Our Inos Caravan

 

Built December 2021-February 2022.

Introduction,
Build (click here to view),
Personal Review (click here to view),
Modifications and Additions (click here to view).

Please note that what follows is all our personal viewpoint and you are welcome to disagree with any/all of it.

 

Introduction.

We loved our 2019 Swift Elegance 560 and initially planned to keep it for a long time (hence the numerous additions and modifications you can find here: Elegance 560 ). However, with retirement comes the opportunity to spend more time away and the prospect of more time away meant we turned our attention to even more comfort and space.

Initially we looked at the twin axle eight foot wide Elegance Grande models (along with the competition in the rapidly growing circa £40k market).
Sadly we struggled to find inspiration and weren't really that impressed given the outlay required above what we already had. The main issues across the brands were build quality (which we had assumed would be a universal problem of trying to squeeze ever more stuff into a package with a fixed weight ceiling) and (very much related) payload. After adding the goodies we now wanted (E&P levelling, Quad motor movers, A/C, Roof mounted electric awning) the payload margin was just too tight for us to avoid moving far too much gear back and forth between the caravan and tow vehicle each time we move. What we really want is to be able to store everything in transit where it would be used on site.

It was then we stumbled across the Inos caravan. Yes, it would be crazy money, but, once we did the factory tour and sat in the demonstrator we were both hooked and decided that if value as well as outright cost is considered then perhaps not quite so crazy....

What were the key features that won us over?
Excellent build quality.
Modern woodless (almost) construction with thicker, stronger panels than other caravans.
Tows as a standard width "narrow" caravan and grows 18 inches wider than an 8 foot caravan on site.
Choice of wood/door/worktop/fabric finishes and other custom features.
The design team are very accommodating.
A huge payload which allows us to have it set up and equipped exactly how we want.

Were there any negatives?
No AlKo wheel lock mounts (they are a pain I know, but can give 15% insurance discount!).

Awning rails look like an afterthought with rough ends (we opted to do without - will buy a Thule Panorama "room").
The choice of finishes is less than it used to be.
Some things that get included by mainstream manufacturers (and Vanmaster) on their top models are all extras or just not available.
The front is not a flattering view (granted, a very personal judgement and I already have plans for changes - see here).
As you can see, the negatives are relatively minor compared to the positives!

I knew from the outset that I would be making a number of additions and modifications and given the semi-bespoke nature of the build I was able to work with the design team to put some of these in place during production or, which was common, build the caravan in a way to more easily allow me to make my additions post delivery. For example, one major aspect of a slideout caravan is that wiring going into the slideout has to go on a long journey through an articulating cage guide. A real pain to retrofit extra cabling, so apart from anything else I have specified an extra 12V power cable loop to tap into and an 8 core signal cable to use for future projects.

 

The Build. The build photos below have kindly been provided by the Fifth Wheel Company.

Note the AlKo Premium jockey wheel with weight gauge.
The caravan being built in the background is the new demonstrator (we did check that it would have no new features not present on ours).

 

 

 

 

Note what appears to be a very long A-frame.

 

 

 

 

This 2800kg chassis has more cross members and bracing than the 2000kg version.
The onboard grey water tank will sit by the writing on the chassis (I will explain the grey water tank "rationale" elsewhere).
Note the slideout section in the background.

 

 

 

 

The E&P axle cylinders are in place along with the AlKo ATC module.
The fresh water tank can be seen.

 

 

 

 

Note the extra outriggers on this heavyweight chassis.

 

 

 

 

The construction of the composite panels can clearly be seen.
Compared to our all-composite Swift Elegance these panels are much thicker and so much stronger.

 

 

 

 

Again, note how long the protruding A-frame is.
Also of note is that the front locker is within the caravan main structure - again, very different to our Swift and many mainstream builds where the locker is mainly enclosed withing the protruding front moulding.

 

 

 

 

I have discovered there is a ply skin on the top surface of the floor to aid flooring adhesion. The ply sits on top of a secondary aluminium skin. What this means is that even if the ply gets wet the aluminium should hold it all in place and the strength will not be compromised. So not completely woodless, but not a risk of structural issues in case of water ingress either.

 

 

 

 

The huge dimensions of the slideout are easily seen.
The wheel arches are stainless steel and insulated as standard.

 

 

 

 

I can tell you now that the wiring in our Swift was nowhere near as neat!
The high level brake light is not standard, nor is the rear view camera that I have supplied for them to fit for me as the build progresses, an example of the bespoke nature of the Inos build.

