Types of Caravans - The Camping and Caravanning Club
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Types of Caravans

Caravans come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of the different types you can choose from.

The conventional caravan

The majority of caravans have a single axle and are between 3 and 6.5 metres long inside. Depending on the interior layout, they can sleep between two and six people. They normally have a washroom, usually with a toilet, basin and shower, and a kitchen area equipped with a sink, hob, work surfaces and other necessities.

The majority of new caravans you see on the road or on site in the UK have been made in Britain by one of five manufacturers – some building under several different brand names. However Continental – and even some American – caravans are becoming increasingly popular. And there are many excellent used caravans on the market with plenty of life in them, though their manufacturer may have ceased to trade.

The main UK manufacturers include:

  • Bailey
  • Coachman
  • Elddis manufacturers of Elddis, Compass, Xplore and Buccaneer touring caravans
  • Swift Group, manufacturing Swift, Sprite and Basecamp caravans

Other major UK brands that are no longer made such as Lunar, Fleetwood, and Avondale.

Other well-known brands include:

The twin axle caravan

Larger and heavier caravans may be fitted with twin axles. This makes them more stable and easier to tow on the road, but more difficult to manoeuvre when you're pitching on site or returning them to storage.

Tiny teardrop trailers

These tiny stylish trailers are popular with people who want to tow with a small vehicle. Classic cars, sports cars and even trikes will usually tow them with no trouble.

Accommodation is normally basic with a double bed covering the entire floor. Some have simple cooking facilities and room to carry kit and equipment.

Pop top caravans

Much less popular than they once were, pop tops use a lifting roof to give standing headroom in an otherwise small caravan. This means the caravan has less frontal area when towing meaning less drag and a better fuel consumption in your towcar. They can be stored undercover in a conventional height garage at home.

Two well-known makers are Eriba from Europe, which has been building these distinctive pop tops for more than half a century, and Silver.

Tiny GRP caravans

There are some compact GRP (often known as fibreglass) caravans on the market, including the Freedom and Barefoot caravan ranges. Freedom caravans are small, low priced caravans and are built in Poland. The one piece, glass reinforced plastic body shell is unique and long lasting and means the units hold their value well.

Inside fittings can be pretty basic which means they're also fairly light in comparison to no-luxuries spared premium models. But, all in all, these little caravans have provided a comfortable and value-for-money caravanning for thousands of families and couples.

Folding caravans

You will be amazed the first time you see a small folding caravan arrive on site, as its owners unfold their low trailer into a full height, fully equipped caravan.

Folding caravans are easier to store and tow, but they need to be erected on site every time you camp, which can be a little time-consuming and a bit more inconvenient than a conventional caravan. Only you can decide whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for you. Unfortunately no UK company builds new folding caravans at the moment, but Gobur Caravans still refurbish and supply past models.

The American Airstream

Airstream manufactures the famous silver bullets so beloved by American film stars and they're now available with a European specification in sizes more suitable for British roads.

These stylish trans-Atlantic caravans offer all the creature comforts in an elegant - if somewhat expensive - package. You'll also attract a lot of attention wherever you park up in this iconic bit of luxury.

The stylish T@B and Swift Basecamp

These two unusual caravans, and others such as the TripBuddy, are designed for those who don’t want the standard white box.

The T@B is a novel German caravan and has become a retro style icon since it was launched. Inside the accommodation is somewhat compromised by those outside curves, so you won't find much overhead locker storage space, for example.

However it does offer a huge double bed, a compact kitchen and room (but only just) to store a tiny chemical toilet and it's light to tow.

You can buy T@B caravans from several dealers in the UK.

The Swift Basecamp is a similarly distinctive model, designed for those with an active lifestyle. It’s now available in two - six-berth forms.

Fifth wheelers

These distinctive caravans originated in the USA but are now made in Britain as well. US and continental imports are also available.

Rather than having a normal caravan hitch, they can only be towed by a pickup truck with an articulated towing connection on the bed.

Some offer a huge amount of living space and some even have slide-out sections to give even more room. Fifth Wheel Co.

Now that you've had a chance to discover a caravan for you and your family in which to tour UK campsites, why not check out our campsites guide? You'll find some of the best campsites available, with great facilities for you to relax and enjoy the great outdoors in caravan comfort.

Club Care Insurance

Club Care caravan insurance policies have been designed with members in mind and offer first class cover.