If you’re looking for a caravan, you’re probably already aware that there are several touring caravan manufacturers in the UK and across the world. This leaves many consumers curious as to what characteristics make a compact caravan worthwhile in the long term.
The best small caravans, often known as travelling caravans, compensate for their modest size with mobility. These tiny caravans are ideal since they can be conveniently towed to and from different camping areas. They are also often less expensive to purchase than static caravans and motorhomes. For example, some of the best travel trailers available on the UK market today are Bailey, Freedom, and Swift.
Continue reading to learn more about the best small caravans, including the different types, things to consider when purchasing your first small caravan, the top 25 small caravan brands available in the UK and more.
What Is a Small Caravan?
When travelling, many people would rather pull a smaller caravan. Large caravans are often heavier and more difficult to carry than small caravans. With a huge caravan, reversing, turning, and parking can be tricky.
For example, if you’re pulling a large caravan down a narrow road, you might not have enough room to turn around and find yourself trying to reverse out. This is simpler in a small caravan because your turning circle will be considerably smaller.
Since it also has less weight and smaller dimensions, a small caravan has less drag. This means that it will be less prone to shaking at high speeds. Small caravans are also less prone to wind buffeting from passing cars and trucks, giving you more control and a safer driving experience.
Why Should You Invest in A Small Caravan?
Overall, small caravans are lighter and simpler to move than larger caravans. As a result, a smaller caravan is lighter and simpler to tow with less drag, making driving safer and less stressful. Therefore, smaller travel trailers are recommended for those looking to pack up and go on a whim, or someone new to driving with a trailer in tow.
What Are the Different Types of Small Caravans?
What Are Travelling Caravans?
A travelling caravan is an unpowered vehicle that can be towed by a car or van. It features a bed and kitchen equipment, allowing individuals to live or vacation inside it.
Travel caravans, which are small and easy to tow, are the next big thing. These are the top lightweight travel trailers under 4,000 pounds. Simply connect these small caravans to your car and go about your adventures. Built to be a compact space, travel trailers make up for this with agility.
What Are Single-Axle Caravans?
A single axle caravan is simply one axle with wheels attached to both ends. The majority of caravans will have one axle, with only the biggest requiring two.
A single axle is preferable for navigating on-site, while a double axle provides more grip on the road. Therefore, if you’re searching for a smaller caravan or are new to caravanning, sticking to a single axle may be the best option.
What Are Small Two-Berth Caravans?
Couples or solitary travellers will appreciate two-berth caravans. Since these caravan models are small and light, they can be towed by a variety of vehicles.
The front sofa seats in most of these caravans can also be converted into a double bed or used as two single beds. This also means your caravan will be smaller and lighter than the competition.
What Are Folding Caravans?
A folding caravan, unlike a trailer tent or a folding camper, is more like a traditional caravan with stiff sides and a roof. The sides of a folding caravan fold in on themselves, and the roof is subsequently lowered. This decreases the vehicle’s height to roughly 1.4m, depending on the make and model.
People who prefer to pull a solid-sided caravan at a lower height have found folding caravans to be popular since they minimise ‘drag’ and hence, improve fuel efficiency, road stability, and driver vision.
What Are Imported Caravans?
Imported caravans are those that have been acquired and shipped from another country. Whether you undertake this procedure yourself or buy an imported caravan from a local vendor, keep in mind that these are always options.
While imported caravans can rapidly become costly, they can be tailored to include more customised amenities that you may not find in domestic models.
Things To Consider When Purchasing a Small Caravan
Comfort is one of the first things that you are going to want to consider when considering which caravan to purchase. After all, this small trailer will be your home away from home when you are travelling. Therefore, you will want to choose a caravan that is both comfortable and has adequate space for you and your growing family.
Take note that one can also upgrade their caravan to provide more personalised comfort desires after purchase. For example, many people have been known to perform simple DIY upgrades to their caravan couches and cushions in order to increase personalised style and comfort.
