There has always been a loyal and steadfast caravanning community throughout Europe. There have also been detractors of the pastime too. If you’ve ever watched Top Gear, the car-mad trio took special delight in destroying caravans in increasingly strange and twisted ways. This has never put campers off, though: they don’t care what other people think.
But what is interesting is that caravanning is beginning to appeal to a new breed of holidaymakers. Perhaps rumours that England international footballer Wayne Rooney and his wife, Colleen, purchased a caravan in Wales might have helped to change the perception that camping is a holiday for the frugally minded. A new term has even been coined: glamavanning.
Take Dunwich Cliffs Estate, a popular caravan site in Suffolk, UK: in recent times some applicants have been put on a 5-year waiting list to get a pitch at the esteemed site.
A timely moment, then, for Garmin to release their latest caravan-specific navigation device, the 6-inch Garmin Camper 660LMT-D which uses HERE mapping capabilities.
We spoke to Thiemo Weinschenk, Head of Product Management PND at Garmin, about the product and how it can make travelling by caravan a joyful, hassle-free experience.
According to Thiemo the 660LMT-Ds predecessor, the 760LMT-D, which was Garmin’s first foray into a camper-specific PND, proved exceptionally popular but customer feedback suggested a few improvements were needed.
One such improvement is the addition of road-incline data.
Weinschenk says, “some people told us they had very old campers that sometimes struggle on roads with a heavy incline so we’ve implemented an elevation profile based on HERE map data, which shows the elevation for the next mile, informing the driver how steep the gradient is.”
They have also included warnings about bridge height, width and weight limits, again provided by HERE, which can stop any unfortunate mishaps.
“We use the HERE Trucks Lite content, which has a bit less detail than would be found in our truck navigators. It will warn you if the bridge in front is too low or whether your vehicle is too heavy to cross a bridge.”
When it comes to caravan-related points of interest, such as campsite details, Gamin has combined HERE data with the campsite specialist ACSI to create a rich source of information for campsites in your area or where you’re travelling to.
HERE has data on 20,000 campsites in Europe and if you want more granular detail, for example, to find out if there is an on-site bakery at the campsite, then Garmin’s PND has incorporated data from ACSI for over 9,000 campsites.
Thiemo says, “If people need a detailed description of one of the camp grounds, they can access pictures, prices, opening times; is there a playground, or a swimming pool etc? You can also filter the information so, for example, if it’s a priority that dogs are allowed and there is a swimming pool, it will only show you campsites which adhere to these requirements.”
Camper-specific PNDs will only become more popular as caravanning increases. Research carried out by the European Caravan Federation shows that the number of registered touring caravans (those that are towed by cars) are up 9% this year compared to last year and for motor caravans (all-in-one vehicles) it has increased by more than13%. And it follows that demand for Camper-specific PNDs will go up as the popularity in caravanning increases.
So, whether you want to go ‘glamavannning’ or just plain old caravanning, make sure you have a trusty PND to guide you safely to the perfect campsite.