We love the Compass Casita 860 for the amount of floor space in the bedroom, for its wide lounge and especially for the amount of space in the crucial central area between the door and the kitchen. At £22,559, and with a modest MTPLM considering its size, this mid-spec, versatile-layout tourer ticks many boxes for most buyers — especially the one marked ‘value’.
The new, eight-feet-wide Compass Casita 860 has a versatile layout and a cosy, secluded bedroom.
The new, eight-feet-wide Casita 860 has a versatile layout and a cosy, secluded bedroom
The advent of the rear transverse island bed layout has brought to the market many exceptionally cosy bedrooms, totally separate from caravan day areas and separate from the washing departments.
A new arrival for 2018, the bedroom in the Compass Casita 860,, must be regarded as among the cosiest — and definitely among the most spacious. That's because this Casita is eight feet (2.45m) wide, 19 cm wider than standard width caravans in the Casita range.
The difference is apparent in all four areas of the 860 of course — but especially in the bedroom, where there is 88cm of floor space at the foot of the bed when it's retracted in its daytime mode.
A sliding door separates the bedroom from the shower on the offside and the toilet-washbasin room opposite. As in most layouts of this type, the hinged forward wash room door closes across the layout to divide the caravan into two halves.
The Casita 860 isn't only wide, it's long; this twin-axle model has a body length of 6.95m. Which means it's going to win its fans among buyers for whom space is important. Buyers, perhaps, who have owned a static caravan and now want a tourer that measures up (if not literally) to their expectations of a spacious holiday environment. And, perhaps most crucially, buyers for whom versatility of layout is key.
The 860 is undoubtedly a fabulous caravan for a couple; almost apartment-like, with three distinct rooms (lounge-kitchen, shower room and bedroom). But, equally certainly, the 860 is suitable for a family; mum and dad get their own totally closed-off bedroom and two siblings get full-length (1.84m) single beds in the lounge. And both generations can access the central shower and toilet rooms directly from their bedrooms.
The shower is a good-sized 66cm x 79cm. A soap tray on the riser bar and a small ledge give just enough places to put shampoo bottles. The door is in two sections, hinged in the centre, and runs on tracks both at the top and the base; it's an impressively sturdy construction.
The only towel provision, though, is in the wash room opposite; just one towel loop. If we were buying an 860, we'd want at least one more towel hook or loop, on the inside of the wash room door, so that your towel is within reach as you step out of the shower.
The wash room has a nice boutique look, with a small but deep basin in an unusual and stylish shape: an oval with flattened ends. Two cabinets give plenty of storage space. We like the amount of shelf space, too — around the basin, on top of the toilet tank area and a 71cm x 25cm shelf along the wall (above the wheel arch).
And we love the amount of floor space — 1.33m x 83cm. This is a splendid shower room, every bit as spacious as you'd find across the rear of a caravan and more spacious than many.
When retracted in daytime mode, the bed is 1.6m long — that's ideal for feet-up relaxing. Think cosy seclusion for watching your sport of choice on weekend afternoons, or a retreat for evening viewing, perhaps.
TV points are on the wall that divides this room from the wash room; although there is no bracket as standard, it's easy to get one fitted.
When it's time for sleep, the bed base pulls out to 1.9m; a section of mattress which sits under the pillows by day drops down to complete the length.
Wardrobes, each providing 28cm of hanging width and 1.2m of length, flank the bed, together with four drawers of the same width. Two large lockers are above the bed. A triangular dressing table sits in the offside corner, giving you a large cabinet, mirror and a mains socket (perfect for hair drying). The make-up and hair routine would be a pleasure in a Casita 860.
Pale grey curtains with a tactile, raised pattern hang on chrome café rods — and, with windows and bright environment.
Converting the lounge to single beds is simply a matter of rolling out sleeping bags of course; each bed is 1.84m long. The lounge double bed conversion gives you a generous mattress, 2.12m long and 1.43m wide.
Along with plenty of caravan length comes plenty of storage. And the 860's biggest storage area, under the bed, is better than most, because the metal frame which enables the bed base to be retracted is closer to the edges of the bed than in most retractable beds. That means there is less of a restriction on the size of objects you can store here. We're particularly referring to folding chairs and tables.
There's a clear 1m x 1.18m aperture here. And there's an exterior hatch to the under-bed space.
Long settees equal much storage, and the nearside box is huge. The offside one is nearly as spacious, interrupted only by the power distribution unit and the battery box housing. Casitas have the Whale blown-air heating system and Whale Expanse water heater, under the caravan, so takes up no locker space.
The dining table has its own cabinet just to the rear of the fridge-freezer. For two, the pull-out chest-of-drawers top creates a 75cm x 69cm surface; that's plenty of space even for dinner. This is one pull-out table well above mere snack status.
The seating is long enough for three people to sit on each side, so, if six are dining, you can use both the free-standing table and the pull-out top; a useful option.
The Casita's distinctive silvery grey fabric scheme is surely among the most elegantly attractive of any caravan for 2018. Its plain aspect is ultra modern yet the raised tactile pattern in the curtains, plus the soft material of the cushions, inject a look of comfort and relaxation.
Backrest tops are suede-effect in the palest cream and the rest of the seating is upholstered in hessian-inspired fabric, pale grey fawn with a shiny thread which catches the sunlight.
So, fantastic fabrics and comfortable seating for six, and white-edged top lockers plus a white beam under the sunroof, all combining to create an airy look. And that's not all. The reason this lounge feels so appealing is its width. The floor space in this area is 70cm wide, creating an open-plan feel.
Its kitchen also has an open-plan aspect. It spans the width of the caravan, with the 155-litre fridge-freezer on the nearside and the microwave above it. The floor space here measures 1.24m; little wonder we're tempted to say this caravan is perfect for a party!
It's pretty good at its normal food prep function, too, with 93cm of surface length plus a 26cm x 37cm extension to hinge up.
We love the big circular sink, 40cm in diameter and 12cm deep. Two bright LED clusters shine down from the base of the top lockers.
The main kitchen cabinet is 43cm wide. Four drawers of the same width are alongside it. And, next to the fridge-freezer, a smaller cabinet adds to an already plentiful amount of storage space.
A handful of comments of concern about towing twin-axle, eight-feet caravans have come my way since their numbers grew for 2017 and again for 2018. To all those caravanners, we have to say there is nothing daunting about towing caravans of this width. Especially if your extension door mirrors are the sort which are mounted on bars, enabling you to slide the mirrors slightly further outwards.
Maximum-width caravans feel great on the road, glued to their line by four wheels. Take it from us, you quickly forget the extra width as your natural spatial awareness adjusts automatically and you relax into the ease of twin-axle towing; the Casita 860 is no exception. And, for added security, Casitas are equipped with the AL-KO ATC automatic stability control system.
Go large! Caravanning eight-feet-wide style is an enhanced experience, giving you so much more space in all areas. Experience tells us that the extra size doesn't make these big caravans daunting on the road. The 860 is one of 11 eight-feet-wide caravans from this manufacturer.
We love the 860 for the amount of floor space in the bedroom, for its wide lounge and especially for the amount of space in the crucial central area between the door and the kitchen. At £22,559, and with a modest MTPLM considering its size, this mid-spec, versatile-layout tourer ticks many boxes for most buyers — especially the one marked 'value'.
AL-KO Secure wheel locks at £592 for two