Who would have thought that when the stands were pulled down and the new models driven out of the NEC in February 2020, it would turn out to be two years before they could grace the venue again?
Back in those days – if you can recall them – we were still being told that Covid-19 was something that would probably only require a lockdown of a few weeks or so.
But now, barring any last-minute unforeseen reversals or sudden spikes in infections, the NEC’s doors should finally be opening again on 22 February to welcome visitors to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show.
There will, of course, be some notable absentees. Swift Group, for example, has announced that it will not be attending, as it still prefers to present its vehicles at dealers and online. And the Erwin Hymer Group’s Continental brands, which include Bürstner, Dethleffs, Laika and Niesmann+Bischoff as well as Hymer itself, have not been taking stands at shows since the pandemic started.
But there will still be plenty to view at the show – read on to discover who’ll be there and what you can expect to find.
For more details and ticket information, see ccmshow.co.uk.
Adria – Stand 3060/3060a
The Matrix and Coral Axess ranges that missed out on having an upgrade the year before have now been given the same treatment as their Plus and Supreme colleagues.
So you can find the newly updated models with double floors that provide not just a place to hide many services, but also a level floor running all the way from the cab to the rear.
You should also get to have a look at the new Twin Sports models, van conversions with a raising roof and, in the case of the SGX, an innovative rear section that should provide plenty of space for anyone wanting to carry bikes or outdoor gear in their motorhome.
Auto-Sleepers – Stand 3075
Auto-Sleepers is already known for producing popular van conversions based on a Peugeot Boxer and low-profiles that come on either a Peugeot Boxer or a Mercedes Sprinter.
This season it has entered the camper market by launching the Auto-Sleeper Air, a raising-roof four-berth with a classic side-kitchen layout, based on the short-wheelbase Ford Transit Custom. You can find out more about this vehicle in our review on p84, and see it for yourself by visiting the show’s stand 3075 this year.
Don’t miss some of the other new low-profile ’vans that have joined the Auto-Sleepers stable while the show has been in limbo, including the Broadway EL, offering a comfortable rear lounge in an overall length that is only slightly longer than a van conversion, and the highly specced Nuevo ES and EK.
Auto-Trail – Stand 3040
New from Auto-Trail this season is the six-model low-profile F-line range, all based on a Ford Transit and including two two-berths, the end-washroom F60 and the end-kitchen F62; two rear-lounge models, the F68 and F72; the fixed-single-bed F70 and the island-bed F74. Look out, too, for the overcab Expedition range – four models, including the end-kitchen C63, island-bed C71, rear-lounge C72 and transverse-bed C73.
Bailey – Stand 3020
It’s incredible to realise, but the NEC show will be the first time Bailey’s new Adamo range has been shown at any major industry event.
The three-model line-up includes an end-washroom, island-bed and rear-lounge layout, all with a much more Continental feel than other Bailey models, and a garage at the rear that is large enough to hold bicycles. They are primarily designed for those who have been swayed by Continental style, but still want UK spec.
With the launch of the range, Bailey has discontinued the mid-market Alliance SE to focus on Adamo and the more upmarket Autograph range, some of which will also be on display at the firm’s stand.
Carthago and Malibu – Stand 1130
The only remaining privately owned manufacturer in Germany, Carthago has revamped its flagship chic c-line for 2022. Now almost 20 years in the running, the Fiat- and Mercedes-based models are available in four different style settings.
If such vehicles are too heavy for your licence, Carthago has also spent lockdown making its c-compactline and c-tourer lines lighter, so all unladen weights are now well below 3500kg.
For Carthago’s more budget-priced brand, Malibu, the main development is the introduction of a new floorplan concept for its van conversions. The Diversity layout is designed to give the driver a clear view out through the back, by rearranging the side kitchen.
Coachman – Stand 2100
A new name in motorhomes, but certainly not a new name within the leisure vehicle industry.
Assuming that shipments go as planned, the NEC show could be the first time we get to see the new range of motorhomes produced by the Hull-based caravan manufacturer.
Precise details of what the line-up will consist of were still under wraps as we went to press. But the motorhomes have been built in collaboration with Swedish manufacturer KABE, which increased its stake in Coachman to become a 100% owner last year.
