Recreational Vehicles built and sold in Australia are classified into several categories, and Caravan Industry Association of Australia collates monthly production statistics in all these categories from figures supplied by these manufacturers.
Tent trailers typically comprise a box trailer, used to store cooking and camping equipment, plus a lift-out tent for sleeping and living space. Often light and small enough to be towed by small vehicles, there are also off-road versions for rugged terrain.
A step up from tent trailers, camper trailers are generally more comfortable and convenient, but still easily towed by smaller vehicles. They are generally easy to set up, and provide generous room and equipment, usually including gas cooker, refrigerator, table and sink.
Pop-tops are similar to fully equipped caravans, sometimes even with en suite, but with a pop-up roof providing up to half a metre of the headroom. Their low profile reduces wind resistance when towing and facilitates storage in a garage or carport.
Caravans vary greatly in size and format, anything up to 10 metres long with up to three axles. They are often equipped with two comfortable berths, but can have up to six or more berths. Fit-out can be basic or luxurious, and some have slide-outs for extra space.
Slide-on campers are designed to sit on the back of a ute, pick-up or light truck and can have features similar to a caravan or camper trailer. They allow for towing a separate trailer and can be parked on built-in jacks to enable separate use of the ute.
Fifth-wheelers are towed by a truck or pick-up via a hitch similar to that in a semi-trailer – the “fifth wheel” – fitted to the bed of the tow vehicle. Usually large and luxurious, they normally feature a raised master suite above the hitch.
Campervans / Class B Motorhomes
Campervans – Class B Motorhomes – have a compact fit-out in a high roof or pop-top van. They can be driven on a car licence and used as a passenger vehicle. Equipment usually includes kitchen, eating and sleeping, with en suites in larger models.
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are typically top-end RVs, 7-12 metres long and 7-14 tonnes, with custom bodywork on a specialised RV chassis or adapted truck chassis. Usually fitted with all luxury amenities, they can cost up to half a million dollars, even more.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C Motorhomes range from economy to luxury models built on a cab-chassis with a caravan-style body. Weighing 4.5-7 tonnes, and measuring 6-13 metres, they retain the donor vehicle’s cabin, often with an overhead bunk. Slide-outs are increasingly common.