Are you planning the ultimate outdoor adventure with your family? Do you currently own an off-road caravan? If not, you may want to keep reading so that you can learn what actually makes a caravan suitable for tackling Australia’s toughest roads.
How do know if you need to buy an off-road caravan? The short answer is that if you are planning to drive more than 50km on dirt or unsealed roads in your caravan on a regular basis, you should seriously consider getting an off-road caravan. These caravans are designed and built to handle even the most difficult off-road conditions.
Let’s take a look at the main features of an off-road caravan below:
When it comes to surviving the unforgiving Australian road conditions, a strong chassis is an absolute non-negotiable. The chassis on most off-road caravans are built using thick steel box sections in a ladder frame layout. However, it is worth noting that being strong does not necessarily mean it will be heavy.
Simply put, the chassis for off-road caravans are designed to tackle more difficult conditions than what is presented by asphalt roads.
You will need good suspension with capable shock absorbers if you truly want your caravan to survive extended trips on rough roads and tracks. That is why independent suspension is a must-have. This will ensure that the bumps and shocks produced by driving over rough surfaces don’t damage your caravan or shake all of its contents out of place.
Aside from the right suspension set-up, you will also need off-road tyres for the safest and best driving and towing experience. In addition to having thick tread and strong sidewalls that can resist blowouts and punctures, all-terrain tyres also have great load-carrying capabilities.
When towing in rough conditions, an off-road tow hitch is vital. These components not only provide a greater range of articulation than a regular tow hitch but also create a secure and reliable connection between the caravan and the tow vehicle.
When tackle g the great outdoors, you will need to negotiate things like spoon drains, creek crossings and dips on a regular basis when travelling off-road. A good departure angle is necessary in order to avoid damaging the caravan or getting caught up. To provide extra clearance, most off-road caravans come with a raised rear or full cutaway.
When driving over unsealed roads, the tyres of the tow vehicle constantly pelt the front of the caravan with stones. These stones can end up damaging the front of the caravan or being deflected towards the rear of the vehicle where they can also cause damage. These stones can be deflected to the ground safely with the help of a stone deflector attached to the A-frame.
Caravanning enthusiasts who regularly drive on rough terrain are also concerned about exposed wiring and plumbing. Vulnerable components that are located under the caravan can end up being damaged or ripped apart by stones or other debris bering flung up by the caravan’s tyres.
To safeguard these components from damage, plumbing and wiring should be installed behind the water tanks and main beams of the chassis.
When assessing the suitability of a caravan for off-road use, it is important for you to look at the interior as well. Marine ply that is glued and screwed in place is a better alternative to chipboard and MDF, when it comes to surviving the constant vibrations and shocks associated with off-road driving. Metal runners on drawers as well as strong locks and hinges are necessary for the interior cabinets.
To ensure that caravans can survive the challenging conditions of off-road driving, they must be designed and built in a unique way. Without the right components and features, caravans will easily become damaged when used in off-road conditions on a regular period and simply won’t last the distance.
If you are looking for the best off-road caravans in Australia for your next big adventure, you can’t go past Retreat Caravans. Please check out our full range of caravans below, all carefully designed with you in mind: