Helpful hints for free camping

Tuesday, April 1, 2014  | Ian Sadler

Ian Sadler Sales Manager from Canterbury Caravans has been
selling the Australian Spec Bailey Caravan for 3 years now. In this time he has
also been to the UK to view the production of these stunning caravans and meet
the team behind the State of the Art production. It wasn't until Christmas 2013
that he was able to take one on holidays with his family.

On the 26th of December  2013 I hitched on a Bailey Unicorn Barcelona from Canterbury Caravans to take on holidays with my family to Lake Eildon National Park.  I was amazed at the amount of cupboard space and room available under the bed to store items, whilst I was loading the van for the trip ahead.

On the Morning of the 27th I woke the family at 5:30 am to set off on our trip to lake Eildon. The van towed extremely well behind my Nissan Nivara ST-X V6 with no movement at 100 km/h. Through the Black Spur the car towed at 14 ltr per 100/km with it averaging out at 12.7 ltr per 100/km. Quite a fuel efficient way to start the holiday.

Upon arriving at lake Eildon in Devils Cove I found the entrance to the sites to have quite a large drop off the road. This was a little concerning as the Bailey is perceived to have limited ground clearance, however the van rode over this drop with no problems or scapes at all. This was good for me to experience as it helps me better understand the performance of the Bailey Caravan in a semi off road situation.

Set up of the site took around 1 hour. This involved unpacking the car and van, setting up the tebbs full deluxe annex, c-gear annex matting and the shade tent from anaconda. This is pictured below.


During our stay at Devils cove we found the following features made our holiday far more enjoyable.

In the evening time it can get quite cold and we found the inside held a very comfortable temperature due to the grade 3 insulation used to produce this style of Caravan. If the Caravan became too cold we loved the fact that the van was centrally heated with the Alde heating system that is standard on all Unicorn models.

The front lounge we found was very spacious with the large seating area and front windows which allowed a lot of natural light through the van. During the day it got quite hot outside however with the blinds closed and running a sirocco fan, this kept the van nice and cool for our 14 month old daughter to take an afternoon nap. In normal conditions you would be able to run the air conditioner where 240 volt was available.

We also found the front lounge very handy made up as a bed for the children to lay on during the day or of an evening time to watch a DVD or TV. We even found ourselves watching a DVD one night as it got quite windy and cold outside.


One of the biggest concerns or compromises with this particular Bailey model is the bed against the wall. I found this to be ok as once asleep not much wakes me. However, for someone that does have the need to go to the bathroom during the night, they would need to sleep on the outside closest the bathroom door. Overall the bed was very comfortable and fitted myself, wife and daughter comfortably.

The fridge running in this particular model was the dometic 190ltr MES. During the day temperatures got over 35 degrees, however the fridge kept a nice temperature inside and drinks were nice and cold. We had to be careful at night as the temperature dropped and items did freeze in the freezer by morning. So one good point is do not forget the cans of drink you were trying to get extra cold during the day, remember to remove them.

The on board battery system was a great item to have when free camping. We found we could use all the items in the van like lights, pump, TV , ETC with ease. We were also able to charge the phones and camera batteries off the Caravan with the aid of an 80 watt free standing solar panel and small Waeco can invertor.

Overall myself and the family had a great trip away in theBailey Caravan. It provided many great memories for our family and the kids had a ball. It was so nice to have the lush comforts of home and with my wife being 4 months pregnant the availability of a bathroom in the van enabled her to come away on holidays in comfort.

I have now gained a better perspective of the Bailey
Caravans and the comfort level they provide when away on holidays.

As a salesman it is one thing to sell a product but now I
have gained experience with this product as a customer and I look forward to
not only selling the Bailey Caravans but the memories that will go along with
them for many years to come. 


Ian's helpful free camping Caravan list to unpowered sites :

  1. Ensure the Van has a battery system. This will be needed for the lights, pumps , TV etc.
  2. Ensure you have a solar panel or 2 to top the battery system up during the day.
  3. Our annex was great for storing items and giving some extra room outside the van.
  4. C-Gear annex matting was great to keep the dust down and nice to walk on under foot.
  5. We found the use of a Marquee shade tent was great to sit under during the day.
  6. We used a small Waeco invertor that plugged into the 12 volt socket to charge phones, cameras , etc.
  7. Ensure your TV is 12 volt so it can be watched off battery power.
  8. Replacing lights with LED lights will help reduce power consumption of 12 volt
  9. A 12 volt sirocco Fan is a must if you have no 240v. This used only 0.2 amps per hour and was great for our daughter of 14 months when it was getting too hot.
  10. We used a Webber Baby Q for all of our cooking outside. This cooked great bacon and eggs.
  11. Plenty of gas in the gas bottles. Ensure they are full before you leave
  12. Gas lantern for light of an evening time
  13. Gas or diesel heater in case the nights become cold or the weather changes.



For any further information on the Bailey Caravan range or some advice in general on caravanning and accessories please contact Ian Sadler at Canterbury Caravans on (03) 9729-8188 or email on