What to Consider When Purchasing a Caravan: Transport, Brand Reputation and More

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Whether you want to downsize your home or you want to live life on the road, a caravan is a great option. Giving you both freedom of movement as well as a holiday home for glamping and seeing the world, caravans boast a range of benefits. Plus, there are many caravans on the market, from luxury to vintage, with a host of stylish features and customisable extras. Yet, with all of these options, what should you go for? Is there certain brands that are better than others? Are there different sizes and how can you transport this to your home? All of these questions will we answer, and more, below.

Double check the weight of the caravan

First and foremost when perusing caravan listings online or contacting dealerships you need to double check the weight of the caravan first. This is for both safety and legal reasons, as the weight of the caravan needs to be a suitable weight for the car when being towed. You can find out this information in your car’s manufacturer guide as it should state the towing limit. What’s more, your driver’s license may restrict you from towing a car and caravan with a combined weight of 3,500kg. To obtain this, you need to take extra tests.

The recommended guideline is that the weight of the caravan when its loaded should be no more than 85% of the car’s kerbweight. Kerbweight is the total mass of the vehicle with standard equipment and all necessary operating consumables like motor oil, transmission oil, coolant, air conditioning refrigerant and a tank full of fuel. However, the kerbweight does not include when loaded with cargo or persons.

The safety guideline is to help the driver feel comfortable and in control of driving with the caravan attached as adverse driving conditions like gusts of wind, rain, and buffering from lorries can all cause instability. You also need to consider the payload – which is all of the various items you will pack into the car and caravan if you are going on holiday or moving around. You may be tempted to cram as much in as possible, however, a heavy and cumbersome caravan could be dangerous to drive, not just for you but also for other road users.

Plus, another critical element to consider is when you passed your driving test. If you passed your driving test after the 1st January 1997, you are restricted to towing a maximum combined weight of 3,500 kg. Yet additional tests can be taken to get given the full ‘B+E’ entitlement that those who passed before 1st January 1997 have.

Consider size

If you are wanting to take your family on the ultimate staycation, it is likely that you will need a caravan of a generous size to be able to accomodate you all and the amount of items you bring. Alternatively, if you are a young or old couple looking to get a break away from fast-paced lifestyle, then a smaller caravan would suit you better.

What’s more, as mentioned above, the size you choose will also affect the weight of the caravan. Generally speaking, the larger the caravan is, the heavier it will be.

You will also need to consider the size in relation to travelling, especially if you are using caravans for holidays and excursions. For instance, if you are travelling somewhere rural, will your caravan be too wide to twist and turn around narrow country lanes, and you may need to pay more money if your caravan is bigger if you are crossing borders to new countries.

Look at the layout and design

It’s likely that you are going to be spending a lot of time in the caravan with your family members, especially if you are going on holiday with them. You certainly don’t want to run the risk of having a stressful holiday where you are getting under each others feet all the time in a small caravan. A large, spacious design will ensure that you can have a relaxing trip away together as a family.

Each caravan layout will differ. For instance, some caravans will have fixed beds or sofas that convert into beds at night, and some caravans will only have double or twin bed options. Another important factor to consider is washrooms. You certainly need a space where you can do your business and shower in peace, but some caravans aren’t equipped with large washrooms, or will only have a toilet – meaning that you will have to shower on a camping site. What’s more, these can be placed in awkward spaces to maximise the overall room in the caravan.

The design of the caravan is also important. It is no secret that aesthetic and well-decorated spaces help to improve general well being – so if you are spending a lot of time in a caravan, this should be no different. Of course, if you are buying a dilapidated and old caravan specifically to renovate and remodel it, then this is the perfect chance to get something cheap and turn it into your own. However, for ease, there are many caravan brands that making stunning and long-lasting caravans where the style and function will last for years.

Brands you need to know about

So, what caravan brand should you go for when shopping around for a caravan? There are five main british manufacturers you can usually choose from, however, european caravans are also increasing in popularity too.

The five British caravan manufacturers are:

  • Bailey – Bailey of Bristol is one of the largest caravan manufacturers in the UK with over 70 years of experience in the trade. They have made significant developments in caravan technology including the Alu-Tech system.
  • Coachman – Since 1986, Coachman have been building caravans from their base in East Yorkshire, with four stylish ranges to choose from.
  • Elddis – With three caravan ranges, four motorhomes ranges and a campervan range, Elddis stocks a large variety of different products. Plus, they are the only UK manufacturer that builds full-bonded touring caravans with SoLiD construction, creating a strong and rigid caravan that is also lightweight.
  • Swift – With 40 caravan models and boasting the credentials of being the UK’s largest UK manufacturer of tourers and motorhomes, Swift is known for being one of the UK’s most renowned caravan brands.
  • The English Caravan Company – Designing and building custom teardrop caravans, as well as refurbishing vintage caravans, this is a great company to choose if you want a unique style.

Where you should buy: reputable dealer or online marketplace

Another factor to consider is where you should buy your caravan from, should it be from a dealership and direct from the manufacturer or from an online marketplace? This also addresses whether you should buy a refurbished caravan, a brand new caravan or a second hand caravan.

Buying a brand new caravan straight from a dealership or manufacturer guarantees a high quality, durable product that is crafted from the latest technology. What’s more, as it is newer, it will sell for a higher price too if and when you choose to resell it. If you are always seeking a bargain, but you don’t want to compromise on quality, some dealerships and manufacturers will sell refurbished models. This is where older models and discontinued series will have been repaired and renovated with the latest technology and styles.

However, nothing beats the authentic experience of travelling in a vintage caravan, so purchasing second hand from an online marketplace may suit you more. You can also find a range of caravans at a more affordable price, however, unlike buying from a dealer you can’t be 100% sure of the quality. This is why, whether purchasing from a supplier or an online market seller, you need to make sure that you pay a visit to take a look at the caravan. This is imperative because you can see first hand how it looks, how spacious the inside is, the general condition of the caravan and if there are any scrapes or instant repairs that need to be fixed.

How to transport it to your home or to holiday destination

So you have found your perfect caravan – the only catch is that it is on the other side of the country or perhaps you need to ship it internationally. Unlike other vehicle transport, caravans are large and cumbersome, yet they are not as difficult to transport as you may initially perceive. You can tow the caravan yourself, however if time is not of the essence, then it is far quicker to find a reputable company who can do it for you.

Before contacting a caravan transport company, you need to identify the following:

  • Make sure you know the height, weight, width and length of the caravan
  • Decide which type of transport is suitable for your needs
  • Ensure that the caravan has up to date insurance
  • The current condition of the caravan and any obvious faults

Though costs will vary between each company for transporting your caravan, these will be affected by the length of the journey. For instance, travelling the caravan between countries will be more costly than a short trip to another county.

SG Haulage: Caravan Transport, Abnormal Load Haulage and Heavy Haulage Company

If you are looking for vehicle transport, whether it’s for your caravan, boat, motorhome or car, our team at SG haulage can help. We pride ourselves on being one of the UK’s leading heavy haulage companies, helping to get your items from A to B with ease.

To find out more about our services, simply contact us today.