Caravan buyers guide - A guide to buying a caravan

Congratulations on your decision of buying a caravan!

With diverse landscapes and vast experiences, Australia is the perfect destination to indulge in the freedom and empowerment that
caravanning provides.

From breathtaking coastlines to parched red dirt, this country is ideal for adventurers seeking a self-contained holiday.

Yet everybody’s dream van is built with a different purpose in mind.

Buying a caravan is a lifestyle investment, and the wrong decision can be disappointing, so it’s crucial to do your research first to ensure that you make the right choice in van type and make.

We’ve created this Caravan Buyers Guide with you in mind. It includes heaps of helpful tips you need to guide your purchasing decision. We hope to see you on the road soon.

Happy caravanning!

How and where will you use your caravan?

Caravans come in countless shapes and sizes. With so many models to choose from, it’s crucial to consider how and where you will use your van. Why not come see ours at the next caravan show

Some key questions to ask yourself are, where do you plan to travel with your new or used caravan? Will you be using it for short family trips or an extended retirement tour? How many trips would you like to take each year? Will you be travelling on bitumen roads and
staying at a Caravan Park? Or will you go bush and stay in remote areas?

Your answers to these questions will steer your purchasing decision towards buying a caravan that best suits your needs.

Where will you store your caravan?

Before buying your dream van, a key factor is considering where you will store your van. There are several questions you need to think about if you want to keep your caravan at home.

Firstly, you need to calculate the maximum height restriction. Will your van fit if you plan to store your caravan in your garage or a shed?
A pop-top may be a better option if a large caravan has too tall a roof for your space.

Could your driveway handle the width and weight of your new van? Are there any obstructions, such as rain gutters or overhangs, making access difficult? When buying a caravan, how much space you have for storage is usually a major factor.

If there are barriers to parking in your driveway, have you checked with your local council to see if you can park your caravan on the road in front of your house?

If storing your van at your home is a no-go, you may need to consider using a storage yard for caravans. If you choose this option,
it’s essential to include any additional fees into your overall purchasing budget.

Whether you intend to use your current tow vehicle or buy a new one, it’s critical to understand the towing capacity of your car.
After all, there’s no point buying a caravan without a car that can legally and safely tow it!

If you plan to use an existing tow vehicle, you must fully understand its towing capacity. Check your owner’s manual for your car’s
maximum weight capacity and other critical dimensions, including maximum ball weight, gross vehicle mass (GVM), gross combination mass (GCM), etc. If in doubt, always consult your authorised car dealer for more advice.

Additionally, make sure that your vehicle is fitted with an electric brake control unit and that the wiring in your car matches your new van. Towing a caravan over your towing capacity is illegal and unsafe, but you can also risk not having appropriate insurance cover if you have an accident. If you plan to buy a new towing vehicle, ensure you factor this additional cost into your overall purchasing budget.

Check out our caravan towing weights dictionary to better understand how much weight a tow vehicle can legally tow. You will also find a breakdown of terms like aggregate trailer mass (ATM), tow ball weight, gross combination mass (GCM), tare weight, etc.

Once you understand what your vehicle can tow, the main caravan weights to note are your aggregate trailer mass (ATM), tare weight, and tow ball weight.

How many passengers?

Selecting your caravan’s size, style, and layout will largely depend on how many people will be living in your van while it is in use.
The number of passengers sleeping in your own caravan should determine how many beds your van will need most of the time.

Visitors, including friends, grandchildren, and older teenagers, could be accommodated inside canvas walls called an annexe or sleep on a convertible lounge. If you will be lending your new caravan to family members, consider what they need to comfortably sleep,
but remember to put yourself first when buying a caravan. Also, check if your caravan’s warranty allows you to lend to others.

Types of caravans

Most new caravans on the market are designed and built to manage the vastly contrasting terrain of Australia. They are typically classified as Touring (on-road), Semi off-road or Multi Terrain (Outback).

Touring

Touring caravans or on-road models are designed to be both lightweight and robust for effortless towing and stability. These vans are best suited for travelling on bitumen roads and well-kept unsealed roads, making them ideal for people sticking to major highways and caravan parks.

Touring caravans are fitted with an onboard battery and water pump, with the option of adding solar or an ensuite, which provides for an overnight stay and limited free camping. Compact, with low ground clearance, touring vans are an excellent choice for travellers with
mobility issues.

Semi off-road

Semi off-road caravans are the perfect option for travellers seeking independence and extended free camping.
These caravans are designed with independent suspension and larger tyres for additional ground clearance.

