There are several different ways that you might come across the length of a caravan or camper trailer being discussed within the caravan industry. Each of these have a useful role to play in helping you to understand your product. But it can be a little confusing! This article explains the different references you may hear or see, and how you might apply them to your situation.
Caravan size is often discussed in relation to the length of the body. For example, a reference to a 19-foot caravan will typically mean the body length is 19 feet (5.8m). This excludes the drawbar and rear bumper.
Note that there may be 2 variations of this length – the internal dimensions of the living space or the external body dimensions (A and B as shown in the diagram below).
Body length is a useful reference point when considering the living space available in the caravan/camper trailer. It commonly comes up in model designations and in sales conversations. It’s useful for visualising a product and/or comparing different products.
The overall length of a caravan or camper trailer is measured from the front of the coupling to the rear of any equipment mounted behind the vehicle. This can include bumper bars, spare wheels, etc. (as shown as C in the diagram). This is a critical dimension when considering the space that is occupied by your vehicle.
It is important to be aware that drawbars come in different lengths. Bumper bars may protrude by different amounts from the rear and/or carry different equipment. So, the overall length of two different vehicles may not be the same even if they have the same body length.
The overall length is a critical dimension when considering things such as storage of your caravan or camper trailer. For example, you want to be sure that you have sufficient space to fit your caravan/ camper trailer comfortably. This includes your driveway, garage, carport or other available space. Remember that the height of a garage or carport and of the entry doorway may also be a significant factor.
There are multiple other reasons to determine the length of your towing combination. The combination is the overall length from the front of your tow vehicle to the rear of the caravan. This is necessary if your travels involve a ferry and the vehicle combination length is requested with your booking. The overall length combination is also a common factor when considering if you are comfortable towing a particular product.
The overall length of a caravan or camper trailer may also be necessary to determine whether a caravan park site is suitable for your vehicle. Note that some vehicles expand beyond the overall road travel length when expanded for living. Slide-out beds or wall segments or fold-out tent sections may affect the dimensions of the site.
Ensure that when you are considering the dimensions of your caravan or camper trailer, especially for a new purchase, that you request the full dimensional specifications. This will provide both body size and overall length information. This way you won’t have any unexpected surprises regarding the size of your vehicle.
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Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is general and is provided in good faith. Readers must make their own investigations or seek specific advice on their particular individual circumstances. Caravan Industry Association of Australia Limited, its employees, contractors and agents are not liable in any way including, without limitation, for negligence, in connection with this document or for any errors in or omissions from this document, or any new understanding of the law whether arising from any legislative instruments or the decision of any court or tribunal, whether before or after this document was prepared, first published, distributed or used.