 

 

 


That top rear lip may be good aerodynamically but may cause issues with our cover (Specialised do make one for the Inos). I will need to make some form of a padded protector.

 

 

 

 

We specified the spare wheel in the left of the front locker. It all helps to keep both the nose weight up and with the gas bottles also pushed to the same side helps counter the slight L/R imbalance caused by the slideout (all based on weights measured on all 4 wheels and nosewheel of demonstrator).

 

 

 

 

Our first view of the interior wood finish we have chosen and a good view of the flooring vinyl (we will carpet some areas).
One slight disappointment is that unlike in earlier models there are only now two regular choices of wood colour, flooring and similar for worktop, etc. The wood choices were a typical pale Oak or the richer colour above. The bespoke nature of the Inos is slightly less bespoke than it used to be. In our case the delivered Inos interior will not be the finished Inos interior as my "modify everything obsession" will be exercised rather than exorcised!

 

 

 

 

You can just see in the centre foreground a circular cut in the flooring. This will be the service/cleaning hatch for the grey water tank. The extended door entrance mat I will fit will hide this nicely.
The radiator section looks high, but there is also underfloor heating.

 

 

 

 

The Alde 3020 and the specified Alde Flow. The Inos has a domestic sized shower cubicle so near continous hot water seems appropriate.

 

 

 

 

The exterior now looks more finished with the GRP sections all in place and the mastic tidied up.
The body sides come down lower than most caravans (see how the motor movers are almost hidden). This also explains the more pronounced upsweep to the rear.
The white catches will be changed to black later in the build.

 

 

 

 

On its wheels now.......

 

 

 

 

Obviously sitting a bit high as still an empty shell.

 

 

 

 

So how much extra space does the slideout give us? Quite a lot!

 

 

 

 

The furniture is taking shape (will go in through the slideout aperture).
It's not dovetail "olde worlde" craftmanship, but it's accurately cut on computer controlled machines, well finished and clearly very strong with panels double the thickness of that in many caravans.

 

 

 

 

Looks like the washroom base cabinets.

 

 

 

 

Part of the kitchen. The thicker ply is very clearly seen here.
The soft close drawer fixings are domestic, so heavier duty (and heavier) than caravan versions.

 

 

 

 

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The kitchen cupboards and drawers will contrast with the rest of the interior. Why white? It turns out that for new Inos builds the options are white or one of the two wood colours now available in the reduced option palette. Luckily we are happy with white...

 

 

 

 

The roof hatches are in (the middle opening is for the air conditioning unit).
I did consider an electric opener in the bedroom but I will modify the existing unit with a robust and reliable electric opener if required.
I didn't specify an omnivent in the kitchen as there is a built in cooker hood (which I might "supercharge" if I feel it's necessary).

 

 

 

 

I'm beginning to suspect that one reason the Inos is so heavy is simply the amount of cabling involved!
I am partly to blame because our Inos will have extra cable (both power and multicore signal) ready for my own additions.

 

 

 

 

All the Alde stuff in the foreground will be under the bed and only accessible with the slideout extended.
The rear roof opening will be for the omnivent in the bathroom.
The caravan wall thickness is clearly seen in this photo (much thicker than "normal caravans" - though it needs to be given the size of the slideout aperture!).

 

 

 

 

I included this rather blurred photo (hope to get a better version down the line) because it shows the heating pipes in the slideout. I am impressed that they manage to put heating pipes here and am very curious to see how they manage the pipe connections and pipe articulation as the slideout moves!

I'm no expert, but my perception is that an Inos build is much slower than would happen in a Swift/Bailey/Coachman/Elddis factory. The time taken and attention to detail is reassuring given the costs involved.

 

 

 

 

You can see the soft close locker door hinges in the "overhead" assembly.
There's certainly going to be plenty of radiators! You can also see the slideout frame has been fitted.

 

 

 

 

Another good view of the Alde 3020 and Alde Flow.
The hole in the floor is access to the fresh water tank.
The grey fittings in the foreground hints tells us that the grey water system is going to be as over-engineered as everything else appears to be!

 

 

 

 

The heating pipes are a mix of usual caravan stuff and 15mm barrier pipe as used modern homes.
The rollers for the slideout are clearly visible.

 

 

 

 

The slotted metal grill at floor level has radiator behind it.
Good to see the shower wall is going to be very substantial. Apparently the shower is 800mmX800mm.

