Each year here at Horton Common caravan site I get to see a wide range of caravans of all different shapes and sizes turn up. Sometimes a guest will discuss with me why they ended up choosing their particular make/model of caravan. It can be interesting to hear the different criteria that makes someone purchase a particular size and type of caravan. When it comes to small caravans there will typically be a couple of different reasons for that choice. It could be they are a single tourer and they just don’t need lots of space. They may be a caravan beginner and didn’t want to tow something too large for their first caravan. There can be lots of different reasons someone would want to choose a small caravan. So with this post, I wanted to highlight some of the best small caravans currently on the market today.
Below I will be referencing a couple of different makes and models of small caravans. However, please be aware this is not a ‘sponsored post’ or any such thing. I’m also not endorsing one particular make and model of small caravan over another. My intention with this post is to speed up your research process to find the best small caravan to meet your needs and budget. Throughout this post, I will be linking to my various other articles which should also assist you in your small caravan research. Before I discuss the some of the best small caravans available today I’ll discuss some important considerations. However, if you wish to jump straight to the caravans, please use the Table of Content below.
Introduction to the Best Small Caravans
In writing this post the first thing you need to appreciate is ‘small’ is a subjective term. What I perceive to be a small caravan someone else might not consider that to be the case. However, I think it would be generally agreed that its highly unlikely any twin axle caravan would be regarded as small. Therefore, there are no twin axle caravans referenced below. Furthermore, while I’m generally using the term small to describe the caravans below, some might also refer to them as ‘mini’, ‘micro’ or ‘compact’ caravans. What I also want to point out is that I’ve not included teardrop caravans below. They are definitely small, however, as I’ve already written a post on them I don’t want to reference them again. The small caravans show below generally resemble the common visual appearance of most touring caravans seen on UK roads today, they are just, well, small.
Teardrop caravans are definitely small and appeal to a lot of people. I’ve got a separate post on them linked above: Image – Amazon
To get an idea of the sorts of small caravans I want to discuss I came across a video produced by Caravan Guard when they visited the Caravan Camping and Motorhome Show. In the video below they filmed a couple of ‘small and quirky’ caravans which they came across. The video includes examples of small caravans by Freedom Caravans, Go-Pods, Trigano and Eriba. I will provide more details on these small caravans below and a couple of other examples.
What you will have also noticed from the video above is that the four examples of small caravans shown typically have an MTPLM ( Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass) of around or below 1,000kg. This is the maxium legal weight the caravan can be on the road with your belongings on board. I’ve also come across a video that CaravanTV filmed in 2018 on a selection of small caravans and an inflatable camping trailer. This video provides a more in-depth review of some examples of small caravans with the Young Tourers rating which they thought was the best small caravan.
What Do I Mean By the Best ‘Small’ Caravan
Now, in the future, I might write some posts to highlight caravans up to a certain MTPLM. However, for this post on the best small caravans while I will reference the MTPLM figures I’m not personally using it as a defining criterion. Why? Well, the term ‘small’ is a definition of physical size. You can get some caravans which have quite a large physical size but have a relatively low MTPLM figure. Lunar/Adria caravans being typical examples. Where Eriba caravans which I reference below I believe would generally be regarded as having a small physical size. However, their MPTLM figures can often be higher than several physically larger caravans. So I just wanted to make it clear this is not a post on the best lightweight caravans. Though obviously many small caravans will also be relatively lightweight.
Things to Consider With a Small Caravan
There could be many reasons why you are considering a small/micro caravan. Perhaps you only have a small/lightweight tow car and you are looking for a caravan to match. You may even want to use an electric tow car. Perhaps you want to store the caravan on your driveway, but you only have a small area to fit the caravan. It could be that you want to be adventurous and take your small caravan to locations that a larger touring caravan simply couldn’t or shouldn’t go. With a small caravan, its much easier to move/manoeuvre. Therefore it can be more practical for single tourers. Whatever the reason you need to note a couple of key considerations.
Small Payload Allowances
By their very nature, small caravans are going to typically offer lower user payloads. Below I’ve provided the unladen weights and maxium permissible weights for various small caravans. The difference between the two figures is the user payload. However, please bear in mind adding additional features/optional extras will reduce the remaining payload allowance. Now, for these small caravans its unlikely you would need to opt for a motor mover as you can easily push these caravans. However, additional features such as solar panels and adding bikes etc need to be deducted from the payload. And with some small caravans, they don’t have a lot of payload allowance to start with.
Limited Layout Options
With a small caravan, the internal living space is obviously restricted. Really, they all follow similar layouts due to necessity. The comments I’m about to make are generalisations, and may not be true in all cases. But in general, you will not have a fixed bed option in a small caravan. The bed will be converting the lounge area every evening. While teardrop caravans don’t have onboard caravan cassette toilets, all of the small caravans below do.
