Caravan innovation is not so humble

Caravan innovation is not so humble

Caravans have been around for as long as we’ve used horses to pull carts and wagons. The last decade has seen a transformation of caravan design features and technologies. In fact, the future of caravanning looks so exciting that this writer is considering a permanent road trip!

Caravan design today is vastly different to decades ago

I still remember my beautiful, gentle and kind Oil of Ulan scented Nanna taking on a brand new husband, an orange Valiant, a caravan and a sense of adventure when she was well into her later years. She was glowing with the anticipation of a brand new, well deserved adventure having nursed my grandfather for many years before losing him forever.

The caravan was your basic 1970s model and I know my Dad trembled at the idea of them safely making their way around Australia. They did it, but not without a few close calls. They certainly came back with a lot of stories to share!

Fortunately, safety considerations have been at the forefront of driving caravan design changes. Integrating technology and enhancing comfort have been key motivators for the metamorphism of these homes on wheels.

If you’re in the market for a caravan, and have memories of childhood caravan adventures, be prepared. The humble caravan is humble no longer.

The interior of a caravan c1970. Squeezy!

The interior of a caravan c1970. Squeezy!

Caravans today: what’s changed and why?

Here are just some of the bells and whistles you may discover in a new caravan.

For comfort and luxury in caravan design

A spa bath: Van Cruiser Caravans has incorporated a fully enclosed spa bath into at least one of its models.

  • Private bedrooms with an ensuite: the days of sharing a cup of tea with new found caravan park friends around the built in table looking across to the bed you spent the night in, are no longer necessary with newer, luxury models of vans.
  • Slide outs: to balance parking ease and the desire for roomier spaces to live in, many caravans have slide out living areas so happy occupants can spread out when they’re not on the road.
  • Kitchen island benches: yes! As the materials used for building caravans get lighter -  we’re driving the demand to put more home like features in. The Estate from Cell Caravans comes complete with an island bench.
  • Washing machines and dishwashers: pffft...shared laundries at camping grounds. Who needs them when you can tow your own! Naturally such luxuries come at considerable added cost.

For efficiency and lighter towing in caravan design

  • Lithium power: unlike earlier power sources a lithium battery means being able to run that dishwasher, the television and lighting simultaneously without draining the power. Lithium as a power source is lighter in weight and takes up less space. The battery voltage is more stable in terms of load than its predecessors.
  • Controller Area Network (CAN bus) electrical systems: these systems reduce wiring circuits needed to power your van. The system uses microprocessors that are synced to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies. This lets you plug almost any CAN bus enabled caravan into any car and everything communicates including all road lights.
  • Lightweight materials: the lighter the van, the easier the towing and the less the fuel consumption and wear and tear on your vehicle.
  • Macerator bathrooms and toilets: these systems remove the need for pouring chemicals into the bowels of your van. Carbon filters and venting is used to alleviate smells. This system offers an environmentally friendly solution to caravan sewerage, chemical free.
  • LED lighting: as it is in our home, LED lighting is far more efficient and friendlier on power.
  • Solar panels: solar systems are increasingly becoming popular power sources for caravans.

For technology integration in caravan design

  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: for integration of our multiple devices and technologies.
  • GPS tracking: as it is in our cars, on our mobile devices and everywhere we turn!

For safety and mobility in caravan design

  • Traction rollers: easier to squeeze your unhitched caravan into tricky parking spots.
  • Motorised jockey wheels: adding more ease of control for moving your caravan when it is unhitched.
  • Independent Rubber Suspension (IRS): allowing better handling as each wheel moves independently giving you more flexibility if you need to drive over rougher roads or obstacles.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC): improves safety exponentially from earlier braking and power transmission systems.

There are sure to be many more caravan design features we’ve missed, and many more to come. The future looks smoother, safer, comfier and more efficient for caravan enthusiasts.

References

http://www.candm.com.au/the-future-of-caravanning/

http://inhabitat.com/tag/caravan/

http://withoutahitch.com.au/caravan/technology-changing-caravan-design/

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