It’s hard to argue with ‘try before you buy’, but should you rent instead of buying a caravan?

The old adage of ‘try before you buy’ applies to most big-ticket purchases, and caravans are no exception. But the question is, should you rent instead of buying a caravan? There are strong arguments for and against, so we’ve compiled the pros and cons to help you decide.

RENT OR BUY A CARAVAN?

Should you

BUYING A CARAVAN
Caravans are personal. A caravan is essentially a bedroom on wheels with a kitchen and, usually, an ensuite. The benefit of caravanning over staying in hotels or resorts is that you get to take your home-away-from-home with you. It’s YOUR space, customised to your preference and loaded with your favourite things that make you feel comfortable and safe, just like home.

With this in mind, it’s little wonder people pore over new caravans at shows and in sale yards, trying to find the one that not only suits their purposes but feels most like their own personal home-away-from-home. They’ll likely pay more than the average Australian’s yearly salary for it, usually further indebting themselves to do so. They’ll take it home, load it with the gear of their choice and have it ready in the yard for whenever the mood strikes them to go away. It’s the perfect marriage of homely familiarity and travel.

GUIDE Caravans: Rent or buy?

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARAVAN
But it’s not quite that simple. Buying a caravan is a complicated undertaking, with much to consider. How big should it be? How many berths? Can it go off-road? What’s the legal towing capacity of your vehicle? Can you afford to buy a new towing vehicle? What type? Can the van legally carry all the gear you want to take away with you? Will you be staying in caravan parks or at free camps? What’s the van’s capacity for self-sufficiency? What’s your budget? Do you need all the bells and whistles, or do you prioritise build quality? What brand should you buy? What are that brand’s warranty terms? What’s the resale value like?

Buying a caravan is a real choose-your-own-adventure, and those coming into it new are often completely unprepared for just how many variables there are, how many factors to consider in order to spend wisely, travel happily and, most importantly, stay safe. The Caravan Council of Australia (CCA) has compiled a pre-purchase checklist for those in the market for a caravan and has kindly shared it with us to share with you (find the download link at the end of this article). Yes, it’s detailed. Yes, you should consider every question before you even start shopping, and certainly before you buy. Yes, it will very likely cost you decent money to get the van you want and the towing vehicle that can handle it safely and legally.

BELOW Consumer shows are the happy hunting ground for many on the lookout for a new RV

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

BUYER’S REMORSE
The Australian caravan market is saturated, and therefore extremely competitive. A large number of caravan sales occur at caravan shows, which unfortunately can be overwhelming, confusing places for the ill-prepared. The CCA reports an increase in the number of caravan owners who feel they were sold something they didn’t really want as a result of having not done their homework properly.

But ultimately, if you research well and buy wisely, you’ll likely end up with a caravan that is ideally suited to your unique purposes. It’ll have your favourite linen on the beds, your towels in the bathroom, your pots, pans and knives in the kitchen. It’s your home-away-from-home that no one else has slept, toileted or grilled lamb chops in. You’ll love it like you love your actual home, which is one of the best things about caravanning.

BELOW Competition and choice, two things that the consumer demands but doesn't always enjoy having to deal with!

“There’s the adventure of hitting the road, visiting new towns and setting up in amazing locations beside beaches, lakes and mountains.”

WHY LOOK AT A SIX WHEELER CONVERSION FOR YOUR RIG?

Neil and his dog Zena needed to increase their carrying capacity for extended touring around Australia...

  • Improved safety & legal compliance
  • Increased GCM - up to 8,995kg*
  • Up to 4.5t towing capacity
  • Better fuel economy
  • Improved ride
  • Better off-road ability in most conditions
4X4-Great...
6 Wheeler-Better!

CONVERT TODAY! TOW MORE. CARRY MORE.

