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The 8 types of caravan – which is right for your family holiday?

The 8 types of caravan – which is right for your family holiday?

Pop-top caravans, pop-out caravans, tent trailers. Who knew there were so many types of caravan?

“Surely there’s only one type of caravan” you must be thinking, the classic mobile home that you can attach to the back of your car.

Well, if you thought that you might want to think again as there are loads of different types of caravan. Many are suited for specific purposes or locations. Some caravans are very family friendly, others are more suited for a couple or exploring solo.

Caravans come in all different shapes and sizes and often the right type of caravan for you depends on your personal circumstances. Below is a list of the 8 different types of caravan, what you might use them for and who they’re best suited for.

Static holiday caravans

Static holiday caravans or holiday homes are the type of caravan we sell and rent at Encore Parcs. They’re spacious, have running water and electricity, and are situated in one of our holiday parks with amenities and entertainment on your doorstep.

Static caravans are great for families looking for a stress free holiday. They’re the most spacious caravan on this list and are often accompanied by outside decking to add extra room to your holiday caravan.

Unlike most caravans they aren’t easily transported. That’s why they’re called static caravans, but the benefits of having a home away from home, situated in a lovely holiday park with all the mod-cons you could think of far outweighs this downside in our opinion.

Conventional caravans

This is what many would call the classic caravan. With either one or two axles you’ve likely seen them being towed down a motorway in the middle of summer. Conventional caravans are perfect for small families that like exploring. You can hitch your home to your car and go to a different place every year.

Many campsites for conventional caravans let you hook up to their electricity and have running water but that isn’t always guaranteed.

They can vary in size with the biggest being around 10 metres. This makes them on average smaller than a static home so you need to like getting cosy with your family if you want to holiday in one of these.

Pop-top caravan

Space saving innovations have always been at the forefront of caravan designer’s minds. They’re always trying to squeeze in more room or more amenities. The pop-top caravan is a great example of this in action.

Built like a conventional caravan its one key difference is that the roof pops up to provide more head room for the people inside. The lifting roof is also lighter and the collapsable top means it’s easy for people to store in their garages at home.

Functionally, it works exactly the same way as a conventional caravan so it’s perfect for families that love the open road and trying a new adventure every year.

Pop-out caravan

If pop-top caravans pop up then pop-out caravans pop… out.

This type of caravan is great for big families. One or multiple sides of the caravan extend outwards providing more living space, whether that’s extra beds, a dining table, or more kitchen work space the pop-out caravan is great for families that want a spacious caravan which can be taken on the road.

Fifth wheeler

A fifth wheeler can feel more like a lorry than a caravan. The height of mobile luxury these caravans handle like articulated lorries or very large vans. The American Winnebago is a great example of a fifth wheeler.

What they lack in handalability they make up for in comfort. Many fifth wheelers are truly houses on wheels and need a skilled driver to navigate the roads as well as jeep or pickup truck to tow them. If you’re based in the UK a fifth wheeler might not be a viable option for a caravan as many of the roads are too narrow to accommodate them.

Tent trailer

On the other end of the scale to a fifth wheeler a tent trailer can be towed by almost any car. The lightest and probably cheapest option on this list, the trailer can be unpacked and assembled at your destination and combines the best parts of camping and caravanning.

A great option for those not wanting to spend a fortune on a caravan, the added steps of setting up and breaking down the trailer means it’s probably most suited for couples or families without young children.

Camper trailer

The bigger sibling to the tent trailer, a camping trailer is sturdier and has extendable tent berths at either end. Camper trailers are a similar size to tent trailers but are surprisingly affordable and comfortable. Easy to tow with most cars they come with all the amenities you’d expert from a mobile home.


No list of caravans would be complete without mentioning the humble motorhome. Part way between a caravan and a van the motorhome is great for couples or solo explorers who really like life on the road.

With a motorhome any layby can become your campsite and there’s virtually no setup time when you reach your destination. They’re smaller than conventional caravans so if tight spaces aren’t your thing you might want to give this type of caravan a miss.

Which type of caravan is right for you?

We’ve listed many different types of caravan in this article. There’s something to cover every budget, family size, and need. Which type of caravan you go for depends on what you want to do with it. If you’re looking for a yearly holiday home that you can enjoy with your family ask us about our static caravans.

Encore Parcs offers families and couples the chance to own a piece of Ireland, and create memories year after year with a holiday caravan they can call their own.