Affordability is another essential factor to consider when purchasing a caravan. After all, you never want to commit to a purchase you can’t maintain.
To avoid purchasing a caravan you can’t afford, sit down, and have a look at your finances to create a budget for your purchase. Whether this means going on payment plans on paying for your caravan outright, ensure that you have a plan in place to make sure that you can maintain all your other financial responsibilities as well as your new road toy.
Where You Plan on Travelling with Your Caravan
A small caravan is sufficient for most people and will be able to resist any harsh weather conditions experienced on the trip. However, if you want to do anything more daring, like off-roading, you’ll need a trailer that can endure more hardship.
Take some time to evaluate your travel plans, and keep in mind that if you want to travel anyplace with difficult terrain, a heavy-duty, off-road caravan may be required.
For example, an off-road caravan can be more expensive, but the benefits include larger water tanks, solar panels, and a superior battery management system that ensure that you and your trailer can endure even the toughest elements.
You’ll also need to make sure you have time to do necessary caravan maintenance to keep it in excellent working order and ready to go. This involves not just keeping the interiors clean and tidy for your comfort, but also inspecting the tyres, washing your caravan like a car, cleaning out the water filters for your drains, inspecting the heating systems, and so on.
It’s also worth mentioning that if your caravan sits for an extended period of time, moss and algae can grow on it. If this occurs, you will need to seek the appropriate treatment. However, note that frequent cleaning can help you stay on top of the situation.
Investing in a caravan cover for when it’s not in use can also assist to provide some additional weather protection.
Consider how you want to utilise your caravan and how many people will be travelling with you, since this will help you quickly identify the amount of space that is best for you.
Make sure your sleeping arrangements are both comfy and long-lasting. If you have children, for example, make sure the bunks are not too small because children grow rapidly, and you don’t want to be selling and upgrading in the near future if you can avoid it.
You don’t want to acquire a caravan that surpasses your towing vehicle’s maximum towing capabilities. While this may appear simple, the towing weight of a caravan can be difficult to calculate due to the numerous moving parts and factors to consider.
Therefore, if you’re going to purchase a caravan, bring a copy of your towing vehicle’s handbook with you or write down the maximum weight your vehicle can safely pull ahead. Your towing vehicle’s manufacturer should also have information available regarding the weight combination, as well as what you can legally and safely pull behind your car.
What Are The Top 23 Best Small Caravan Brands Available in The United Kingdom?
Bailey Small Caravan Range
Bailey of Bristol is a well-known and well-established travelling caravan maker in the United Kingdom. Martin Bailey founded the firm in 1948 as a tiny enterprise. Bailey used to work as a sheet metal worker at Bristol Aircraft Company, but there was no turning back once he got into caravans.
Bailey has created some of the greatest caravans since then. The 2016 collection was notable for its six-year bodyshell integrity guarantee. Popular models include the Bailey Discover Range, Bailey Pegasus, Bailey Pursuit, and Bailey Unicorn.
For instance, the Bailey Discovery caravan is a sporty and lightweight caravan designed for first-time purchasers or those searching for a caravan that is easy to pull, is manoeuvrable, and lightweight. These Bailey Discovery caravans are ideal for weekend getaways or ideal for folks who want to holiday on their own terms.
Freedom Caravans are custom-built in Poland and then sold in the United Kingdom from their Stafford headquarters. They’re noted for their lightweight design, which makes them particularly simple to pull. Individuals with limited mobility who wish to experience the freedom of caravanning will find this model ideal.
The company’s models include the Freedom Jetstream, Freedom Sunseeker Prima, Freedom Microlite Discovery, and Freedom Jetstream Twin Sport.
The caravan club has also named the Freedom Jetstream, Microlite, and Sunseeker Lightweight Caravans as one of the top tiny caravan brands, weighing less than 750 kg. These tiny caravans are also easy to drive, store, and pull in almost any automobile, making them ideal for travelling while preserving home-style comfort.
