Top 10 touring caravans of all shapes and sizes for the adventurer that likes to tow
1 Best four-berth caravan
Adria Altea Dart
Adria’s Altea has been a firm favourite for years among caravanners looking for a high-spec touring caravan without a luxurious price-tag. Now the model range from the Slovenian manufacturer has been revised for the 2023 season, adopting a new exterior design and fresh, contemporary, continental interiors.
Our favourite of the collection, and a worthy winner of ‘Best four-berth caravan’, is the 622 DP Dart. It makes an opulent couples’ choice, with rear bedroom and longitudinal island bed, leaving the front living area undisturbed at night. But the washroom is located centrally, so should you be utilising all four berths, there’s no need to intrude on sleeping areas at night to reach it.
Lines are clean and unfussy inside and there’s masses of light emitted through the large front and overhead windows; storage solutions are practical and plentiful. And, importantly, Adria has kept the overall weight of the caravan down through its choice of composite materials while retaining its insulation properties to allow all-year enjoyment from your caravan.
2 Best caravan for couples
Coachman Acadia 545
Coachman’s Acadia model range has been around for some years now, but the 545 is a new layout for the 2023 season, and we think it’s a fantastic mid-range touring caravan for couples. It is a four-berth, if you make up the parallel settees at the front of the van, but thanks to the longitudinal island bed at the rear – in its own boudoir separated from the rest of the van by a door – this makes a fabulous tourer for couples.
There’s no requirement to make up a bed each night; and you can go to bed leaving the living area intact ready for the following day. The central washroom, meanwhile, with shower on the offside and toilet/vanity basin on the nearside, becomes a spacious changing area and extension to the bedroom.
Smart on the inside (and with Alde wet central heating and hot water for all-year use), it’s also sophisticated in appearance on the outside, with silver-grey external side walls and black diamond cut alloy wheels.
3 Best budget tourer
Touring caravans have become ever-more glossy, high-spec … and higher-priced in recent years, potentially pushing some would-be caravanners looking for a new tourer out of the market. But we think this fabulous Xplore 304 ticks lots of boxes.
The Xplore range has the backing of Erwin Hymer UK behind it; Xplore caravans are made in the same factory as its upmarket Crusader and Buccaneer tourers and using the same construction methods. It’s simply the lower level of spec that helps to keep the purchase price down. But there’s no skimping.
The 304 layout offers four berths in a diminutive sized caravan; at 5.54m shipping length (that’s the rear of the caravan to the front of the towbar), it’s easy to tow for first timers. Inside, the L-shaped lounge, which converts to a large double bed at night, provides cosy seating, while at the rear, there’s a half-sized dinette, which converts to a single bed with bunk above.
Despite its budget status, the Xplore range has Grade III insulation, making it suitable for all-year-round use.
4 Best family caravan
Compass Casita 840/868
We give you the option here, with not one but two layouts to select from depending on your requirements. Both offer excellent family living.
The Compass Casita is a mid-range touring caravan within the Erwin Hymer UK stable; this pair of 8ft-wide units provide extra living space, something you notice internally, but not particularly aware of while towing.
Both have the traditional layout of parallel settees and chest of drawers up-front. The 840 offers a separate wraparound dinette, which transforms to make two bunks at night in addition to a French double bed (and washroom) at the rear. The 868 has longer up-front settees in place of a dinette and has two fixed bunks at the rear alongside the French double bed, thus creating an entirely separate sleeping area at the rear. This is likely to work best with a younger family; the 840 is best for families with teenagers.
The same two layouts are also adopted in the Elddis Avante range for the same money. But, with the slightly darker furniture finish, and playful designs for the soft furnishings, we feel the Compass Casita is the more practical family van.
5 Best caravan under £20k
Freedom Carpento 310
Price from £18,995
Finding a touring caravan under £20k these days is increasingly difficult. Yes, there are still a few teardrops and micro vans to be found, but few full-sized caravans. The Xplore 304 (see above) is one – but Erwin Hymer UK has not yet released its pricing structure for 2023, so that may well change – the Freedom Carpento 310 is another.
Manufactured in Turkey, and distributed in the UK solely by Freedom Caravans, there’s an element of wow factor (or chalk and cheese antipathy) about the Carpento. Its external appearance is very different, with its large wraparound front window and curves far removed from the traditional caravan shape.
It’s all curves inside, too. The two-berth 310 has a pale-wood effect curvy front lounge, with shelving – all with rounded corners. The overhead lockers, too. There’s a soft, plush-yellow roof-lining while the – curved – seating, with blue and mustard yellow cushions is cosy. The washroom offers a small sink, with a Thetford toilet and a combined shower area.
In other words, you’ve got everything you need for very comfortable living inside. You may come unstuck if you wish to add an awning. But then, if you require additional berths, the 3-berth 360 (also under £20k) and its big brother, the 5-berth 410 (£21,595), will assist you.
6 Best luxury caravan
Coachman Lusso II
You won’t want for much residing in Coachman’s Lusso II touring caravan; this is boutique apartment living. The specification is top-notch – it’s hard to request ‘extras’ on the Lusso II, because they’re already included, along with every gadget inside and out.
