Types of Caravans

Caravans are some of the most popular means of travelling and there is a wide variety to choose from. With so many caravan brands and models available, it can be a daunting and difficult task to decide on which one is best for you. This blog will look at different types of caravans available and help you choose the caravan that suits your needs best. Please contact us if you want to discuss the best option for you. We are also specialists in caravan, RV, motorhome, and camper trailer repair and are happy to talk to you before you buy to discuss the kind of repairs these caravans often need.

The Australian market is made up of eight main different types of caravans.  Each one is described and discussed below.

The Conventional Caravan

conventional caravan

The conventional caravan is a full-bodied caravan and has four solid walls with full height roof. The length can vary greatly (up to 10 metres) and dependent on size the caravan will have 1-3 axles. It features separate rooms and all the furniture and equipment is built-in. This gives the owner the comforts of home when travelling. Whatever the weather, you are protected inside this type of caravan. There is decent storage space in a traditional caravan. It is fuss-free when you set up camp for the night, and just as easy to leave for the next destination, just shut the door, hitch up and go.

The conventional caravan and pop-top caravan are the two most popular choices within the Australian market.

Summary comparing the two: the conventional caravan has more storage than pop top, easy to set up, less prone to leaks, keeps warmer in cool weather, cheaper than pop top, but they are heavier than pop tops which makes them more expensive and difficult to tow, and being higher it may be more difficult to store and manoeuvre with low hanging trees.

Pop-top Caravan

pop-top caravan

The pop-top caravan is similar to the conventional caravan, as it has storage and built-in amenities. The difference is that the roof pops up and down in to give additional headroom which makes a nicer environment. The pop-top is also lighter than a conventional caravan which means it is more economical to tow, easier to store with a lower roof height and has less wind resistance on the highways.

Summary comparing to a conventional caravan: easier to store and manoeuvre, better ventilation, weighs less, but often costs more, more likely to leak, less structural integrity, less cupboard storage, and not ergonomic to raise and lower the top.

Pop-out Caravan

pop-out caravan

The pop-out caravan has all the features of the pop-top caravan but are extremely beneficial for larger families. The pop-out sections at one or both ends of the caravan are perfect for additional beds and will not compromise existing room space. Another dimension can also be included in some models – pop-out beds. Again, very popular for large families and groups that require additional sleeping areas.

Teardrop caravan

teardrop caravan

Teardrop caravans are small and are great for those who don’t need to carry a lot and have a small tow vehicle. Generally there is enough space to sleep two people and a small kitchenette.

Tent Trailer

tent trailer

A tent trailer is easily towed by most cars. It is basically a trailer with a pull-out tent attached. If you have a small car and low budget for a caravan purchase then the tent trailer is a good entry point. The fold-down tent is simple and basic. It has a decent living space and is easy to set up and store. Equipment can be stored within the trailer.

Camper Trailer

tent trailer

This camper trailer is similar to the tent trailer and is pretty popular in Australia. It is sturdier than a tent trailer and features include an easy pop-top roof and tent berths that extend at both ends. Despite the small size, the camper trailer makes up with comfort and affordability. They include furnished amenities and camper trailers are easy to tow.

Fifth Wheeler

fifth wheeler

The fifth-wheeler is large and offers a huge amount of living space. Some fifth wheelers also have sections that slide out for even more room.  The master bedroom is usually situated on top of the hitch. Because of its size and weight it will require a larger vehicle for towing (large ute or truck). The van attaches to the rear of the truck, the same way that a semi attaches to then cab. Because of the considerable size you may be limited on where you can visit and stay, it is advisable to call ahead.

Motor Home

motor home

A motorhome is the perfect option if you are planning a very long trip. It’s a caravan and car rolled into one. There is minimal set up required, so you can start the holiday at anytime. Motorhomes include all the amenities that one requires.

Unless you tow a car on a trailer behind the motorhome, then it will also be your vehicle for touring the sights when you reach your destinations, this may be inconvenient at times.

Do you need an off-road caravan?

offroad caravan

Off-road caravans have greater ground clearance, bigger wheels, a very durable chassis, and improved suspension to tackle tough terrain and absorb road shock. Usually there are options to include solar panels, larger water tanks and an upgraded battery system which gives the user self-reliance when off grid.

These caravans and campers are more expensive, heavier and difficult to tow.

Are you planning on travelling mainly on sealed roads, or do you require a caravan that can handle dirt roads, corrugations, rough trails and even river crossings?

Other considerations when selecting a caravan

Caravan weight and towing capacity of your vehicle

Check all of these weights to ensure that you can safely and legally tow your caravan.

  • What is your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity?
  • What is the tare weight of the caravan? (Weight of an empty trailer plus 10L of fuel)
  • What is the Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of the caravan? (Legal maximum weight of the loaded caravan. Combination of tare weight and payload)
  • What is your vehicle’s Gross Combination Mass (GCM). (Maximum combined weight of vehicle and caravan)
  • What is the ball weight? (Maximum pressure that your vehicle’s towball can handle)

You can check with your vehicle manufacturer and caravan manufacturer about the weights. A public weighbridge will weigh both car and caravan.

If your vehicle is not suited to towing the larger caravans and you do not want to upgrade your vehicle, then consider the light weight options like a camper trailer.


Most Australian caravans measure between 11-24 feet.  An 11 foot camper sleeps one person, while couples usually opt for 19-20 foot caravans. The longer caravans suit larger groups, some can  accommodate 7 people.  Also look at where you are planning to store the caravan when not in use. Don’t forget to allow room to swing when making a turn in or out of the shed or garage.  The size generally depends on towing capacity, berths required and interior features needed.


Consider the layout of the caravan. Even small caravans can feel spacious with the right design. Consider the exterior colour, white is popular as it will keep the caravan cooler.


Most caravans are equipped with sleeping berths, kitchenette, shower and toilet and living area. There are many other features available, decide what is important for you: TV, air conditioner, fan, washing machine, wi-fi, awning, patio light, reversing camera, external speakers and solar panels. Also consider: capacity of the water tank (best to have minimum of 100 litres of fresh water), grey water tank (might be optional) and the battery (should have one that is at least 100A/H or greater).

The more features your caravan has, the heavier it will be for towing.


Caravans can cost anywhere from $40,000 to over $120,000, and second hand caravans can set you back anything from $20,000.  The cheaper caravans <$50,000 will usually be smaller will sleep less than 4 people. $50,000-$70,000 should get a longer van including dinette and bathroom and be more durable and stylish. Spending over $70,000 should purchase a luxury or off-road caravan, with features like top-grade suspension, complete kitchen and upmarket upholstery.


Don’t be afraid to ask current caravan owners for advise and recommendations. Ask caravanning social media groups and for opinions on different models and brands. Go to expos and ask as many questions as you can think of. Visit websites like www.canstarblue.com.au and www.choice.com.au to research others opinions before making your purchase decision.

In Summary

There are always four questions you should consider before purchasing a caravan.

  • Where do you plan to travel?
  • How long to you plan to be away?
  • How often do you plan to travel?
  • Who is travelling with you?

These questions will largely answer which type of caravan is suitable to purchase.  Ask for feedback from current owners. Join caravanning social media groups and ask opinions on different models and brands. Check out websites for more information before making your purchase decision.  The team at FreezeTec are always happy to talk with you about your buying decision and look over your caravan and advise on repairs or alterations needed.  Contact the FreezeTec team today.