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7 Types of Caravans

Many people dream about taking off in a caravan to explore our amazing country – what better way to see Australia than to experience it by land? It can be an incredible experience driving from town to town, mixing with locals and finding places that are off the beaten track. Whether you choose to plan each step of the way with maps and guides, or you have a ‘go where the wind takes you’ approach, there are a couple of things you need to sort out before you even leave your own driveway.

First – You’ll need to buy a caravan. But before you think that’s a pretty straight forward step, you should probably be aware that there are actually quite a lot of different types of caravans out there that suit different needs. A little bit of research up front will save a lot of headache later.

Second – if time permits, it might be a good idea to try before you buy. Once you’ve decided on a type of caravan you should rent one for a weekend getaway. You might be surprised that your experience with that style isn’t what you were expecting – and you’ll be glad you hadn’t forked out too much money before you realised.

Third – once you’ve chosen your caravan and purchased it, you need to do a full caravan detailing session before you pack it up and hit the road. You’ll be living out of this vehicle for a while, so you need to make sure it is clean and safe before you head off.

So back to the first point … which caravan is right for you?

Regular Caravan

These are your run of the mill caravans, probably the kind that first comes to mind when you think of caravans. These are ‘full-bodied’, with four walls and a full height roof. The length of the van can vary greatly, up to 10 metres, and can have between one and three axles.

This caravan is great in any weather and is fuss free when it comes time to set up camp for the night. Simply find your spot and you are ready to go.

There is also a decent amount of storage space within the van, and when you are ready to leave the campsite again all you need to do is shut the door and go!

Pop-up Caravans

These caravans are very similar to a regular caravan, with built in equipment and storage room (with the exception of roof storage of course, as the roof needs to fold down when not in use). When you are ready to use the van as accommodation you simply pop the roof up, which will give you about half a metre of headroom. The benefits of having the pop-top caravan is that it isn’t as high as a regular van when packed away, so this can reduce wind resistance when towing – great if you are planning on driving on a lot of highways and freeways – and they are also easier to store in your garage at home.

Tent Trailer

If you have a small vehicle, this can be a good option for you. A tent trailer is basically a trailer that has a pull out tent attached. You can store all of your equipment within the trailer and the entire thing is quite light and easy to pack away.

Camper Trailer

This variety is similar to the tent trailer but is a little sturdier. The caravan folds down neatly into a smaller size around the trailer. They are light like the tent trailer so are easy to tow with a smaller car. The benefits of the camper trailer over the tent trailer is that they are a bit easier to set up, and they are more comfortable.

Pop-out Caravans

These big guys are great for larger families. There are pop-out compartments on the ends of the van, where you can put additional beds. Having the extra sleeping space on the outside of the caravan means the room inside isn’t compromised, giving it as much or more storage than a regular caravan. This is perfect to larger families or groups of people who need to have extra sleeping spots without losing storage space.


The fifth-wheeler is a larger caravan and requires a much larger vehicle to tow it. These vans are attached to the back of a larger ute or truck in the same way a semi-trailer is attached to it’s cabin. Because they are so much bigger, they will not be accepted at all campsites so you will need to call ahead if you are planning on turning up with one of these. The van itself is roomy and comfortable, and usually has a great master bedroom set- up over the top of the hitch.


This is a great option for anyone who is planning a very long trip. The motorhome is a caravan and car all-in-one. They usually require no set-up, and the inside can be fitted-out with a lot of the comforts and amenities you’d find at home. One thing to consider is the fact that this motorhome is also your car, so if you plan to stay in one area for a length of time and want to go into town or sightseeing, you will need to drag your entire home along with you as it is your only mode of transport.If you still aren’t sure which type of caravan would suit you, make sure you head to a caravan and camping show in your nearest city to check them out for yourself. It really helps to be able to climb in and out of each van and have an opportunity to compare them all side-by-side.