Coachman launched the Lusso II for the 2022 season to accompany the Lusso I, launched the year before. The ‘II’ stands for twin-axle, making it a little sturdier to tow. It is, at 7.89m long, roughly half a metre longer than the Lusso I, providing extra space around the transverse island bed and a slightly longer settee to stretch out on. Otherwise, both vans have the same layout of L-shaped living area, mid-ship kitchen, then bedroom and end washroom.
At £47k+, you will expect the best. But we don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If your budget doesn’t stretch beyond the £45k mark, though, kick your shoes off to recline on the slightly shorter sofa in the single-axle Lusso I, for£43,560.
7 Best ultra-luxury caravan
For some, a white box tourer simply won’t do. When style – and a lifestyle – is everything, the iconic metal-riveted Airstream takes precedence.
It’s the Colorado that takes top spot here, though, as a statement piece. It sleeps four, but at 8.25m long and 2.5m wide, it is considerably bigger than its shorter and less roomy four-berth sibling, the Missouri. There are metres of floor space to move around from rear bedroom to washroom, through the kitchen to the living area, with curvy wraparound seating at the front end.
You’ll find premium fabrics, stitched leather seating, Corian ® worksurfaces and Duvalay mattresses in the living areas while exposed metal pipework in the washroom adds to the retro-industrial design to match this touring caravan’s metal casing.
Lowdhams, in the Midlands, is the sole UK dealership for Airstream trailers.
8 Best 8ft-wide caravan
Bailey Alicanto Grande Evora
The luxurious Alicanto Grande has been a huge success since Bailey of Bristol launched the 8ft-wide model range in 2019. Joining the existing collection of layouts for autumn 2022 is the twin-axle Evora, a four-berth caravan that isn’t too large to be a cumbersome tow but is spacious enough inside to be extremely comfortable.
The open-plan layout flows seamlessly from front living area, with sumptuously relaxing curved sofas including armrests, through the spacious L-shaped fully functioning kitchen to the bedroom and end washroom, which spans the width of the van. Both bedroom and washroom, however, can be divided from the remainder of the tourer for privacy should all four-berths be occupied. However, we believe the Evora to be best used as a luxurious choice for couples.
Little practicalities don’t go unnoticed, either; the Evora – as do all Alicanto Grande layouts – includes a wireless charging pad with integrated USB points. And, if you’re touring with a beloved pooch, you’ll appreciate the stable-door entrance, allowing fresh air in, while preventing the dog from roaming outside.
9 Best micro caravan
Some micro caravans are little more than trailers; teardrop varieties usually include standing outside to use an al-fresco kitchen bar and don’t include washing facilities. That’s why we rate the dainty Mini-Freestyle 290 highly from French manufacturer Trigano VDL.
It’s got all these things inside yet, at less than four metres long, tows effortlessly. It also looks stylish, with bold interior colours and coordinating pop-up roofs without losing the style of a traditional touring caravan. It’ll fit in a standard-sized garage or on the driveway when not in use, too.
Inside it’s compact but not unliveable. There’s a traditional parallel-sofa layout with dining table that transforms into a double bed at night. It also includes a good-sized kitchen area with hob, sink and full-size fridge. Plus, you also claim a washroom with toilet, handbasin and sink.
Mini-Freestyle are imported into the UK by Raclet Ltd.
10 Best two-berth caravan
Swift Basecamp 2
Price from £23,995
First things first, Swift don’t like to call the Basecamp a caravan – the unit doesn’t appear under ‘caravans’ on its website. Instead, the UK’s largest leisure vehicle manufacturer prefers to call it a crossover camping vehicle. For the fact the Basecamp sits on a towable chassis, it’s built similarly to a caravan, and you can sleep in it, we regard it as a caravan for the purposes of being featured here, not least because we consider it to be the best two-berth available.
Of course, there are many fabulous two-berth touring caravans manufactured, some with really decent budget price tags, others with all the luxury and comfortable furnishings manufacturers have at their disposal. But there’s no doubt the Basecamp is different.
We won’t pretend it’s luxurious – unless your alternative adventure is lying on the stony ground in a thin sleeping bag, in which case ‘luxury’ is relative. But, adventure is the focus for the Basecamp. It is a utility vehicle, designed for activity rather than copious comfort and lounging. Step in after a hard day’s cycling or canoeing – with space to park your bike or canoe – and you’ll appreciate lying out on the sofa that’s rugged enough to accept you’re wet through but more comfortable than that stony bit of ground.
The Basecamp is lightweight enough to be towed by almost any family car and, new for 2023 (in addition to a new internal colour scheme), are better shock absorbers to improve towing stability. On the roof is a 100W solar panel so that you can head off-grid when your favourite campsite is miles from the nearest electric hook-up. Its wide rear door allows easy access for your equipment, and the opportunity to tinker on your bike in the evening, indoors.
For extra living or storage space, you can add a Vango awning, specially designed for the Basecamp.