Caravans can be very complex beasts with a huge list of features and added extras, so before you head on out to your local caravan dealer you need to consider what you’re looking for in your van, and we don’t just mean things like toilets and TV’s. Think about safety, size, on or off-grid etc.
What do we mean about safety? Well, when you take off on that adventure the first thing you’re going to want is to feel safe in your new home on wheels. You’re going to want to feel safe towing, setting up and sleeping in your new caravan. To assess this you need to ask yourself questions about your towing and reversing abilities. Will you be travelling alpine, or with a partner? And how physically strong are you? These questions will help you ascertain things such as the size of your van and what type of van you’re after.
If you’re a lone female traveller, for instance, you may want to consider a van with an electric awning and also a van that doesn’t have any canvass (such as a pop-top) so you can safely lock up at night. If you’re amazing at reversing, you could look at a longer van with more room.
On or Off Road
This question will be very important to the type of suspension tyres and features such as solar you’ll be looking for. If you’re booking at doing off-road touring you’ll need to look for a 4wd caravan with good off-grid features like dual battery systems, extra water storage and solar panels.
If you’re simply wanting to get away on the weekends to the caravan parks, then your decision is much simpler. You’ll have access to amenities so ensuites won’t be a priority and you’ll be able to plug into electricity and water so that extra storage won’t be needed.
This is an obvious one, but probably the most important to get right as it will help you answer all the other burning questions. Although technically not a feature, it will determine what features you need V’s what features you just want in your new van.
This may also determine if you stay on-road or off-road as an on-road caravan without an ensuite will be smaller and much more cost-effective upfront, although make sure you weigh up the cost of park fees long term in your overall budget.
There are many features that are considered comfort items and these will be different for every traveller. In these questions you’ll want to consider your travelling style, what you’ll be doing on the road and how much of your time will be spent in your van. Then you can work out if roof racks for bikes will make it more comfortable than a TV for night.
All in all the features of your new caravan will be very personal, but you need to weigh up all criteria before you buy. This will make it much easier to make your final decision.