While all of the small caravans below have sufficient space to store a Porta Potti, whether they have a dedicated private space to use them varies: Image – Amazon
However, some do not have space for a private/enclosed separate bathroom, so that’s something to think about. Furthermore, whether a small caravan features a shower is another variable. Now, this doesnt mean a shower set up is impossible. When I was a child our shower was a 12V pump running from a 20-litre hot water container in the caravan awning while I stud in a paddling pool. My point is, always keep the limitations of a small caravan in mind when considering your options.
Reduced Awning Options
Due to the limited physical size of a small caravan in many instances, an awning is used to increase available living space. I would generally encourage anyone seriously considering a small caravan to equally consider your awning options. The problem with small caravans is due to their size typical ‘off the shelf’ awning options are unlikely to fit. As small caravans are generally much shorter in both height and width than a standard touring caravan, most awnings won’t fit.
Therefore, you will be restricted to purchasing an awning produced by the same manufacturer of the small caravan. Therefore, your choice of air vs pole awnings or different types of awning fabrics will likely be very limited. So while I think an awning is even more important with a small caravan than a standard-sized caravan it can be potentially trickier to find an awning that best suits your needs and budget. I have a post on best caravan awnings which covers the different types and sizes etc.
Best Small Caravans (Available in the UK)
Now I’ve covered the considerations above, I’ll actually provide details on some of the best examples of small caravans on the market today. Please note, they are in no particular order. All of the details below I’ve referenced directly from the manufacturer’s website. However, please check those details in case they have changed.
These small caravans are actually manufactured in Poland and imported to the UK by Freedom Caravans. They are available in a couple of different models/specs in either a 2 or 3 berth configuration. Its important to note Freedom Caravans are constructed as a single GRP (Glass Reenforced Fibre) shell. Hence, that provides excellent resistance to leaks. As such, Freedom Caravans provide a 25-year water ingress warranty for the body. Hence, you’re far less likely to be investigating around the caravan with a damp meter to find a leak. The Google reviews for Freedom Caravan are very respectable last time I checked. Below is a video that the Camping and Caravanning Club produced on Freedom Caravans back in 2019:
In reference to my comments above on the various considerations with small caravans as you can see from the video above Freedom Caravans do feature a separate/dedicated washroom with a shower. As discussed, this is not a feature you will find in all small caravans. Therefore, make a note of it if its an important feature for your needs. Below, I’ve highlighted some key features of these small caravans from the Freedom Caravans website.
Freedom Caravans Key Features:
- 2 or 3 Beth layouts
- Unladen weights from 580kg to 680kg
- MTPLMs of 750kg (850kg – optional upgrade)
- Stabiliser hitch included and 3-way fridge
- Bathroom with Shower, Toilet and Sink
- From £10,695 up to £14,495
As with the Freedom Caravans referenced above Go-Pods are also made from a once piece GRP shell. However, while a Freedom Caravan has its door in the side of the caravan its notable with a Go-Pod that the door is at the rear. Go-Pods have a pop-up roof to provide additional head height. The premium version comes with a bespoke awning and solar panel. However, it should be noted that Go-Pods do not have a dedicated/separate toilet and shower area. More information on the Go-Pod website.
Go-Pod Key Features
- 2 berth
- Unladen weight of 540kg
- MTPLM of 750kg
- Offered with an optional awning/solar panel
- No dedicated toilet/shower area
- From £10,995 up to £14,495
Silver/Trigano Small Caravans
The Trigano Silver 310 is a compact roof pop up caravan I’ve been aware of for many years. However, when collecting information for this post getting up to date facts on these caravans has been a bit of a challenge. For instance, the caravans used to manufactured by Trigano SA, a very large leisure company based in France. However, the Silver roof pop up caravan no longer appears on their website. They now appear to made by a separate company with the website Silver.camp. Furthermore, they no longer appear to make the very small and compact 310 range. However, there are sometimes used Trigano 310s available for private purchase. I’ve included a video that Practical Caravan did on the Silver 310 back in 2015.
Eriba Touring Small Caravans
As I discussed in my post on teardrop caravans, we once had a guest turn up at Horton Common in an Eriba Puck. The Puck is one of the smallest caravans I’ve seen in person. However, its unfortunately not produced anymore. However, Eriba still makes a wide range of ‘smallish’ caravans. They are high quality/german engineered products, so you will never hear someone describe an Eriba as cheap. However, as they not cheaply built they hold their value. Guests of ours who own Eriba caravans have stated they will not even consider a caravan from another brand due to their faith in the Eriba’s build quality. That brand loyalty appears to be pretty consistent with Eriba caravan owners.
Below is a quick video on an Eriba Touring small caravan from Practical Caravan. Now there are lots of different versions of the Eriba Touring, some with a dedicated toilet and shower some without. If you are interested in this premium small caravan option you can review all the layouts/specs through this link.
