The caravan industry uses both imperial and metric measurements. This can be confusing for young and older people alike. At CaravansPlus we receive requests for assistance on a daily basis from confused customers ... and rightly so!
The pocket guide articles below have been put together to assist those having troubles with measuring, and also to point out the pitfalls that we most commonly encounter.
Measuring Your Caravan
A common point of discussion is the vehicle body building industry still work in feet and inches, and thus the same within the caravan manufacturing industry. You will even notice brand new caravans are sold as 14ft or 23ft, and very rarely will a manufacturer point out the metric equivalent.
These caravan measurements are based on the size of the body only, and does not include a-frames or bumper bars. In some cases, particularly with a Jayco Caravan, it can be easy to identify from the model number found on your compliance plate.
For example, a 2000 Jayco Westport model 16.48-2 means it is a 16ft caravan or 4.8m with layout number 2.
This can be a quick and easy way to work out the size of your Jayco caravan without measuring when sizing up for your new caravan, or pop-top cover.
Alternatively, you will need to measure the two longest points on the body of the caravan as per the examples below. Please be aware that a few caravan manufacturers quote a measurement INSIDE the caravan that can be significantly less than the outside.
In most cases CaravansPlus have endeavoured to advertise covers in both metric and imperial sizes to make it easier. See our article here on Choosing the Right Caravan Cover.
Caravan brakes are sometimes conveyed in either imperial or metric, and for the most part, many Australian manufactured caravans will be fitted 10 inch AL-KO electric brakes or sometimes 12 inch, however it is important to realise there are a number of other makes out there.
As CaravansPlus primarily offer AL-KO electric brakes, we will discuss the basics of identification. The image below shows identification the AL-KO drum size can be done quite quickly.
The most important thing to remember when measuring a roll out awning is that the fabric is only part of the awning. You must always measure between the centre of the uprights, and never the fabric.
Rollout awnings are nearly always described in whole feet. This may seem daunting for those who grew up in the metric age (or just out of practice), however it is really quite simple.
If the measurement above between the upright centres measures about 487 centimetres (as we are commonly quoted by customers), then the easiest way is to head straight to Google and search '487cm to ft'. This will convert very closely to 16ft.
Box awnings are generally more of a European type awning, and as such are usually described in metric. The most common box awning that CaravansPlus sell is the Italian designed Fiamma F45.
These awnings can simply be measured end to end.
Common Metric/Imperial Conversion Chart
We have put together a handy Pocket chart which allows for quick referencing between metric and imperial sizes.
Please keep in mind that gas fittings may not always be the size they seem. For this reason, we have also put together a handy article