Choosing Between Caravan & Camper Trailer

caravans on the road

Today we tackle a question which many would-be and well seasoned travellers will probably face at some point – how to decide whether to buy a caravan or a camper trailer.

If you’re considering a new caravan and camping vehicle or you’ve thought about swapping your caravan for a camper trailer or vice versa, it’s worth doing some research – particularly if it’s been a while since you checked out what’s available. There are lots of new models and cross overs with a range of facilities, improved materials and design, that may just surprise you.

Deciding between a caravan and a camper trailer generally comes down to where you want to travel and the level of comfort, space and convenience you require. This is going to be different for everyone. It’s worth considering the pros and cons of the caravan and the camper trailer, to help you make the right choice.

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Caravan Set Up & Comfort


Caravans are the most popular choice of RV in Australia and it’s easy to see why. With such vast distances and varying conditions, many people prefer the comfort and space of travelling Australia in a fully equipped caravan.

Setting up after a long drive is easy. Simply park, chock up the wheels and with a minimum of fuss you’re ready. Depending upon the size and cost of your rig, caravans can come fitted with everything you need, including TV set up, fully equipped kitchen, toilet, shower and even washing machines.

Camper Trailer

You will spend more time setting up at your new site with a camper trailer – unclipping the trailer floor, securing poles and erecting the annexe. Set up time can vary between 15 to 30 minutes.

With a camper trailer, comforts are reduced and you’ll be living closer to nature. Most of your activities, other than sleeping and eating will be done in the outdoors or within a canvas annexe. For many, this is part of the romance and attraction. Just remember that you’ll be doing this in all weather.

While storage is more limited than a caravan, camper trailers do offer a range of storage spaces underneath the trailer.

Camper Trailer Cross Overs

While camper trailers in general lack the luxury and space of caravans, if you are prepared to spend more money, there are now a huge range of cross over camper trailers on the market. These are more like mini caravans, with fibreglass walls and an interior fit-out like a caravan. They also have lots of nooks and crannies for clever storage, which allow for off road camping for several weeks.

Cross over camper trailers are designed with a light chassis and suspension that allows off-road exploration and this is where their attraction lies. They provide significantly improved comfort to regular camper trailers, but with the flexibility of being able to go onto rougher roads, where caravans are unable to venture.

caravan electrics - new caravan

Weather Protection & Security

You may want to think about the type of weather you will be encountering when traveling when you are considering purchasing a camper trailer with canvas walls or a caravan. Insulation provides extra warmth in the colder months, as well as protection from the heat.


Caravans provide good protection from the elements, with walls made from aluminium, that keep you dry and out of the wind. Caravans also provide extra security because valuables can be safely locked inside.

Camper Trailer

A camper trailer’s walls are made from canvas, which provides much less protection from the outside elements.

Cross Overs

Cross Over camper trailers have fibreglass walls and offer superior insulation qualities to the canvas walls of regular camper trailers.

Trailer & Caravan Repairs, Service & Costs

Caravans are generally more expensive to buy than camper trailers, with some people paying between 80k and 140k for a new caravan with all the comforts. For the superior comfort and space they provide, spending more money on a caravan may be a sensible investment for many.

New camper trailers begin at around $15k. New cross over camper trailers generally start at over $30k.

Once you make a decision to buy a caravan or camper trailer, make sure you attend to all trailer or caravan repairs promptly and get your caravan or trailer serviced every 10,000km. This will avoid unwanted and expensive caravan repairs.

As a guide, trailer and caravan servicing costs are similar. But remember the more features in your camper trailer or caravan, the longer your list of potential trailer and caravan repairs.

Caravan Towing & Fuel


Caravans can vary in size from 18 to 24 feet. With their bigger size, a caravan is heavy to tow and uses more petrol than a camper trailer. If you are upgrading to a larger caravan, make sure that your vehicle has a towing capacity that can accommodate your new caravan. There are some important towing numbers you need to know.

Camper Trailer

Camper trailers and camper trailer cross overs are lighter and use much less petrol when towing than a caravan. They also have a width, that generally does not exceed a 4WD, making towing a lot easier and avoiding the need for extended side mirrors and special driving skills.


For advice on all your caravan repairs or modifications to your trailer or caravan contact our caravan repairs centre. We are a family owned, Melbourne caravan repairs business located in Ferntree Gully