Single Axle or Twin Axle Caravan?

Single or Twin Axle Caravan?

So, which is better single or twin axle caravan? We’ve owned single axle caravans since 2006. We’ve always had a fixed bed layout. Our reasons for this layout are many and varied. Actually, that’s just a sound bite and not the purpose of article.

I think a single axle caravan, that’s one with one axle and two wheels (one either side) is the natural choice for a first time caravaner. In our case, weirdly, there’s mainly just the two of us that holiday in the caravan ( kids have grown up and caravanning isn’t as good as going to Ibiza – apparently. )

So, why after years of single axle caravanning did we decide to go twin axle, when in practice we need less space?
The main reasons we decided on a twin axle are layout and space. We’d been to the NEC show and looked at various caravans and really had no real intention of buying. We have talked about it and there was a few things with our caravan that we’re going wrong, it was getting on a bit and arthritis was setting in.
Our initial thoughts were the Bailey Pamplona, this is a Unicorn IV and has a rear island fixed bed and a middle washroom. We eventually decided that the rear bedroom was a little too “enclosed”, I’m sure some think it’s cozy, we found it a little claustrophobic, so eventually went for the transverse double bed, which I know some people aren’t keen on, but it gave us more room in the lounge  and that’s were we spend most of our time when awake!

Towing

When deciding on a single or twin axle caravan, you might like to know if one is better at being towed than the other. The twin axle Bailey Unicorn IV Cartagena definitely tows better than our 2011 Sterling Eccles Ruby. We’d owned it for over 3 years and had many good holidays in it. It’s a good caravan.
I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes the Cartagena tow better. It does have ATC, we have replaced the tow car, to a four wheel drive and it has some kind of “wind assist”. No, not my wind, Mother Nature’s! It could even be the twin axle alone makes it more stable. Previously we have a two wheel drive saloon towing a single axle and we weren’t happy with the performance when overtaking lorries. The car was powerful enough, but we suffered greatly with the outfit swaying a little more than we were comfortable with.
The twin axle tows fantastically well and I really have no complaints at all. I have written a review of our tow car should you be interested in that specific car, which is a Mercedes GLC 350d.
Selecting the right car / caravan partnership is important and ultimately effects the way the outfit behaves.

Space

Something that might make your mind up you when deciding on single or twin axle caravan is the available space. Obviously with a larger caravan you get more space, but the amount you get does depend on the layout. We like space in a caravan, I mean empty space, allowing us to move around better.
Oddly, you only gain about 60cm in length, however, in a space that’s already limited, it’s a big deal. You wouldn’t extend your house by 60cm, you wouldn’t notice the difference, however, if you’re adding 60cm, for instance to your lounge seating in the caravan, that’s a noticeable amount.

Manoeuvrability On Site

We’ve always used a motor mover. With the single axle we could just park anywhere near the pitch and the mover would get us on, no problem at all. It could turn on a six pence. We have a twin axle with a motor mover only on one set of wheels. This means the caravan can’t actually turn as tight as a single axle caravan. I’ve never had an issue moving a twin axle onto a pitch, I generally back it on and use the mover just to get it straight to make sure I don’t fall foul of site rules! It does take a bit of backwards and forwarding. Maybe splashing out of 4 movers, so one powering each wheel would help?
You can watch me get the caravan off our drive with only motor movers on one set of wheels here:

Payload

We all carry too much stuff with us, so you you’ll be interested in the differing payloads between a single or twin axle caravan…( The payload is the combined weight of all the stuff you put in, like clothes, food, deck chairs bedding etc )
Twin   Axle  Cartagena 160kg
Single Axle  Sterling     136kg

Fridge

A fridge? Surely all caravans come with a fridge, so why would a twin axle be any different? Well, this might blow your mind, not all fridges are equal, so hang on to the top of you head. Our twin axle caravan came with a bigger fridge, yes, really. In the Unicorn range a single axle fridge is 133 litres. For twin axles, wait for it, 190 litres! That’s 42% bigger. 42% more wine, or 42% more beer or of course 42% more food. This isn’t true of ALL twin axle caravans.

Tyres

In theory tires will be more expensive, just because there’s 4 of them, but it’s probably more stable if one tire has a blow out.

Price

Generally speaking twin axles are more expensive than single axles.

Here’s a comparison of two caravans from the Bailey range which are pretty much the same apart from one is single and the other is twin, this will give you a good idea. Firstly the layouts. Can you spot the difference…..I mean, really, can you? It is worth £2,300 of you hard earned money? The table below will give you a better idea of the differences.

Cartagena Twin Axle Layout
Vigo Single Axle Layout
 CartagenaVigo
Price£25,999£23,699
Shipping Length7.908m7.358m
Internal Length6.379m5.829m
Overall Width2.280m2.280m
MTPLM1682kg1499kg
MRO1522kg1344kg
User Payload160kg155kg
Front Double1.45 x 1.93m1.26 x 1.98m
Front N/S Single1.90 x 0.63m1.71 x 0.68m
Front O/S Single1.90 x 0.63m1.71 x 0.68m
Rear Fixed Double1.85 x 1.35m1.85 x 1.39m
For more information of the two caravans see Bailey’s website : Cartagena Vigo

Bigger To Wash

Last but not least, it’s bigger to wash. Mind you I only wash it fully maybe once a year, it’s not such a big problem and wouldn’t put me off owning one!
I also use a waterless cleaner.

Conclusion

Would I recommend a twin axle? Yes. Not everyone will need the space, but I don’t see any down side apart from the price difference, which, in my opinion isn’t that much. You might think it’s too much to pay extra for just 60cm’s or thereabouts. But for us, it’s not just about 60cms. It’s the larger fridge and the longer front seats with really do make all the difference for us.