How To Pick The Right Caravan | Types | Brand | What To Look For?

Apart from choosing your next destination for your camping trips, choosing the right caravan is also quite overwhelming. Not to mention the different types or brands or caravans that may be useful on one situation but not exactly right for another. This might be very confusing at first, but we have found the most common caravans that you should use for your next vacation.

Before we get to it, you should know the basics of caravans. The most common caravan types are: touring caravans, pop-top caravans, pop top and out caravans, wind up and out caravans, fifth wheeler caravans, motorhome, full height caravans, and the off-road/ATV caravans.

Aside from the types of caravans, you should also consider your needs. As you read this blog post, we will answer some of your questions about travel, towing and type, to help you in making your decision.

What Are The Important Factors in Choosing The Right Caravan?

I know, I know! We should start talking about caravan types and get this over with. But, knowing your intended use is important in choosing the right caravan for you. This will help you narrow down your options, especially the size, features, and fittings that you will require.

Will you be:

  • Travelling long-term, every weekend or just a few days each year?
  • Going off-road or on areas with proper pavements?
  • Travelling alone or with your kids?
  • Making your caravan your home?

The distance that you will need to cover is also an important factor in choosing the right caravan. Knowing the road condition is also important because it will help you decide on whether to buy a leaf-spring suspension or off-road capabilities.

Since change is constant, your long-term should also be considered because you and your family’s needs may change as time passes by. It is also wise to look for caravans which are within your budget.

Answer all these questions and you are one step closer to figuring out the perfect caravan for you!

How Do I Know A Caravan’s Towing Capacity?

Every vehicle has a limit on their towing capacity. This is a major factor in the type of caravan that is right for you because it can limit the size and weight that you can carry. So, before buying a caravan, you should check the vehicle’s manual or search for articles online to know the vehicle’s towing capacity.

Or if you’re still looking for a vehicle which you will specifically use for camping, make sure that it can carry the caravan that you need. Probably the most important thing to remember is the fact that your driver’s licence may not allow you to tow caravans of certain sizes or weights.

What Are The Different Kinds of Caravan?

There are so many choices when it comes to choosing a Caravan. Luckily we have compiled the different kinds of caravans below so you can choose the right one for you and your family! Read on below so you can start finding the best caravan for you.

Touring Caravans

This kind of caravan is designed for mobility and towing by an average-sized vehicle. Touring caravans are usually made from aluminum and various types of plastics for the interior.

Some touring caravans also have a built-in living room, bathroom, bedroom, and storage spaces. It can also be fitted with furniture and entertainment systems for keeping boredom at bay while travelling.

Pop-top Caravans

Pop-top caravans offer all the features of touring caravans while also saving on fuel consumption. So, this is perfect for those who would like to spend less on gasoline and more on travel necessities.

These caravans have low profile which improves their wind-drag while travelling. This also makes them easier to store in a garage. The pop-top got its moniker because its top section can be raised to provide full headroom.

Pop-top and Out Caravans

Has all the benefits of the Pop-top caravan but it also adds pop out beds. This type of caravan is perfect for families and a lot of second-hand units are available on the market. It also has more storage space when set up because the beds are on the outside.

However, the space can be limited when the van is packed up. On the other hand, because of its compact size, it is great for storage inside the garage or under the carport.

Wind-up and Out Caravans

Wind-up and Out caravans’ main selling point is the ease of towing. However, they are a bit complicated to set up, especially when you’re planning a trip with multiple stops.

The storage is also lacking when packed down, but its interior is spacious when set up.

Fifth Wheeler Caravans

Compared to other types of caravans, this is more luxurious to travel in. But comfort comes at a price so you will have to spend a bit more for this caravan. To further its luxurious feel, actual furniture from a typical house can be found in its interior.

It is also easier to set up because you just need to connect the caravan to your vehicle and set off to your destination. The fifth wheeler also offer a lot more room than other caravan types, but its size may limit your choice of campsites because of its huge size.

Motorhomes

Most of the motorhomes found in Australia are used by foreigners. However, it is gaining traction with Aussies because there is little to no set up involved. Set up would only be required when you decide to tow a smaller vehicle for sightseeing.

It also has a lot of space for your comfort because it is essentially mobile home. However, its large size may limit its use to destinations with properly paved roads and not the outdoors.

