I attended the National Boat, Caravan and Outdoor Show at the NEC on Saturday. I have visited the show on a few different occasions.
The thing I like about the show is that there is a wide variety of different exhibits. Rather than just going to a show on boating, or on caravans the show covered all aspects.
The largest display was of tourer caravans. There was a good selection from different manufacturers and different dealers. We didn’t spend too long in the caravans, as unless you are looking to buy one they pretty much look the same. There are a few different layouts for caravans, but the differences between the models offered by the various manufacturers are often small.
There was also a good range of motor homes, which varied from people carriers with a cooker :-), to coached sized houses on wheels.
The area we spent most in this year was the boats. It’s been a while since I’ve been canoeing, but that didn’t stop me looking at some of the models on display. The boats went up to some pretty impressive luxury motor yachts costing several hundred thousand pounds. If you are looking for the larger end, then you’d be better of at the London boat show, if you are looking at a canal barge then you should go to the Crick Boat Show, but if you wanted something in a play boat, or a bow rider then there was a good selection available.
The thing we looked at most were the portable inflatable boats, which judging by the number of them at the show have become popular recently. The cheaper ones were generally from about 3 to 3.5 meters long, had a inflatable deck, folded small enough to go in an estate car and could be powered by a small outboard motor. These were around £400 to £700 (excluding outboard). The larger ones had either a wooden or aluminium floor, were over 4m long and could take much larger outboards, but were bigger and heavier when packed up. These cost from £1000 upwards.
Every show has something that makes you take a double take. This year this is the one that caught my eye. A “fun boat”. This little boat is electric powered and comes complete with a built in water cannon. Now that’s what I call fun! At just under £2000 I don’t think it’s something I’m going to be buying any time soon.
Along with these there were lots of smaller stands advertising caravan sites, and tourist destinations. There were stands selling tents, and a number selling camping and caravanning accessories. There were a few stands selling holiday homes and a few 4×4 car stands.
There were no queues, and the car parks were not as full as when I’ve visited in previous years, although there appeared to be about the same number of stands of previous years. Perhaps a few less tents, and I didn’t see the Techni-Ice stand which I’ve bought from in the past.
If you are interested in any of the outdoor activities, including boating, caravanning or camping then it’s well worth a visit. When it gets a bit nearer check out the 2007 show at: www.boatandcaravan.co.uk.