How to Measure Caravan Length

How to Measure the Length of a Caravan (6 Measurements)

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Figuring out caravan lengths can be a bit confusing at first, especially with Australian manufacturers insisting upon mixing the metric and imperial terminology together.

When looking at how to measure the length of a caravan, it helps to remember that manufacturers are usually referring to the caravan’s external body length. However, it’s important to understand the difference between body length, travel length, open length and combination length, especially as it pertains to your own personal set up.

If you’re after a broader run down, check out the full guide to Caravan Dimensions & Sizes.

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How to Measure the Length of a Caravan

Caravan Lengths

Body Length

The most common caravan length that people refer to is the body length.

The body length is quite literally the external length of the caravan body.

The body length does not include the A frame (drawbar), the rear bar or anything else hanging off the back of the caravan.

So, a 22 ft caravan means that the external length of the body of the caravan is 22 feet (or 6.7 metres).

CARAVAN BODY LENGTH = External length of the caravan body

Overall Length (or Travel Length)

Another caravan length term, which is very important to know as the owner, is the overall length. This measurement can also be referred to as the travel length, as it’s the full length of the caravan (including A frame) when in travel mode.

How to work out the overall length of the caravan is to measure from the tip of the coupling on the drawbar, right back to the furtherest point at the rear of the caravan. This will include the rear bar and anything else that is attached to the back of the van (bikes, jerry cans, tool boxes etc.).

The overall length of a caravan will be different for each one, even if they’ve got the same body length. This is due to the various sized drawbars, rear bars and additional items people attach to the back of their caravans.

CARAVAN OVERALL LENGTH = Length of entire caravan from drawbar tip to the furtherest point at the caravan’s rear

Internal Length

The internal length of a caravan is measured from the furtherest point at the front of the caravan (internally) to the furtherest point at the back of the caravan (internally). This is effectively the measurement of your internal living space.

This can be a bit hard to measure yourself what with cabinets and beds in the way, but it should be included in the manufacturers initial measurements.

CARAVAN INTERNAL LENGTH = Entire internal length of the caravan


Open Length

Caravan Open Length

For caravans and campers that have pop out beds, there is an additional length to take into consideration.

The open length is the entire length of the caravan with the beds popped out – from the furtherest point at the front of the van (whether it’s the bed or the drawbar), right back to the furtherest point at the rear of the van.

For some caravans, the open length can be dramatically longer than the body length and travel length.

Here’s an example of the different caravan lengths of a Jayco Expanda:

Body LengthTravel LengthOpen Length
5,619 mm7,190 mm7,977 mm
CARAVAN OPEN LENGTH = Length of entire caravan from furtherest point at the front to furtherest point at the rear (with beds popped out)

Awning Length

How to Measure a Caravan Awning

Measuring the length of a caravan awning is a bit unique. You would be forgiven for thinking that you might need to measure the canvas, the awning barrel or even from the outside of the awning arms.

However, to correctly calculate the length of a caravan awning, you need to measure from the middle of the front awning arm, to the middle of the rear awning arm.

CARAVAN AWNING LENGTH = Length from the middle of the front awning arm to the middle of the rear awning arm

Read all about measuring caravan awnings for more info.


Combination Length

Caravan Combination Length

The combination length is the entire length of your caravan, plus tow vehicle. This is measured from the furtherest point at the front of your tow vehicle (including bull bar), right back to the furtherest point at the rear of the caravan (including the rear bar and accessories).

This is especially important to know for parking and if you ever need to take your set up onto a ferry.

COMBINATION LENGTH = Length from the furtherest point at the front of the tow vehicle to the furtherest point at the rear of the caravan
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Reasons for Knowing Your Caravan Lengths

Knowing your caravan lengths is actually super important as a caravan owner.

Here’s why you need to know the length of your caravan:

  • STORAGE – Knowing exactly how much space you need available for storing your caravan
  • CAMPSITES – To be able to book the correct campsites, based on your true length when set up
  • FERRIES – If booking a vehicle ferry, they’ll require your combination length
  • PARKING – Knowing exactly how much space you take up when parking

Caravan Buyers Guide (15-page)

Caravan Buyers Guide

Take the stress out of buying a caravan with this interactive step-by-step guide!

  • 15-page Guide
  • Checklists to tick off
  • Interactive prompts to fill out
  • STEPS INCLUDE: Budget, Set-up, Towing Weights, PPSR Check, Handover, Hitching Up & more!
  • DIGITAL & PRINTABLE
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Length of Caravan FAQs

Does the length of a caravan include the A frame/ drawbar?

When measuring the overall caravan length (or travel length), the A frame, plus the rear bar and accessories at the back of the caravan are included. It’s only when you’re looking at the body length that the A frame and rear bar are not included.

Does the length of a caravan include the tow bar?

No, the overall length of the caravan does not include the vehicle’s tow bar. You simply measure from the tip of the hitch coupling, right back to the furtherest point at the rear of the caravan.

Does the length of a caravan include the rear bar?

Yes, the overall (or travel) length of the caravan does include the rear bar, plus anything else that is protruding from the back of the caravan.

What does the Travel Length of a caravan mean?

The travel length is the entire length when the caravan is in ‘travel mode.’ To measure the travel length, you start from the tip of the hitch coupling and go right to the furtherest point at the rear of the caravan.

Are caravan measurements internal or external?

Generally, caravan measurements are talking about the external body measurement. For example, a 19 ft caravan is 19 feet or 5.8 metres long on the outside of the caravan body.

How long are caravans in Australia?

Caravan lengths in Australia can range from 13 ft to over 24 ft long. The most popular caravan size is 19 ft, which is 5.8 metres long.

What is the best length caravan?

An 18 – 19 ft caravan is a great size for couples, while the 22 – 24 ft caravans are the perfect size for families.

What is the maximum length caravan you can tow?

In Australia, a caravan must be no wider than 2.5 metres, no higher than 4.3 metres and the combined length of a caravan and tow vehicle cannot exceed 19 metres long.

What is the shipping length of a caravan?

The shipping length of a caravan is from the tip of the hitch coupling, right back to the furtherest point at the end of the caravan. When it comes to booking a spot on a vehicle ferry for your whole set up, you’ll need to provide the combination length. This is the entire length of your tow vehicle and caravan when hitched up together (from tip to tail).


Now head over and find out what the average & legal caravan widths are in Australia!

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