Full Height Caravans

This is the most common type of caravan. Full Height caravans have solid walls and a full height roof. They also come in a variety of sizes which can come in single or twin axles. Aside from these, it is also very convenient to set up when you arrive and is great for pulling over at a rest stop. You just open the door and you’re ready. Other benefits include:

  • Can be used in any type of weather because it can also be fitted with air-conditioning.
  • More storage space and room to move around.
  • Can be fitted with a small bed so you can choose to stay inside instead of sleeping in a tent.

Off-road/ATV Caravans

Off-road caravans sound like it can take a lot of gravel and mud before it needs to be repaired but some brands are intentionally misleading consumers. As Roy Wyss of Sunland Caravans says, the term “off-road” has a wide range of applications and is open to interpretation. Its definition ranges from grass tracks or unsealed roads, river crossings, “boulder bashing”, or the van’s self-sufficiency for off-the-beaten-track touring.

You can clearly tell that this open interpretation for the term “off-road” is caused by the lack of an official standard to define what exactly “off-road” means. In Australia, there are quite a few brands that properly inform you how much beating their caravans can take.

These brands are:

  • Jayco. They offer upgrades to their standard vans which are helpfully labelled as Outback Pack instead of “off-road”. They also state on their website the limitations of their caravans, including what’s covered under the warranty.
  • Goldstream RV. Known for their high-quality and reliable caravans, pop-tops, and campers. They offer an upgrade, called the Adventure Pack, which is named in the same fashion as Jayco. The Adventure Pack is designed to let the van tackle bushes or be taken into national parks. This fills the gap between normal caravans and off-road vans which is better than some brand which offer an upgrade pack but only add bigger tyres and calling it a day.

What’s The Best Brands For A Caravan?

There are a lot of brands of caravans that you can find online, but their product’s reliability is uncertain. How can you be sure that the caravan from Brand A will last much longer than Brand B? Does Brand B offer more features than Brand C? What are the limitations of Brand D and which types of roads can it handle? Read on to find out.

Goldstream RV Australis Series

For those that put comfort and luxury first when camping, the Australis Series from the popular Australian brand Goldstream RV is perfect for you. The Australis caravans ranges from the 1760-2300 models which are available in different price points.

The standard interior includes:

  • Toilet/shower combo with adjustable showerhead
  • Innerspring mattress
  • 3-burner gas range with a separate grill
  • 106-190L fridge
  • Air-conditioning system
  • Water tank gauges
  • Entertainment system (with a 19” LED TV, CD/DVD player, and antenna)

The Australis Series also has a single axle and tandem models. The single axle model features a 150x50mm chassis, an A-frame that extends to the spring hangers, 15” wheels and tyres, and outdoor utilities (this includes the roof hatch, roll-out awning and picnic table).

Goldstream RV Australis Series: Aussie Adventure Package

The Aussie Adventure Package is slightly higher than a standard on-road version. It is also recommended that a 4WD vehicle tow this caravan type. Several features also received an upgrade from the standard version of Goldstream RVs.

The Aussie Adventure Package includes:

  • 2500kg suspension or 65mm beam axle with shockers (single axle model)
  • Roller rocker suspension beam axle with shockers (tandem axle model)
  • 15” alloy wheels
  • Solar pre-wiring
  • 12-volt external point
  • Pull-out step
  • Reversing Camera
  • Solar panel mounted on the roof with solar regulator
  • 106-190L 3-way fridges
  • Laminated bench tops
  • Greater choice of upholstery colours

Goldstream RV Australis Series: Rhino Off-road Package

For those looking for a caravan that can be taken off-road, you should take a serious look on this one. The Rhino Off-road has been tested throughout Australia and offers the best package compared to other brands. This upgrade comes with the Cruisemaster independent suspension with laminated galvanised floors which protects your investment in this quite pricey caravan. Especially if you take this to places with harsh road conditions. Also available with the package is the Redarc battery management system that works in conjunction with dual batteries and a solar roof system which will allow you to stay off-the-grid for as long as you need.

Goldstream RV Pop-Top Mini 1200 Series

The Pop-Top Mini 1200 is perfect for those who have a vehicle limited towing capacities and limited space in their garages. You can also expand your storage space by storing underneath the seating, beds, kitchen, and other areas.

