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Old 07-24-2007, 07:04 PM   #1
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Campers in Germany - Pic's

Fellow campers.

Since we all post on camping things we have seen in our travels, here are some from my recent travels. I just returned from a 10 day work trip to Germany. I also happen to be there right at the time when summer holiday just started for the schools. So family camper travel was on an all time high. This was quite interesting to see how other parts of the world enjoy RV’ing.

While I did not get to see any campgrounds, bummer, I did get to see hundreds of campers in route on the highway. When we arrived on Sunday the Autobahn in northern Germany was totally filled with campers. This is way more then any time I have ever seen here in the US. And DW and I count as we go camping. I did not have the camera out then but for about a 100 miles strength of road heading north there was a camper every 4 to 5 cars. What a site. I asked my German colleague if this is normal and they said Sunday it the weekend return time (like our weekend camping trips) and that school just let out and family’s just started holiday.

So here are some pic’ of my travels. I’ll also post on the hitch system they use which is quite different.

Here is one parked at a rest stop. A small VW pulling a Hobby Caravan. They call TT’s, Caravans.


And how they hook it up


The hobby brand seemed popular. Here is there web site. http://www.hobby-caravan.de/en/ they have online pic’s of the inside of these.

The rest I’m going to post where as traveling down the highway. All looked very nice from the outside and being towed by very small cars. The one thing that did stand out, most all campers where small in size. My 26 foot T2499 camper would be considered a big one over there. I only saw 1 5th wheel and it was being towed by a semi style truck.

I had to shoot these in burst mode on my camera to capture the moving image. Sorry about the bugs on the windshield…

Here you are, enjoy. This one is the Adria brand




The Soowind brand




The Wilk brand




Here is a Pop Up. Did not see to many of these




Here is the other PU I say.


And a Motor Home


And another one


I did not see any Class A style motor homes.

Now here may be why we do not see very large campers. Cost. See this pic at a gas station we stopped at


They do this different in Europe. The sign is in liters. And this in is in Euros. Doing some math and US dollars to Euro exchange rates. (1 Euro = 1.38 US right now)

So if you pick the low grade gas and convert this it is 5.03 Euro per gallon or $6.95 US dollars per gallon of gas. OUCH!!!!

Many of the cars have small diesels in them. They have refined the engine to where it is not so noisy and gets great fuel mileage. We took a day trip to visit a sub supplier my colleague‘s little Ford did 100 kilometers and used 6 liters of diesel or 39 miles per gallon. WOW.

If he would of slowed down to our 65 MPH, I’m sure he would of done even better. They do drive fast in Germany. Way fast. Having people buzz by you doing over 200 (125 MPH) kilometers per hour is not unheard of and common. You have to really watch for this as they come up on your real quick.

Here are some more shots of the area.
A ship container loading/unloading system near Hamburg. The picture does not do justice to the massive size of this machinery.


And windmills. All over.



So if you want a nice camper that does not weigh much and can be towed by most any US car, go visit Europe.

Hope this shows a glimpse of how the other half of the world camps

John
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:50 PM   #2
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To add to my above post, is the hitch system they use.

First a few tid bits. In Germany

Towing speed limit is 80 kilometers per hour. (50 mph)

If you have a “Anti Snaking hitch” it is 100 kilometers per hour. (62 mph)

They call anti sway controls, Anti Snaking.

I did not see any safety chains on the cars I saw. But I did see a cable wrapped around the tow ball which may be part of an emergency break away brake system.

Let’s look here at a common hitch complete with Anti Snaking.



What you are looking at is a special ball type hitch, a manual brake handle and the TT is equipped with an anti snaking hitch.

Here are 2 cargo trailers using the same system.


And one parked at the gas station. An anti theft cover was over the ball coupler



Now to this anti snaking system. Here is a link to the common brand used. http://www.winterhoff.de/english/ws3000.html

First you start out with a forged ball mount. It is 1 piece, not a screw on ball with a shank like we have. Here are 2 shots on small cars




And here is a page out of the Volvo manual on the rental we had. Some plug in, some bolt on. The Volvo we had had a plug in one.