Swift is the only other British touring caravan maker that is more well-known and well-known than Bailey of Bristol. Swift was founded in 1964 by Ken Smith and began with a single brand of Swift touring caravans with the characteristic tri-front window appearance. The fact that all of the windows could be opened, which was a rare treat at the time, made them very distinctive.
Overall, The Swift Challenger, Swift Conqueror, Swift Elegance, Sterling Eccles, Sterling Elite, and Sterling Continental are the company’s most well-known and popular caravan models.
Swift purchased the Abbey brand when travelling caravan maker, Cosalt, fell out of business, and then bought the other British classic, Sprite, in 1994, followed by Ace in 2001. It’s worth mentioning, though, that Swift Group has discontinued the Ace and Abbey brands.
Swift’s headquarters were originally located on Hedon Road in Kingston-Upon-Hull, but in the 1970s, they relocated to Dunswell Lane, near Cottingham.
Adria Action 316LT
A popular small caravan is the Adria Action 316LT. This caravan keeps its genuinely original look while yet being packed with numerous innovative smart technologies. It is compact in size and provides extremely versatile living areas.
The Action was designed to be an iconic, lightweight, and elegant caravan for adventurous vacations. The Action is a much-loved, classic caravan that delivers on size, features, and comfort. It has a contemporary interior and is integrated with a smart kitchen, ergo bathroom, and comfy sleeping quarters.
The Adria Action 361 LT is a caravan designed for outdoor enthusiasts who desire a little extra luxury when they return from their adventures. Overall, the Adria Action 316LT has a fantastic contemporary cabin, but it’s also more pricey than its initial appearance might suggest.
Go-Pods combine the joy of camping with the convenience of caravanning in a single small, modern design. As a result, they are one of the most popular camper van options in the United Kingdom. They have a real one-piece shell and weigh less than 750kg, so they can be towed by even tiny automobiles.
Go-Pods are two-berth trailers that can accommodate two people for sleeping and are ideal for couples or individuals. However, annex bedrooms can be built to the awning. If you want to add this extension, simply acquire one with your purchase. This will allow you to sleep more people.
Trigano Silver Small Caravans
The Silver collection of pop-top caravans from Trigano is suitable for individuals looking for a caravan that is simple to pull and store.
The Trigano Silver 310TL, for example, is great for individuals looking for a tourer that is simple to tow and store when not in use. It also features a sturdy construction and enough inside illumination. The pop-top is also simple to assemble and takes only a few minutes. Overall, the Trigano Silver 310TL will be a wonderful alternative for couples due to its small proportions.
In France, high-quality Caravelair caravans are presently the most popular. These caravans are quite comfy, attractive, and practical.
Caravelair only has four models, the first of which is Alba, a tiny and lightweight caravan. This budget-friendly collection has all of the essentials for your vacation.
Other Caravelair models include the Antares Style caravan line, which has a modern style and is lightweight, making it simple to pull, the Artica range, which combines comfort, exceptional design, and security, and the Allegra Optima. This collection has an exquisite interior and a functional arrangement that will make you feel at ease.
Eriba Touring Small Caravans
The Eriba Touring Caravan is the ideal travel companion due to its small exterior dimensions and low total weight. Whether you’re parked in a lonely alpine meadow or on the outskirts of a crowded metropolis, total comfort is ensured in this tiny travel trailer.
Although much has changed on the interior since 1957, the Touring’s aerodynamic front and unusual body form have always stayed loyal to its original design. The sleek aluminum skin originated in the aviation sector and was perfected over 60 years ago by an aeronautical engineer. This is especially obvious because of the Touring’s excellent road holding abilities, which allow you to nearly glide to your next destination.
Coachman Caravans are high-quality, reliable RVs that many caravan owners appreciate. These caravans are also very easy to park. Travellers can also benefit from the compactness, which is paired with the innovative French interior and a wide choice of possibilities.
