Adelaide 4WD and Adventure Show

Camper trailer versus caravan

If you’re ready to upgrade from a tent or swag or if you’re planning an extended trip, you will be faced with several different options. Camper trailers are great as they are compact and easy to tow, but caravans offer the luxury of home while you’re travelling. With so many different options available, you may need expert advice!

Phil Thornton from George Day Caravans in Perth has some tips when choosing a camper or van for your family. He said whether you are choosing a caravan, camper trailer or a hybrid, it’s important to buy your van or camper trailer first, and then get a car to suit. He said that way you are not limited by the vehicle’s towing capabilities.

Other than that, Phil said it’s a personal choice and buyers should weigh up the options and look at what suits them!

Camper Trailers

If you’re new to camping, Phil says the easiest way to describe a camper trailer is that is it canvas. Camper trailers need setting up and will have canvas walls and awnings that fold up compactly when you’re done. Phil said one of the big reasons people will choose a camper trailer is the price points, as well as the fact they are smaller and easier to handle.

“You can get into a camper trailer for around the $20,000 mark, which is appealing for many” Phil said. “Size is also a reason for jumping into one of these. They are easy to tow, easy to manoeuvre, and for a lot of customers, the big selling point is that they want to be able to store it in their garage.”

“An all-terrain camper trailer has the suspension to go anywhere your vehicle goes, and once you’ve stopped, you have a comfortable bed and protection from the elements which can be better than sleeping in a tent!” Phil said.

Phil said one of the negatives of a camper trailer is that you do have to set them up every time you camp, and of course pack them down before you leave.



A hybrid caravan is a cross between a caravan and a camper trailer. It has hard, permanent walls like a caravan, but the suspension and towing ability of a camper trailer.

Phil says a hybrid is a good choice for families as the set-up time is reduced.

“All you have to do is open the door, push the bed out on its rollers and then just lift the roof up and you’re ready to go,” he said.

“One of the big reasons to choose a hybrid for the family is the amenities they come with that a camper trailer doesn’t. The hybrid will have an ensuite which is obviously convenient, plus it has the facilities to put in a full 95 litre fridge and a slide out kitchen.”

Phil said another reason for choosing a hybrid over a caravan might be to do with towing and vehicle weights.

“When you’re going into the bush along tight tracks, you’d prefer to have one of these behind your Hilux rather than a full size caravan because it’s going to hug those tracks nicely!” he said.

The negative on choosing a hybrid could be that the ensuite is small and the toilet and shower is all in one room; however at the end of the day it’s better than not having one at all!


Caravans tick a lot of boxes and a perfect for families or couples who are living on the road for any length of time. Caravans have all the amenities you could want and really are a home away from home.

“The beauty of a caravan is you just back it in and open the door! There’s literally nothing else to do to set it up,” Phil said.

These days caravans are designed for full off grid living, meaning you can travel in luxury and live off grid with all the creature comforts of home.”

“They are set up for off road travel and the storage you get is huge. Caravans suit families of all sizes, or couple who are ready to explore and want the amenities and comforts you don’t get in a camper trailer or hybrid.”

 Caravans are a great option but there are a few things to consider before making a purchase. The big factor is the price, but if this is not an issue, you may also need to consider the weight of the van and the towing capacity of your vehicle.

Phil said the other negative of a caravan for some people is storage. When you’re not using it you need to keep it stored somewhere however he said if you don’t have the room at your home, there are other storage options around the metro area.

To find out more about a van or camper to suit your needs, why not stop in at George Day Caravans and Motorhomes and have a chat!

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