Our Inos Caravan

 

Built December 2021-February 2022.

 


Please note that the above Inos features a number of post purchase modifications carried out by the owner
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~ Introduction,


~ Build (click here to view),


~ Personal In-Depth 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 £40k-50k market in Summer 2021).
Sadly we struggled to find inspiration and weren't really that impressed regarding any gains 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?
Solid 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 even 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).
(Also see the review section later).

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 Ltd.

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 and Protec 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 it is very clear that an Inos build is much slower than would happen in a Swift/Bailey/Coachman/Elddis factory. Only about twelve Inos caravans are built each year.

 

 

 

 

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........

 

Video Reviews

 

In-depth tour and review (also shows changes up to Autumn 2022).
Part One (Introduction/Exterior) Click here to view.

 

 

In-depth tour and review (also shows changes up to Autumn 2022).
Part Two (Interior/Conclusions) Click here to view.

 

Facebook Inos Caravan Owners group.

If you own an Inos or are thinking about owning one we have a Facebook group to share experiences and for mutualsupport.

You can apply to join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2110463659342981

 

 

 

Modifications and Additions.

 

YELLOW means text/images/video to follow..

As mentioned our plan was to modify our Inos from day one. In fact, some of the mods began at the factory as the design team were happy to accommodate our plans where they could. So, this included the type and positioning of both water inlets. The design of the prototype grey water tank system and extra cabling ready for my additions. Given the slideout, adding extra cabling post-build could prove a major challenge, so the team's willingness to fit this during build was appreciated.

So, in no particular order......

Exterior graphics additions.

We had the Inos delivered without the factory front graphics fitted because we just didn't like them. Very much a subjective personal choice.

My initial play with ideas can be seen here. I spent many an hour on my PC with different ideas and eventually designed somethng which we both loved and importantly our local graphics/Signage chap approved of and was happy to fit.

Anyway, the original is something like this:

And our inos now looks like this:

 

The front completely replaces the original graphics. The sides overlay part of the originals and extend them at the front corners to blend in to the new front design.

And the rear gets some more of the Carbon Fibre effect 10Yr film (the standard Inos has nothing here).

Note the solid stainless steel locked post (more below ground than above) set in concrete (and no, you can't simply go round it).

Awning light remote control.

Given that the Inos has remote locking (like a motorhome), one omission from the Inos standard spec which was a disappointment was no keyfob control of the awning light - so useful when approaching on dark nights. It took about a day to rectify this which involved tapping into the running lights that the remote door locking flashes, an isolation relay and a timer module to give about 30 seconds of awning light when locking/unlockinng.
Nothing to take a picture of really.

Accurate current meter/ammeter for EHU supply.

With all the mains equipment (A/C, Induction ring on hob are examples) I decided I needed an accurate ammeter to measure current consumption (pun intended). Digital ammeters are easily sourced, but accurate ones are more expensive and less common (errors of 30% are not unusual with some cheap meters - so rather useless). Luckily I had asked for an extra run of EHU cable to be routed up to the control panel during the Inos build (unconnected at each end for me to adapt). The result is very satisfying giving a certified accurate readout (caravan control panels with curent sensing built in are not always that accurate - accurate measurement costs money....).

There as also an Alde Load Monitor fitted which will cut out heating elements if required.

Electric awning remote control.

It occurred to me that it would be really handy to have a remote control for use when extending/retracting the awning. These are available on some Thule awnings, but not the 6300. Remote control would allow me to fiddle with the leg supports without having to go back in and out to work the switch. This was meant to be an easy one. All I needed was a two channel remote relay to wire in parallel with the awning switch or so I thought.
Not much to see, here is where the controls are.


However, I did add this.
The awning power supply is permanent, and adding a radio frequency control posed the very small, but once thought of unforgettable risk of some stray signal extending the awning while travelling!
The extra switch isolates all the awning controls as a precaution. As it happens I also had to add a second changeover switch into the system.

Twin Aquaroll supply with Auto-changeover.

This had to be done before our first trip away as the inlets were fitted at the factory but without the control system, which is my own.

Basically as described elsewhere on this website, two Aquarolls are connected to the caravan. When one empties the system switches automatically to the other and you fill the empty one at your leisure with no interuption in water supply (other than a brief splutter if you are mid-shower).

Here are the connections:

And here is the display I made:

It shows which Aquaroll is selected and if it contains water.

