For many caravan enthusiasts, it is not enough for a caravan to spot the usual features. While comfort, space, and fuel efficiency are important, many caravan users want to take their holiday expeditions off-road. If you’re enamoured by exploring the less travelled road, the caravan’s chassis has to be designed and engineered to withstand the harsh off-road environment.
Herein, we look at features that a chassis must have to function effectively as an off-road caravan.
#1. Advanced Engineering – In the caravan world, the chassis is considered the skeletal backbone of the entire vehicle. It’s the foundation upon which the whole caravan and its features are built. As such, it is of utmost importance that the caravan is built to tight specifications while ensuring it has ample rigidity and durability.
As you can appreciate, it’s important that advanced automotive design and engineering go into the overall design of the chassis.
#2. Lightweight – One of the challenges of engineering a sturdy chassis with a strong frame and rails that are also lightweight. While the chassis for an off-road caravan has to withstand tremendous force, you cannot make the chassis infinitely strong and sturdy. Doing so adds weight, affecting the caravan’s fuel economy.
With the above in mind, an off-road caravan chassis must strive to be as lightweight as possible while still being fit for purpose. This means that the design and material choices should ensure the chassis is sturdy for off-road use without being overly overweight.
#3. Flex – The chassis should have some flex to it. While it might seem counter-intuitive to have a flexing off-road chassis, the flex greatly reduces vibration transmission into the cabin. As such, the chassis should have a slight flex to aid in off-road applications.
#4. Protection Coating – Most chassis are made of steel and aluminum. Steel is typically used in making rails, while aluminium is used in the manufacture of crosses. These materials are susceptible to deterioration when exposed to the elements. For instance, steel is prone to rust when exposed to the environment.
With the above in mind, the steel needs to be protected from the elements. An off-road chassis should use hot-dipped galvanised steel. The protective layer will withstand chipping better compared to a painted protective layer. Paints chips easily when repeatedly hit by stones, which you’ll encounter while off-road.
#5. Off-Road Suspension Set-Up – While this is not strictly a chassis feature, the suspension you use is still influenced by chassis design. An off-road caravan must use suspension systems designed specifically for off-road applications. The chassis should be designed to incorporate a beefier suspension system. The mounting points must be reinforced and fit for purpose.
Taking a craven off-road induces a lot of shocks and strains to the chassis and the entire caravan. It’s important that the chassis works well in that environment. Otherwise, the chassis and caravan will deteriorate quickly.
If you are on the market for an off-road caravan, check the chassis features to ensure it’s built for off-road use.