Understanding caravan sizes and dimensions is an integral part of caravanning. Yet, with so many measurements and numbers, it can all get rather confusing pretty quickly.
Here’s what this article covers in simple terms:
- Caravan Sizes in Australia
- Caravan Length
- Caravan Height
- Caravan Width
- Caravan Weights
If you’re specifically looking at Jayco caravans, here’s the full comparison of Jayco weights and lengths.
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What Sizes do Caravans Come in?
Caravans can come in a variety of different sizes, ranging from 10ft right up to 24ft and occasionally even longer. The table below shows the size of each caravan length available in Australia in feet, millimetres and metres.
The most common term used when talking about caravan length is the ‘body length.’ This is outside length of the body of the caravan, not including the draw bar, rear bar or any accessories.
Available CARAVAN BODY LENGTHS in Australia:
For a further look at caravan averages, check out this comparison on How Much Caravans Weigh.
When it comes to understanding caravan length, there are actually six different measurements to take into account.
- Body Length
- Overall (travel) Length
- Internal Length
- Open Length (for vans with pop-out/ slide-out beds)
- Awning Length
- Combination Length (both car + van when hitched up)
|External length of caravan body
|Length of entire caravan from tip of drawbar to furtherest point at the caravan’s rear
|Entire internal length of caravan
|Length of entire caravan from furtherest point at the the front to the furtherest point at the rear (with beds popped out)
|Length from the middle of the front awning arm to the middle of the rear awning arm
|Length from furtherest point at the front of the tow vehicle to the furtherest point at the rear of the caravan
For more detail on how to work out each measurement, head to the How to Measure Caravan Lengths article.
Knowing the height of your caravan is not a dimension you want to ignore.
When measuring, take the tape measure from the ground (not the bottom of the caravan body), right up to the tallest point on the roof. Don’t forget to include the air conditioning unit, solar panels and TV aerial.
Caravan heights in Australia must not exceed 4.3 metres.
HANDY TIP – Write down the height of your caravan and sticky tape it to your dash or onto the driver’s visor, so that if you find yourself needing to know how tall your set-up is in a hurry on the road, it’s easily accessible.
Reasons for knowing your caravan’s height:
- Parking areas (if they’ve got height bars, I wouldn’t even attempt it!)
- Low bridges
- Storage (backyards, carports, low hanging trees etc.)
The caravan width can be found by measuring across the back of the caravan body from the furtherest point on the left-hand-side, to the furtherest point on the right-hand-side.
The maximum legal caravan width in Australia is 2.5 metres.
Things that must be included when measuring the caravan’s width:
- Rear bumper bar
- Wheel guards
For the full run down, take a look at my article on the Average Caravan Width Australia where the model lengths of 40 manufacturers are compared.
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
Knowing all of the various towing weights are the most important caravan dimensions to understand.
Caravan Towing Weights you absolutely must know:
- Vehicle Tare Weight
- Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM)
- Caravan Tare Weight
- Gross Trailer Mass (GTM)
- Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM)
- Gross Combination Mass (GCM)
- Tow Ball Weight (TBW)
VEHICLE TARE WEIGHT
Weight of empty vehicle with all fluids but only 10L of fuel. This is what the car weighs as it rolls out of the factory without passengers, luggage or accessories.
GROSS VEHICLE MASS (GVM)
Maximum allowable weight of the vehicle as set by the manufacturer. This includes all passengers, luggage, fuel and accessories.
CARAVAN TARE WEIGHT
Weight of caravan as it rolls out of the factory (including factory-fitted accessories). Water tanks and gas cylinders must be empty and no luggage or additional accessories are included in this weight.
GROSS TRAILER MASS (GTM)
Maximum allowable weight of fully loaded caravan when hitched up to the tow vehicle. The GTM is the maximum axle load that your caravan can carry, as specified by the manufacturer. Includes luggage, accessories and passengers.
AGGREGATE TRAILER MASS (ATM)
Maximum allowable weight of fully loaded caravan when unhitched from the tow vehicle. This is set by the manufacturer and includes luggage, accessories and passengers.
GROSS COMBINATION MASS (GCM)
Maximum allowable weight of car and caravan combined as set by manufacturer. Includes all luggage, accessories and passengers.
TOW BALL WEIGHT (TBW)
The amount of weight the fully loaded caravan puts onto the tow bar of the tow vehicle. The TBW changes every time you add, subtract or shift your payload (luggage, accessories, water, fuel, passengers etc.). TBW should be around 10% of your ATM and cannot exceed 350kg (whichever is lower).
This is the “loading weight” or amount of “stuff” you can put into your car and caravan. Includes luggage, passengers, accessories, travel gear, food, water etc.
Caravan Towing Weights Summary:
|VEHICLE TARE WEIGHT
|Weight of Vehicle + Oil & Fluids + 10L Fuel
|Maximum Allowable Weight of Vehicle
|CARAVAN TARE WEIGHT
|Weight of Caravan + Only Factory-fitted Accessories
|Maximum Allowable Weight of Caravan
|Maximum Allowable Weight of Car + Caravan
|Approx. 10% of ATM (cannot exceed 350kg)
|ATM – TBW
|GVM – Tare Weight
|ATM – Tare Weight
|Maximum Allowable Weight the Vehicle Can Tow
For a fully explained version (with pics) of towing weights, check out the Caravan Towing Weights article and if you’re ready to work out your own towing weights, here are the step-by-step instructions for How to Weigh a Caravan.