The ultimate guide to buying a caravan

Buyers Guide


In this guide, we’ll show you; The types of caravans that are popular today, what they will cost, a comparison of all the features so that you can make an easy choice with the facts all laid out


Click to skip to section:

  1. Introduction and Overview
  2. The Teardrop Phenomenon
  3. Campervans and Caravans
  4. The Big RV
  5. Table Comparison
  6. The Verdict

Introduction


Finding the right camping companion can be an overwhelming process – one where you might not know where exactly to start. With thousands of options to choose from, how on earth can you know which one is best?


Whether this is your first time buying a caravan or you’re looking to upgrade, knowing what your options are is a good place to start.


When it comes to camping gear, we all have our preferences and different needs. After all, everyone has their own way of adventuring, right? Perhaps you’re wondering what’s best for you and your family. Well, that depends on a number of different factors that pertain to you such as; cost, weight, size, duration of stays, number of travellers, and of course, weather conditions.


When there’s this much to consider, it’s important that you do your research.

Overview


Done with traditional tenting and ready to step it up a notch? Of course, tenting is usually where it all starts, and often where the love of camping begins in the first place. With a tent, one will definitely feel more connected to nature, but if the weather or living creatures aren’t on your side, suddenly it isn’t such a good thing. Security and safety in tents are big reasons why regular campers decide to upgrade.

Another reason why adventurers choose to upgrade is because a tent is not fully weatherproof, meaning that the wind and rain might not protect you and could make your trip unenjoyable. Let’s also not forget the 45minute setup and pack up time required for each trip.

So, let’s take a look at your options in detail. Below are a few camping upgrade options you can choose from, depending on what’s right for you! Some may or may not suit your specific needs but will certainly help you make the right choice when investing in the camping companion that’s right for you.



The Teardrop Phenomenon


Made from fibreglass and insulated with polyurethane foam, the teardrop caravan suits those with a ‘get-up-and-go’, spontaneous way of life. As a lightweight caravan, it’s robust enough to travel on most dirt roads meaning you can take your Vagabond teardrop just about anywhere, with almost any car and with little setup required.


Enjoy plug points and USB slots so you can charge up your cameras and make sure you’re making as many memories as possible on your travels or even run additional appliances with the 12v port included.


Comfort

Teardrop caravans are surprisingly comfortable. Forget stretcher beds and blow-up mattresses, most teardrops come with a comfortable queen size bed. The durable fibreglass and insulation ensure a solid night’s sleep, where you can listen to the sound of the rain, and not worry about getting soaked.


Affordability 

A big reason why many choose the teardrop caravan is because it really won’t cost an arm and a leg compared to bigger caravan options – and that’s not the only thing you’ll save on. Because the teardrop caravan is smaller than regular caravans and motorhomes, it means it is extremely lightweight, allowing you to keep fuel costs down too. No more expensive trips to the petrol station, especially for long road trips. With a teardrop caravan, your car won’t need to put in the extra work to haul a heavier trailer, nor will you need to upgrade your car as your Vagabond can be towed on the back of almost any car.

Bonus

One of the best parts about owning a teardrop trailer is that you won’t need to go through the effort of redoing your driver’s license to obtain an EB license which is a requirement for owning a regular caravan. 

The teardrop caravan really is the most flexible travel option, allowing you to travel almost anywhere, in any season or time of the year. It’s a great option for small families and couples that love to get up and go. If this is the option you’ve been looking for, we offer the best teardrop trailers on the market.

Top tip: What makes Vagabond teardrops so strong is the fully monocoque fibreglass body, which is insulated and waterproof. Choosing a fibreglass teardrop over one that is made with wood will ensure a lifetime of adventures, with no need to upgrade after a few years.

Cost: Starting from R125 000

Maintenance: Little to none

Durability: Robust and ready to rumble

The best part: Just ‘tow and go’

Campervans and Caravans


Have your cake and eat it too? Not quite. Owning a caravan means you can really enjoy comfort and space when travelling, but the downfall is that you’re limited in where you’re able to travel to. The sheer size of the caravan makes it difficult to tow and move easily off the beaten track. For this reason, a caravan is an option most suited for:


  • Travellers that enjoy long stays at each destination.
  • Those that would mostly like to stay in caravan parks which requires adding in some extra money for your trip.
  • Larger families who need a bit more space to enjoy their travels.
  • Families that have large towing cars.