 

 

 

 

I've been impressed from the start at how neat everything is in the factory.
The blue box inside the open locker is an electric diverter valve for part of my custom water system.

 

 

 

 

Yet more radiator behind that grill. The motormover controller boxes are in and blimey - that's a lot of wire!

 

 

 

 

The kitchen bases are in and the hole on the right is for the extra raise-up worktop extender.
Heavy duty soft close drawer runners are evident. The corner sections are solid Ash I am told.

 

 

 

 

And also the kitchen overhead lockers. The extractor is visible. The microwave will be on the right.
The hole in the roof is for the A/C - it's easy to forget how much thicker than usual these body panels are.

 

 

 

 

And the beginnings of a control panel area. I will be making changes here which will be simpler post build.

 

 

 

 

On the left the flap for "boot" storage. The right hand section pulls forward to make a second double bed.
Also visible is the round access hatch for the grey water tank. The hatch will be hidden by the extended entrance mat I will install.

 

 

 

 

And there is the magazine rack on the right.

 

 

 

 

The bifold glass shower door is in and you can see the heating flue on the left.

 

 

 

 

I am particularly pleased how they managed to accommodate my twin water inlets so I can install my "signature" automatic changeover Aquaroll system (there is also an onboard tank available).

 

 

 

 

Major step. The all important slideout is finally in.
The auto changeover gas valve is in.
The flap just in front of the lower fridge vent is for external Sat or Aerial hookup.

 

 

 

 

They have lined up the water inlets nicely with the EHU inlet.
I can see they have also fitted my rear view camera (just under the 3rd brake light).

 

 

 

 

The front section of the slideout. There will be a two seater sofa on the left and on the right, the media centre with 32" TV diagonally above.

 

 

 

 

 

The front is also more complete with more trim panels in place around the windows.
I can see that they've also fitted the camera WiFi transmitter I supplied nice and high and at the very front as requested (take note Swift!).

 

 

 

 

The kitchen is shaping up nicely. The grey splashback is darker and less blue in real life.
The hob has two gas burners and an induction ring.

 

 

 

 

And the view to the rear. You can just see into the washroom.
We have chosen a compressor fridge (the bottom section is the freezer).
Should more battery capacity be needed the battery box apparently has room for two batteries.
There will be a solid sliding door between the kitchen and bedroom (with a cutout at the top to allow the A/C outlet to blow through).
The A/C unit is just visible.

 

 

 

 

The dressing table and wardrobe are in along with the aerial and amplifier.
There will be a large sliding wardrobe door.
The open section above the dressing table is where I will mount a small bedroom TV.

 

 

 

 

And this is the rear end of the slideout. Those bedside shelves hinge up to reveal extra storage.

 

 

 

 

For us this an exciting picture as it shows our caravan about to go out on its first road test. This is an important milestone.
There is still the roof awning to fit and the decals before valeting and PDI can begin, but getting closer.
The door is actually second hand as I prefer it to the current production version - the team came up trumps here when it comes to customer service!

 

 

 

 

Really coming together now.
The first glance of our chosen upholstery.
The "mood" lighting is thankfully a remote control RGB system, so pale lilac is not cumpulsory!

 

 

 

 

 

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The central drop down sections will have foam inserts cut to take our chosen tipple and glasses.
I will be adding custom curtains and wall pads in due course.

 

 

 

 

This is the front of the slideout.

 

 

 

 

And a wider angle view of the "lounge area".
There is a seat back rest still to go in.
As mentioned earlier the round hole is the access for cleaning the grey water tank.

 

 

 

 

The kitchen is pretty much done.

 

 

 

 

Just the mattress to add here. It has a fold in it - not for day/night (the caravan is wide enough not to need this) but for "slide-in".

 

 

 

 

The sliding wardrobe door is matching wood, just covered up at this stage.

 

 

 

 

And last but not least, we have a toilet!

 

 

Personal Review

The caravan as collected from the factory and our initial observations and comments on the "standard" Inos.

The big day finally arrives and this is our new "outfit" ready to tow our Inos home from Rhuallt where it was built - it is a VERY long combination and you will need to scroll across to see it all........

And here is a quick video tour of the caravan interior direct from the factory and before I start my chages/additions:

Click here for brief interior tour video

Much more coming soon....

 

Modifications and Additions.

Twin Aquaroll supply with Auto-changeover.

This had to be done immediately as the Inos left the factory ready for the system, but without my controls fitted to enable us to actually get water on board.

Starting soon....