All it takes is a little commonsense to realise that offroad caravans must be built a little differently to onroad ones if you want to ensure that they will last more than a few trips. In this article, we have outlined some of the reinforcements and alternatives that are used in the construction of these vans in the hopes to prove why you should invest in one for offroad use. The next time you are shopping for a caravan, you will know what to look out for.
There are actually electric braking systems available that have been specifically designed for offroad use. They incorporate high tech materials that help to reduce vibration and wear, as well as withstanding the high temperatures emitted in heavy braking situations. Standard electric brakes often experience premature wear and tear.
For these caravans, the chassis is often made from premium strength steel beams that are either painted or hot dip galvanised. Some manufacturers will use products like Duragal or Supagal to protect the chassis from rust and corrosion. Steel mesh can also be fitted to the A frame, tow eyes, jack points and jerry can holders.
All offroad caravans should have a tow hitch that features a broad articulation angle. Heavy duty hitches have been designed specifically for this purpose – many provide 360 degree articulation and are rated to an impressive 3,500kg! Standard couplings offer very limited vertical movement before the tongue bottoms out and breaks something.
The two main materials used for the frame of an offroad caravan are timber and aluminium. Timber’s natural resilience works well in absorbing road related stresses, whereas aluminium provides an excellent overall strength. If using timber, it must be treated against rot and should be coated with a quality sealant for longevity.
Even though there are many suspension types and designs available, you will find that a fully independent and load sharing system best suits offroad applications. The former breaks up harmonic motion, whilst the latter transfers destructive energy back and forth between the wheels. Either would be a good option for your caravan.
It is generally recommend that you use offroad wheels and tyres that match the size and stud pattern of your tow vehicle. The main reason for this is that the tyres on your caravan will be interchangeable with the tyres on your car (providing up to four spare ones). These vans typically have 15 or 16 inch wheels and tyres with an 8 inch jockey wheel.
We hope that you now have a better understanding of why the construction of your offroad caravan is so important – the components used in standard models are simply not up to the pressure. The problems that can result from using a standard van are simply not worth the risk. So, if you are planning on travelling offroad, make sure that you have chosen a caravan with the above construction – it will last you for many years without issue.