Types of Motorhome

Types of Motorhome

20 November 2011
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Types of caravans

Static Caravans have number of different names such as a caravan holiday home or leisure home. Many people refer to them as the ‘home from home’ and some can be quite luxurious, which include central heating, double glazing and power showers. They are also built for a variety of uses such as site offices or canteens.

The static caravan isn’t really designed to be moved about, so great care and research should be undertaken to pick a suitable site, and when found the right plot that suits you. Read through the caravan park or sites rules and regulations, please also refer to our ‘SELLING A STATIC CARAVAN PAGE’. Determine all your extra costs such gas, electricity and water usage. The yearly fees for the site and insurance, and when the season operating times are and so on.

Your other considerations should be the additional facilities provided. The travelling distance; to your caravan and how many times you will be able to use it. The local and surrounding areas and what they have to offer. Perhaps how suitable it is for your friends and relatives, and the options for using it as a rental.

Remember some parks are more suitable for children than others, some of the large holiday companies have family orientated sites with discos, swimming pools etc. If you are retired may want something completely different. Also check to see if there is a limit on the time you can site your caravan for?

The static can vary in size from around 6 to 12m in length and from 3 to 3.7m in width, some are even larger and usually have 1 to 3 separate bedrooms, and most are fitted too. Maintenance is minimal, especially on the exterior, but will depend on the amount you use it.

If buying new, a lot of people do buy straight from the manufactures or distributors, who will also deliver it. You will also find new homes for sale on the larger and holiday type parks There is also a good choice of secondhand homes, have a look at NEW AND USED CARAVAN SELECTOR…………………….

Depreciation – As with anything you buy new, you will suffer depreciation when you sell your static, although the option of selling to the site owner is the easiest route, you could lose as much as two thirds in the first year and a third in the second year! So consider selling privately you could be better off!

The Trailer Caravan

The market is vast not only in the new market but also secondhand, which can also be a good buy if you know what to look for. What are you going to do with your caravan, are you looking to use at weekends or for yearly breaks. How many bedrooms do you want? What accessories do you want or need?

Your needs and wants have to be decided ideally before you endeavour to make such a large purchase, afterall you want the most out it, so here are a few pointers:

The type of trips you intend going on, roughly how many people will be using it, does it have to cater for children? These considerations will help you make a decision.

What type of vehicle do you currently have and will it be suitable for towing? As a rule of thumb, the smaller a caravan is, then the easier it will be to tow.

The popular sizes run from around 3.5 metres to 7.5 metres.

There are numerous inside layouts to choose from, so consider carefully, as to what should suit your needs adequately.

Accessory Checklist

Your hotel on wheels should be equipped correctly so you might want to consider taking or having the following before taking your trip:

Take supplementary towing mirrors, with you, these do make travelling safer and easier.

In the event of any tyre trouble, get yourself a caravan jack.

Get a gauge for your gas cylinder tanks; you want to be able to check so that you don’t run out.

If not fitted or as a spare, a small portable fridge can be handy either or both gas and electric powered.

Choose a suitable hard wearing caravan cover that is to protect the exterior in harsher climates.

Don’t get caught, invest in a trailer lock.

A canvas waterproof attachable awning, they can be handy for when its raining.

Popular Types

Conventional Single Axle Caravan – This type, being one of the most popular, having a single axle and sleeps from two to six people. The inside length, ranges from around 3 to 6.5 metres. As a rule they come provided with a conventional washroom with sink, toilet and shower. The kitchen range would usually include worktop, hob, sink and other essentials.

Conventional Twin Axle Caravan – A larger and heavier version of the above. Although being more robust and simpler for towing, they can on occasion be more problematic to manage when placing on site or being stored.

The Teardrop Trailer – Light conventional and easy to use towing trailer. They can be towed by just about anything, are compact with a sleeping and dining arrangement for two and come with many attachable components, with some even having a slide out toilet.


The Pop Top – Not quite as popular as they used to be. They have lower height dimensions than a conventional caravan which can make it easier for putting it in a garage. The height is increased by a lifting roof (pop-top), the frontal area is reduced and helps with better miles per galleon when being towed. The main model now is an ‘eriba’ which are manufactured by Hymer - http://www.hymer.com/cms/en.htm.

The Compact GRP – A sturdy and condensed type of caravan made from glass reinforced plastic (GRP), put simply is fiberglass. Tend to be priced at the lower end of the market and because they are built of plastic tend to hold there price better. They have proven to be very popular for couples or small families and good value for money. Only the main essentials tend to be fitted unless one goes for a top model.

The Folding Caravan – Well most of us have heard of flat pack furniture, and now we have what might appear at first to be a ‘flat pack’ or folding caravan. They take up little storage space, and are simple to tow. The owner has to unfold and assemble the caravan to complete height and most come fully equipped. For some this might seem, tiresome and time consuming. There are for’s and against’s for buying this type of caravan, the choice is down to you.

The Tab Caravan - A modern art-deco style caravan, quality German made. The accommodation is not that spacious due to its unique design, but this does provide superior stability. Having enough room for a double bed, neat little kitchen and a room which is only small. They are constructed of seamless aluminium making them very light and easy to tow.

The Airstream (from America)- These have now become quite popular in Europe due to its overall size being reduced to be adapted for our road system. American made and a bit on the expensive side, come fitted with all amenities and are constructed with ‘alclad’ aluminium alloy, and when polished they stand out a mile, and are referred to as the ‘silver bullet’. They will last a lifetime, in fact there are many that date from the 1930’s still in existence.

A Fifth Wheel Trailer or Caravan – Originally from America, these are now being made in Britain. They are primarily designed to be towed by truck type vehicles, are spacious and well kitted out. But because of this they are quite heavy on fuel consumption when towing them. They tend to travel better and are more stable at higher speeds due to there design. The secret to this is the ‘hitch system’,  a fifth wheelers ball weight is straight over the drive axle and therefore does not unload the front wheels like it would with a caravan.

The Motorhome

The Hightop - These are essentially conversions of a panel van, resembling a delivery van, where the roof has been heightened. From a size perspective, this all depends on the ‘wheelbase’ (the distance from the center of a van’s front wheel to the rear axle) or the measured length which has an impact on the amount of floorspace available; there is very little difference on the width. The ranges as you would imagine go from long (LWB) to medium (MWB) to short (SWB). The most popular being the medium length variety, which is more common these days and have been referred to as dormobiles or campervans in the past.

The Rising Roof – The basic difference between this type and the above is that, the top or roof rises to provide extra height. Older models have incurred problems water entry and insulation. Modern models include the Mazda Bongo and Trigano Tribute.

The ‘C’ Class or Coachbuilt – Referred to as the ‘motorcaravan’. These have a stretched out chassis on a van cab with the living space that has been coachbuilt, doing this allows for a lot more extra’s with better utilization of the space provided, usually having extra length and width. There are variations on different models with some having sleep space over the cab or without and lower rooflines (the low profile version). Motorway travelling is more economical because of their modern design.

Fully Coachbuilt/A Class – A more purpose built or designed model, they are usually much larger and wider, and have better headroom. The ‘motorhome’ with a difference, being up market and pricey, these days averaging 2.2 metres in width, having a double bed that is ‘drop-down’ providing 3 berths on average. Popular makes include Hymer.

The RV or Recreational Vehicle – Possibly the Rolls Royce of motorhomes, being the largest, and well equipped on the market. The base vehicle usually has a coach type body and many come with such luxuries as air-conditioning, separate power generators and quality interiors. Conversion from diesel/petrol to LPG is now becoming quite common to keep running costs down.

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