Call the 6 wheeler experts today on 07 4662 5424 or visit www.sixwheeler.com.au

(*figures vary by model)

RENTING A CARAVAN
Renting a caravan has obvious benefits, too. Namely, you don’t have to outlay tens of thousands of dollars in order to enjoy the caravanning lifestyle. After all, there’s more to caravanning than just feeling like you get to holiday in your own private home-away-from-home. There’s the adventure of hitting the road, visiting new towns and setting up in amazing locations beside beaches, lakes and mountains. There’s love of the outdoors, of campfires, toasted marshmallows and stargazing. There’s the intimacy of sharing a small space with those you love most, and the novelty and fun associated with the fact that space is on wheels, and you can put it wherever you like. You don’t have to own a caravan to reap those considerable rewards. So, the question begs, why would you?

BELOW We search for freedom when camping, and some like to pay little to do it. So is renting the answer to minimal outlay?

MIX, MATCH AND SPEND LESS
Renting means you can sample multiple varieties of caravans to suit whatever your plans happen to be for that particular trip. Heading off-road with your partner? Rent a compact, lightweight off-road van. Going down the coast for two weeks with the extended family to your favourite beachside caravan park? Rent a larger family van with space to spread out on those lazy summer afternoons. Only have access to an SUV tow vehicle? Rent a lightweight, on-road van. Just as no two adventures are the same, neither are your requirements when it comes to the appropriate caravan. Renting allows that flexibility.

It also means you don’t have to worry about overheads like registration, insurance, servicing, storage and maintenance. These costs quickly add up, and begin to seem pointless for people who don’t get to use their van very often. When you rent a caravan, you only pay for what you actually use. If in a particular year you could only get away for a few weekends and/or a week or two in the summer holidays, you wouldn’t have wasted a year’s worth of upkeep on a quickly depreciating asset.

BELOW With renting, you can choose a different van to suit your holiday - like you would with hotels, etc.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Even if you do plan to buy a caravan eventually, renting first has multiple benefits.

First and foremost, you’ll get to decide if you actually like caravanning before you commit your money to it. It’s not all romantic sunsets and seaside whimsy, after all. There’s some hard work involved. Anyone who has ever made use of a dump point can attest to the fact it ain’t all glamour.

Secondly, you’ll be able to try different types of caravans to narrow down what style works best for you, from a single axle compact van to a tandem axle off-road family tourer or anywhere in between. You might be able to narrow it down to a particular brand, or even a specific model, based off your lived experience having used the caravan. It won’t always be possible to rent specific models, but it’s a great starting point informed by lived experience.

BELOW Having tried it you may want to buy it, or not, but you'll have first-hand knowledge to make the choice

  • Must be booked in advance (no spontaneous weekends)
  • Van is in used and possibly well-worn condition
  • Limited pick-up/drop-off locations outside major cities

RENTING A CARAVAN

  • Try a range of styles before you buy
  • Rent the right style of van for any particular trip
  • Only pay for the time you spend actually caravanning
  • No overhead costs

PROS:

CONS:

  • You must also have a suitable tow vehicle
  • Hard to find the right van in a dense market
  • Depreciating asset
  • Ongoing overhead costs (rego, insurance, storage, servicing and maintenance)

BUYING A CARAVAN

  • It’s your home-away-from-home
  • Keep it packed ready to go
  • Spontaneous trips
  • Customised to your liking/purposes
  • Rent it out when not in use (Camplify, Camptoo, etc.)

PROS:

CONS:

MONEY WELL SPENT OR AN EXPENSIVE HEADACHE?
The CCA has reported an increase in aggrieved caravan owners who have purchased vans with significant defects including dangerous safety issues and major non-compliances. This can result in long, costly disputes with manufacturers and suppliers in trying to rectify the issues as legally required by the Australian Consumer Law. Unresolved hassles, unfortunately, can and do sometimes lead to litigation.

The CCA claims the image of the caravanning industry has been tarnished by these continuing problems, such that new regulations for caravans are being introduced by the Federal Government in an attempt to prevent such occurrences.

Such outcomes are of course unlikely, and with the appropriate level of research prior to purchasing a caravan the process is usually positive. That includes scrutinising the manufacturer’s reputation, warranty terms and aftersales support.

The upside of renting is that caravan rental businesses do their homework in a meticulous manner. Manufacturers who want to be in the running to be included in their rental fleets must ensure their vans are professionally designed and built so as to be able to guarantee full compliance, exceptional quality, safety, reliability and durability. They must be competitively priced with professional staff if they hope to secure this kind of business-to-business partnership.

