Poptop Caravans

Poptop Caravans

Poptops have been a popular style of caravan in Australia since the 1930's when John Alfred Jennison built one of his pop-top caravans behind his workshop in Salisbury, South Australia.He was an innovative motor engineer and went on to submit an application to the Australian Patents Office for a patent for his poptop caravan design in 1935. Since then a lot has changed!Todays poptops are sophisticated adaptations of the conventional caravan and are an extremely popular option with both couples and families alike.

Poptop Caravan Design and Construction Today

Since the early days the poptop has continued to grow in popularity and as its design concepts have evolved and adapted, it is now able to include more and more creature comforts. They are built along the same lines as a full  caravan except that the roof can be raised and lowered. This is a great benefit when considering the reduction in wind resistance and this is the single most important feature with todays high fuel prices.

The roof section can be easily raised and lowered and the interior protection is provided by way of a 300 to 400mm skirting between caravan and roof, which is usually made of vinyl or canvas. This gusset enables a waterproof and windproof seal against the elements and is fitted with zippered flaps which when removed, provides great ventilation whilst also protecting the occupants from annoying insects with well placed fly screens.

The construction of a poptop caravan is along the same lines as a standard full height caravan.  The roof mechanism is aided by gas struts with many manufacturers now including easy lift handles.

Advantages Of A Poptop Caravan
  • easier to store
  • less wind resistance when being towed 
  • better fuel ecomony
  • easier and safer towing due to the wind being deflected by the tow vehicle instead of the caravan
  • gas struts and easy lift handles to help with raising and lowering the roof  
  • excellent interior ventilation

Disadvantages Of A Poptop Caravan

  • not as many cupboards - cupboards are positioned at a low level
  • a few extra steps to set up and pack it down for travelling
  • door height may be lower - watch your head
  • vinyl or canvas skirting does not provide insulation in extremely hot or extremely cold weather
  • may have more maintenance due to more moving parts

Poptop Expanda Models
Poptop expandas have become very popular in recent years and can come with either a single or a double pop out at both ends of the caravan and usually provides queen size sleeping quarters and much more living space without the corresponding increase in overall towing length.  They come complete with fly screen window sections and ventilation is excellent.  These models are quite similar in all respects to a standard poptop and are as easy to tow, store, and set up when you arrive at your destination. They have rapidly gained a reputation for being able to provide a lot of extra storage AND living space with some of the larger models easily being able to accommodate up to eight people.

Poptop Camper Style
The camper style poptop caravans are a similar height to a full-sized caravan when setup, but as small as a camper trailer when packed down. A manual or electric operated winch system takes care of raising and lowering the roof.  There is a distinct feeling of open space inside a typical camper style poptop due to the many large flyscreen sections.  Push-out bedding sections are also a feature that provide more living space for the family or the caravanning couple.  There are also off road versions available that have upgraded suspension and protective body panels to tackle the 4WD tracks.

Jayco produce a large range of campers such as the Jayco Hawk, Penguin and Finch. Of course there are many, many other makes and models to choose from with varying different layouts depending on your exact needs.

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