10 Different Types of Caravans

types of caravans

When you hear the word ‘caravan’, what do you think of?

There are so many different types of caravans, from static (the clue is in the name, they don’t move), to touring caravans of all shapes and sizes (you guessed right, they do move).

Before you buy a caravan, or book one for hire, it’s important to know what options are available. In this guide, we will cover all the caravans available for primarily the UK and European markets.

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Types Of Caravans On The Market

1. Standard Touring Caravans (Single and Twin Axle) – Conventional Style 

single axle touring caravan

When you are searching for a new touring caravan to buy, the majority for sale in the UK will have been produced here by the following five leading manufacturers;

  • Elddis
  • Swift
  • Bailey
  • Coachman
  • Lunar

These manufacturers may also build under different brands, such as;

  • Hymer
  • Knaus
  • Caravelair
  • Sterckeman
  • Adria

Most new touring caravans you see in the UK will have been produced here, with the figure currently at around 98%.


2. Folding Caravans

folding caravan being towed behind a truck with a bungalow in the background

Folding caravans are a popular choice if you love the comforts of a caravan but don’t have the room to store a larger conventional caravan or the ability to tow the larger weight.

As well as being lighter to tow, folding caravans also benefit from being a lower height, providing more driver visibility.

Essentially, the top half of the caravan folds down; when you arrive on-site, you will need to set it up.

Folding caravans are a little harder to find to buy as no UK manufacturer currently makes new ones. Gobur Caravans is the only British company that has them available for sale.

3. Pop Up Caravans

pop up caravan with yellow roof behind a small tree in a field

Pop-up caravans – or pop-top caravans as they are also known, are more similar to a conventional standard touring caravan.

When you arrive on-site with a pop-up caravan, the roof section can be raised, providing you with space to stand at full height inside the caravan. A pop-up caravan also has many of the same amenities as a conventional tourer, such as a toilet, kitchen, storage, and heating, although on a smaller scale.

One of the benefits of a pop-up caravan vs a conventional touring caravan is the easier towing ability as they are lighter and smaller. They are also easier to store than a larger caravan.

They are more compact than a conventional tourer but are ideal if you wish to store it in a garage – most will fit inside a standard-sized garage.

4. Tiny Caravans (GRP and Fibreglass)

tiny caravans

Small caravans are worth considering if you are after looking for a low-priced caravan and only need 2 or 3 berths. Built from fibreglass, they are long-lasting, lightweight and economical.

And don’t think that this means forgoing some creature comforts; many small caravans come with heating, hot water, a kitchen, a bathroom and a flushing toilet.

The good news is that owing to their longevity, tiny caravans hold their prices well – so buying a brand new one might be a better decision, enabling you to choose the specifications you desire.

These lighter-weight caravans also mean that you can tow them with a smaller car.

The most popular manufacturer of tiny GRP caravans is Freedom. They are built in Poland to UK specifications.

5. Retro Caravans

Retro Caravan in grey being towed on a road by a blue car

Retro caravans are still touring caravans, but they have a curved design to them rather than the common white box style of the more conventional caravans. They are smaller than regular tourers owing to the curved design but are still suitable for 2 to 4 people.

Swift makes a retro ‘Basecamp’ model that is both stylish and functional. It comes in 2 models, either 2 or 4 berths.

T&B Caravans are a popular choice if you are looking for a retro-style caravan with a unique edge. Manufactured in Germany since 2003, the shells are made from aluminium and are built to a high standard. The larger of the T&B models come with a fixed bed and bathroom. If you are looking for a UK importer Springbank Leisure in Shropshire has been exclusive importers since 2006.

6. Vintage Caravans

light green and white vintage caravan bu the water with deck chair, sun umbrella, table and vintage flags

Restoring older caravans has long been a popular project for many enthusiasts over the years.

The Historic Caravan Club was set up to preserve and promote vintage and classic caravans from years gone by, with rallies and events taking place for members to meet up and share their passion and love for older caravans. Another similar and popular group are the Retro Caravan Club.

Buying vintage caravans to restore has grown in demand over recent years, with workshops springing up to help people with the process.

If buying and restoring a vintage caravan isn’t for you, there are plenty of options for renting a vintage caravan to stay in overnight.

7. The American Airstream

American Airstream caravan with orange sun shade

Airstream trailers have been around since 1931 and are iconic with American travel.

Although a more expensive option, they ooze style and are sure to turn heads as you tow one of these beauties down the road!

Luckily, Airstream trailers are not just confined to the USA – they have been adapted to cater for the European and UK market, with Airstream UK offering 3 different models with prices starting at £78,400. Thankfully, you can try before you buy with Lowdhams, the UK’s only official distributor of Airstream trailers.

8. 5th Wheelers 

5th Wheelers are another American-inspired caravan that can either be imported to buy from overseas or bought directly from a British manufacturer such as Fith Wheel Co.

The most obvious difference between a 5th Wheeler and the other caravans on this list is that you can only tow this type of caravan with a pick-up truck.

5th Wheelers are deceptively spacious with slide-out sections to increase living space. They are both stylish and luxurious on the inside, with options to choose from preowned or brand new to your specifications.

9. Gypsy Caravans

two gypsy caravans in a field with trees

Gypsy caravans, or wagons, have been around for many years, once used as mobile accommodation for Gypsies, drawn by horses. There are an increasing amount of opportunities to rent a gypsy caravan on a glamping break, or, if you have the desire, to restore one to the site in your own garden. They can be a unique and quirky outdoor room for families to retreat to!

10. Static Caravans

static caravans on a holiday park by the beach

Although more permanent than the others on this list, it wouldn’t feel complete if we didn’t include the popular static caravan!

Static caravans have been a popular choice for British holidaymakers for many years, with the first one designed in 1930. The static caravan has, of course, evolved in design over the years, with many now suitable for year-round living, not just for holidays!

Static caravans have become a popular choice for many holiday homeowners to afford a more economical second home, with many units providing luxury and comfort in some beautiful locations throughout the UK.

Static caravans are available for sale in many holiday parks in the UK and Europe.

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