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We weight up the considerations in the age-old debate: Caravan or Camper Trailer?

If you’re looking for recreational vehicle to take camping, is a caravan or camper trailer better? Choosing between the two is a question of how close you want to get to the elements, how far you want to go and, ultimately, what lifestyle you want to lead while you’re on the road.

SET-UP TIME AND CONVENIENCE

Quick and convenient set-ups tend to boil down to the person(s) doing the setting up and what it is you’re doing. Some caravan owners might just chock the wheels, drop the jack stands and be cooking dinner within minutes, while others will have awnings, annexes, power, toilet cassettes and kids to organise before they can relax.

Likewise, camper trailer owners may just need to wind-up the roof or fold out the frame and they’re cooking with gas in no time, while more involved set-ups may require the clearing of the camp area, an annex to be assembled and pegs to be hammered into the ground.

WHY CHOOSE A CAMPER TRAILER?

  • Lower mass: a typical camper will weigh between 600-900 kilograms; much less than the average caravan. This ensures that they are generally easier to handle on the road and, of course, that they can offer better fuel-efficiency than caravans do.
  • Lower profile: further aiding fuel-efficiency, the lower profile of a camper trailer means they offer much less wind resistance.
  • Space-efficiency on the road: because of that lower profile, you’re able to stack a bit of gear on top of your camper. Some manufacturers even offer fold-out boat racks designed to carry and deploy small boats.
  • Space-efficiency in storage: this is a big issue for many people and one that some might not consider until it’s too late. Camper trailers offer a great balance between function and space-efficiency. Most campers will have a smaller footprint, not to mention a lower profile, than that of a typical caravan.
  • Access: all of these factors combined mean that the off-road camper can go places that even the best off-road caravans can’t go to.

WHY YOU’D STICK WITH A CARAVAN

  • Weather protection: assuming water-tightness, there’s no denying that a caravan is always going to offer superior weather protection than even the best camper trailer. This is particularly true with extremes in temperature.
  • Comfort and convenience: modern caravans have reached a point where they carry all the comforts of home, such as washing machines, home theatres and the trusty toilet
  • Security: no caravan is going to stop a determined thief; however, with four walls and a door, a sturdy caravan will deter the opportunist. On the other hand, a camper trailer offers little or no security while it’s erected.
  • Setup: we’ve already discussed that this is highly-dependent on the experience of the user and what they want to do, however, after a long drive, it’s a joy to be able to jump straight into a caravan’s cabin, especially if it’s raining.

CARAVAN VERSUS CAMPER TRAILER

In the end, deciding between a camper trailer and a caravan means choosing between the camper trailer’s versatility, flexibility and freedom and the caravan’s outright comfort. The choice is yours. Whether you choose a caravan or camper trailer, here’s how to tow it.