I’ve previously written about the best teardrops and the best small caravans, essentially caravan’s with a weight under 1,000 kg. What I wanted to do with this article is discuss the best caravans under 1,500kg. This opens up the options for caravans of the most typical size you find on UK roads and also of the size we see most commonly here at Horton Common. When it comes to the average family car, a towing capacity of 1,500 kg is also pretty typical, even when it comes to existing electric tow cars. Hence, a caravan with an MTPLM (I’ll discuss what that means) up to 1,500kg is sort of the sweet spot for UK caravaning as its applicable to many people’s interests/requirements.
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Table of Contents
Introduction To The Best Caravans Under 1,500KG
What I’m going to do is present the various options below in the same format I did for my article on the best caravans for couples.
In other words, I’ve created different subheadings for different caravan layouts. For instance, no fixed bed, transverse island bed, rear island bed, bunk beds etc.
Now, please bear in mind this is an article on the ‘best’ caravans under this weight. Hence, we’re looking at the highest specification models under the 1,500KG weight limit.
If you are looking for the best cheap caravans I’ve previously covered several options you could consider in that linked article.
The obvious difference is with this article, all of the caravans will be under 1,500KG. In fact, the caravans them selves will be quite a bit under 1,500KG.
What we are really looking at is caravans with an MTPLM of up to 1,500KG. You may already know what MTPLM means and what it stands for, but if not…
What Is A Caravans MTPLM and Why Is It Important?
So let’s say you’re car has a towing capacity of up to 1,500kg, as I’ve stated above, that’s a pretty common figure for your average family car in the UK.
So can you choose a caravan that weighs 1,500kg, and it will be legal tow? Sure, as long as you don’t actually put anything in the caravan.
What you’re really after is a caravan that has an MTPLM figure of under 1,500kg. MTPLM stands for Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass.
In other words, the MTPLM figure is the maximum the caravan can weigh when its also carrying all your stuff.
The actual caravan itself from the factory will weigh what’s called the MRO (Mass in Running Order), also sometimes referred to as MIRO.
Previously this was just a ‘bare’ caravan, but now it will include the weight of a single LPG bottle and some other things. However, its important to note it doesn’t factor in motor movers and such like.
The difference between the MRO figure and the MTPLM is your payload allowance. You can click that link to read my previous article on the subject.
Anyway, the main point is, if your car can tow up to 1,500kg, look for a caravan with an MTPLM figure under 1,500KG.
Caravans With No Fixed Bed – MTPLM Up To 1,500KG
With this category of caravans, we are talking about a two-berth layout where the front seating area is converted into a sleeping area each evening.
As such, this layout typically has a full-width rear washroom with lots of space around the toilet and shower.
As there is no fixed bed with this layout, you can get a higher specification caravan and still stay under the 1,500KG MTPLM figure compared to the other caravan layout examples below.
For instance, above, I’ve included a review of the Swift Conqueror 480, which is fitted with Alde wet central heating, which is commonly found on the highest specification caravans.
- Example 1: Bailey Unicorn Seville, 2 Berth, MRO 1,289kg, MTPLM 1,415kg, starting price £26,599
- Example 2: Coachman 460 VIP, 2 Berth, MRO 1,319kg, MTPLM 1,500kg, starting price £33,090
- Example 3: Swift Conqueror 480, 2 Berth, MRO 1,210kg, MTPLM 1,477kg, starting price £32,495
Caravans With Transverse Island Bed – MTPLM Up To 1,500KG
If you do want to opt for a fixed bed in your caravan to either provide an additional sleeping area or just the benefits/practicalities of a fixed bed, the transverse island bed is one of the most popular options today.
Typically this layout, like the no fixed bed option above, will also come with a full-width rear washroom, but not always.
In some instances, the bed will be placed at the rear, and the washroom will be in the middle of the van and spilt, with the toilet/sink on one side and the shower on the other.
However, as I’ve stated above, to accommodate a fixed bed on a caravan while keeping the weight down means lower specification caravans compared to the no fixed bed options above.