BELOW Caravanning is a fun lifestyle, it's up to you which way you choose to enjoy it, but do!

If you still can’t decide whether to rent or buy, download these checklists and weigh up your options

GUIDE Caravans: Rent or buy?

It’s hard to argue with ‘try before you buy’, but should you rent instead of buying a caravan?

BUYING A CARAVAN
Caravans are personal. A caravan is essentially a bedroom on wheels with a kitchen and, usually, an ensuite. The benefit of caravanning over staying in hotels or resorts is that you get to take your home-away-from-home with you. It’s YOUR space, customised to your preference and loaded with your favourite things that make you feel comfortable and safe, just like home.

With this in mind, it’s little wonder people pore over new caravans at shows and in sale yards, trying to find the one that not only suits their purposes but feels most like their own personal home-away-from-home. They’ll likely pay more than the average Australian’s yearly salary for it, usually further indebting themselves to do so. They’ll take it home, load it with the gear of their choice and have it ready in the yard for whenever the mood strikes them to go away. It’s the perfect marriage of homely familiarity and travel.

RENT OR BUY A CARAVAN?

Should you

The old adage of ‘try before you buy’ applies to most big-ticket purchases, and caravans are no exception. But the question is, should you rent instead of buying a caravan? There are strong arguments for and against, so we’ve compiled the pros and cons to help you decide.

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARAVAN
But it’s not quite that simple. Buying a caravan is a complicated undertaking, with much to consider. How big should it be? How many berths? Can it go off-road? What’s the legal towing capacity of your vehicle? Can you afford to buy a new towing vehicle? What type? Can the van legally carry all the gear you want to take away with you? Will you be staying in caravan parks or at free camps? What’s the van’s capacity for self-sufficiency? What’s your budget? Do you need all the bells and whistles, or do you prioritise build quality? What brand should you buy? What are that brand’s warranty terms? What’s the resale value like?

Buying a caravan is a real choose-your-own-adventure, and those coming into it new are often completely unprepared for just how many variables there are, how many factors to consider in order to spend wisely, travel happily and, most importantly, stay safe. The Caravan Council of Australia (CCA) has compiled a pre-purchase checklist for those in the market for a caravan and has kindly shared it with us to share with you (find the download link at the end of this article). Yes, it’s detailed. Yes, you should consider every question before you even start shopping, and certainly before you buy. Yes, it will very likely cost you decent money to get the van you want and the towing vehicle that can handle it safely and legally.

BELOW Consumer shows are the happy hunting ground for many on the lookout for a new RV

ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

BUYER’S REMORSE
The Australian caravan market is saturated, and therefore extremely competitive. A large number of caravan sales occur at caravan shows, which unfortunately can be overwhelming, confusing places for the ill-prepared. The CCA reports an increase in the number of caravan owners who feel they were sold something they didn’t really want as a result of having not done their homework properly.

But ultimately, if you research well and buy wisely, you’ll likely end up with a caravan that is ideally suited to your unique purposes. It’ll have your favourite linen on the beds, your towels in the bathroom, your pots, pans and knives in the kitchen. It’s your home-away-from-home that no one else has slept, toileted or grilled lamb chops in. You’ll love it like you love your actual home, which is one of the best things about caravanning.

BELOW Competition and choice, two things that the consumer demands but doesn't always enjoy having to deal with!

“There’s the adventure of hitting the road, visiting new towns and setting up in amazing locations beside beaches, lakes and mountains.”

Call the 6 wheeler experts today on 07 4662 5424 or visit www.sixwheeler.com.au

4X4-Great...
6 Wheeler-Better!
ADVERTISEMENT
SCROLL TO CONTINUE

RENTING A CARAVAN
Renting a caravan has obvious benefits, too. Namely, you don’t have to outlay tens of thousands of dollars in order to enjoy the caravanning lifestyle. After all, there’s more to caravanning than just feeling like you get to holiday in your own private home-away-from-home. There’s the adventure of hitting the road, visiting new towns and setting up in amazing locations beside beaches, lakes and mountains. There’s love of the outdoors, of campfires, toasted marshmallows and stargazing. There’s the intimacy of sharing a small space with those you love most, and the novelty and fun associated with the fact that space is on wheels, and you can put it wherever you like. You don’t have to own a caravan to reap those considerable rewards. So, the question begs, why would you?

