Looking at Caravans For Sale in Adelaide?
Read this handy new caravan buyers guide to choosing the right new caravan for you and your family.
So you are considering buying a new caravan. Fortunately there are plenty of caravan dealers across Adelaide selling new caravans. There are many price points, sizes, weights and options available. So let’s dive in to the new caravan buyers guide……
So how do you know which makes and models are potentially right for you, so that you can go and view the right caravans for sale?
This new caravan buyers guide, is a list of things to consider, which will make your new caravan buying experience easier.
What weight of caravan can your vehicle tow?
You may be intending to use your current vehicle to tow your new caravan, or upgrading your vehicle to a 4×4 so that you can tow a larger heavier RV and go off-road.
Whichever it is you will need to know the fully laden weight of your caravan and the towing capacity of your vehicle.
If you have a vehicle with limited towing capacity and you aren’t going to change it, then the first thing you need to know is what caravans you are going to be able to tow.
It will also be important to check that the towbar you have or will be buying is fit for purpose.
Caravan and Tow Vehicle Towing Capacity
Understanding the right set up for towing a caravan is absolutely essential for your safety and is a legal requirement.
Heavy penalties apply for unsafe towing.
Here are the common terms used to measure and calculate your vehicle’s towing capacity, how much you can load into your vehicle and caravan and whether your tow bar and tow ball are up to scratch.
Any experienced caravan dealer will be able to help you with these figures.
But remember your family’s safety and towing legally are your responsibility.
- Tare mass: this is the mass of your vehicle or caravan with nothing in it.
- ATM: means aggregate trailer mass.
- GVM: this means gross vehicle mass and is the weight that your vehicle can support, including its own weight, your passengers, and your tow ball mass.
- GTM: meaning gross trailer mass. This is the same as above, but for your caravan.
- Payload: this is any weight you add to your vehicle or caravan, such as luggage, water etc.
- Maximum payload: the maximum weight you can add to your vehicle or caravan.
- TBM: tow ball mass is the mass which is exerted on the tow ball once your caravan is ready to go.
- GCM: this is a combination of the maximum gross mass of your trailer and your vehicle.
- TBD: tow bar download is the amount of pressure that the tow bar can handle. Usually, it should be between 10 to 15% of your GTM.
What Size Caravan Do You Need?
The size of caravan you need will depend on your family size, personal tastes and the level of comfort and convenience you want when you’re away and your caravan is your home.
The number of beds is a primary consideration and then you need to imagine how the space will function when everyone is in the caravan.
How will the space work when you are cooking and the kids are playing or you are eating together, playing cards or all doing your own thing?
Try and envisage how the space will work for you over the course of a trip, including on days where the weather may keep you indoors.
On-road, semi-off road or full off-road caravan?
This is a really important part of the process. If you are happy to pull up at caravan parks, hook up to the facilities, make this your base, then a tourer or family caravan will be just the job.
However if you want to explore further afield and use more remote caravan parks or even no caravan parks then a semi-off road or full of road caravan will be required.
You need to consider that an off road caravan will be heavier and both your vehicle and towbar will need to be up to spec.
How many people will be traveling?
Both the number and age of travellers need to be considered when deciding on sleeping
arrangements and van layout.
Bunk vans are the ideal solution for a larger family and with bunks generally at the opposite end of a caravan to the double or twin adult beds, there is some privacy.
Some models have dining areas that convert to beds. You can also pack a tent and some people can sleep outside. This is a good option if you have limited towing capacity or your budget doesn’t stretch to a larger caravan.
You also need to consider cooking, dining, bathroom, relaxing and other daily functions.
How much space do you need to live comfortably in a caravan?
The living space in a caravan is important. When thinking about this you need to include the usable under-cover outside space provided by an awning, which can be fitted by the manufacturer . You could also consider adding an annex.
When you look at your potential caravan, check the internal layout options and then what you need outside, attached to this space.
Outside options include bbq’s pull out tables, TV’s, external showers, lighting and many other facilities.
An annex can be used as a combination of sleeping quarters and living space or as additional living space for rainy days.
