The Evolution of Caravan Construction

Since the creation of the touring caravan, construction has undergone significant developments over time. In the early days, caravans were constructed with a mix of wood paneled sides and treated canvas made by Australian mills.

Soft to firm hardwood remained one of the primary materials used in framing while canvas was replaced with plywood, often marine ply. Despite its versatility, wood has limited insulation properties and is susceptible to rot when exposed at length to damp conditions.

In the late 1970s, a shift was seen with the introduction of aluminium frames and ribbed aluminium cladding. Notable advantages were increased strength and durability. Nevertheless, aluminium frames were not without their issues. Problems arising from metal fatigue, especially in offroad vans subjected to years of travel on rough roads, resulted in cracks forming around rivet points and welds. While generally capable of serving its purpose, aluminium cladding can also dent with relatively little force and is particularly susceptible to damage from hail. Additionally, its insulating properties are minimal, leading to caravans being prone to extreme variations in heat and cold.

Composite materials, particularly sandwich panels are the next generation of materials for the construction of caravans. Their lightweight and functional properties lowers environmental impact by reduce towing costs through improved fuel efficiency. A lighter caravan allows for increased payload capacity, accommodating more amenities for comfort. Furthermore, easier manoeuvrability enhances overall handling and safety during travel and reduced wear on tyres and brakes prolongs their lifespan.

Lastly, lightweight caravans are more accessible to a wider range of vehicles, enabling owners to enjoy caravan adventures with smaller, more economical tow vehicles. In summary, lightweighting promotes cost-effectiveness, maneuverability, increased amenities, improved vehicle longevity and broader accessibility for a more enjoyable and sustainable caravanning experience.

Kerdyn™ by GURIT: a structural PET foam core crafted from recycled post-consumer PET bottles. Pioneering the future of sustainable materials in composites, this consistent extruded foam core is versatile—compatible with diverse resins and apt for various processes like vacuum infusion and thermoforming. Ideal for wind energy, marine and transportation applications, Kerdyn™ stands out with superior chemical resistance, adaptability to high temperatures, and low resin uptake. Available in varied densities and thicknesses, its hues might differ due to an extended recycling spectrum encompassing diverse plastic waste. Yet, Kerdyn™ consistently delivers on performance and sustainability. Choose the sustainability. Choose Kerdyn™. Applicable processing techniques include vacuum infusion, bonding, prepreg, and thermoforming. Available in a wide range of densities and thicknesses. To find out more contact Gurit Australia on 61 7 3807 3118 or