Chausson – Stand 3052
Two exciting new models will be on view at the French company’s stand. The X550, a low-profile coachbuilt, has been designed very much on van conversion principles, with its length and width (5.99m and 2.1m) similar to many van conversions, but still offering a comfortable end washroom.
The 660, meanwhile, is a low-profile with a clever U-shaped front lounge facing a large TV, a partitioned-off kitchen and a garage you can walk into at the back that also features a second external door. In addition, there could be some models from the brand’s new S range of compact low-profiles.
Erwin Hymer Group UK – Stand 3000
There hasn’t been much change on the motorhome front at Erwin Hymer UK – apart from a slight lengthening of the Autoquest/Avantgarde 155 model.
But that means you can still see three ranges of low-profiles from each of Elddis and Compass – the entry-level Elddis Autoquest or Compass Avantgarde, the compact Accordo or Navigator, and the more upmarket Encore or Concerto.
In addition, don’t miss the Fiat-based campervan range that the company has been producing. This includes the CV60, a French-bed ’van that was our 2020 Motorhome of the Year, and the raising-roof CV80.
Knaus and Weinsberg – Stand 1050
Knaus has significantly expanded the number of its coachbuilt models that come with a FoldXpand rear panel. This is designed to increase the interior length without making the overall vehicle any longer.
It has also devised the Lucky Dog Camper option, which is available on some single-bed models and allows you to turn the underbed storage area into a handy kennel.
On its van conversions, BoxDrive models now come with a Vario washroom, with a sliding partition,
as an optional extra.
Knaus’s budget brand Weinsberg, meanwhile, has increased the floor insulation on its CaraHome overcabs.
Marquis Leisure – Stand 3075
Along with being Britain’s biggest dealership network, Marquis Leisure is also currently the sole dealer for Mobilvetta in the UK.
The Italian manufacturer’s smart Tekno Line K Yacht A-class range has had a serious restructuring while the show has been away, with new layouts including the rear-lounge K95 and the end-washroom K59.
We’re also promised the K80, which features an L-shaped rear lounge below a drop-down double bed.
Marquis Leisure is also sole dealer for Benimar, so head to this stand to check out the new range of Fiat-based Mileo low-profiles, Ford-based Tessoros, and the more budget Primero range.
Moto-Trek – Stand 2042
Moto-Trek originally branched out from specialist horsebox manufacturer Equi-Trek, which perhaps explains why many of its models share similar exterior finishes to horseboxes.
It now produces a range of large motorhomes, often with slide-outs that expand the available space once you are parked on site.
The South Yorkshire company also produces the Leisure-Treka range of Peugeot Boxer-based van conversions.
Pilote and Frankia – Stand 3080
Much has been happening at Pilote. The French manufacturer has launched a new entry-level brand, Joa Camp. It aims to keep prices down by basing all models on a Citroën Relay and making more extensive use of modular construction. There are currently six vehicles in the range: four low-profiles and two van conversions.
Within Pilote itself, spec levels have been rearranged so that you can now choose between Evidence – a select range of five low-profiles and one A-class, with a “take it or leave it” range of extras at a knock-down price – and Expression, models that you can customise yourself but which could end up being slightly dearer.
Pilote’s upmarket A-class brand, Le Voyageur, meanwhile, has ditched both its Liner and Signature ranges, but has brought out a new Heritage line-up entirely based on a Mercedes.
The Pilote stand will also include vehicles from sister company Frankia.
Rapido Group – Stand 1120
French manufacturer Rapido produces its own brand as well as Itineo, which originally specialised in budget-priced A-classes but has now branched out into low-profiles, and the Dreamer range of van conversions.
Latest developments at Rapido include a three-model range of compact low-profiles, while Itineo has expanded with four new layouts.
These include the SC700, with bunks at the back; the 6.99m-long MC700, with island bed and corner washroom; the PF600, with a French bed; and the single-bed PJ700, a shorter version of the discontinued PJ740.
For Dreamer, the main development is the D60, a van conversion including a drop-down bed at the rear that can be raised to create a substantial area of storage space. That seems to be quite a common industry theme this year.
