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Tiny to Lite


A few years ago, I installed 3 X 102Ah batteries under the bed on the right hand side in my Sherpa Tiny, connected to a total of 265W of solar panels on the roof and the side.

I still wanted to check the difference in weight on the two wheels so as to make corrections in the balance across the Tiny. I haven’t had any problems towing, but it is good to know if there is a possible imbalance.

I did install one of Alko’s anti-sway hitches a couple of years ago and that might be the reason why the Tiny is so stable when towing. I still believe it is one of the best products you can fit to your caravan for safe towing.

You might have noticed that I have changed the whole rear of the Tiny. I did that to create more space for a full kitchen inside, which includes: Sink with hot and cold water, Smeg 2-burner hob, Power Hunt 12V microwave oven, 12V Waeco fridge and Dometic extractor fan above kitchen. A waste water drain flows into a built in grey water tank under the floor.

On the opposite side, I built a “bathroom cabinet” with fold-out shower, bathroom sink and slide-out Fiamma Bi-pot.

Now for the bad news: I was involved in an accident on 23 December when someone rear-ended my Tiny at Witbank in heavy traffic. I was on my way to Sabie for the Christmas holiday. Fortunately no-one was injured.

Off course, that was where my holiday ended. The coupler was damaged to such an extent that it couldn’t be towed. Once I got the Tiny home, I realized that the damage to the chassis is too great to repair.

Last week I removed all the “non-standard” stuff I have built in, so that it could go to the Sherpa factory for an assessment for the insurance claim. Neville collected it to do the assessment. It will be written off, as the damage is more than the insured value. But I see this as a new opportunity! I am looking at buying one of the new Gypsey Lites, remove all the furniture and rebuild the inside to what I want. I want an inside kitchen and bathroom, like what I did with the Tiny.

I already took all the measurements inside and my layout is basically finalised. With the Gypsey, it should be easier and quicker as it would be basic carpentry work – with the Tiny it was mostly fibreglass work which is time consuming and very expensive.

To convert the Gypsey, I’ll need a caravan scale to keep to total weight for the caravan below 750kg. The Gypsey has a 750kg Al-ko axle, whereas the Tiny has a 900kg axle, although the maximum allowed weight was 740kg.

With the Tiny I had more leeway when adding stuff.

With the Gypsey, I’ll have to check the weight all the time as I change the inside.

That’s where the scale will be an important tool to use.

I was planning to start to build my own “retirement” caravan within the next year or two… I still have 10 years to retirement, though. I’ll keep a record of this new project for an article for you.

By Matthys Labuschagne

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