Hitting the road (or going off the beaten track) in a caravan gives a feeling of freedom it’s hard to get elsewhere. To go truly off-road, you’ll need a caravan built for that purpose. A lot of caravans marketed as being “off road” aren’t really made for challenging terrain. Consider the following when shopping for an off-road caravan, so you can be confident you’re getting something that’s up to the job:
Will You Be Able To Tow The Vehicle?
Towing capacity matters. Off-road caravans are usually heavier than their more mundane counterparts. Make sure your existing vehicle is strong enough to tow the van you’re looking at. It’s probably a good idea to have a 4WD vehicle to tow your caravan with. Your family ‘crossover SUV’ might not be up to the job.
Is The Van Really an Off-Roader?
Many caravan makers offer a 4×4 that’s marketed as ‘off road’ but is only able to handle light off-road use. These vehicles aren’t true off-road caravans. They might be able to handle some dirt tracks, but long off-road stretches and big corrugations would be out of the question.
A true off-road caravan would have above-average ground clearance, independent suspension and a strong chassis and drawbar at the very least. Higher-end models would have the bells and whistles required for longer stays off-grid, such as solar panels.
Attempting to go off-road in one of those “light off-road use” 4x4s could lead to a lot of frustration and wasted time if you get a flat tyre or damage the suspension.
Are You Really Prepared to Go Off-Road?
While this isn’t strictly about buying an off-road caravan, one other important consideration is safety. Before any trip off-road, it’s important to pack the correct safety equipment. This means a first aid kit for yourself, and tools/spares for anything that could go wrong with the vehicle. Make sure there are people who know where you’re going and how long the trip is likely to take.
Remember mobile phone coverage is spotty in some of the more rural parts of Australia. Having traditional maps to navigate by and being aware of where the nearest towns are could be invaluable.
Consider doing an advanced driving course so you know how to pull a trailer in difficult conditions. Towing heavy loads can change the handling characteristics of your vehicle, not to mention impairing your visibility and making parking difficult. Some extra training in this before you go on a long journey could help keep you and your passengers safe.
While driving, take it slow (especially on stretches of road with large corrugations), and be mindful of your surroundings. Take regular breaks, even if you don’t feel like you need to. It’s easy for your concentration to wane, especially when you’re driving long distances in rural areas.
If you’re looking for a reliable offroad caravan for road trips or family holidays, take a look at our selection. We have caravans to suit all budgets and for all family sizes.