Rimor – Stand 3050
Italian manufacturer Rimor – part of the multinational Trigano Group, like Auto-Trail and Auto-Sleepers – specialises in family-oriented overcabs and low-profiles, sometimes with more than six berths.
Many of these are based on a Fiat, although more recently it has updated its Ford Transit-based Evo range, too. And it still has room for some Horus van conversions.
Rimor is sold in the UK through Motorhomes and Caravans, in Hull, which has its own presence at the show at stand 1100.
Wait – didn’t we say Swift wasn’t coming to the show in February? Yes, the manufacturer itself is not taking a stand. But as before, the NEC also includes a number of dealership stands. So if you want to check out the latest models from the Hull-based company, you should be able to find Swift vehicles to step inside at the Broad Lane Leisure, Glossop Caravans, Wandahome (South Cave) and Lowdhams stands.
Auto Campers – Stand 5114
Berkshire-based Auto Campers offers three different types of Ford Transit Custom-based van conversions. They are all available as a standard ’van, a high-top, or a ’van with a raising roof.
There is a Day Van, with modular furniture you can easily remove to make it a day-to-day vehicle, a Leisure Van with a rock’n’roll bed but still great flexibility, and an MRV with a bench seat that slides forward on rails to provide a huge amount of storage space behind it.
More recently, the company has also been working on offering more possibilities for people with disabilities.
Bilbo’s – Stand 5116
Named after the Tolkien character, Bilbo’s has been going since 1977, and in that time has built up a loyal following of customers who love its VW Transporter-based ’vans.
The company’s stand will include popular models such as the Space, with removable pods, and the Komba, which has seating for six. There will also be more recent additions to the fold, such as the Nexa+, based on the end-kitchen Nexa, but with a cassette toilet included at the rear.
CMC Reimo – Stand 5095
Kent-based CMC Reimo established its reputation building mainly VW-based campervans with raising roofs made by German supplier Reimo. More recently, it has been developing its separate HemBil brand, which uses other suppliers. This has enabled it to start producing some really innovative designs, including the Drift, which has a kitchen that swings outside.
Devon Conversions – Stand 5082
Based, despite the name, in County Durham for the past few decades, Devon Conversions produces a wide range of van conversions on a variety of base vehicles.
The Ford-based Firefly has proved so popular, it is produced on its own production line. But look out, too, for the Fiat-based Aztec, which is available in a variety of sizes, the Mercedes-based Sapphire, and two more recent additions to the fleet – the end-kitchen Arizona and Colorado.
Hillside Leisure – Stand 5098
Derby-based Hillside Leisure has established a strong reputation for building raising-roof campervans.
It was one of the first van converters, along with Rolling Homes, to acquire Volkswagen’s Recognised Converter status, a process which involved the firm having to achieve a range of quality assurance milestones.
While many of its models are based on the classic VW-style side-kitchen layout, the company has also produced the end-kitchen Cromford and the rear-lounge Hopton, both based on the VW Crafter.
Lowdhams – Stand 3090
As well as dealing in a wide selection of motorhome brands, Lowdhams supplies its own range of Summit campervans. The Ford-based models in the range have been completely upgraded, while the VW-based vehicles will also be on display at the show.
Other ranges that Lowdhams handles should prove worth a look, too. Due to the Erwin Hymer Group’s European brands not appearing themselves, this stand could be the only place where you will see some of its new models at a show this year.
Chief among these are the new range of RT raising-roof ’vans from Sunlight, and Hymer’s campervans. And if you are missing Swift, you can check out Lowdhams’ Swift-based Freestyle dealer specials here, too.
Murvi – Stand 5096
Murvi has built up a strong reputation for developing van conversions with excellent attention to detail, including, unusually, many with end washrooms and side-facing settees.
On the stand this time, you can see the new Pimento XL SB (shown on a Fiat Ducato but also available on a Ford Transit), as well as the Morocco and the Ford-based Morello and Pimento SB.
Rolling Homes – Stand 5030
Rolling Homes is a family-run firm based in Shrewsbury. It produces some campervans with a traditional, mostly wood, finish and others with a more modern-looking interior.