Does that sound like you? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.


Space

With a caravan, you’ll almost always have loads of space to move around! Most caravans include a large bed and a small “kitchen” but depending on the size of the caravan, you could even enjoy a private bathroom and a small dining area. In each caravan, there is also usually plenty of storage to have a decent sized wardrobe which is really convenient for those lengthy stays.

Weight

What’s really great about caravans is that they require little preparation to get going on a trip, much like the teardrop. With that being said, it isn’t always easy. Owning a caravan means your car needs to haul it, and it’s not exactly light. To haul a heavy object like a caravan, your car needs to be either an SUV or bigger. But the weight isn’t all that bad. Because the caravan is sturdy and robust, you can rest assured knowing all your belongings will be safe inside at all times when locked.

Cost

With the above in mind, this does mean some additional costs to your camping travels. For starters, if you have a small car, this might mean that you need to upgrade your car, which also means you will need to budget for higher fuel prices on each trip. So whilst the space is incredible to have, it does come at an extra cost all-round, and not just once off.What many don’t often realise either is that owning a caravan might also cost one’s time. In order to purchase a caravan, you will need to obtain your EB license, which essentially means redoing your driver’s license.Cost:

Starting from: varies based on brand, new and used.

Maintenance: Little to moderate

Durability: Durable but can’t go off-road

The best part: More space and comfort

The Big Guy RV


It’s the caravan of all caravans, also known as a motorhome because simply put, that’s exactly what it is – a home on wheels. Yes, when thinking about this enormous bad boy, the word ‘minimalism’ doesn’t exactly come to mind which is ironic because minimalism is often what attracts campers in the first place. RV camping is a little bit different to other types of camping simply because of the size, and many refer to it more as a lifestyle – one with luxury in mind. 

Luxury

Owning a motorhome means you will forever camp in ultimate comfort (and style). In fact, you probably won’t call it camping at all as this is exactly what many might call ‘glamping’ – glamorous camping. RVs really are so glamorous that you might as well be staying in a fancy AirBnB!

Space

With RVs, you can expect to find a decent-sized bedroom inside much like a normal-sized room, and in some cases, more than one. Large dining areas and lounges can be easily converted into comfortable beds. It’s also not uncommon for RVs to include TVs, fridges, microwaves, stoves, showers and other internal amenities one might find in a hotel room. Much like the caravan, the space is incredible to have but is often outweighed by the fact that you are limited in where you can travel too.

Cost

Luxury certainly does come with a price tag. Purchasing an RV is not cheap, but is to be expected for such a large space, full of amenities. But it’s not only dollar signs you might be seeing, in some cases it might exactly save you some money. For example, if you plan on staying in an RV instead of hotels, it will definitely be a significant amount of money to be saved in the long-run. But if you didn’t use hotels before, you can expect to pay a hefy price for fuel and you’ll definitely need to set aside a budget for regular maintenance as well as unplanned repairs. The plus side is that you won’t need to upgrade your car as the RV is self-driven, but don’t forget to do your EB license.

Cost: Starting from 300k new

Maintenance: Moderate to a lot

Durability: Durable but flexibility is limited

The best part: Ultimate luxury camping

So What’s The Verdict?

Models
Teardrop
Caravan
RV
Cost

Starting from R125 000

Varies greatly depending on brand and new and used

Starting from R300 000 and up

Maintenance

Little to none

Little to moderate

Moderate to a lot

Durability

Robust and ready to rumble

Durable but can’t go off-road

Durable but flexibility is limited

The best part

Just ‘tow and go’

More space and comfort

 Ultimate luxury camping

There are many different camping options to choose from but ultimately, at the end of the day what it boils down to is what you want and how much your budget is.

An important consideration is always whether the cost and time of doing your EB license and possibly upgrading your car is worth it. Our answer will always be teardrop caravan. Its versatility and robustness meet all your options right in the middle when it comes to space, cost, comfort and security. And it’s the most eco-friendly solution to holidaying.If budget and adventure travel is what you have in mind, you can always #DoItWithAVagabond. We offer demos of our teardrop caravans – contact one of our dealers in your area for more information. And get ready to #JoinTheTrek.

Keen to get your trek on?

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your Vagabond dream?