Rear View Camera.

A wireles camera fitment is a factory option, but it's a bolt-on type and not aesthetically pleasing and the aerial is at the back of a very long caravan behind a very long pick up truck in our case.

I supplied an alternative camera with a separate wireless sender unit which they installed at the very front of the caravan for reliable connection. Works a treat.

Trim upgrades.

The interior window surrounds have no curtains and the walls have no trim of any kind, which for such an expensive caravan is a surprise.

The build photos at the top of this web page show the walls and window surrounds ex-factory.

However, this simply left me a blank canvas. Those who have seen the inside of our Inos just assume that's how they come from the factory - the team at the factory were careful to avoid making any comments they saw my work, but photos were definitely taken.

 

 

Lounge TV mount and Sound upgrade.

An addition to the trim additions has been the 32" permanent TV mount and the Sound System upgrade - complete with subwoofer!

The angled space behind the TV is the perfect place to mount the subwoofer. On board sound quality is never brilliant (although the Inos does have its speakers in stoutly boxed in enclosures) and I used a simple (and inexpensive) way to achieve better results. The speakers are from a PC 2.1 system, but amplification/control is provided by a new 12V 2.1 amplifier. The result is exceptionally pleasing and discreet.

Bedroom TV install.

As a option a swivel TV mount is available in the bedroom. Given the vast amount of storage I decided to sacrifice a cupboard for a built in bedroom TV. I had the factory move the power and aerial sockets during manufacture. There is a small wired speaker behind the TV which improves the standard tinny sound.

PIC to follow

Wastemaster "Nearly Full" warning.

Just as it says. A float switch is attached by a plug to a warning LED on the control panel.

Electric Towel Rail.

Light weight, much larger than the plumbed-in ones and can be used without having the heating on. The "faux leather" is attached to a piece of twinwall polycarbonate I had lying around. This means the original holes from the "far too small" towel radiator are hidden when I added my own sourced rail and we think it looks nice as well.

PIC to follow

Shower extractor fan

There is a Thule Omnivent fan rooflight in the washroom, but experience has shown that an extractor in the shower cubicle does a much better job of drying out the enclosure - particularly useful if a shower is well used - which ours is. My design includesan efficient centrifugal blower and a proper back draught flap to preven cold air entering.

PIC to follow

External aerial connection.

PIC to follow

I had the team install extra Coax during construction. This meant adding a changeover switch and exterior connections was a quick job. We are still undecided about a satellite dish. These connections do mean an external dish can be instantly used. A roof mounted dish is also relatively easy should we go for one given the wiring inn the wardrobe.

Microwave oven ventilation.

In our Swift the microwave had a dedicated metal cowling to direct hot/damp air out from above the unit. In the Inos there is nothing to prevent the fan exhaust entering the adjacent high level locker. To stop this I built in a low power tangential fan which comes on automatically with the microwave. This successfully removes any hot/damp air from the area.

PIC to follow

Extra lighting.

Extra lighting was added in the lounge and bedroom to allow us to get the ambience we were after.

Exterior pump overrun control.

With the twin Aquaroll system we prefer to use these rather than the onboard tank/pump on most stays. The external pumps are triggered by a pressure switch like most modern systems. One thing we have found over the years is the pressure switches can be awkward to adjust to get just the right amount of overrun and avoid pulsing. By adding an adjustable "off-delay" timer relay we are able to make the pump action much more consistent.

A-Frame cover and surrounding trim.

One issue I had with the Inos build was the difficulty they had to get the centre lower front edge trim lined up and finished to my admittedly non-compromising standards. To get round the problem I made up a thick Aluminium plate which hides the area in question is also excellent to stand on.

Having added this, I also added some black trim either side.

Here is a picture the finished front of our caravan in the factory before I made the changes...

Front locker water deflector

Just a sheet of Butyl rubber clamped in place to prevent water pouring into the locker when opening in wet conditions. Simple, but effective.

Entrance matting

This was the first Inos with a grey water tank. I insisted on an access hatch to allow for cleaning and we collaborated to make sure it was positioned where it could be covered by an extended fitted entrance mat I would fit. This allowed me to forgo the standard small thin mat for a proper thick commercial quality one which I trimmed to fit and hide the access hatch.

 

Washroom splashback

 

Still to write up and publish.....

Thule Panorama room mounting brackets.

Mobile WiFi install.

Major seating upgrade.