Caravan layouts explained
Most caravans have these – a u-shaped or l-shaped set of sofas, and a table under the front window, which together convert into a double bed. You can pretty safely assume a caravan has a front dinette unless it is an 'end-lounge’ model.
Gone are the days when your caravan had a drizzling little trickle of a cold shower, raining down on the toilet seat round the corners of a sticky shower curtain. Now you can get a full walk-in shower, a vanity unit, and wall-to-wall mirrors. The best washrooms are end washrooms, taking up the whole width of the caravan. You’ll often find the wardrobes are included, giving you a dressing area too.
A very traditional layout this, and out of vogue, partly because it puts heavy objects like your cooker and fridge at the very back of the caravan. That’s bad news for towing stability, though by the time the caravan reaches you, its makers will have taken steps to balance this out. Great to have the kitchen out of the central gangway though – we reckon that end kitchen layouts are underrated, and are a good use of space in smaller caravans.
Fantastic to be able to leave your bed made up all day while you relax in another part of the caravan. And your kids can slob about in sleeping bags on the front dinette. Look for hydraulic lifting mechanisms and outside garage doors, which allow you easy access to that valuable under-bed storage space. Island beds have space to either side so you can get up without waking up your partner.
Just where do you stand on the cuddles vs comfy night’s sleep debate? Or if that’s an impertinent question, how important is it to have a double bed on holiday when you sleep in one the rest of the time? The twin bed option can make loads of sense in layout terms, because there’s still room to walk down the centre of the caravan. You can have bunks over the top too. If you can manage without the romance, we reckon it’s a practical choice.
Do you want to face in, towards your kids playing or your friends on site; or would you rather look out at the hills, the trees, or the coast? We Brits tend to choose the first option and have our lounge at the front of the caravan, whereas the Germans, French and Slovenians go for the second option. If privacy and scenery are high on your agenda an imported European caravan with its lounge set at the back might be just the thing for you.
This guide was originally published in the first issue of Go Caravan magazine.