This makes semi off-road caravans great for travelling to remote camping spots on rougher dirt roads. Semi off-road caravans are typically equipped with solar and battery systems, fresh water tanks and side stone/scratch protection.

All Regent Caravans are semi off-road capable due to their rated torsion suspension setup. To enhance your Regent’s semi off-road
experience add independent coil suspension for additional ground clearance and a fully articulated hitch from our standard options range. Consider adding a grey water tank for National Park experiences.

Multi Terrain

Multi Terrain caravans are made to go bush, withstand rough unsealed roads, and allow extended outback camping. These caravans are purpose-built with long-travel suspension, shock absorbers, heavy-duty brakes, and quality off-road tyres.

They also come with an articulating coupling hitch for secure towing in both on and off-road conditions. Multi Terrain caravans are equipped with solar panels and batteries, freshwater tanks, and a grey water tank for lengthy free camping in remote locations.

Protection is provided through stone guards, strengthened interior cabinetry, and covers for pipes, tanks, and electrical components.

Australian VS Imported

Australian roads are generally well maintained, but driving conditions can become challenging as travellers head off the beaten track to remote destinations. Caravans built overseas are not always engineered to Australian standards or with Australian roads in mind.

These are commonly referred to as ‘grey imports.’ Grey imports often have lower carrying capacities, no awnings, no water tanks, or other features for Aussie conditions as they aren’t needed in their country of manufacture.

However, it’s wrong to assume that every import equals low quality automatically. Regent Caravans are semi-imported as a shell and chassis and are finished in our factory located in Somerton, Victoria. Regent chassis are solidly built, and our sandwich panel walls have an integrated aluminium box frame.

Every Regent is designed and built in accordance with the latest ADR (Australian Design Rules). Our vans are equipped with well-known Australian brands, including Dometic and Camec appliances. Australian vs. Imported? It really is a matter of personal preference. Regent Caravans offer the best of both worlds.

Choice of layout

Caravan layout options can seem endless, but understanding a few design principles will help to make your choice easier. Knowing how you will use your caravan, where you plan to store it, what you can tow, and your number of passengers will also help guide your layout decisions.

Kitchen

A caravan’s heaviest component is typically the kitchen. Appliances, cupboards, kitchenware, and pottery all add extra weight.
Because of this, the usual choice is to have a central kitchen layout close to the caravan’s axles for maximum towing stability.

Kitchens can also be positioned at either end, and you may find a rear kitchen layout in smaller vans. However, it is rare for a standard kitchen to be placed at the front as this tends to add tow ball weight.

Bathroom

A caravan’s ensuite is usually located at the rear, taking up the full width of the van. Some designs feature the ensuite in the centre.
However, this is less common as central bathrooms tend to take up space needed for internal wheel components.

A caravan’s bathroom can include either a ‘combo unit’ or a separate toilet and shower. A combo unit consists of a toilet and shower in the same space. The alternative is a standalone shower cubicle and separate ‘cassette’ toilet. Combo units tend to feature in smaller
caravans, as they take up less floor space.

Separate toilet and shower bathrooms will feel closer to what you have at home and provide more storage space.

Another option to consider when it comes to your ideal layout is whether the kitchen and ensuite will be located on the caravan’s ‘nearside’ (closest to the curb) or ‘offside’. Most people prefer toilets to be placed on the offside. This means you won’t be emptying toilet waste on the same side as the entrance door and awning.

Bedroom

North-South? East-West? Island? French? Caravan bed terms can seem confusing! For the record, East-West, North-South and French refer to the direction of the main bed in your van.

An Island bed is standalone, while a French bed is typically fixed to one corner. An Island bed in a North-South configuration at the front of the caravan is a popular design choice. This option provides space to walk and for wardrobes on either side.

An East-West bed runs sideways across the caravan and can be used in smaller models to shorten the overall length of a van.
They may also be used in larger vans for a full walk-around room, so the front or rear of the caravan may be used.

Alternatively, twin fixed, single beds can be an efficient choice as they offer flexibility for additional sleeping space for couples, children, family, and friends.

Fixed bunk beds are becoming a popular choice for children and visitors. However, additional guests can also be accommodated in an annexe or sleep on a convertible lounge.

Dining

Typical lounge area options are an L Shaped Lounge, Club Lounge or Café Dinette. A Café Dinette provides individual chairs with a trifold table in-between. This allows folding the table away for flexibility and extra seating space.

Club lounges are large, fixed U-shaped dining areas and allow ample space for entertaining, but they also need more room.
An L Shaped lounge provides for more floor space and the sense of an open plan layout.

