mini caravans
On The knees.
A mini-caravan is actually not much more than a bed on wheels. This type of
camping equipment is only suitable to sit or lay down. You can only stand in front of the kitchen or in the tent with which you can expand these mini caravans.
In this test we therefore literally ’Go on our knees’ for four of these little ones.
Certainly, a small caravan has advantages over a ’Normal’ caravan. For example, it is cheaper to buy, taking less square meters, can also be used as a transporter (little) and last but not least thanks to its dimensions and weight it has a relatively low air and rolling resistance. In the previous KCK we wrote in the test ‘Green towing cars’ how the latter translates the performance and fuel consumption of small towing cars. Modern cars are usually powerful (and economical) enough to pull a mini caravan. The permissible trailer weight that is specified by the manufacturer is what that is for a safe point of departure. Yet we recommend especially to adventurers, before
the purchase, to call our consultants from the Auto Helpdesk (0,882,695,000). A route with mountains and rough terrain can, also with a modest weight of the caravan, maintain surprises. We can add that a brake is a must. Especially with compact cars the unbraked towing weight is very low. Your mini-caravan is a kind of emergency housing, a moving bed with a kitchen glued to the back. In daytime your living area is on the space around the caravan, so outdoors. And you can expand the living space with a tent. In most cases the tent is placed on the side of the caravan, only for the Travel & Camp (T & C) it is placed behind it. The convenience
of a tent is that you can put your luggage in it that is in the caravan during daytime and when you’re on the road. As real caravanners there are two things that we particularly noticed during this test. Firstly the handles: when you want to move the caravan there is no place to get hold of it. We also missed the brackets on the front side. Of course, the weight of these caravans is not so high that the nose wheel will collapse, but a pair of brackets under the front side will increase the stability. Here again, the T & C is an exception, because it has both support legs and handles.
Camp Runner Alpina
It may be the broadest of all, in terms of living space The Alpina is not impressive in this quartet. It owes its width to the positioning of the wheels.
 A drawbar unit is missing. The vacant place on the drawbar reminds you of a kind of ’loading bay’. Tough, though some caution here is in place, especially when combined with a relatively small towing vehicle. A large part of the caravan is in front of the axle. The weight on the tow bar is already 45 kilos unloaded. When it is loaded, it can easily come above the maximum weight of the tow bar.
The drawbar is provided with a special nose wheel. It does have a crank, but after the connection with the car is made, you can tilt it in order to gain maximum ground clearance.
The Alpina seems to indicate that you do not necessarily have to follow the paved roads. Also the wide track seems to allude to adventure. You don’t have to be afraid the caravan tilts.
Why the manufacturer believes the bottom needs to be protected by plastic is a mystery. Okay, it protects the bottom of the floor for splashing water, but what if gets holes in it? The moisture is then inside the plastic and won’t get out very easy. Our advice: remove that stuff!
The polished aluminum body of the Alpina has a silver color. It seems a little (Airstream) American, but his birthplace is really Slovakia.
The connection between the different parts looks neat. About the hardware of both doors and tailgate we have no criticism.
Although, when you are standing under the open valve, we see pins sticking out of the locks. The space under the valve is 1.90 meters, yet there is a very big risk you will injure your head (on uneven terrain).  The kitchen – with sink and
(Optional) gas heater – looks neat. The manufacturer should pay attention to the improvement of the drawer, blocking of the rails of a refrigerator and making the sockets free of splash water. On the inside everything looks very neat.
The rear part of the interior is provided with cabinets and shelves. The space
between them is filled with electronics, partly for the (Optional) stereo. The
dimensions of the bed are acceptable. A mattress length of just 1.87 meters is not really long. However, there is also an Alpina XL costing € 2.200 more.
Under the bed you have some room for luggage. A bit strange is the lack of ventilation of the mattresses. Apparently manufacturers do not realize that people produce a lot of moist during the night because only the Travel & Camp held this into account.
Finally, we miss the curtains in the Alpina
Caretta 1500
Basoglu could be considered one of the inventors of the mini caravan because the Turkish factory has been producing caravans since 1976. The Caretta is available in various models, even as convertible model. Look at www.
In addition to the 1500 the Dutch importer also offers a 1200
to. This caravan looks very much like the test car, but is a foot narrower.
Furthermore, both versions are also available as “Cargo”, without interior (from
€ 4.950).
With a teardrop, you attract a lot of attention. This certainly applies to the Caretta. The test car is not only in a special color, metallic green, the alloy
rims have nice “thick” tires. On the back of the roof there’s a TV antenna in the shape of a boomerang. This roof is also provided with a big panorama hatch and two large solar panels. The brand logo is placed in an attractive bulge on the rear hatch. Truly a groovy frog (this is blitskikker in Dutch, it means it looks really great and trendy and modern), but there is a price tag to it. With the special color, wheels,
skylight, a chassis with brake and shocks and the solar collectors are additional costs of over three thousand Euros involved. “But then you really have something, because Caretta is not only beautiful, with its fiberglass exterior it is not denting easy. Of this quartet has for example, it has the most stable rear hatch. The height is nearly two meters! Too bad the drawbar expansion is not completely waterproof. With a little effort the manufacturer should be able to improve this in the current production, as well as the too small space between the tires and the fenders.

