All this talk of Mass in Running Order, Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass, Gross Vehicle Weight, Unladen Weight etc etc. may have obscured the obvious questions:
- What weight does my caravan need to be?
- How much do I need to be able to tow?
This site is about towing at or near the limit of the 3500kg restriction, but to understand why, we should look at what caravans are available in different sizes and what they weigh. The maximum weight you can realistically tow is 1500kg or just over, so we’ll look at caravans up to that weight. The caravans listed below are the lightest available for their size.
At this weight there aren’t many caravans around, but there is one that stands out, the Swift Basecamp.
It has an MTPLM of 994kg (1027kg for the Basecamp Plus) and is able to be towed by most cars.
It’s drawbacks are limited room and only 2 berths. There is an awning available with bedroom but this means someone is sleeping outside.
The Basecamp is intended as a crossover vehicle from camping to caravanning and it fulfills this task admirably, so it could be exactly what you’re looking for.
A more traditional caravan at this weight is the Lunar Ariva at 990kg MTPLM.
Again, it is a 2 berth but can be considered more traditional in format than the Basecamp. It doesn’t have a dedicated awning so you can add whichever one you like of a suitable size.
Floorplan of Lunar Ariva:
Caravans at this weight really need an awning to be able to sleep a family.
Bailey offers the Pursuit range of lightweight caravans, and their 400-2 comes in at 1090kg MTPLM, floorplan below:
Stepping up 200kg will gain you some needed space but it is still a low weight in caravan terms and you are still limited to 2 berths.
Lunar offers the 1220kg Quasar 462 with 2 berths and a larger bathroom
Lunar Quasar 462 floorplan
Swift offers the Sprite Alpine 2 with MTPLM 1208kg
As you can see it is very similar in layout to the Lunar above and at a similar weight.
Moving up a step we come to the first 4 berth caravan at 1245kg MTPLM with a fixed double bed and large bathroom, in the
1400 to 1500kg and 6 berths
At these weights we see more luxurious caravans but mostly a similar size to the Venus (above). They have different layouts and different equipment, but they are a similar overall size.
There are some exceptions, for example if you need a 5 or6 berth caravan.
Bailey Pursuit 560-5 has an MTPLM of 1407kg and 5 berths
Venus have the 590/6 with 6 berths at 1395kg MTPLM
These have seating at both ends as there is no fixed double bed, which gives you separate seating areas for adults and children, but you do compromise on the size of the bathroom.
Swift have a 6 berth in this weight range with the Sprite Major 6 MTPLM 1468kg with a slightly different layout (below)
The next 6 berth in the Swift range is the Challenger 590 but weighs 1600kg so is out of reach.
Elddis have the 6 berth Avante 586 with MTPLM 1460kg which again has a slightly different layout which could be beneficial as it has a larger bathroom (below)
The Venus range by Lunar, the Sprite from Swift and the Pursuit from Bailey are very lightweight for their size, with minimal extra equipment helping to this end. You will find a one piece front window and items like a 3 burner gas-only hob and combined oven/grill, no radio/cd player or Alko ATC, to save on weight.
Caravans of the size of the Venus 540/4 make up the majority of caravans up to 1500kg that we can expect to be able to tow. There are different layouts with the end double bedroom with central bathroom becoming popular this year.
The difference between the Venus at 1245kg and others of a similar size but heavier weight, is quite simply – extra equipment.
Some items you might think unnecessary and others you simply can’t live without. That’s where personal choice and trawling through many many caravan brochures comes into play. Enjoy!
Please see other sections of the site for more luxurious ranges at around 1500kg.