From the beginning of the company till now, Coachman Caravans have had a reputation for developing and producing high-quality, well-constructed touring caravans. For example, some popular Coachman models include the Coachman Vision, VIP, Pastiche and Laser.
The first prototypes made by Elddis Caravans were built in 1964. Since then, the brand has enjoyed a profitable run spanning more than five decades. All of their caravans, including those from their sister company Buccaneer Caravans, are manufactured at their contemporary Consett plant.
Elddis has gone through several transformations throughout the years. The most significant alterations occurred in 1998 when The Explorer Group merged it with Compass and the Buccaneer to become The Explorer Group.
When the firm, then known as the Explorer Group, decided to stop mass-producing models and convert to a more uniform range of goods, it took the Elddis logo and totally changed the corporation, as it was the most well-known and long-standing brand.
Compass is a vintage caravan brand that was founded by Siddle Cook in 1979 and is now part of the Elddis group of caravan manufacturers. Cook was also the man who came up with the name Elddis. Compass became a member of the Explorer Group in 1998. Popular models include The Compass Casita, Compass Camino, and Compass Capiro.
However, in 2009, this caravan collection was phased out and replaced by the Elddis brand. That was almost the end of this historic British caravan series, but in 2013, they were revived with a model based on Elddis’ design.
The English Caravan Company
Lyn and Richard Stark, the owners of the English Caravan Company, have a combined 40 years of expertise working and creating with a variety of materials such as textiles, plastics, metal, and wood.
The Starks specialize in brand-new teardrop-style caravans, with four types to choose from. The Classic Teardrop, The Tourer, The Toyhauler, and The Number Four. All of their cars are also made in the United Kingdom.
You won’t be disappointed when purchasing one of these travel caravans, especially if you’re looking for something truly distinctive and exceptional in a caravan.
Gobur Caravans are experts in the production of folding caravans, with the goal of creating space-saving touring caravans that are still luxurious but simpler to store. Based in Norfolk, they began experimenting in the 1970s and are best known for their Carousel family of travel caravans.
Rather than selling their touring caravans via other dealerships, you can purchase them directly from their Norfolk retail section.
Gobur Caravans also differ from classic folding caravans in that they do not have a canvas top, but instead, have a hardtop. They are also manufactured from a single piece of fibreglass roof, as well as robust insulated walls and a vinyl ceiling, making them simpler to transition from regular caravans.
Teardrop Trailers has been in business in the United Kingdom since 2005, providing lightweight and tiny touring trailers for those spontaneous weekend excursions. The Turtle 1500, Turtle 1200, and Cargo are the three versions available. The amazing thing about these tourers is that they can be towed by vehicles as little as VW Beetles and Honda Civics.
The fibreglass structure is one of the reasons they are so light, with the lightest weighing roughly 293kg. The main advantage to using a fibreglass material is that it also increases your caravan’s waterproofing.
Ace or Abbey Caravans
Swift Group bought Abbey and Ace in the 1990s, however, they were recently phased out as the company sought to streamline its services. They are worth noting, though, because both companies have models available on the used and second-hand caravan marketplaces.
Vanmaster Touring Caravans
Vanmaster has been developing and manufacturing luxurious and inventive travelling caravans for almost 20 years, and their popularity shows no signs of waning. Their tourers are handcrafted and meet and surpass industry standards, with the right balance of shape, function, style, and quality.
Overall, from start to finish, they take more than 800 hours to build. The elegance and beauty of the wood used in their construction will also never go out of style.
Vanmaster is also recognized for its strong GRP roofing structures that are produced from a single piece and are one of the most successful in terms of preventing and eliminating water infiltration.
Airstream Small Caravans
In their 75 years of business, Airstream has been acknowledged as one of the most responsible and really iconic imported caravan companies. It was founded in 1929 by Wally Bryan in the United States. The Silver Bullet is possibly the most well-known of all Airstream models and its success has led them to expand their operations outside of the United States and even into Europe.
