Caravan dimensions: key things to consider
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Each different caravan range will vary in size and weight depending on the manufacturer. Across our range of new caravans from Swift and Bailey, and pre-owned models from other manufacturers, there are plenty of different layouts and dimensions to choose from so it’s important to make sure that your new caravan suits your needs size-wise.
You may choose to prioritise having a bigger living area in the caravan you go for, or more kitchen worktop space for making delicious meals during your trips away. Or perhaps you’re looking for a certain sized model that you can tow with your current car - there are so many different space and size-related things to consider!
We can help guide you on your route to finding your perfect caravan; let’s start with the key things to keep in mind...
Space and layout
The first thing to take into consideration when it comes to comparing the dimensions and layouts of caravans you’re considering, is the ratio of living space to other areas. The space you have in your caravan matters and there are different options that you can go for to match your needs.
While the living space is the heart of any caravan, the other rooms are crucial to making your caravanning experience great! All manufacturers’ interior layouts differ, giving varying amounts of space to the washroom, kitchen and living area to one another. For caravans without dedicated bedrooms, keep in mind that you’ll need to set up your beds at the end of each day, so you’ll need to decide if the space you gain is worth that tradeoff.
Swift caravans tend to have larger washrooms, whereas Bailey opt for more compact washrooms to allow for larger living areas. The kitchens in all caravans are very similar in size, though Bailey boasts a clever hob cover which provides more worktop space. While the arrangement of the rooms within your van can really open up the space inside, it’s important to consider how they’ll affect your experience. A washroom at the back of your caravan might free up more space, but a central washroom could be more convenient.
8ft wide models
If having as much space as possible is a priority for you, then an 8ft wide model is worth considering! The Swift Challenger X, Swift Elegance Grande, Bailey Alicanto Grande and Bailey Pegasus Grande SE are models that come in this size. These are particularly popular with families as the additional space gives everyone a bit of breathing room - as well as extra storage space for all your stuff - enabling a great time to be had by all whenever you decide to get away. Keep in mind though that the extra width may make them trickier to tow, though it’s just a case of getting used to it.
One of the big advantages of caravan holidays is the extra storage space that a caravan gives you! You can keep your ‘caravanning gear’ on board all year round (or at least in between trips) so there’s no need to pack up loads of stuff every time you want to go away. Then you’ll simply need to throw a few clothes in a bag and off you go!
Check out the individual storage provisions of different caravans as these can vary quite a bit so you’ll need to make sure the storage is sufficient for your party. This may be especially important for families who will be taking extra items for kids - you don’t want to be constantly tripping over stuff that you have nowhere to store!
If you don’t want to upgrade your car to be able to tow your new caravan, you’ll need to consider the weights of different types of caravan. Within the pre-owned manufacturers we stock, Bailey and Lunar models tend to be lighter. This makes them more accessible, as they can be towed by a much wider range of cars. Elddis and Coachman caravans are typically heavier and will need a larger car to tow them, so this is something to keep in mind during your search.
Check the maximum weight your car can tow by looking online, in the handbook or by contacting your local dealer. Before you purchase a caravan, you will need to check that your car is able to tow a caravan and if so, what your towing weight limit is. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) will tell you the weight of your car, and as a novice tower it is recommended that the weight of your caravan does not exceed 85% of the weight of your car.
If you passed your driving test on or after 1 January 1997, you cannot exceed a combined weight of 3,500kg, so note down your maximum combined weight and keep this in mind when browsing possible models. For example, the weight of a Ford S-Max starts at 1,784kg, so that combined with a caravan weighing 85% of that weight would make it a legal post 1997 towing combination. Those who passed their driving test prior to 1 January 1997 are able to tow up to 8,250kg.
One of the great things about caravanning is there are always options out there! If you will need more space than your caravan (or any caravan!) can provide, you can easily add an awning to give you some extra living or sleeping space. Awnings come in different sizes so be sure to consider what you wish to achieve by purchasing one.
Do you want somewhere to store boots and other bits? If so, a porch awning would be ideal. If you’re looking for a secondary living or dining area or space for a couple of extra guests to camp, a full awning would be great - some can double the footprint of your caravan giving you so many more options! Our blog will help you discover your awning options - then get in touch with our sales team if you need to know more or pop in and take a look at a few for yourself.
Browse our range of new and pre-owned caravans online and then pop in to take a closer look. We stock Swift and Bailey’s new ranges and pre-owned models from many other manufacturers so we’re sure to have something to suit your size requirements and budget. Contact us if you’d like to book an appointment to secure your own time slot.
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