Types of Caravans
Are you thinking about buying a caravan? Having your own portable holiday home gives you unrivalled flexibility over where you spend your holidays, and allows you the freedom to tour Europe at your own pace. If you’ve never owned a caravan before the choice can be bewildering, so here are a few key points to get you started.
Different berths of caravans
When you see caravans advertised, the seller will generally tell you how many people the caravan can accommodate, or how many berths there are. In very general terms, the higher the number of berths, the larger the caravan. Most of the standard towing caravans sold in the UK can sleep between 2 and 6 people, depending on the inside layout. Remember too that the caravan is living space as well as sleeping space, so even if there are just two of you to accommodate, a larger 4 or 6 berth caravan will give you more space to move around.
Twin or single axle caravans
As caravans get larger, the way they are manufactured often changes too. A larger caravan will often be described as “double axle” and this means that there are two axles running across the centre of the caravan, and two wheels on either side. This makes the chassis of the caravan stronger, but also makes it more difficult to manoeuvre into a pitch or onto a driveway at home. On the other hand, a double axle caravan can feel more stable when towed at speed on a motorway. Look at both options and decide which is more appropriate for your needs.
GRP caravans (fibreglass)
One of the new types of caravan on the market is a GRP or fibreglass caravan. These are smaller and cheaper than many other types of caravan, and the fact that the skin of the caravan is made from a type of plastic means that they are much more durable than more conventionally made caravans. The downside is that the interior of this type of caravan is often very basic, but they are a good choice for people dipping their toe into the world of caravanning as they hold their value well.
As the name suggests, this is a compact version of the caravan which folds down to around half its height to be towed. This makes storage easier, and means you have to worry less about windy conditions when towing. Once erected, the interior of a folding caravan is just as spacious as any other type of caravan. The only issue to consider is that it takes time to convert the caravan from the trailer every time you arrive at site – fine in the warm Spanish sunshine, not so great in the lashing October gales. Teardrop trailers are a similar idea as they as smaller than the average caravan and just have room for a double bed inside. Cooking equipment is kept to a minimum as is storage, but again they are very easy to store and move around. Smaller trailers can also be towed with much smaller, less powerful vehicles.