Many of these vehicles have been named after famous explorers, such as the VW-based Columbus, Livingstone and Shackleton, the Ford-based Kingsley, and the Mercedes-based Magellan. While visiting this stand, look out, too, for the VW-based Expedition, offering the option of four-wheel drive, and the Ability, a VW conversion that can be adapted for those people who use a wheelchair.
Vantage – Stand 5020
There have only been small changes
in the Vantage line-up for the 2022 season. These include new woodwork, worktops, upholstery and lighting.
The range remains as before, with 12 models in total, 10 of which are two-berths. However, the 5.99m-long Sol, a rear-lounge two-berth, does get new storage space in the rear.
Vanworx – Stand 5088
Vanworx took over the Danbury name just before the start of lockdown, and has now amalgamated its production into its own business.
The Dorset-based firm produces VW-based campervans with a classic side-kitchen layout, as well as day vans and the more rugged MaxTraxx, based on the 4WD Crafter and designed for off-grid touring.
WildAx – Stand 5112
WildAx produces campervans (mostly high-top, but some raising-roof) on a variety of base vehicles, including Ford, Citroën, Fiat and Mercedes.
These include not just two-berths, but family ’vans, too, such as Solaris, which has long bunks at the back.
Now owned by Rapido, the company is going through an expansion, with a larger factory planned near its current base in West Yorkshire.
Bradcot – Stand 1033
Although primarily focused on caravan awnings, Bradcot also produces a range of Modul-Air driveaway awnings, so called because they can be extended or reduced as you see fit, according to the size of the pitch. They are made from Tencate fabric, originally intended for seasonal pitching.
Camptech – Stand 1034
There should be a full choice
of motorhome awnings on the Camptech stand. If you are looking for driveaways, check out the new Monarch and Moto Crown models, while if you are seeking something more integrated with your motorhome, see the Starline non-driveaway model.
Coleman – Stand 5154
Coleman’s new range of Journeymaster driveaways will take pride of place on its stand. This selection of air awnings comes in three sizes, accommodating up to four in integrated bedrooms. These include blackout blinds capable of blocking out 99% of outside light.
Dorema – Stand 1028
This Dutch company provides a small range of motorhome air awnings, some offering canopies at the front, others with a more conventional air awning shape. Some also come with sewn-in groundsheets for easier assembly.
Isabella – Stand 1038
The new interest for campervan owners should be the Danish manufacturer’s Air X-Tension awning. Designed for a campervan, this awning is freestanding, which means you could drive away from your pitch for the day and leave it as a tent. Elsewhere on the Isabella stand, you should find a good range of the brand’s poled and air awnings.
Quest, which imports the German Westfield range, has updated its lightweight Falcon awnings.
The company has also increased the number of awnings it supplies with single-point inflation. In addition, look out for its range of screen houses – independent structures that can be assembled in under a minute.
Kampa – Stands 1022 and 1049
Following Kampa’s takeover by Dometic, the Kampa brand is now used mainly for campervan awnings. This season, check out the Sprint Air, a lightweight (12kg) awning that won the Best Motorhome Awning category at this year’s Practical Motorhome Awards.
Olpro – Stand 1040
Known for its accessories and tents as well as awnings, and for selling direct to consumers via its website, OLPRO includes poled and air campervan and motorhome awnings in its line-up. Camper awnings feature innovative designs that run parallel to the vehicle and function almost as separate tents.
Outdoor Revolution – Stand 1042
Outdoor Revolution offers motorhome awnings among its Sportlite and Eclipse Pro ranges. It also provides a wide range of driveaway awnings under the Cayman and the more compact Movelite brands, as well as sun canopies.
Outwell – Stand 5164
Danish camping brand Outwell first moved into production of motorhome and driveaway awnings in the middle of the past decade.
It has since built a strong reputation for innovative design and quality construction. Most recent new models include the Maryville 260SA Flex, a motorhome awning with a moveable front wall and two large side doors, and the Sandcrest, a pole awning designed specifically for VW Transporter-type vehicles.
Trigano – Stand 1020
A new highlight in the Trigano range for keen motorcaravanners is the Phuket awning. This driveaway awning is suitable for both coachbuilt motorhomes and van conversions, and comes with a large front window to allow the maximum amount of light to flood in.