For a dream combination, the Regent Cruiser range features a slide-out Club Lounge or bed, adding welcome space. An additional benefit of L shape and club Lounge dining options is that they can easily be converted into an extra bed with a drop-down table leg and
tic cushion.

Add-ons and options

There are countless add-ons and luxury extras available when buying a caravan, which can offer all the comforts of home – and
sometimes more! Before you buy, consider how you will power additional accessories and note that some options can only be added to your caravan during the building process.

Some popular caravan add-ons include:

Solar Panels

Solar panels are efficient and convenient. They are designed to absorb and convert the sun’s rays into electricity to help charge your
battery.

If free camping is your ultimate dream, consider buying extra solar panels to charge your battery/batteries and additional must-have
accessories.

Generator

A generator is used for converting energy into a 240v power supply. A generator can be a worthwhile investment if you plan to go free camping or need some backup power for extras.

12v Fans

A fan is a great way to maximise airflow in your caravan, especially if you’re without access to mains or generator power to run your air-conditioner. A 12v fan draws less power and is quieter and more affordable than an air conditioning unit, saving you money when enjoying life abroad.

12v USB

USB ports are a great way to charge all your must-have gadgets and portable devices. This is especially true if you are travelling off the beaten track with limited access to mains power or a generator.

Wireless Reversing Camera

Regent offers a fixed reversing camera that is wired to the front of the van. A kit is supplied that will need to be wired inside the tow
vehicle.

As an upgrade, you can choose a wireless reversing camera. This means if you change your tow vehicle, it’s super easy to just move the monitor without buying a new wiring kit.

Towing Mirrors

External caravan towing mirrors extend the distance you can see from your vehicle’s side mirrors and allow you to see past the van when towing. This makes it easier to change lanes or make turns.

As caravans are typically wider than your car, the wider mirrors enable a better view of the entire side of your caravan, making towing and reversing much safer. Towing mirrors come in various models and sizes, including affordable clip-on versions to permanently mounted styles.

Annexe

An annexe can include shade walls, roofing, flooring, or a draft skirt. An annexe can be used as additional ‘rooms’ outside your caravan. Annexes can be custom-built for your caravan or bought as freestanding units that you can set up as a sealed tent.

Bike Racks

Cycling provides a great form of exercise and is perfect for exploring Australia’s scenic nature trails and national park tracks. Bike racks can be mounted to your caravan’s rear wall, A-Frame or the tow vehicle’s roof rack.

Grey Water Tank

Most standard caravans are fitted with one or two tanks for ‘Fresh Water’. ‘Grey Water’ is different to ‘Black Water’. Blackwater is used toilet water and must be disposed of at designated black water sewage dump points and require a particular toilet system.

Greywater tanks hold the used water from tasks like cooking and cleaning. You may need Grey Water Tanks to comply with Leave No Trace (LNT) requirements or if you want your caravan to be recognised as a self-contained vehicle.

Additional Water Tanks

If you expect you will need more fresh water for drinking and washing, additional water tanks can be a convenient option.

Drop-down Table/Bed Conversion

A drop-down table mechanism is connected to the caravan’s floor and dining table, allowing the table to drop down on the level with the seating. A benefit of a bed conversion is you don’t have to remove this style of table entirely for an additional bed.

Leather Upholstery

Leather upholstery is generally easy to care for, will hold its condition for many years, and offers a classic look and feel for timeless style.

Upgraded Suspension

If you’d like to take your touring caravan over rougher roads and terrain, consider upgrading to Independent Suspension. A caravan
suspension upgrade can offer greater towing stability, a more comfortable ride and greater ground clearance.

Regent Caravans offer Tuff-Ride suspension. Engineered and built for Australian conditions, fitted with EFS heavy-duty shock absorbers, Tuff-Ride suspension enables you to take on unsealed roads easily.

Battery Upgrades (Lithium)

Lithium batteries are an excellent option for powering a caravan with lots of appliances on extended stays away from mains power, making them perfect for free camping or going off-grid.

Caravan Heaters

Many different aftermarket caravan heating options are available, including 240v, 12v, diesel, and gas versions.

Generally, travellers select a caravan heater based on their existing power setup. However, running your heater from a completely
independent power source creates uninterrupted and undivided warmth.

Refrigerators

There are two main types of caravan refrigerators available, compressor (2-way) fridges or absorption (3- way) fridges.

