Caravans are the most popular form of nomad dwelling. They offer a degree of comfort, privacy and security, as well as the flexibility of being able to go exploring in the tow vehicle once the caravan has been dropped. On the down side, many people feel uncomfortable towing a large vehicle, vans can be awkward to manoeuvre and they also add to your fuel costs.
While today’s caravans – which may boast anything from surround-sound to flat-screen TV’s and 200-litre fridges – seem more luxury than ‘standard,’ they are classified as standard because they have a solid roof and solid walls. Compared with their fold-down counterparts, these vans are taller and thus create greater wind resistance when towing. They are, however, easier to set up and generally provide greater storage space.
Although it is possible to get a very basic van with no frills or ‘extras’, many nomads choose inclusions such as a toilet and shower, air conditioning, a conventional oven, a large capacity fridge /freezer and perhaps even a wall-mounted TV. Although all of these ‘extras’ come at a cost, they may be worth the price for the comfort they provide, especially if you are planning a long-term trip.
In addition to the extras on offer, standard caravans can be configured with a variety of internal layouts; for example you can choose single or double beds, a wide array of seating and table options as well as kitchen space and layout options, wardrobes, cupboards, etc. You may even have the choice of where you’d like your door to be located.
The length of a standard caravan can range from about 12 feet (3.7m) up to around 30 feet (9m), and prices for a new van start around $20,000 and can easily go up to $100,000 or more for something with a double axle and luxury fittings.