TV "Extra" Jun 05

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The following has been copied from the Brisbane Extra website referring to the teardrop story on their show on 14 September 2005.

"Caravan Gismos

For decades, Australians have enjoyed pursuing the life of a snail with the road ahead and the home behind. It may have fallen out of favour for a time, but caravanning is enormous all over again. “In the early '90s we produced 4,600 caravans. This year we'll produce nearly 22,000 caravans and motorhomes,” says Ron Chapman from the Caravan and Camping show.

We have some wide-open spaces and we need them. There are more than 300,000 registered caravans and motorhomes. And in Brisbane each year we celebrate all things caravanning and camping at the Ekka showgrounds. “Yeah, this is the biggest show in Australia, biggest caravan and camping show. And, in fact, it's one of the biggest five in the whole world.”

In caravanning, what's big is small. The growing number of empty-nesters and DINKs (double income, no kids) are looking to enjoy the open road without the fuss, without the hassle, but with the comfort. Retro caravans like the Reo, perfect for a couple and a real eye-catcher, are catching on. But you can go even smaller. Brisbane bloke Reiner Gudd is making Teardrop Campers for those who want to travel light. “These are like swags on wheels, aren't they? Yeah, very simple. They're for lazy campers.”

If you need more space, you can attach a purpose-built annexe. The kitchen's out the back, the dining room around the side, and inside you can have your mod cons. “DVD player? Yeah, this one has a DVD player and CD stereo.” With technology making things smaller, it means camper trailers, caravans and motorhomes can follow the trend without compromising on features. The manufacturers of these units are becoming more clever about how much they can fit into a small space. But there are those who want a little more space, people like film star Nicolas Cage, who hired out this mega motorhome just recently.

There’s not shortage of new gadgets and gismos at the show either. And there's no shortage of camping creature comforts. There's air mattresses softer than my bed at home, with individual adjustable air pockets to suit your own needs. And forget bathing in a cold stream, this is hot water on demand. Run by propane gas, it heats water instantly for showers or even hot enough for a cuppa. Says report Gavin Alder: “Now, you might want to know what I'm doing sitting down on the job, but I am working. I'm checking out the latest thing in heaters for camping. They're flameless so they're a whole lot safer.”

Says Gary Tyack: “It's a catalytic heater, which means you can't see any flame and it burns very little oxygen.” To prove the point, Gary runs a tissue over the front without a problem. OK, so you won't be able to toast marshmallows on them, but that's a small price to pay. OK, here's the scene - it's pitch-black in a crowded camp ground and you're stumbling around because you've had a few beers at your mate's tent and you don't know which one is yours, but you've got one of these. Honey, I'm home! The Caravan and Camping Show is on until next Tuesday, with gadgets and gismos, caravans and motorhomes for every need and every budget. "

Gavin Alder, Brisbane Extra, Channel 9

www.extraonline.com.au


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