Compressor (2-way) fridges are like your home version but run on a lower voltage of 12 or 24 volts. This fridge can also operate on 240v power. Benefits of 2-way fridges include cooler and more consistent temperatures, including over uneven ground.

A 3-way fridge allows you to choose from three power sources – 240v, 12v and Gas. This flexibility means you can run off 12v when on the road, 240v mains power when parked at a caravan park, or gas when free camping for extended periods.

Quality Assurance

Not all caravans are built with Australian conditions in mind. You want to make sure that you buy a well-made, safe product that won’t break down unexpectedly and require excessive maintenance and repair.

Before you invest, it’s crucial to find out if your caravan’s manufacturer has a stringent quality assurance system in place.
Quality assurance involves a series of checks and processes to ensure that a manufacturer consistently designs and builds their caravans to the highest government and industry standards.

Regent Caravans are designed and purpose-built for Australian roads. The development of Regent prototypes involves extensive research around Australian drivers’ and travellers’ specific wants and needs.

Our quality assurance program also includes a monsoon test in our purposely designed and built facility in Melbourne. Our extensive
research and development, both local and overseas, is your peace of mind that all Regent Caravans are made for Australian families.

Regent Caravans are designed with lightweight construction material and to prevent unwanted water leaks and costly repairs.
Regent Caravans’ highly experienced production team is committed to innovation, quality, and attention to detail.

Our advanced QA team regularly undertakes internal and external audits to review quality control methods and compliance programs.
This ensures our caravans are all furnished with products using processes that meet Australian standards and regulations.

Frame construction

The future is here now. There is little doubt that aluminium frames are the way of the future when it comes to construction.
Aluminium is solid, and, unlike timber, aluminium frames are not susceptible to rot.

Considerable research and expertise have been invested into the design and production of Regent’s lightweight but immensely durable internal structure and body panels. Outside layers of fibreglass sheet cover a robust combination of aluminium extrusions and high-density XPS insulating foam.

Regent Caravans feature a thick composite panel floor to ensure maximum insulation against Australia’s variable temperatures.
The body is set on a DuraGal chassis to create a tough caravan designed and built for Australian conditions.

Government Requirements Australia’s regulatory framework for manufacturing and importing caravans is strict. Australia’s compliance standards are among the toughest in the world. Therefore, it is vitally important that your new caravan complies with Australian Design Rules and federal, state, and territory Government requirements. Without meeting this test, you may not be able to register your vehicle
to drive on Australian roads legally.

Non-compliance will also affect any potential insurance claims in the event of an accident. Ultimately, Australian safety requirements are designed to keep you and your family safe while on the road, so it makes sense to make sure your caravan meets compliance standards.

Warranties

When researching your dream caravan, be sure to check what warranty is available for the van’s frame, structure, chassis, and the
appliances fitted inside. It is also essential to ensure that the manufacturing company is reputable and established enough to honour any warranty they provide.

Regent is part of the global RV Daide Group, has been creating quality Australian caravans for over 30 years.

We proudly back our product with a 5 Year structural and 2 Year manufacturer guarantee for peace of mind. We have the best after-sales team in the business, linked to a nationwide approved repairer network. Plus we have an active online owners’ group to assist with
feedback and advice.

Before you invest in your dream caravan, ensure you are dealing with a reliable company willing to support you after taking delivery.
The last thing any traveller wants is to be left clueless and stuck when travelling through Australia’s Outback.

Maximising Resale Value

We hope that buying a caravan brings you many years of travel and enjoyment with friends and family. However, when it is time to
upgrade or sell, the condition of your caravan is vitally important.

Luckily, you can do a few simple things to maximise your van’s future value.

Firstly, ensure you buy a caravan from a reputable company that future buyers will know and trust. Check for media coverage, positive reviews, and owner feedback online and on social media.

You should also future proof your caravan for the market by researching features and details that will continue to be in high demand for many years to come.

Conduct regular maintenance and inspection of your caravan, even if you are an infrequent traveller. Check all interior and exterior parts and components for signs of damage and have your caravan adequately serviced every 12 months or every 10,000 km, whichever comes first.

Keep a record of your service history.

First impressions count, so make sure you keep your caravan clean, tidy, polished and have any marks or scratches removed promptly.

Make sure your caravan is covered and stored correctly when not in use. Keep your fibreglass caravan protected and looking shiny through regular waxing.

Finally, ensure that any customisations you’re planning are fitted professionally and that the installer will cover any modifications. Keep records and receipts of any additional accessories.

You can easily find the travel dimensions of any caravan in the Regent range at the bottom of their product page or by downloading a brochure

Why choose Regent

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