Putting together this month’s magazine – which includes a 14ft (4.27m) hybrid, a lightweight 1200kg van, a completely checkerplated offroader, and a 38ft (11.56m) motorhome complete with 14ft (4.27m) towed trailer the size of some people’s caravans – I was again blown away by the breadth and variety of RVs that Australians choose to travel in.
For every Tom, Mick or Sally that wants a tiny or lightweight van to tow behind a sedan or light SUV, there’s someone like our mate Trevor, who custom built his 38ft Denning motorhome and chooses to tow a 14ft trailer with it – a total combination of more than 18 tonne and 52ft, or about 16m.
It really brought home to me just how different we all are.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the caravan industry is all about ‘bigger, heavier and better’ these days, with vans constantly pushing the limits and certainly reaching or, in some cases, exceeding the limits of common Aussie tow vehicles.
However, there’s definitely been a surge in the market towards much smaller, often lighter, vans in the past 6-12 months. Not a day goes by when I don’t hear about manufacturers making innovations in technology aimed at reducing the weight of their caravans. And this was clearly evident at the recent Victorian Caravan and Camping Supershow, where many, many exhibitors showed off new ‘small’ vans alongside their larger rigs.
But, again, every caravanner’s definition of ‘small’ will differ. Several readers made contact with CW after our reviews of the 12ft The Little Caravan Company Optimiser and the 13ft Jackaroo Gypsy in issue 560 (Feb 2017) to let us know they weren’t small enough. Compared to TLLC’s 9ft versions, sure, the Optimiser was 33 per cent bigger but, compared to the 24ft van in the following issue, it looked miniscule! So it’s all relative, really.
While some vanners do want all the comforts of home plus some added extras, others are happy to do without the bulk – whether for a more authentic camping experience, a lower budget, or easier maneuverability.
And you know what? At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether you have a $10,000 second-hand rig or a $100,000 range-topper, a compact 9-footer or a 38ft monster; all that matters is that you’re out there, living your dream and exploring the country.
Because isn’t that what all of us want?
This editorial appears in Caravan World #562. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!