Also on the inside we have few remarks. Workmanship and used materials
are at a high level. The kitchen is very useful, has a large fridge and a sink with a pullout shower.
Thanks to a 60-liter water container (Plus level meter) a quick shower is a possibility. With cold water, though!
The Caretta offers both in the front and in the back a good amount of closet space for
such a compact car. The bed is 197x 148cm; its measurements are better adapted to Western-European people than that of the competition. However, the room for your feet is only 32cm high. Behind the bed there is also some storage room. Unfortunately the Turkish builder didn’t keep the need for ventilation of the bed in mind. The rarest of the Caretta has been provided with all sorts of ventilation options. And if that does not suffice, you can use the sliding windows of the doors or the HEKI skylight.

The Caretta is not just for summer you can also order it with a Truma mini stove. Because of the costs of this option we do not believe it will be ordered a lot (€1,750) The battery is standard and can be connected to the (optional) solar panels. Without the solar panels you can. But once the battery is fully charged, you can use it for considerable timedue to the energy efficient lighting.
Gobanna 1200B
You don’t have to be a caravan expert to see the similarity between the Gobanna and the Caretta. They are indeed in the distance related to each other. Here’s why:
Gobanna, manufactured in IJmuiden, imported a Caretta in 2008 from Turkey. Two years ago Gobanna decided he could do the “Turkish trick” himself. Since then, the
Gobanna is built in IJmuiden. They only build one model, the 1200, but in different varieties. You should forget about  “Basic”,  the cheapest, (€ 4.950). For € 1.500 more you can buy a brake version, ’Brake’
From this direct confrontation between Gobanna and Caretta, there is clearly a winner:  the Caretta! For example, when you look at them for the first time, they look similar. Of course, the Caretta is broader and therefore offers more interior space,
but even without this difference we appreciate the Turkish product much higher.
It’s just better put together and the finish is at a higher level. The rear hatch of the Gobanna; because of the lack of stability, it tended to open while driving. In the curve of the roof you can see that the rubber seal of the hatch is damaged by too long bolts. Inside, it seems not bad at first, but if you take a better look, you see that the cabinets over the bed are not properly connected to the side walls.

During most of the test it was raining and it was a shame to see that the caravan appeared leaking. More so because Gobanna did not cut on materials. The outside walls are made of polyester, the floor of water-resistant plywood and the bodywork is built on an AL-KO chassis. Support legs should be ordered separately.
The caravan is built mainly sustainable materials. Add the beautiful furniture and at the conclusion seems justified, that it is put together very sloppy

In the (standard) front box is room for an (optional) battery. The gas tank can also be placed in the front box. In the back there’s a usable kitchen with three cabinets, a sink with a faucet that pumps the water out of a jerry can and there’s a nice sized refrigerator. The stainless steel unit with two burners and the sink cost about € 300 extra. The furniture in the caravan consists of a unit with two cabinets, and a few shelves and two speaker fronts. The actual speakers and the radio / CD player are optional.
The bed length is acceptable, but judging from
the width is to be hoped that you’re really fond of your partner…
Like the two other mini’s discussed earlier, in the Gobanna we also miss ventilation under the mattresses. In the caravan itself there are two ventilation grids in the walls and there’s a roof hatch. Both doors have sliding windows which are finished with nice blinds.
Travel & Mini Camp
The Travel & Camp from Portugal (Fly mini-caravan comes from
the same plant) is an outsider in this quartet. Firstly, the different shape and the lack
of side doors, which the other three all have, are remarkable. Everything has to be done through the rear door. However, the rear cover is constructed in a way that you use it as shelter and you can also build a tent around it. The rear hatch is and the roof is made of. The side panels, however, are made with aluminum, which makes
it somewhat more vulnerable than the rest. On the other hand, when hail stones fall straight down, there is not much that can happen with it.
Back to the rear hatch because camping will mainly take place underneath, the height is of interest. That is only 1.60 meters! Opening and closing it, there is not just one but three locks. And you have to use all three of them to keep the hatch properly shut while driving. The chassis, which partly consists of AL-KO-components, has a quit long draw bar. Optional the T&C can also equipped with a “medium” or “large” front box. The test car was without one, so we can’t judge the usefulness of that option. This type of caravan may be relatively light in weight, 700 kilos is still a lot easier to move when there are handles. And they are on the T & C!
We talked about all the locks and height of the rear hatch, but there is something the manufacturer should have paid more attention to:  the fit. The hatch is turning in such a way when opening and closing it, that the rubber seal gets clamped. The result of this with the test caravan was leakage.
The entrance of the T&C is a narrow path between the fridge and the kitchen.  In the kitchen there’s a sink and a two burner cooker. The cabinet below contains, among other things, the water container. Due to the inside height of 1.30 meters, you can – although bent over- walk in the caravan. That can be useful, because the storage space (Underneath the bed) covers a large part of the floor surface.
Concerning al this storage space (also on top of the bed), 300 kg loading capacity is very useful. We are also very happy with the slatted floors under the mattresses. The bed is comfortable and the ventilation of the mattresses is good.
The bed is quite small. The electrical installation does not really suffice, there’s only one outlet and no RCD. The possibility to ventilate are sufficient, there’s three windows, several air-openings in the walls and a roof hatch.

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