Jayco 15 Ft Freedom Caravan

The Freedom Caravan is a pop-top caravan from the Australian brand, Jayco. This includes an air-conditioning system, a JHUB app to manage your van right from your phone, a side access storage boot which makes its storage space the largest among its category, and 15” black alloy wheels. The most affordable version, the 15 ft freedom, can accommodate 2 adults with an option to convert the dinette into an extra bed for a child. This also comes with a double bed with mattress, fully insulated walls, and a kitchen.

Adria Matrix Motorhome Range

The Matrix is built on a Fiat Ducato chassis. It can comfortably seat 3-5 passengers. The motorhome also has a 5969-7800mm of body length and 2299 mm of total width. It also has a built-in lounge, kitchen, and washroom. So, it is spacious enough for long-haul travels. Other features include:

  • Fresh & waste water tanks
  • Cassette toilet
  • Bike rack
  • Outside gas locker
  • Awning with light
  • Heated electric mirrors
  • Electric front mirrors
  • Air-conditioning
  • Cab central locking
  • Cab blinds and curtains
  • Dinette
  • 3-way fridge
  • Microwave
  • TV & DVD player
  • Satellite navigation
  • Reverse camera
  • Shower

The motorhome weighs about 3500 kg and it can handle a payload of 624 kg. For those who are worrying, this can be driven on a standard driver’s licence.

Avida Leura

Like the Adria Matrix, the Leura is also built on the chassis of the Fiat Ducato. It is easy to drive, and the lower roof height provides greater fuel economy and parking flexibility while also offering a large room. There are two versions of this model and one has a 150hp engine while the other one has 180hp. This model is very similar to the Adria Matrix but with less bells and whistles. Therefore, it is also slightly cheaper than the former.

Forest River Rockwood Ultra Lite (2620WS)

The Rockwood Ultra Lite is made for owners of ½ ton pick up trucks. Like the other caravan types this also comes with a fully equipped kitchen, comfortable dinettes, and spacious interiors. The hitch weighs 1130 lb. which makes it one of the lightest caravans in its category. Most of the other brands’ features can also be found in this model

. However, this version has more space than the other caravan types. Although as stated earlier, comfort comes with a price, which is especially true for caravans. So, this is slightly more expensive than other caravan types like the pop-tops which are more cramped in comparison.

Keystone Volante 31

The Volante 31 comes with triple slide outs and almost the same features as the Rockwood Ultra Lite. This means that it also has air-conditioning and central heating. However, it also features a fireplace which cannot be found on other models. This also has a heavy-duty suspension, grease nipples on the either side, self-grease axles, solar panels with 2 batteries, an inverter with a large capacity, and a washing machine.

Jayco Expanda Caravan

This model is designed to accommodate 4 to 8 people comfortably because it has two expandable double beds with innerspring mattresses. These are found at each of the caravans. The Jayco Expanda caravans are built to last with multilayered, vacuum-bonded fibreglass walls that are hail-and dent-resistant and offer great thermal and acoustic insulation.

The one-piece, double-stitched tent sections are made in Australia from 14oz heavy-duty local canvas. Other features include the: JHUB Phone app, a washing machine with a 3.3 kg capacity, air-conditioner, and the Jayco Tough Frame wall technology which makes your caravan more durable.

Related Questions

Can You Tow A Caravan with An Automatic?

Some cars with automatic transmissions are also equipped with a tow/haul mode that can come in handy. However, if you’re towing off-road on uneven ground, manual transmissions can trump automatic ones. This is because towing large loads with a manual can damage the clutch from shifting gears.

Do You Need Insurance For Towing A Caravan?

While insurance for your car is a legal requirement because a touring caravan is towed insurance isn’t mandatory. Even if you are covered for towing, your car policy probably won’t cover you for theft of your caravan and other risks – for that you need specialised caravan insurance.

How Much Is A Caravan Licence In Australia?

To register a tandem-axle caravan for the first time in South Australia, with a tare of 2200 kg and GVM of 2600 kg, costs $93.

What is the Difference Between Touring and Static Caravans?

A car towing a heavyweight will consume more fuel, whereas Static Caravans don’t consume any other than electricity and sometimes gas. So, if you feel like lowering your carbon footprint trade in your Touring Caravan for what by comparison is a luxury holiday home.

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