Whether you’re heading off on your big lap of Australia, or looking for a comfortable home-away-from-home for the occasional weekender, a caravan is a great way to see more of our beautiful country. Along with fuel economy and overall weight, caravan width is a key factor to consider when choosing the right model.
But how wide is a caravan? To help you make the right decision for you and your family, we’ve pulled together this short guide to caravan widths, specifically for caravans in Australia.
Why caravan size matters
Knowing your caravan’s dimensions is important for two main reasons:
- Caravan size influences the caravan’s weight. Generally speaking, the larger the caravan, the greater its Tare Mass (how much the caravan weighs when empty) and Aggregate Trailer Mass (how much the caravan weighs when loaded to capacity). It’s important to know how much the caravan weighs because that will determine whether or not your car can tow the caravan, and also affects fuel economy.
- The caravan width will determine which furniture and amenity layouts are possible inside the caravan. This is particularly important if you’re thinking of kitting the caravan out yourself.
Legally, caravans must be less than 2.5 metres wide
Australian vehicle standards stipulate that caravans can’t be more than 2.5 metres wide when measured across the body. This measurement must include wheel guards, but excludes signalling devices, rear vision mirrors, and side-mounted lamps.
Caravan width varies slightly from model to model
The width of every caravan is slightly different. While some manufacturers make all their caravan models the same width and only vary the length, others will vary the width according to the specific model.
Generally speaking, most caravans are between 2 and 2.5 metres wide. Caravans at the smaller end of the spectrum tend to be lighter and more compact, making them better suited for shorter trips and fewer people. By comparison, caravans pushing up to the 2.5 metre end of the scale tend to be larger and come with more creature comforts.
10 or 20 centimetres might not seem like a significant difference in width—particularly when the length of a caravan can vary by as much as two metres. But spread over the entire body of the caravan, that small difference can add up and make for a very different driving and living experience!
How to find out a caravan’s width
While it can be easy to tell a caravan’s length from the name, it can be a lot harder to figure out how wide a caravan is, particularly given that most manufacturers don’t include dimensions on the caravan’s compliance plate. Given that width directly influences how easy it is to manoeuvre the caravan and what you’ll be able to fit inside, it’s worth finding out sooner rather than later.
When it comes to caravan width there are two measurements to keep in mind: the external width and the internal width. The external width is important to know for parking and towing purposes, while the internal width will help determine your floor plan.
Some manufacturers will provide the external and internal widths of their caravans on their websites. This information is typically found alongside the caravan’s other specifications.
Alternatively, if you’ve already bought a caravan, or are looking at a second-hand one, you will need to measure the caravan to determine its width. To do so, measure the caravan using a tape measure, across the body of the caravan at the widest part, including wheel guards if there are any. If your caravan has curved sides, it may be easiest to take the width measurement underneath the caravan.