When it comes to purchasing a caravan, sorting through the myriad of options available may seem exhausting. However, there are 3 common considerations that will help you decide the type of caravan you and your family opt for, which if you consider now, may help you to save money in the long run.
3 common caravan setups that you need to consider before getting your heart set on a van are:
Whether you need a fridge and if so what type: portable, 2 way or 3 way
Do you need on onboard bathroom? The main factors that will affect this is the availability of onboard water (what water tanks you have) and availability of a hot water system.
What type of power source will you be using to run the caravan? Consider the use of gas, batteries and or solar panels.
How you plan to camp with your caravan will influence these decisions. For instance; do you plan on staying in caravan parks, free camps, or do you need to be self sufficient so you can go totally off-grid to remote areas?
Lets Start with the Caravan Fridge
While a caravan fridge is not a necessity for shorter camping trips as you can make use of a high quality icebox, many campers find value in the convenience that a fridge provides and now find it hard to live without. If you prefer to have a caravan fridge over an icebox, your next decision is going to be whether to purchase an absorption (3 way) or compressor (2 way) refrigerator.
This article will not be going into all the details between the two; however, 3-way absorption fridges tend to provide greater camping flexibility by being able to be run by three different power sources - 12V, 240V, and gas. 12 volt is great to be able to run your fridge of your cars alternator whilst you are towing, 240 volt is great for when you stay at the caravan park, and gas is great for when you are free camping with no other power facilities available.
We are finding that compressor fridges are becoming increasingly popular amongst campers due to the advancements we are seeing in compressor technology that is providing a lower amp draw compared to compressor fridges of the past. Free camping with a compressor fridge is possible, providing you have a good solar and battery setup to handle the amp draw.
Another consideration when purchasing a caravan refrigerator is its size. You will want your caravan fridge to be adequate for the amount of food you plan on bringing with you, while not being too big. This is due to both the weights of the fridge (generally, the larger the fridge the heavier) and any empty space in the fridge needs to be kept cool. Therefore, a needlessly large fridge ends up wasting energy in the long run.
Onboard bathrooms ultimately come down to personal choice and preference. While some campers are complacent with using campground facilities rather than having their own onboard, other caravanners can’t live without them. If you’re interested in off-the-grid camping, it should be noted that an onboard bathroom (equipped with both a caravan shower and toilet) will make off-the-grid camping that much more accessible and welcoming.
In addition to off-the-grid thrill seekers, onboard bathrooms are also beneficial to families camping with small children. An onboard toilet eliminates the need to walk or run children to the amenities, avoiding any accidents. Whilst those planning to travel in the cooler months of the year, not having to venture out into the cold when nature calls makes a caravan toilet and shower much more appealing.
Although most campers enjoy escaping away during caravan vacations, they also still expect to be living in the 21st century with modern conveniences. What kind of activities do you want to be able to do while camping? What appliances and entertainment units do you plan on incorporating into your day-to-day travels?
While some dedicated campers balk at the idea of watching television during a camping trip, other families (particularly those with small children) consider the option of television to be a saving grace during long rides and road trips. It is not just tv either. More and more people are utilising their smart phones, and tablets which usually require frequent charging. Modern comforts such as hot water and an air conditioner also come into play as you need to consider the best way to power these devices.
Regardless of what items you decide will be necessary to live comfortably, you’re still going to have to power them via some type of power source. It is worth considering differing power source options, such as additional batteries, generators, and solar panel systems.
Although some people only use an Esky and a gas lantern, this setup is definitely not suitable for the long-term camper who wants to be on the road for weeks and even months at a time.
Have you found the van of your dreams but wish it had a few extras to make it that more suitable for your next camping trip? If you need any assistance in fitting out your caravan to make it as comfortable as possible, call and speak to one of our friendly sales staff today on 1800 787 278.