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All the tips and tricks you need to know before buying a second-hand caravan

Caravans are a huge recreational investment that are becoming increasingly popular as Aussies take to backyard traveling in lieu of international holidays. While most of us don’t have the luxury of spending all of our time inside a caravan, it is crucial that a vehicle is reliable and suitable to your needs when purchasing. While some may prefer to purchase a new caravan, 2022 has seen a delay in receiving new orders. These caravan production setbacks are due to the increased popularity of Australian-based travel. Due to the lingering COVID-19 restrictions surrounding international travel, many see caravans as a long term vacation investment that doesn’t require jumping through the loopholes of international travel. The increased demand for caravans has left manufacturers unable to keep up with the popularity. With increased popularity comes scarcity, leaving used items as the most convenient and affordable way to start holidaying. With all the different caravans available on the market, we’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks and hacks that you need to know before bidding on a caravan.
  1. What are you using it for?

This may be obvious, but more often than not, buyers will participate in a caravan sale without thinking about what they really need out of the purchase. Caravans used only for summer holidays need very different features than ones that will be partially lived in. Knowing your own plans will also inform the size of your purchase, the gravel at Cape York is extremely different driving terrain than the tarmac down to a local caravan park. If you’re planning on serious offroading, you’ll need to use this information to inform your purchase.

By making a definitive decision on how you’ll be using your caravan before looking to buy, you’ll save yourself the pain of purchasing a caravan that doesn’t suit your particular needs or lifestyle.

  1. Shop around

Caravan expos pop up around Australia all the time and make for a perfect introduction into scoping out models that could suit your needs. Caravan dealerships offer another excellent way to try before you buy. By taking your time viewing a range of different caravans and accessories, you’ll have the tools to make an informed decision before bidding on an asset.

Here are some caravan shows happening around Australia in the second half of 2022 -


Border Caravan & Camping Expo
Dates: August 26-28 2022
Venue: Wodonga Racecourse, Wodonga

Gippsland Great Outdoor and 4x4 Expo
Dates: November 25-27, 2022
Venue: Sale racecourse, Maffra rd, Sale
National 4x4 & Outdoors Show
Dates: August 19-21, 2022
Venue: Melbourne Showgrounds, Ascot Vale
Bendigo Leisurefest
Dates: November 18-20, 2022
Venue: Bendigo Racecourse, Bendigo
Melbourne Leisurefest
Dates: October 6-9, 2022
Venue: Sandown Racecourse, Sandown
Shepparton Great Outdoor and 4x4 Expo
Dates: December 4-6, 2022
Venue: Shepparton Showgrounds, High St, Shepparton
Illawarra Caravan Camping Lifestyle Expo
Dates: TBA (July 2022)
Venue: Kembla Grange Racecourse
Orana Caravan Camping 4WD & Fish Show
Dates: September 16-18, 2022
Venue: Dubbo Showgrounds, Cnr Fitzroy & Wingewarra St, Dubbo
Mid North Coast Caravan, Camping, 4WD, Fish & Boat Show
Dates: August 5-7, 2022
Venue: Wauchope Showground, Beechwood Rd, Wauchope
Sydney 4WD & Adventure Show
Dates: Sept 9-11, 2022
Venue: Western Sydney International Dragway, Eastern Creek
Gold Coast Caravan & Camping Expo
Dates: July 24-26, 2022
Venue: Aquis Park, Gold Coast Turf Club, Bundall
Let’s Go Sunshine Coast Caravan and Outdoor Expo
Dates: August 19-21, 2022
Venue: Nambour Showgrounds, Nambour
Perth 4WD & Adventure Show
Dates: November 4-6, 2022
Venue: McCallum Park, Victoria Park, Perth
Canberra Caravan Camping Outdoor Lifestyle Expo 
Dates: October 21-23, 2022
Venue: Exhibition Park, Canberra


  1. Does it suit your car?

For camping beginners, it may not be general knowledge that caravans require a certain towing capacity of your vehicle to get moving. Before you start browsing, check the maximum towing capacity of your car and only shop assets within a sensible weight range.

It is extremely important to know the weight criteria of both your vehicle and caravan, in order to travel safely. Transport for NSW notes,

‘While your caravan will have its tare mass, maximum aggregate trailer mass (ATM) and maximum gross trailer mass (GTM) noted on the vehicle plate and in the manufacturers handbook, it is important to weigh your caravan to ensure that you do not exceed these maximum capacities.’

Check out all the available information regarding weighing your caravan on the Transport for NSW website.

  1. Does it come with additional extras?

The best tip for purchasing a caravan is to keep an eye on assets that come with add ons. Additional extras on a caravan can not only make your journeys a smoother experience, it can increase travel comfort immensely and it can greatly add to the resale value of your asset.

The key to keeping within your caravan cost is to factor in accessories as part of your overall budget. Used caravans won’t always come with the optional extras you need, make sure to keep the price of accessories in mind before you start bidding. 

  1. When do you need it?

There are certain times of year where caravans become more popular than others. Because of this popularity and demand, prices can be driven up and the market can lack the exact caravan that suits your needs. 

To smart shop for a caravan, make sure you’re giving yourself ample advance notice before entering the market. Meaning, if you know you’re heading out on a long Christmas exploration, start looking to buy now so that you’re not stuck with a small pool of assets. In general, Autumn and Winter are the best times to buy a caravan. This is because buyers are less interested in planning their travels in the midst of cold weather. The less interested parties on the market, the easier it will be to access a great caravan. 

Ready to start bidding? Now with more tips and tricks under your belt, you may feel more confident to take the leap into purchasing a caravan. To get started, subscribe to our recreational mailing list to receive updates on the assets for sale out of our fortnightly caravan auctions. OR, simply scroll through all the caravans available on the Pickles website. 

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21 Jul