What to look for when finding your perfect nomad caravan 3



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Before anyone sets off on their dream nomad adventure, they need to have one thing… The right vehicle! The trouble with that is that finding the right vehicle is not something that people can consider easy. In fact, it is usually time consuming and ends up causing more arguments in a couple than any other life decision!

But if you plan the entire experience correctly, you can find your ideal caravan without any serious dramas, you just have to know what you’re looking for. Each vehicle is different, and each lifestyle plan is different. So what really matters?

Safety, budget, fuel consumption and maintenance, mobility, set up and pack up and comfort are the things that matter most. You want something that has great safety reviews and recommendations, something that doesn’t cost a whole lot to run, something that suits the nature of your nomad plans, something that isn’t arduous to pack up or set up and something that you can happily see yourself enjoying living in, for the next few years.

Managing all of those priorities is a task that requires some serious spread sheeting and comparison, but there are some questions that you can ask yourself to make the process easier.

So before you make any decisions about your nomad caravan, ask yourself these questions, write down the answers, and you have your baseline criteria for finding the perfect rig!

  1. Over the next few years of grey nomad life, where do you want to go?

Australia is an incredibly vast place and so many of the tourism treasures are in places that are a little hard to get. This means that if you want to explore places of the beaten track, you’ll need a caravan that can get there. Some are two-wheel drives and others are four-wheel drives. You can also get some that are designed specifically for off road travel with great suspension so if you’re looking at doing heavy duty exploring you should consider this.

  1. What car are you going to use to tow the caravan?

If you have a car already and you’re definitely not considering another one, the load capacity for towing will determine the upper weight and size limit of the caravan you can get. A four-wheel drive is generally the most appropriate vehicle for towing caravans however the size and towing capacity varies from model to model so make sure you know the capacity for your car before purchasing a caravan.

  1. What are you going to take with you?

It sounds like something you don’t want to think about until you’re ready to leave, but this is incredibly important in choosing the right caravan. If you’re going to be enjoying adventure activities like kayaking, cycling, fishing or something like skiing, you will need a place to store all of your equipment. Each caravan is designed with a unique point of difference – lots of storage space, a luxurious interior, heavy duty driving or light and economic travel. This means that not all will meet your luggage and equipment needs.

  1. Where will you store it?

There are times when you’ll want to stay put and wherever home base is, be it at an RV park, in your garage, outside the home or somewhere else, you’ll need to make sure it can fit. Measure the potential storage spaces and use these as limits to how big it will be. It is also important to consider the locations you will stop at on your journey – some holiday parks may ask for more money for bigger vehicles.

  1. How do you want to travel?

If you’re going to remote locations without holiday parks, you’ll probably want a caravan kitted out with all of the necessities. A toilet, shower, kitchen, reserve fuel tanks etc. will become of most importance if you’re in isolation. But, if you’re sticking to main paths and will be stopping at caravan parks, you may feel comfortable forgoing your own luxuries in favour of communal showers and toilets as well as share facilities on site.


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  1. We’ve had a van for a few years now- we settled on a pop top, on advice from a seasoned van owner friend- easy set up & pack up in ALL weather- good towing with our EXISTING vehicle & annex, which we really only use if we have family stay- I have it outfitted in all kitchenware, linen etc- only thing we need to pack is perishable food and clothes- we did buy an extra portable fridge (from Aldi), as we find fridge space a problem with drinks and larger items- we have never camped that far away from a shop for backup supplies. We do not have an ensuite- do not feel we need it or the work involved with maintaining it! Look forward to many more years- health permitting!

  2. .Hi Annette what size is your van, and do you think it is cheaper to travel in a van or just drive and book into some place ?

  3. My husband and I retired in 2013 and it was planned that we circumnavigate Australia during 2013 and 2014. We were not over endowed with money so set ourselves a budget of $30000 to cover the cost of a sedan and caravan. We didn’t want the expense of a 4 WD as we did not intend doing much in the way of off road travelling. We purchased a ford falcon sedan and a pop top caravan at our budget price. The caravan does not have an ensuite and at no time did we miss it. We do have a porta potti. Over travelled 30000 kms over these two years and had no problems with either the car or caravan. We are not set up for free camps but if we needed to stay overnight at a free camp we would be ok with what we have as our fridge is a 3 way fridge, cooking is gas and we have a very good LED lantern. We have now completed our trip of a lifetime and cannot wait to get back on the road again.

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