For instance, on a Bailey with a non-fixed bed and an MTPLM under 1,500kg, you can get Unicorn specifications.
With a transverse island bed, the weight limit means dropping down to Phoenix+ specification.
- Example 1: Swfit Sprite Major 4 SB, 4 Berth, MRO 1,286kg, MTPLM 1,442kg, starting price £24,995
- Example 2: Bailey Phoenix+ 644, 4 Berth, MRO 1,240kg, MTPLM 1,395kg, starting price £24,495
- Example 3: Elddis Avante 554, 4 Berth, MRO 1,260kg, MTPLM 1,500kg, starting price £27,349
Caravans With A Rear Island Bed – MTPLM Up To 1,500KG
Another popular layout is a rear island bed. This configuration will have the toilet and shower in the middle of the caravan and split with the toilet/sink on one side and the shower on the other.
The obvious advantage of split facilities is that one person can have a shower in privacy while another person can use the toilet.
The downside is limited privacy when getting out of the shower due to its location in the centre of the caravan.
As with the transverse island bed layout above, providing this type of layout and keeping the caravan’s MTPLM weight under 1,500kg does mean compromises on features and materials.
Hence, the only options available are cheaper/lower-specification models.
- Example 1: Swift Sprite Major 4 EB. 4 Berth, MRO 1,320kg, MTPLM 1,476kg, starting price £24,995
- Example 2: Bailey Phoenix+ 640, 4 Berth, MIRO 1257kg, MTPLM 1411kg, starting price £24,995
- Example 3: Compass Capiro 550, 4 Berth, MRO 1,310kg, MTPLM 1,463kg, starting price £30,749
Caravans With Bunk Beds – MTPLM Up To 1,500kg
So let’s say you’re looking for a family setup with enough sleeping areas for 2 to 3 kids. Well, that will inevitably mean a bunk bed layout.
However, there is a couple of different means to incorporate a bunk bed as a converted sitting area or as a dedicated sleeping area.
For instance, the Bailey example below has a fixed bunk bed and a dinette which can be converted into a sleeping area as well for a five-berth layout.
Whereas the Elddis example below has no fixed bunk beds but can provide a bunk bed in the evenings with the converting rear lounge area.
Now, to provide the third example below, I had to cheat a little bit. The Sprite actually has an MTPLM slightly above our limit at 1,528kg.
You could still tow this caravan with a car that has a towing capacity of 1,500kg. You just wouldn’t be able to load up the caravan up to its full capacity.
As a result, keeping the Spite under 1,500kg would mean reducing the payload to 148kg as opposed to its full capacity of 176kg.
Then again, the benefit of the Sprite and why I’ve included it in this list, is its actually a 6-berth caravan, so an additional berth over the Bailey and Elddis examples.
- Example 1: Sprite Major 6 TD, 6 Berth, MRO 1,352kg, MTPLM 1,528kg, starting price £24,995
- Example 2: Bailey Phoenix+ 650, 5 Berth, MRO 1,244kg, MTPLM 1,409kg, starting price £24,499
- Example 3: Elddis Avante 585, 5 Berth, MRO 1,322kg, MTPLM 1,485kg, starting price £27,849
Conclusions On The Best Caravans Under 1,500KG
However, as stated above, its the MTPLM (fully loaded weight) for the caravan that’s most important, not its empty weight.
When it comes to the payload, you really need to know the weight of each item as you load it into the caravan. There are axle weigh scales you can get.
However, to be safe, as I discuss in my article on how to weigh a caravan, you should ideally take the caravan to a public weighbridge.
To keep the weight of the caravan within its MTPLM rating when it comes to awnings which can be pretty heavy, its often best to put them in the back of your car.
However, its not just the total weight of the caravan that’s important, so is weight distribution. Therefore, check out my article on caravan noseweights.
That’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope you found some of the caravan suggestions above with an MTPLM under 1,500kg useful.
Once you are set up with your caravan, hopefully, you’ll consider paying us a visit at Horton Common at some point 🙂
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