If you’re in the market for a caravan that can handle a little semi to off-road exploration, then you’re faced with a choice of semi-off-road and off-road caravans. But you’re probably wondering, what’s the difference and which one is right for you? In this article, we explore the pros and cons of each type to help you make the right choice.
Semi-off-road caravans are becoming more and more popular these days as more campers look to explore remote areas of our sunburnt country. Typically, semi-off-road designs are based on standard caravans but are fitted with recognised semi off-road suspensions. They have bigger wheels and tyres and offer higher ground clearance; featuring either a 2 or 3-inch chassis riser to handle corrugated terrain.
At Sunrise Caravans, we use and recommend one of two semi off-road suspensions on our vans.
Country Road Suspension by Cruisemaster.
This suspension is designed for the explorer who wants to travel endless dirt roads in the Australian outback but does not plan on negotiating endless corrugations.
The ‘single arm’ design reduces weight and provides a strong platform to support your caravan. Cruisemaster Country Road Suspension features King Springs and uses 30mm gas charged dampers to ensure maximum control.
This dirt road capable lightweight suspension offers you the confidence to travel the vast remote areas of Australia and have peace of mind your caravan is well-equipped!
ALKO Enduro Cross Country.
AL-KO Enduro components ensure you enjoy optimum comfort, load carrying capability and handling across some of the most challenging terrains in Australia. Their system integrates seamlessly with modern caravan components such as AL-KO Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
For models featuring a single shock absorber, their product is designed for bitumen and graded dirt roads and suitable for use on corrugated roads of short distances.
Alternatively, for models with a double shock absorber, their product is designed for comfort and control on bitumen, graded dirt roads and corrugated roads; ideal for longer distances.
Semi-off-road caravans are ideal for people who want to do more adventurous and go off the beaten track travel. Ideal for those who want to travel dirt tracks but who will likely spend most of their time on the tarmac.
Larger tyres and better suspension allow for some semi to off-road travel on dirt roads but you won’t be able to stray too far from the tarmac. Being lighter in weight, they can also be towed by smaller vehicles.
Not purpose built for extreme conditions so can’t be used for extensive off-road expeditions where there are no roads or dirt tracks.
Off-road caravans are purpose-built to withstand the rigours of off-road touring. They feature a heavy-duty chassis; usually fitted with either a Coil Off-Road or Airbag independent suspension. They also feature heavier duty shock absorbers and upgraded brakes. Most models typically come with a 3 or 4-inch chassis raiser to provide extra ground clearance in situations where the standard clearance isn’t sufficient.
Off-road caravans are suitable for more adventurous campers who want to experience a true outdoor lifestyle in the Outback, far from roads and civilisation. Bear in mind, the upgraded chassis means these vans are generally heavier and will need a larger vehicle to tow them.
The Off-Road Coil & Airbag Suspension that we use and recommend at Sunrise Caravans is OZ Trekker by Road Runner Chassis. This family owned and operated business has been providing their chassis and suspensions to leading manufacturers in the RV market in Australia for over 15 years.
The Oz Trekker suspension boasts unique features, such as:
- 5 Tonne Suspension which can be upgraded to 4.4 Tonne
- Low Maintenance suspension
- 65mm Stub Axles
- Available in Single Or twin Shocks
- Fitted With ALKO Or Dexter Brakes
- Bolted To The Chassis Now Welded
- Suitable For All Wheel Types Inc. Toyota Landcruiser
- Available In Single Or Tandem Axles
- Trailing Arm Also Available
Tough and purpose-built for off-road exploration. Fitted with an off-road articulated coupling hitch which reduces the risk of the trailer becoming unhitched on rough terrain. Also comes with increased dust protection for harsh dusty conditions.
Heavier than either standard or semi-off-road-caravans which means a larger tow vehicle is required. They are also generally more expensive to purchase and maintain.
So there you have it, The choice really comes down to what type of camping and exploring you want to do. If you are looking to live the Grey Nomads lifestyle deep in the Outback, off-road is the way to go. If you just want a little off-road excursion along dirt tracks, a semi-off-roader will serve you well.
Follow Your Dreams to Sunrise Caravans.