Vango – Stand 5160
Vango has been hard at work in recent months, increasing the number of its awnings that have single-point inflation but multiple-point deflation. This makes it easier to pump up your awning when you arrive, but also to deflate it without having to worry about air that might remain within, which could make it harder to pack away.
Although most people undoubtedly head to the shows to see the big ticket motorhomes, it’s invariably the accessories section that attracts the crowds on the day, as visitors look to find new items of kit to complement their life on the road.
Here’s a round-up of just a few of the many brilliant products you’ll find at this year’s event.
Arkay Sales UK – Stand 1004/1012
This convenient, lightweight, sturdy folding stool is easy to carry around with its built-in strap. It’s simple to use, too – in one swift movement, you’ve got somewhere to sit. Great for taking the weight off on-site and when you’re out and about.
Cobb – Stand 5236
Nothing improves touring enjoyment more than outside cooking, and this award-winning Cobb cooking system grills, fries, bakes, smokes, boils and more. Ventilation through the dome allows for even distribution of heat, so food cooks to perfection. Charcoal or gas-fuelled models are available.
Helinox – Stand 5182
This South Korean brand has won design awards for its cutting-edge lightweight outdoor furniture and accessories. This stylish café chair is one of its most popular products.
QUQUQ – Stand 5070
Boxing clever, QUQUQ’s Campingbox is great for motorcaravanners who want to maximise space. It combines a kitchen, bed and storage space all in one box that fits into your boot. The six models are suitable for more than 90 vehicle types.
Snow Peak – Stand 5168
Snow Peak produces a wide range of Japanese-designed outdoor gear, from tents and tarps to grills. They are showcasing their newly launched Field Barista series, which includes the Coffee Drip. This clever product has a cone-shaped drip that allows for a finer ground to be used and helps to prevent it from collapsing.
Total Cool – Stand 5140/1102
Total Cool specialises in clever cooling technology, with a range of power and cooling products designed and made in the UK. The Total Solar 100, a portable, customisable and foldable 100W solar panel for outdoor use, can be used to charge many devices.
TyreDox – Stand 5194
If you find you’re having to replace your tyres often, you might need this useful storage product. TyreDox’s shape integrates a grooved ramp for maximum grip, leading to a carefully designed concave cushion. The surface of this cushion follows the contour of the tyre, significantly increasing the contact area to spread the load.
Utoka – Stand 5222
Most motorcaravanners carry a coolbox on their travels, and if you are looking for a robust and stylish cooler, look no further – this colourful range from Utoka provides models in four sizes, from 18 to 140 litres. These cleverly designed coolers have carry handles and wheels for easy transport.
One of the best things about attending a live show is being able to enjoy the many touring-related events and interactive elements, and with so many new enthusiasts taking up motorcaravanning these days, there’s a lot to discover at the NEC.
New for 2022 is the Campervan Advice Centre, where visitors can get free, impartial help and advice about anything and everything campervan related. Here you’ll find expert advice on travel, safety, insurance, security, accessories and maintenance. It’s a little bit like a Citizens Advice service for motorcaravanners!
Is your driving up to scratch? The Caravan and Motorhome Club will be offering free expert tuition in motorhome manoeuvring. The Club is providing three motorhomes and three course instructors, who will give you a chance to drive a motorhome for the first time. Good for beginners looking to learn the ropes, but also for experienced drivers who want to pick up a few extra skills and tips.
Try before you buy
The Club is also offering 20-minute campervan taster sessions throughout the week. These are designed to give first-timers the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a campervan, under the expert guidance of the Club’s trained instructors.
Paddle and climb
Many people enjoy a range of outdoor adventure activities as part of their touring experience, and new for 2022, the NEC show is giving visitors the chance to try their hand at stand up paddle boarding and kayaking in an indoor pool, all under the expert supervision of the team at Canoe Trail. You can also climb the Peak Climbing Wall sponsored by Subaru.
To vary the pace, visit the Inspiration Theatre to enjoy fascinating talks from outdoor adventurers, travel writers and wildlife presenters. Speakers include, among others, TV presenters Matt Baker and Miranda Krestovnikoff, adventurer James Forrest and stand up paddle board expert Lizzie Carr.
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