a ticket on the day.
The October show seems bigger than the February one. However, now I’ve looked more closely at the plans, maybe there’s just more, smaller halls, making it seems bigger. October has 11 halls vs February’s 6 (or maybe 5) A couple of the halls in February’s show are much larger than Octobers though, so I’m not sure if October’s has more exhibitors or not.
If you haven’t been before, imagine 11 halls the size of aircraft hangers filled to the max with new caravans, motorhome, accessory stalls, camper vans, tents, awnings. Honestly I could go on, it’s hards to describe exactly how much stuff is in there.
I’ll be attending all days except Sunday. Now, this may sound like a massive undertaking and of course, in some ways it is. But, there’s a lot to see. I mean you can pinpoint exactly what you want to see and limit yourself to one day. But, if you’re like me, I get distracted. “Oooh that’s shiney” “Oooh, not seen one of those before”. I also think, spending a few days there makes it less likely you’ll buy anything. Last time I was there, all I bought was coffee, cornish pasties and cakes (but no caravans). I did look at porch awnings, but didn’t really want to carry one home with me!
Swift will be at this show, they weren’t at the February show and I thought this was because they’d started doing their “Swift Live” events online, which I thought were very good. However, they are back at this show. To be honest I personally didn’t really miss them not being there. There were lots of dealers with dealer specials for us to look at.
Bailey announced a while back they wouldn’t be making any massive changes this year due to supply issues, which I think is good for the consumer. It’s all too tempting to get stuck in the rat race of buying the latest and greatest thing. Upgrading your caravan when you don’t really need to and this is partly due to manufacturers bringing our a new shiney model every year.
I don’t expect prices to have changed very much. No, wait what I actually mean is that I expect prices to still be very strong. Whilst doing some preparation for the show I’ve been surprised at how many caravans are now knocking on the £40k door. Previously it was just the Coachman Lusso, now Bailey, Elddis and Swift are at that price point too!
I have yet to formulate a plan for my visit. Mind you, I’ve never really stuck to a plan as I’m a little bit like a kid in a sweetshop, not really knowing what to look at first. There are some things I want to look at for me personally (rather than items I’ll vlog or review) Firstly, windbreaks. I don’t know about you, but I think windbreaks are expensive. We’ve had the striped plastic seaside type ones for a while, and they are pretty rubbish. They don’t stay up very well as they are just basically pine toothpicks with plastic attached to them. The ends split when you whack them with your mallet! Secondly, you guessed it, E&P levelling. Never have I spoken so much about something for so long, without actually purchasing it. The problem is, it’s expensive and is a complete luxury, it doesn’t matter what way you slice it, it’s still a completely unnecessary purchase. Now, some think motor movers are in that category, I’d beg to differ. Motor movers are a necessity on a twin axle. Whereas there are other solutions like Lock n Level or levelling ramps that can be used to level your caravan. So, what are my reasons for wanting (needing) E&P
- Security. You can lift the wheels off the floor
- Replacing a punctured tire. You can lift the wheels off the floor
- It will automatically level the caravan
I could go on. Actually I can’t that’s pretty much it. It can level the caravan.
As my drive is on a slope I want to speak to E&P regarding this. I think I might need to manually level it using E&P rather than just pressing the auto button. This isn’t really an issue, at the moment it’s a bit of a pain.
I’ve just been out to measure the slope on my drive. The very front of the caravan is 28cm from the ground and the very back is 58cm. So that’s a 30cm drop over the shipping length of the caravan (which is 7.98m) Now all I need to do is apply some maths, or rather google, so I can work out a meaningful number, like degree of slope. [UPDATE] After some googling, I’ve come up with this…
- Vertical rise : 30cm
- Horizontal Distance (run) : 8 metres
- Grade in % : 3.75%
- Angle of elevation is : 2.1476
- Or some might say 1 in 26.67
E&P advise that you can not auto-level on a gradient higher than 5%, as mine is 3.75%, maybe I’ll be OK?
The main reason I haven’t bought it yet is that everytime I think the time is right, something pops up that needs my (financial) attention. I don’t know, like, writing off the caravan, having the car stolen, paying for holidays, finding a new job. You know, everyday life really. To be completely honest we’ve had a shocking run of bad luck as far as cars and caravans go. BUT we soldier on, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. I’m the sort of person that won’t let something like the car being stolen affect me. In fact, I turn it into a positive. I get a better car, obviously I have to spend money I didn’t really need to, but psychologically it puts me in a better place!
However, enough of that. Next week I have 5 days at the NEC, which to me is like a holiday, for others it would be a nightmare. Now the main reason I spend 5 days there is to get a chance to meet as many people as I can. Viewers and subscribers of course, not caravan industry types, I don’t speak to companies as a vlogger, I speak to them as a caravanner, I’m not there trying to drum up business, I wouldn’t have the time to do any of it if I was able to!
What I will do is some caravan reviews of caravans I like and maybe look to review some of the more interesting accessories and possibly some campervans, just because they’re pretty cool, oh and VERY popular 🙂
Hope to see you there…