BELOW We search for freedom when camping, and some like to pay little to do it. So is renting the answer to minimal outlay?

MIX, MATCH AND SPEND LESS
Renting means you can sample multiple varieties of caravans to suit whatever your plans happen to be for that particular trip. Heading off-road with your partner? Rent a compact, lightweight off-road van. Going down the coast for two weeks with the extended family to your favourite beachside caravan park? Rent a larger family van with space to spread out on those lazy summer afternoons. Only have access to an SUV tow vehicle? Rent a lightweight, on-road van. Just as no two adventures are the same, neither are your requirements when it comes to the appropriate caravan. Renting allows that flexibility.

It also means you don’t have to worry about overheads like registration, insurance, servicing, storage and maintenance. These costs quickly add up, and begin to seem pointless for people who don’t get to use their van very often. When you rent a caravan, you only pay for what you actually use. If in a particular year you could only get away for a few weekends and/or a week or two in the summer holidays, you wouldn’t have wasted a year’s worth of upkeep on a quickly depreciating asset.

BELOW With renting, you can choose a different van to suit your holiday - like you would with hotels, etc.

TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Even if you do plan to buy a caravan eventually, renting first has multiple benefits.

First and foremost, you’ll get to decide if you actually like caravanning before you commit your money to it. It’s not all romantic sunsets and seaside whimsy, after all. There’s some hard work involved. Anyone who has ever made use of a dump point can attest to the fact it ain’t all glamour.

Secondly, you’ll be able to try different types of caravans to narrow down what style works best for you, from a single axle compact van to a tandem axle off-road family tourer or anywhere in between. You might be able to narrow it down to a particular brand, or even a specific model, based off your lived experience having used the caravan. It won’t always be possible to rent specific models, but it’s a great starting point informed by lived experience.

BELOW Having tried it you may want to buy it, or not, but you'll have first-hand knowledge to make the choice

  • You must also have a suitable tow vehicle
  • Hard to find the right van in a dense market
  • Depreciating asset
  • Ongoing overhead costs (rego, insurance, storage, servicing and maintenance)

BUYING A CARAVAN

  • It’s your home-away-from-home
  • Keep it packed ready to go
  • Spontaneous trips
  • Customised to your liking/purposes
  • Rent it out when not in use (Camplify, Camptoo, etc.)

PROS:

CONS:

  • Must be booked in advance (no spontaneous weekends)
  • Van is in used and possibly well-worn condition
  • Limited pick-up/drop-off locations outside major cities

RENTING A CARAVAN

  • Try a range of styles before you buy
  • Rent the right style of van for any particular trip
  • Only pay for the time you spend actually caravanning
  • No overhead costs

PROS:

CONS:

MONEY WELL SPENT OR AN EXPENSIVE HEADACHE?
The CCA has reported an increase in aggrieved caravan owners who have purchased vans with significant defects including dangerous safety issues and major non-compliances. This can result in long, costly disputes with manufacturers and suppliers in trying to rectify the issues as legally required by the Australian Consumer Law. Unresolved hassles, unfortunately, can and do sometimes lead to litigation.

The CCA claims the image of the caravanning industry has been tarnished by these continuing problems, such that new regulations for caravans are being introduced by the Federal Government in an attempt to prevent such occurrences.

Such outcomes are of course unlikely, and with the appropriate level of research prior to purchasing a caravan the process is usually positive. That includes scrutinising the manufacturer’s reputation, warranty terms and aftersales support.

The upside of renting is that caravan rental businesses do their homework in a meticulous manner. Manufacturers who want to be in the running to be included in their rental fleets must ensure their vans are professionally designed and built so as to be able to guarantee full compliance, exceptional quality, safety, reliability and durability. They must be competitively priced with professional staff if they hope to secure this kind of business-to-business partnership.

BELOW Caravanning is a fun lifestyle, it's up to you which way you choose to enjoy it, but do!

If you still can’t decide whether to rent or buy download these checklists and weigh up your options.

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