Pop Top Caravans
Travel, explore and live the dream in a Pop Top.
Pop Top Caravans are small to medium size caravan style with its fold down roof section. They provide plenty of internal space and are simple to tow behind your vehicle. The benefits of a lower roof height including reduced wind resistance, towing and easier undercover storage.
The development and subsequent improvements to the ‘pop-top’ caravan, with its fold-down roof section, have solved several problems which might once have discouraged people from buying a van. If you prefer – or are obliged – to store your van under a carport or in a low roofed garage when not in use, the pop-top with a height of less than 2.1 metres (7ft) when closed is the type you need. With the roof lowered, the vehicle’s height and therefore wind resistance is reduced.
The top section features a canvas, vinyl or fabric insert that connects the roof to be lowered for traveling and generally includes zippered mesh screen windows that allow airflow through the caravan. The task of raising and lowering, however, is easier in modern pop-tops, usually aided by gas-filled struts and often the addition of retractable ‘easy-lift’ handles inside to provide grip and leverage. The material used between the raised roof and solid walls, is not generally an insulator, therefore they are harder to keep warm or cool. The design also restricts the amount of overhead storage available.
Things to consider
- Easier to tow and more fuel-efficient as they generally weigh less and have a lower traveling profile
- Easier storage options due to their lower height, as most will fit under a normal carport
- The zipper mesh windows located near the ceiling releases the hot air therefore providing a cooler environment than a conventional caravan, especially in the warmer months
- As they are less top heavy, they have a lower centre of gravity and therefore handle better and are usually lighter
- There are a few extra steps to set up therefore takes a little longer to set up than a conventional caravan
- Less overhead cupboard space
- 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
- The door height may be lower, so care needs to be taken when entering the caravan
- Vinyl or canvas pop-top skirting provides limited insulation in cold weather
Preparing To Buy
Before you set off to the showrooms or dealers, take the time to ask yourself the following questions:
- List everything you want in the pop-top caravan then classify them into ‘You Wish’ & “You Need’ (This could include: Do you require an awning or full annexe; Will you cook inside or outside or both; Do you require a toilet/shower).
- Where do you plan to go in your pop-top in the next two years?
(Calculate how many trips and total distance. Also consider traveling on roads, off roads etc)
- Where will you store the pop-top caravan?
(Calculate the maximum height restriction)
- What is the towing capacity of your vehicle?
(Match the caravan to your car)
- How much space do you need inside?
(Consider how many people will sleep in it and storage requirements)
- What is more important: the comforts of home or economy of light travel.
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