So, how long is my caravan really?

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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, however it can be a little confusing!  This article explains the different references you may hear or see, and how you might best apply them to your particular situation.

Body Length

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) excluding 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 and is useful for visualising a product and/or comparing different products.

Overall Length

The overall length of a caravan/camper trailer is the total length from the front of the coupling to the rear of any equipment mounted at the rear of the vehicle such as 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 and 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/camper trailer.  For example, you want to be sure that you have sufficient room in your driveway, garage, carport or other available space to fit your caravan/ camper trailer comfortably (Note: the height of a garage or carport, and of the entry doorway may also be a significant factor).

The overall length of your vehicle is also a critical dimension in determining the length of your towing combination – i.e. the overall length from the front of your tow vehicle to the rear of the caravan/camper trailer.  This is necessary, for example, if your travels involve a ferry and the vehicle combination length is requested with your booking.   The overall length of the vehicle combination is also a common factor when considering if you are comfortable towing a particular product.

The overall length of a caravan/camper trailer may also be necessary to determine whether a caravan park site is suitable for your vehicle.  Note, however, that some vehicles expand beyond the overall road travel length when expanded for living (e.g. if they are fitted with slide-out beds or wall segments, or fold-out tent sections).

Recommendation

Ensure that when you are considering the dimensions of your caravan/trailer, especially for a new purchase, that you request the full dimensional specifications, which will give both body size and overall length information.  This way you won’t have any unexpected surprises regarding the size of your vehicle.

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.

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