In this article we'll be looking at what the caravan industry is doing to make lighter, more aerodynamic caravans as well as looking at a few handy gadgets to help ease the struggle of some of the more difficult tasks associated with caravanning.
Swift group's in-depth study into aerodynamics
Anyone who has ever ridden a bike into the wind will understand the huge effect of aerodynamics on speed and efficiency. With fuel prices now at over £1.35/litre and the general cost of motoring on the rise, aerodynamics has a huge part to play in keeping costs down.
This [design] allows both caravan and tow vehicles to move with greater efficiency therefore using less fuel and creating less wear and tear on other components.The innovative aerodynamic designs created by Swift work by creating a shape that allows the air to flow more easily around the shell. This allows both caravan and tow vehicles to move with greater efficiency therefore using less fuel and creating less wear and tear on other components.
As an example of this aerodynamic efficiency, the Challenger/Conqueror model has 10% less drag than the leading competitor caravan. To put that into perspective, that equates to 19.2kgs less force acting on the caravan. That's roughly the same weight as a large fully packed suitcase!
It has been suggested that the tow car has a huge effect on caravan aerodynamics. As such, Swift group tested a typical saloon car, 4x4 and an estate car in order to draw relevant comparisons. The results of these tests have resulted in 5 patent applications on some of the design elements created by Swift group for the purpose of reducing the drag of a towed vehicle.
More information can be found in an 11 page report on the study. Download the PDF - Swift Aerodynamic Case Study
Venus light weight caravans
Lunar caravans' Venus range consists of four single axle caravans which boast being the lightest caravans on the market in the UK. With the lightest model weighing it at just 905kgs, these unique caravans can be towed by almost anyone. This is particularly handy if you're thinking of buying a caravan but do not want to have to buy a heavier vehicle to tow it with.
As well as being lightweight, the Venus range features an impressive specification. Whale under-floor-heating and rapid heat-up water are among the excellent features included in these models.
The kitchen is equally well kitted out with a three-burner gas hob, combined oven and grill, a domestic fridge and a full-width freezer section.
The range comes in four different layouts. Two of which are two berth models and the other two are four berth models.
Often the most important quality in a vehicle is its longevity or durability. In 2009, Bailey made a breakthrough in the design of its leisure vehicles - The Alu-Tech body shell. Since then all bailey leisure vehicles are made to this specification.
The framework does not include any external fittings which makes it more impervious to water ingress.The aluminium design of the caravan includes a five piece design which differs from the usual nine piece design all of which is held together by a unique aluminium frame work. The framework does not include any external fittings which makes it more impervious to water ingress.
The overall objective in developing the Alu-Tech design was to create a more weather proof caravan with added durability and stability. All this had to be achieved without adding weight to the caravan. Should there be any water ingress, a secondary objective of the new design is to limit the amount of damage done by that water. The inclusion of a composite plastic internal skeleton (as opposed to traditional structures which include some timber) has meant that damage to the structure of the caravan will be limited should water get in.
The design also adds structural value to the caravan. The interlocking aluminium structure contributes to the caravan's overall strength rather than relying on the floor and chassis as in other older designs.
Innovations in Comfort and usability
As well as major engineering innovations in the caravan industry, there are also some smaller innovations that add up to make a big difference. Read on to find out about innovations that just make life that little bit easier or more comfortable.
An innovation which has been around for years in homes has made it to the world of caravans. Elddis use Whale under-floor heating to save space inside the caravan whilst still keeping the weight of the caravan down.
Though the product name may be slightly questionable, The Streaker is a simple but effective innovation which aims to keep your caravan free from unsightly water marks whilst being stored over the winter. It works simply by sliding into the awning rails of your caravan and stopping rain dribbling directly down the wall of your caravan. This prevents streaky watermarks appearing and saves you a cleaning job when you get the 'van out for the first time in the summer.
The are not new to the market but they are never the less an excellent innovation and one that's made caravanners lives everywhere easier.
It saves awkward positioning using your vehicle or back breaking manoeuvring using brute force.Motor movers enable you to move your caravan around a pitch with greater ease. It saves awkward positioning using your vehicle or back breaking manoeuvring using brute force. The device is about the size of a bread bin and attaches to the underside of your caravan near the wheels. When needed, the motorised cylinder can be moved next to the wheel thus turning the wheels of your caravan to move it into position.
Motor movers can be an expensive addition to your caravan but if you're not as mobile as you used to be or you simply want to avoid some faff after a long journey it could be the best investment you ever make.
More and more holiday makers are taking electrical goods away with them. Mobile phones have been the norm for many years now but the addition of more portable devices such as laptops, tablets, digital cameras and handheld games consoles has meant that the demand for power in a caravan has increased significantly. The leisure battery in your caravan is likely to struggle to provide enough power over the course of your holiday to power all these items plus lights and other essentials.
Unless of course you could recharge that leisure battery. That's where the addition of solar panels becomes a real benefit. For between £100 and £200 you can fit solar panels to your caravan which will recharge your leisure battery allowing you to power all the gadgets you need for modern living.
As with many industries, the caravan manufacturing business will continue to come up with exciting innovations. Lighter, more aerodynamic, more homely caravans are being developed all the time. But make sure you keep an eye out for new innovations and gadgets that will help make your home from home more comfortable.