Whispers turned to rumour and then to reality in the form of this latest Discovery caravan series from Bailey. Yes, readers of a certain age may well remember the name from a few generations back, when – as now – it signified a range of tourers aimed at newcomers to caravanning.
This latest incarnation, though, promises something very different. And, although aimed specifically at first-timers, there’s no reason others shouldn’t revisit their caravanning youth with such vehicles, especially if you want to downsize and keep a 3,500kg outfit maximum.
They’re small, too, making them easier to manoeuvre generally as well as offering the opportunity to keep total car and caravan outfit weight below that driving licence-critical total weight. Ironically, the only downside is reversing such a short trailer can be tricky.
Those “first-time” characteristics are spot on. Each Discovery caravan is, as you’ve guessed, particularly light and there’s a general nod towards trendiness, albeit Bailey is quick to stress these are “proper caravans”.
There are three models – a two, three and four-berth – with this, the D4-3, in the middle of the trio. You can view them in the flesh at Bailey retailers from September 2019.
It’s the accessories, too. Chances are there will be more, but the three key options for now are an A-frame mounted bike rack from Thule, or a storage box, plus a bespoke, inflatable awning (with optional bedroom inner) that extends not just along the side but around the back of the ‘van – both exclusive designs courtesy of Bailey’s own parts and accessories set-up, Prima Leisure.
No surprises the Discovery shells are, like all its caravans (and indeed motorhomes) of Bailey’s Alu-Tech construction. Here, however, they’re given a two-tone exterior finish as well as a wrap-around rear that doesn’t just give a distinctive look but also aids towing stability and economy, according to Bailey. Alloy wheels complete the stylistic look.
There’s a single window to the front that follows the curve of the roofline, one side window, and none at all at the very back. A stable-type door means you can keep the top half open for ventilation, also letting in light.
The interior look is deliberately utilitarian, with flat lockers and an almost complete lack of frills. For such a small unit, too, it’s interesting in that there are lounges front and back. The front lounge has just a tabletop between the settees (ie no drawers), aided by a free-standing table.
If used by a couple you could leave one area set up permanently as a double bed (the rear is 6ft 6in x 4ft, front 6ft 2in x 3in). It’s the rear lounge that most readily lends itself to such use. Note also, there’s a TV bracket on the back wall. In daytime mode, the angled, wall-fixing table top makes for easy access.
The kitchen itself could come from any caravan in terms of what it offers – a Thetford Triplex cooker with three-ring hob and combined oven and grill. There’s a stainless steel sink to its right and a Dometic 103-litre fridge just below this. Additional worktop comes from a flip-up extension left of the hob.
The washroom, too, is in keeping with the “proper caravan” theme. There’s a swivel-bowl toilet and a small fixed handbasin in the corner. Storage is in the form of a tall locker above the toilet, plus there are two open shelves to come into play once you’re on-site. There’s space for an occasional shower here, too, with a curtain extending around for protection.
Next to the washroom, there’s a decent enough sized wardrobe (which also houses a free-standing table) set over a drawer.
There are also more “proper caravan” fittings in terms of cassette blinds and flyscreens, LED reading lamps (some with USB sockets), Truma Combi heating and more.
In these videos we take a look inside the Bailey Discovery D4-3
and the Bailey Discovery D4-2 with the bespoke wrap-around awning from PRIMA Leisure
Let us know what you think of these new small tourers in the comments box below…
Verdict: Extended Bailey caravan portfolio sees the Discovery reach out to newcomers
Plus: An interesting attempt to be different, thoughtful accessories, light weight
Minus: Could it have been even more individualistic?
In-a-nutshell: Discovery channels first-time buyers
There’s more information on the Discovery range on the Bailey website. To find out more about insuring this or your current caravan visit our caravan insurance discounts page.
Alternatives: Adria Action, Swift Basecamp
Bailey Discovery D4-3 factfile
|Model||Bailey Discovery D4-3|
|Dimensions||6.11m L, 2.23m W, 2.61m H|
|RRP||from £17,564 on the road|
|Safety & security||AKS stabiliser, laser-balanced wheels with security tyres and anti-tamper bolts, smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, floor-mounted spare wheel, CRiS with concealed data chip.|
|Key options||Awning (£1,199), A-frame storage box (£599), Thule bike rack (£349)|