The length of the van can limit where you can stay and get to as well. The shorter the van, the lighter it is and the better maneuverability you will have. You can get smaller vans now with huge amounts of possibilities. You really don’t need a huge van to have the creature comforts you crave. The way space is utilised in smaller vans now is amazing.
If you want to spend most of your time outdoors, then a smaller van is definitely the way to go.
Do your research online first
By researching online you can draw up a list of makes and models that fit your needs and budget.
You can also get an idea of how the caravan dealers and the caravans they sell are rated, by checking reviews on Google, social media and forums.
Caravan shows are a great place to view most of you shortlist without having to drive around, but it can be overwhelming.
If you’ve already done some research and know what you are after, this will mean you can go to the stands you want and ignore the ones that don’t have what you are after.
Manufacturer representatives are usually on site at the caravan shows and often offer “Show Discounts” or value added packages at these events.
So even if you aren’t quite ready to buy, get your name registered with a dealer and you can still pick up a deal for a time after a show has finished.
There are 2 main caravan shows a year in Adelaide
Normally one in February
And one in July
Ask as many questions as you can or need to
You wont find all your answers in a new caravan buyers guide.
There are many staff working in dealers who have a wealth of knowledge and are avid caravanners themselves.
Seek these people out and avoid those who are just there for the sale.
Prepare your questions in advance and you’ll get the information you need to make the right decision for you and your family.
Your dream caravan awaits.
Think about where you will be taking your caravan
What are the most important features you’ll need in your caravan?If you are going to be staying in caravan parks, this reduces the number of facilities you need.
If you plan on going off the beaten track, where you can’t plug into power, hook up to a sewerage outlet and link a hose, you’ll need to consider these essential items
It is essential that you have the equipment required to go “off-grid” and have planned for contingencies.
- Large water tanks
- Grey water tank
- Additional gas tanks
- Solar Power system
- Separate toilet
- Generator for emergencies
- Satellite phone
What will you be taking with you and how long will you be away?
Storage space is important.
What will you need to keep the kids and/or yourselves entertained?
If you’re taking bikes then racks can be fitted. Check the available storage space in each caravan and work out whether it is adequate for your needs.
For some of you, compromising will be necessary – there won’t be unlimited space.
What are the essentials and how much space will you need for them? Then you can consider the nice to haves and which of those you can take.
Check out the fridge/freezer and also consider if you need to buy an additional portable cool box.
Keeping your food fresh will have a very positive impact on your overall enjoyment.
Caravan optional upgrades
Many caravans come with a great array of features as standard. However if you find that one or more features you want are not included in the model you have chosen, have a look at the list of optional upgrades.
Avoid buying an imported caravan. The quality is definitely not there and you will have major problems if you have a warranty issue.
You may save some money in the short term, but there are too many risks to make this a viable option.
Pick the right finish. For you caravan exterior and interior
Go through the range of cupboard finishes, furnishings and floorings available for your model range and pick the finish you can live with, from both a practical and aesthetic point of view.
If you have young children you need finishes that are hard wearing, easy to clean and that don’t show up every mark and scrape.
Caravan Finance Options
When it comes to paying for a caravan you have a number of options.
If you have the available resources you may want to pay cash.
You could possibly add the purchase price to your mortgage, or go to your bank for an additional loan.
You could also speak to your dealer about available caravan finance options. Most caravan dealers have arrangements with specialist caravan finance companies and can help you get a quote that is tailored to suit you particular circumstances.
Enjoy the process of buying a caravan
Buying a caravan is a major purchase. You will be spending a lot of time in your caravan whilst you are away, so it is worth putting in the extra effort to help you make the right choice.
However – don’t turn the process into a nightmare by worrying about it too much. Most of the Australian made caravan brands are extremely well constructed and have lots of fixtures and fittings as standard.
They also come in a great range of layouts and finishes.
Next Steps After Reading The New Caravan Buyers Guide
Now that you’ve read the New Caravan Buyers Guide, you’re armed with the knowledge of what to do. Get out there and start looking!