Hand-built in an Ohio factory, these caravans are fully engineered for life and can take between 400 and 450 hours to finish.
Chateau Small Caravans
Chateau Caravans was founded by Alfred MH Sprankenis in 1973. However, the company has had a lot of success and several accomplishments throughout the years. It has also acquired various companies over the years, notably Lunar Caravans in the United Kingdom and then Kip Caravans.
Knaus Small Caravans
Knaus is situated in Germany and has been a leader in the travel trailer industry for over 50 years. The Schwalbennest, a highly light, comfortable, and small touring caravan, made in 1961, was the start of it all in terms of caravans.
The Schwalbennest is the company’s flagship caravan model. It was, however, updated in 2011 to commemorate Knaus’s 25th anniversary. Despite being absorbed under the bigger Knaus Tabbert business, Knaus continues to produce innovative and market-leading caravans, such as the DESEO, which use FibreFrame technology.
Sterckeman Small Caravans
Sterckeman has been creating caravans for almost 70 years and is the most successful French touring caravan maker, alongside Caravelair, under the Trigano umbrella. They are noted for their affordable automobiles that are fully equipped and have a modern appearance.
You can select between the Starlett, which has customizable equipment, and the Alize Trend, which has a high-end interior when selecting a small travel campervan.
Burstner Small Caravans
Burstner manufactures high-end caravans with unrivalled performance, accuracy, and comfort. Burstner began as a furniture workshop in the town of Kehl in southern Germany in 1924. It is a major motorhome manufacturer that has been developed over the years by excitement and passion for creative, practical design as well as a dedication to providing terrific, distinctive service.
The Premio caravan is a best seller in their line, combining diverse features with cost to ensure you’re well equipped for endless vacations. The Averso model also incorporates the newest innovations with beautiful interiors for various preferences and budgets, in addition to the Premio mode.
Wingamm Small Caravans
Wingamm is a well-known Italian touring caravan manufacturer with over 40 years of expertise under its belt. From design, technology, and engineering through copyrights and manufacturing, everything is considered.
Except for the Rookie L, which is a significantly larger 4-berth tourer, their Rookie caravans are all lightweight and small. They also all benefit from the innovative monocoque-style bodyshell, as do all of the company’s vehicles.
Fendt Small Caravans
Fendt Caravan, situated in Mertingen, is another successful German touring caravan maker. It was founded in 1922. The caravan manufacturing firm was sold to AGCO Corporation in the 1990s, and it is currently part of the Hobby-Wohnwagenwerk group.
The Saphir was a popular caravan range from the company in the past. However, the Palace and Le Vogue tourers, on the other hand, are the most widely available today in the UK.
Overall, the best compact caravans, often known as travelling caravans, make up for their small size by providing mobility. These little caravans are great since they can easily be transported to and from various camping places. In addition, they are frequently less expensive to acquire than static caravans and motorhomes.
Bailey, Freedom, and Swift, among others, are some of the top travel trailers on the UK market today. However, before making any purchase, make sure you consider your demands, the weight of the trailer, expenditures, and upkeep to ensure you purchase exactly what you want.
Once all of your needs are met, and you bring your small caravan home, it’ll be hard to remember what it was like to live without it. After all, small caravans are often lighter and easier to transport than large caravans. For example, reversing, turning, and parking a large caravan can be difficult. These actions are much easier in a small caravan because the turning circle is much smaller.
Keep up with our full-time van life travels over on our YouTube channel! If you enjoy our videos, please give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel 🙂 – Three As A Bird – Vanlife Travel – YouTube
You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice (threeasabird.com)
If you’d like to follow more of our adventures or keep up to date with our travel hints and tips, please join our Facebook group, we’d love to connect with you all! –https://www.facebook.com/groups/309295536220437
Also, if you have Pinterest, please give us a follow for your van life travel inspiration! – https://pin.it/770Cq1Q