What type of caravan should I buy?

How do I choose the right caravan?


Adding an awning gives you loads of affordable space


What type of caravan should I buy?

If you buy a very old caravan, its boxy shape will increase fuel consumption and may compromise stability, but today’s streamlined caravans have much improved aerodynamics.

Such issues can be avoided altogether by considering a folding caravan or trailer tent. Modern versions of folders can be very quickly erected on arrival at a site, with the cooker etc (and even full length cupboards) being hinged up into position. Fewer top lockers can be provided and generally there is less storage space. As fuel becomes more expensive the economics of towing a folding caravan

may become more attractive, with its safer handling and a travelling height below that of the towing car.

What size caravan would suit me?

There isn’t really any rule of thumb relating to size and weight of a caravan. A small caravan packed to the gunnels with kit could be heavier than a larger, possibly older, caravan. Newer models have become heavier over the years.


Nearly all caravans today over 3 metres long (10ft) have a toilet room, only shorter ones not having the necessary

You might consider buying a trailer tent or folding caravan, as they’re easier and more economical to tow. Setting up on site will be a bit more of a palaver though!

space to include one. If you’re only going to be on sites where toilets are provided, this is less important, but if you will be staying on sites such as Caravan Club Certificated Locations, then the Caravan Code requires that you have your own facilities.

It makes sense to tow the shortest, lightest caravan that suits your needs. Consider getting a compact caravan and buying an awning for it. You’ll still have enough space and you could buy a 4 metre (13 ft) caravan with an awning for considerably less money than a 5 metre (17 ft) caravan. Attached to the side of your caravan, which has an


‘awning channel’ built in, you can use it for extra dining space, as an additional

room for children or visitors to sleep, or a place for you to sit out on hot summer nights when the kids have gone to bed.

Consider too that a long caravan will be more awkward to manoeuvre into gateways or drives, more difficult to park on and off site, and to store too. The maximum length of caravan that may be

towed on British roads by a car (with a Gross Vehicle Weight not exceeding 3.500kg) is 7 metres (22 ft 11½ in). The maximum width is 2.3 metres (7 ft 6½ in). If touring

abroad, the length will affect ferry charges. Some countries such as Switzerland have length and width restrictions because of their mountainous roads.