Guide to lightweight caravans for sale
Unlike many family caravans for sale, one big advantage of the lightweights is that you don’t need the B+E sections of your licence to tow an outfit. They’re easier to manoeuvre and you’re unlikely to feel any instability at all under heavy winds on the road.
The downsides are simply the lack of space and facilities compared to bigger caravans for couples. They come in a few different flavours...
A trailer tent tends to be a unit where all of the walls are made out of canvas or another type of heavy-duty fabric. The fabric is folded out from the trailer and pegged out in much the same way as an old-style frame tent.
Some models have flip-tops, where the canvas unfolds like a giant pram hood. These can take just a few minutes to pitch.
Inside, trailer tents have off-the-ground beds with mattresses that usually fold out from the trailer and can be used as a seating area during the day. In larger units, you’ll find further inner tents in the awning for more sleeping space and some trailer tents allow you to increase the sleeping accommodation by fitting under-bed compartments.
The living area is usually in an integral awning, which offers plenty of space for tables and chairs and other camping furniture. Some models have their own built-in groundsheets, while others are open to the ground.
Higher spec trailer tents have their own kitchen units while with more basic models you’ll have to bring your own camping stove and other gear. Storage compartments can often be found in the main trailer.
Folding campers are a bridge between traditional tents and caravans, and provide comfortable accommodation for campers who want a bit more luxury but aren’t quite ready to go the whole hog and buy a full-sized tourer to holiday in. They are also lighter and easier to tow than a caravan, which means that you don’t have to invest in a new car and it may solve any issues of you needing to take a B+E test.
They are built on a trailer unit that looks like the bottom half of a small caravan. In storage and when it’s being towed, a heavy-duty tarpaulin covers the inner workings of the camper and, on site, the bedroom units fold out at each end and overhang the front and rear of the base. Many modern folding campers have hydraulic struts that make opening it out much easier.
Inside, you’ll find what looks like a compact caravan, with a cooker, sink, fridge and sometimes even a toilet. Most campers have bench seats with a table at one end that can be converted to a double bed.
Some folding campers are as luxurious as any new caravans for sale, the only difference being that they have fabric walls and roof. With the addition of an optional awning, the living area can be vastly increased.
The next level up is the folding caravan, which has the advantage that it can be folded down for easier storage and towing but has rigid walls and roof.