Off-road Caravan Design gives Lowest Running Cost with Eco Technology

Posted by Bruce Loxton

Jan 2, 2013 8:40:00 PM

Designing for off-road caravans to out-of-the-way places is more than an art... Design Guide off-road caravans sustainability it is the structured science of getting so much functionality for so little weight and making it compact and durable. Then add to that the importance of sustainability. Good design can yield the absolute lowest running cost that inevitably comes from sustainable technologies. It just makes good business sense! 

As a “passionate Australian”, with a love of the outdoors, we have set a goal to educate and provide technology reducing power consumption, maximising solar power & energy storage. We hope that this can be translated back to your permanent place of residence & the workplace.

That’s great, but the price of some of these technologies may be high. Is it worth it?

A NEW eBook spells out a comprehensive description on how to achieve the following:

  • Maximize the flow of air for natural ventilation
  • Reduce the need for portable generators
  • Avoid LPG based refrigeration
  • Avoid LPG based heating and hot water
  • Reduce the absorption of sun’s heat energy
  • Reduce power and heat used by lighting

Why adopt eco-technologies?

“Carbon Footprint “ is a calculation from a lot of variables to give a repeatable value for carbon released to the atmosphere. The level of carbon in the atmosphere is used to calculate the emissions by a country.

This indicates how much carbon dioxide is generated (and how many trees it would take to offset those emissions). Australia is ranked 10th in the list of emitters of carbon produced per capita. New Zealand by comparison is ranked 50. (2009 Figures by World Bank)

Australia’s per capita electricity consumption is about 22 % above the OECD average, while our per capita emissions due to electricity generation are more than three times the OECD average. The difference is largely because of the “high emissions intensity” of electricity generated in Australia from coal fired power stations.

Setting aside the complex issue of switching the source of power generation, it is achieveable for Australians to reduce their power consumption and close this gap. Reducing consumption requires education and use of appropriate technology. There is no “one silver bullet”. It is a number of small actions that together add up to a significant change.

Offsetting carbon emissions should be seen as a last resort; reduction in consumption is our focus as it reduces costs and helps sustainability. 

Looking to future generations, the Government have completed a report “Regional climate change projections on Kakadu National Park” : 

“As the park is very large and occurs within a region of extensive natural vegetation, Kakadu is expected, all else being equal, to be more resilient to climate change than many other smaller conservation reserves in Australia. The deeply-incised sandstone escarpment contains a spectrum of extremely fine-scale microclimates that has provided refuge over many thousands of years for species that are exposed to a generally inhospitable climate. Kakadu is therefore equipped to provide refugia for species that are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Kakadu is one of the very few places listed as a World Heritage Area for both its cultural and natural values. It is an iconic place of exceptional beauty and is considered one of the most biologically diverse places on the Australian continent. The park is home to 271 bird species (over one third of Australia’s bird fauna), 77 mammal species (about one quarter of Australia’s land mammals), 132 reptile species, 27 frog species and 246 fish species (Director of National Parks 2007). Kakadu’s wetlands are internationally significant and are a major staging point for migratory birds.

The projected effects of climate change in the Arnhem Land-Kakadu region include sea level rise, rise in temperatures, variation in the amount and pattern of rainfall, and changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events (Hyder 2008). A summary of these effects are provided in Table 1. These projections are based on high range or worst case global warming scenarios.

Climate change factor


2030 scenarios

2070 scenarios

Sea level rise




Annual average temperature

Max 34.2°C | Min 21.9°C

+1.3°C (±0.6°C)

+4°C (±1.7°C)

Annual average no. of hot days (>35°C)

11 days (Darwin)

+62 days

+295 days

Annual average rainfall


0% (±7%)

0% (±23%)

Rainfall patterns


Extended dry periods and more frequent and intense rainfall events


Annual average relative humidity


-1.1% (±1.9%)

-3.4% (±5.7%)

Annual average potential evaporation


+4% (±4%)

+11% (±11%)

Extreme weather events


Increase in extreme weather events such as Category 5 tropical cyclones


CO2 concentration






Download this eBook to answer this question! Table of contents for the 27 pages is:

    1. The Top Ranked Priorities for Sustainability
    2. Summary of eco-friendly power sources for a Camper Trailer or Caravan
    3. Reduce Vehicle Fuel Consumption when Towing
    4. Maximise air-flow for ventilation
    5. Reduce need for Portable Generators
    6. Consider 12V Air-conditioning for Bedroom Suite
    7. The Impact of Noise
    8. Using a Fuel Cell
    9. Reduce need for LPG
    10. Using Diesel Hot Water instead of LPG
    11. Reduce Absorbtion of Suns Heat Energy
    12. Using LED Lighting
    13. Using Bio-Diesel
    14. Using Membrane Heating
    15. Leave no footprints on Montague Island - a Special Project!

Topics: off-road caravan, off-road caravans, off-road camper trailers, portable solar panels, flexible solar panels, 12V Membrane heating, fuel cell, LED lighting

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The Kimberley Karavan, a lightweight folding off road caravan that can go anywhere. Kimberley Karavans are unique with their internal shower and toilet, comfortable internal seating and luxury finishes.