Buying a caravan is a big commitment. Not only will you be committing financially, but you’ll also by committing to a certain type of holiday. Caravans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and each model caters to a different set of needs. So to make sure that you buy the right caravan for you, there are a few things you need to consider.
On or off-road?
This is the first question you should ask yourself before looking for a caravan. What kind of locations will you be going to? Will you be using travelling to the middle of the outback or are you more likely to stay in more main-stream campsites along the coast?
If you’re planning on heading into the outback and going off the beaten track, then you’re likely to need an off-road caravan. This means that your caravan will be designed to handle rough roads and dirt tracks. You can of course still use off-road caravans on well-maintained roads, but on-road caravans won’t be able to tackle the rough tracks of the outback!
When selecting a caravan, especially for off-road use, try to buy from a caravan manufacturer in Australia. Australian terrain and weather conditions are somewhat unique and you’re therefore better off if you use a manufacturer who is well-versed in the challenges that come with it.
Who will be going on your trips with you in your caravan? Are you travelling solo, as a couple or do you have a young family in tow? The number of people (and their ages) will have an impact on the sleeping arrangements you require and this will inevitably affect the layout and floor plan of the caravan.
Large families may need to consider living areas that transform into bunk beds for example whereas solo travellers or couples may wish to prioritise a comfortable queen size bed.
Again, this depends on the amount of people you will be travelling with. Larger groups and families may wish to prioritise having an oven and other cooking appliances on board whereas smaller group may be happy with just the basics. And of course, if you’re only planning on taking the caravan to populated areas, you may be eating out rather than cooking for yourself and therefore won’t need the comprehensive kitchen that an outback traveller may require.
How much storage you need will depend on the size of your group as well as the type of trips you intend to take in your caravan. Again, larger families may wish to prioritise storage space whereas solo travellers will be packing lightly and living with minimal gear.
What kind of bathroom facilities do you need? If you’re only planning to take your caravan to well-populated areas and camping grounds with showering facilities, then you may only need a small and basic bathroom. For off-road or long term travellers, you may with to have something more substantial on board.
A solo traveller heading to the outback for six months may wish to have a large sleeping area, a comprehensive kitchen and a fully equipped bathroom. This type of traveller would be happy to compromise on the living space in order to get more space elsewhere. On the other hand, a large family travelling only to campsites with their own bathroom and cooking facilities may prefer to prioritise comfortable sleeping and living spaces.
The point is that the layout and design of your caravan will depend entirely on your specific needs. And that’s why it’s important to shop around before investing in your caravan. Don’t be afraid to meet with more than one caravan manufacturer and ask plenty of questions. Local, Australian caravan manufacturers will be particularly helpful as they can advise on the very specific requirements you need in the outback.