1st February 2016
Scrolling through Facebook shortly after last-year’s school summer holidays, I spotted a post from a friend who was putting his caravan into storage once his kids had gone back to school. He figured the beginning of the new school year signalled the end of the caravanning calendar and after a spot of winterizing, his poor caravan would be put into hibernation until Easter.
Genuine, 52 weeks-a-year touring is simple thanks to Alu-Tech construction and with the new Bailey Pegasus achieving the fastest heat-up time in Grade 3 insulation tests, we decided to replicate this with real people instead of the probes that are normally used. Truma UK supplied the cold chamber as well as the 6E combi system that’s fitted to the current Pegasus range so, with pyjamas packed, Simon Howard from Bailey and I headed towards Derby for a night well below freezing.
The Grade 3 test begins at a rather chilly -15’C and to make sure it’s -15 absolutely everywhere, all of the doors, windows and lockers are opened with the various temperature probes monitoring progress to the nearest 0.1 of a degree. We briefly turned the dial to -30’C so we could throw a cup of water into the air and watch it freeze before hitting the ground but the cold is so extreme that my phone refused to focus before turning itself off and injuries that I’d long since forgotten made a brief but uncomfortable reappearance. Talking of uncomfortable, feeling the hairs inside my nose freeze is every bit as unpalatable as it sounds but I’m pleased to report that nostrils last longer than iPhones at these temperatures.
With the dial back to a balmy -15 and an even spread of iciness throughout the Pegasus, the doors and windows are closed and the Truma Combi is fired-up on a mix of gas and electric. To pass the Grade 3 insulation test, the interior temperature of the caravan needs to climb to 20’C inside of the 4-hour time limit and, thanks to the hard work between the Truma and Bailey boffins, careful calculations, siting and balancing led to an unrivalled heat-up time of just 64 minutes which is no mean feat considering that’s a 35’C temperature climb across all areas of the caravan.
With the steam from the exterior Truma flue rapidly turning to icicles outside, Simon from Bailey, Martin from Truma, Alastair from Practical Caravan Magazine & I were inside building the Lego Pegasus in our Pyjamas. Granted, the photos wouldn’t make a popular Calendar Girls-inspired year planner but underlined the fast heat-up time and thermal efficiency perfectly. Somewhere between the first and second bottle of wine, just before switching from Lego to Poker, we had to turn down the heating as, even in jim-jams, we were getting too hot despite the cold chamber fans doing their best to batter the exterior of the Pegasus with a wind chill factor of epic proportions. Fan noise aside, draw the curtains and we could be tucked-up in bed at our favourite coastal site in the middle of summer.
A caravan is an investment and, chosen correctly, is one which can be used all year round, during all school holidays, regardless of the temperature. February Half-Term trip, anyone?