No matter what your holiday interests are, you’ll be able to find a caravan that suits both you and your family, and how much comfort you need to take on the road with you.
We’ve outlined below the main types of caravans, what can tow them and what they’re best suited for. From teardrops to fifth wheelers, there’s something for everyone from the occasional vacationer to those who live on the open road.
Conventional or Full caravan
These vans have a full height roof and solid walls and really are mobile homes. You don’t need to set up or pack down, they’re always ready even when you take a rest stop, there’s plenty of storage and you’ll be comfortable and dry regardless of the weather.
You can kit out a full caravan with home entertainment systems, air conditioning, decent kitchens and most of your usual home comforts. Depending on the size they can be either single axle or double axle.
Pop Out & Pop Top Caravans
Pop tops and pop out caravans allow you to reduce the size of your van for towing, only to pop out extra sections when you make camp. The pop tops are often very small trailers on the road so you can see over them in the rear view mirror, coming to full height when “popped”, while the pop outs usually give you an extended seating or sleeping area.
These are much more convenient for travelling as they weigh considerably less than a full caravan, pack down smaller and are more aerodynamic, saving fuel on long journeys. Though you have more space while camped, that space is reduced during travelling so you can’t carry as much supplies as you might like.
While for some caravans the pop top or pop out is the main feature, traditional caravans can have a pup top, pop out or even both as ways of extending the already full space.
Wind Up & Out Caravans
Wind ups and wind outs have most of the same benefits and drawbacks of the pop caravans, though they can take quite a bit longer to set up and pack down.
Ideal for light travellers, teardrop trailers are tiny, stylish caravans designed to be towed behind small classic cars, sports cars and even trikes.
While they are easy to tow, the accommodation is fairly basic, usually with just a double bed covering the whole floor and occasionally some basic cooking equipment.
Fifth Wheeler Caravans
On the more luxurious end of travelling, fifth wheelers are even more spacious than full caravans, functioning as a home away from home. They don’t have a regular caravan hitch and can only be towed by pickup trucks or utes with an articulated towing connection on the bed.
While the fifth wheelers feel like a ready to go home, often including real furniture rather than fixtures, they can be limited by their size. Since they’re classed as a Big Rig there will be roads and campsites you can’t access, requiring a bit more prior planning for your ‘camping’ holidays.
Motorhome or RV
A motorhome, often referred to as an RV (recreational vehicle), is basically a caravan permanently attached to a vehicle. Much like caravans and fifth wheelers, they are all set up and ready to be lived in, sometimes even having pop out or wind up sections to expand your living space. They’re incredibly convenient in that you don’t even have to connect or disconnect to a vehicle, literally ready to go at all times.
The down side is if there’s any sightseeing you’d like to do the whole home has to come along too. You can tow a small car behind a motorhome for sightseeing, but this then becomes an added hassle.