How this anti snaking hitch works is there are brake pads on the front and rear of the ball coupler. When they engage the hand lever and couple to the rigid ball it makes a high friction squeeze on the ball making a rigid connection. And thus creating an anti sway hitch.

Next area is brakes. I did not see what looked like electric brakes on any of these small trailers. They all have the hand mechanical brake, but I could not find much on actual brakes on the TT. Even on the Hobby website I could not find much about brakes.

This hand brake does have a cable attached to it that wraps around the tow ball on the car. If you uncoupled, the cable pulls the hand brakes and stops the trailer. The manual handle has ratchet teeth on it so once pulled, it stays locked on.

I asked my colleague on brakes as he has a small cargo trailer. It has no brakes either other then the hand brake. But he did say you could buy a hydraulic surge brake on larger trailers if you wanted.

I saw no signs of a weight distribution system. Nor safety chains on campers. The big semi’s have all the standard US hitching setup. On TV, nightly they had a towing safety program where they preach proper tongue weight to help in anti snaking. Looking at the Hobby site, these TT’s do not weigh much and the cargo capacity is not much either. They have made all this camping setup very weight efficient.

My curiosity was on an all time high seeing all this.

Just passing some of this along to other curious hitch seekers.

John
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:03 PM   #3
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Thanks for the great shots John!!

When we were doing our research for our adventure, 90% of what we were studying was of European Design. They just seem to be ten years ahead of us when it comes to design. I'm not saying they do it better, they just seem to worry more about fuel mileage and weights. With our type of travel, we were mostly worried about being over weight and just towing around a big box that didnt fit our needs.

It's really weird to see a little compact car towing a travel trailer!!

Thanks again for the great shots and sharing them with us!!

Pat
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:21 PM   #4
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Man O Man........that brings back memories!!!! I spent about 5 1/2 years in Aschaffenburg Germany. It's amazing what they can do with their cars. I'd like to see someone pull a TT with a Pinto!!!!!!!!!! Marshall
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Old 07-24-2007, 08:37 PM   #5
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John,

Thanks for the pics. That's neat to see what other countries use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB
The logo on the back of that TV looks the old Sunline logo turned sideways!



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Old 07-24-2007, 08:58 PM   #6
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The car is an Opel (owned by GM). Many Opel models are starting to appear as Saturn's. For instance the Saturn Aura started life as an Opel.

Soon we will seen a Saturn Astra (was an Opel Astra). And I think the newest Saturn Outlook is NOW a re-badged Opel. I am into cars

I will soon start a 5-month living assignment in Paris, where I hope to gather some interesting pics too. I visited one Campground in Portugal, earlier this year, and it was fantastic:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=e...&t=h&z=16&om=1

Zoom out to see what a fantastic location this is....
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:09 PM   #7
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Did you ever see the movie Snatch? Watch out for the Parkies..LOL

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Old 07-25-2007, 06:04 AM   #8
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John,

Thanks for taking the time and effort to take those pictures and sharing them with us.

Very interesting to see the European style campers and their setups.

Thanks for sharing.
Hutch
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:56 PM   #9
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If you want to get a glimpse of what Caravanning (i.e., camping) is like in Britten, watch these videos:

Caravan Road Trip Part 1 of 3

Caravan Road Trip Part 2 of 3

Caravan Road Trip Part 3 of 3

Enjoy.
Hutch
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Old 07-25-2007, 07:40 PM   #10
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Hutch

LOL!!!!!

How the heck did you find that?? Cindy saw me viewing it and came right over. She was curious as well. What a hoot.

The spoof on Caravanning was at an all time high. Robins Williams with his RV'ing movie would be proud.

Thanks for the entertainment.

John
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Old 07-25-2007, 08:49 PM   #11
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Hutch,
Thanks for the laugh. Believe it or not, Uncle Sam barred us from YouTube in the lab so I had to wait til I got home. Well worth the wait. Marshall
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Old 07-26-2007, 12:17 AM   #12
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Hutch,

Thanks for the links. I watched the videos a few minutes ago and have just gotten around to typing this now. They were really enjoyable to watch. I got yelled at for laughing too loud and waking up everyone!

Jon
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