There are four good reasons to consider a pop-top as an alternative to a conventional solid wall caravan.
The first is easier and more economical towing. As they generally weigh less and have a lower travelling profile, they are easier and more fuel efficient to tow.
Because they are less top heavy, they have a lower centre of gravity and thus handle better.
With their lower height, most will fit under a normal carport, making them easier to store.
But the fourth benefit might only become obvious when you travel in the warmer months or camp in the tropics. Because they have large zip-down mesh windows near their ceiling when erected, they are much cooler than a conventional caravan, as the roof acts as shade and hot air is exhausted as it rises.
Just about every major caravan manufacturer offers pop-top models in their range. Virtually all use gas-filled struts to raise the roof and more than 90 per cent have annexes that rise with the roof.
Pakenham, Victoria-built Goldstream’s range starts with their 12ft ‘Mini’ which weighs just 920kg, allowing it to be towed by most popular sedans or utes.
A’Van’s pop top caravans are fully insulated and their trademark lightweight design recently saw them voted ‘best value under $22,000’ by Caravan and Motorhome magazine.
Majestic Caravans combines the tough underpinnings of a proper off-road caravan with the convenience of a pop top design in its popular Navigator model, while Jayco offers pop-top versions of its Discovery and Sterling caravans and its novel Expanda range.
- Saves fuel
- Usually lighter
- Lower centre of gravity for better handling
- Easier to store
- Cooler in hot weather
- Takes a little longer to set up than a conventional caravan
- Less overhead cupboard space
- Because of their weight you probably can’t fit a roof-mounted air conditioner or solar panels, but a split system air conditioner can usually be wall mounted
- Dust sealing can be an issue if you don’t keep the seals and gas struts in good condition and the roof clamps properly adjusted
- With taller off-road models you might need a portable step to release the roof latches