Now I must admit before writing this particular post I knew next to nothing about Caravelair Caravans. Furthermore, none of our guests here at Horton Common has ever turned up with one. After watching the CaravanTV video above which reviewed the Antarès 335 I wanted to look into it a bit more. Unlike some of the small caravans listed above, this is not a single GRP construction. Its a more traditional fixed/bonded caravan construction. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will develop a leak in the future. However, don’t expect any 25-year warranty on the body as is the case with a Freedom Caravan. I was able to find a quick review of the Antarès 335 which Practical Caravan filmed in 2016.
Antarès 335 Key Features
- 2 berth layout
- Unladen weight of 827kg
- MTPLM of 1,000kg
- Dedicated toilet/shower area
- Starting price of £14,495
Adria Action 316LT
The Action 316LT is a smaller version of a traditional touring caravan in terms of layout (side entrance door) and bonded/fixed panel construction. Now the Adria promotional video below references 4 layouts are available in the Action range. However, it appears for the UK market the only model available is the 316LT. It does feature a full washroom with toilet and shower which is notable. I also do think Adria make some good quality/lightweight caravans. However, as was noted by the Young Tourers in the video above the location of the fridge is not ideal. Being so high up with the open latch close to the ceiling that is going to be a problem for quite a few people. That’s not ideal in quite an expensive small caravan.
Adria Action 316LT Key Features
- 2 Berth
- Unladen weight of 985kg
- MTPLM of 1100 / 1300kg
- Dedicated toilet/shower area
- Starting price of £17,575
The Swift Basecamp is a small caravan that I’ve seen appear many times over the years in the various caravan magazines etc. I’ve not yet had a guest turn up with Swift Basecamp here at Horton Common, but if I do I’ll be very interested to hear how the owners are getting on with it. While based on a traditional touring caravan construction the door is at the rear of the caravan like the Go-Pod. This helps with the practicality and utility of the caravan to store bikes and skis etc. The build quality and price point of the Swift Basecamp are often cited as some of the key reasons its been winning awards. Furthermore, with Swift being a large UK based caravan manufacturer servicing and getting parts for this small caravan is not going to be a problem.
Instead of referencing a promotional or typical review video for the Swift Basecamp I thought I would include a video I came across for the targeted use for this small caravan. Swift is aiming this caravan at customers who want to go on adventures. Hence, the video below shows the Swift Basecamp being taken to a remote location in Scotland with lots of leisure equipment onboard.
Swift Basecamp Key Features
- 2 Berth
- Unladen weight of 904kg
- MTPLM of 1015kg
- Dedicated washroom with toilet/shower
- Starting Price of £15,990
Bailey Discovery Small Caravan Range
After Swift launched the Basecamp in 2017 and it received acclaim and awards another larger caravan manufacturer Bailey must have been thinking ‘we need to get in on this!’. Therefore, Bailey has responded with the Discovery range. Now, I should point out that even the smallest Discovery the D4-2 is large compared to some of the smallest/micro caravans listed above. Therefore the Discover D4-4 with its fixed bed and rear washroom is really just a normal-sized caravan. I only think someone from the US would describe the D4-4 as small. However, the 2 berth D4-2 I think can reasonably be regarded as a ‘smallish’ caravan.
Unlike the Swift Basecamp, Bailey is sticking with a side instead of rear door arrangement. However, just like Swift, Bailey is heavily targeting the Discovery range for ‘adventures’. Instead of bikes going into the caravan the Discovery range has the option of an extended A-Frame with a bike rack. Also, the wrap-around airframe awning is unique to the Bailey Discovery range. The below video from Caravan Guard is a walk around of the D4-2 and is worth a watch. However, I would recommend muting the sound, the music is very annoying.
I will also point out that the Bailey Discovery D4-2 probably has the largest washroom with toilet and shower you will find in any small caravan. Though I will fully acknowledge that the D4-2 is also just on the edge of being ‘small’. Therefore, as a result, it should be able to fit in the largest washroom. Full specs on the Discovery D4-2 can be read here.
Bailey Discovery D4-2 Key Features
- 2 Berth
- Unladen weight of 884kg
- MTPLM of 995kg
- Dedicated (and large) washroom with toilet/shower
- Unique wrap-around air awning
- Starting price of £16,199
Conclusions on the Best Small Caravans
So after reviewing the options above how are you going to pick the best small caravan to meet your needs? Well, first off with regards to budget, an Eriba is definitely at the ‘premium’ end of the market and your most costly option. However, an Eriba will also likely hold its value better than any other small caravan listed above. Therefore, that’s important to bear in mind. Obviously a key consideration is going to be facilities. In other words, do you need/want an on-board toilet and shower? If you don’t, that opens up options of the cheapest small caravans. However, you would also be unable to visit caravans like ours here at Horton Common which are unable to provide on-site toilet/shower facilities. Something else to bear in mind with some of the smaller/niche brands of small caravans is parts and service support. In other words, if the manufacturer was to go out of business getting parts to repair and service your caravan may be tricky.
Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope after reading the above and watching the associated videos you have come across the best small caravan to meet your needs and budget. I also hope in the near future you come and visit us here at Horton Common caravan site to experience our fully serviced pitches.