National Camping and Caravanning Week 2019: Celebrating ‘100 years of the caravan’

National Camping and Caravanning Week 2019: Celebrating ‘100 years of the caravan’

The world’s very first leisure trailer was built by Bristol Wagon & Carriage Works in 1880 for teenage adventure fiction author Dr William Gordon Stables. The design was inspired by so-called ‘Bible Wagons’ used by travelling preachers in America’s Wild West and named ‘Wanderer’.

In his book The Gentleman Gypsy, Dr Stables documented his travels around the British countryside; the Duke of Newcastle was a fan and later commissioned his own caravan, ‘The Bohemian’.

The Camping and Caravanning Club was established in 1901 in response to the increasing popularity of caravanning for leisure. The first dedicated club of its kind now marks National Camping and Caravanning Week each year – coinciding with the late May Bank Holiday.

The theme for 2019 is ‘100 years of the caravan’ – celebrating the centenary of the first car-towed caravan entering commercial production in the UK.

“Touring caravans are now the most popular leisure vehicle in use in the UK today,” says Liz Colleran, Sales & Marketing Director at Duvalay. “Our colleagues at the National Caravan Council estimate that around 555,000 caravans are in current use and that in the region of 50 million nights are spent in caravans each year.

‘It’s important that people know you can sleep just as comfortably in a caravan as you do in your bed at home. With products such as Dualay's Luxury Sleeping Bags, anywhere can be a luxurious place to sleep.”

The history of the sleeping bag

Welsh entrepreneur Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones is thought to be the first person to develop a commercial sleeping bag – a product he named the ‘Euklisia Rug’ (from the Ancient Greek words for ‘well’ and ‘cot/sleeping place’). He also formed the first mail order business – allowing customers to order by post for delivery by railway. He was awarded a patent for his rug in 1876, which he then sold across the globe – including 60,000 units to the Russian Army.

Today, more than one million people worldwide own a Duvalay Sleeping Bag, which has an international patent owned by the Colleran family. Their original memory foam product was a smash hit on BBC’s Dragons’ Den and the range has since expanded to include FreshTec – a cooling foam option for a fresher night’s sleep. Much like Sir Pryce Pryce-Jones before them, Duvalay take remote orders online and fulfil them through a sophisticated logistics operation which includes shipping goods as far afield as Australia!

The history of caravan mattresses

The oldest known mattress dates back 77,000 years! In Arabic culture, people slept on cushions on the floor and used the word ‘matrah’ – meaning ‘something thrown down’. Europeans began to sleep this way during the Crusades and so the word ‘materas’ eventually evolved in Vulgar Latin before being incorporated into Middle English.

The very first fillings were feather, straw and horsehair, and in the first half of the 20th century sprung mattresses were typically sold in North America. Duvalay’s contribution to the evolution of the mattress came with the launch of the world’s lightest caravan mattress made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles. Up to 35% lighter than more traditional mattresses, the Duvalite Apollo Luxe Mattress saves you fuel on any journey.

The future of caravanning

Duvalay recently won Insider Media’s ‘Manufacturing Innovation Award’ and has exciting expansion plans. The family-run business intends to retain its status as one of the leading sleep specialists globally for caravanning.

“Who knows what the next hundred years will bring in the exciting world of caravanning?” concludes Liz. “Every day we are working on developing new products that truly have the power to change the quality of your sleep on the move.

‘We would like to thank The Camping and Caravanning Club for hosting the annual National Camping and Caravanning Week celebrations and have teamed up with them to offer you the chance to win one of four Duvalay Comfort Sleeping Bag Bundles worth £194.95 each. Head to the The Camping and Caravanning Club’s website to enter and good luck everyone!”

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