When buying a small caravan, it's important to know how much your vehicle can pull, as stated by the manufacturer. Check your vehicle's owner's manual or the manufacturer's website to make sure you know how much you can tow. It's important to remember that the capacities of vehicles with automatic or manual transmissions and with gasoline or diesel engines are often different.
You'll also need to know what your vehicle's maximum towball load is, which will limit your choices for a caravan. The most a vehicle can pull is limited by the lowest capacity part of its towing set-up, such as the towbar, the towball, or the vehicle pulling it. Towballs must have a rating stamped on them, and that rating must not be exceeded. On towbars, both the overall capacity and the download capacity are marked, and neither one should be exceeded.
For example, your car may be able to legally pull up to 2100 kg, but it may only have a towbar that can pull 1200 kg. In that case, you can't tow more than 1200kg. Look for a plate or label attached to the towbar that says who made it and how much weight it can hold. Check the owner's manual for the maximum allowable Gross Combined Mass (GCM), which is the maximum weight of the car and van with all their contents. To make sure this GCM limit isn't exceeded, add the vehicle's total recommended mass (GVM) to the potential caravan's Aggregate Trailer Mass. (ATM).
Lastly, when it comes to regulations about how much you can pull behind your car, check the owner's manual to see how much weight your rear axle can hold. If you are pulling a trailer and also have a lot of heavy stuff in the back of your car, you could overload the back axle. This is dangerous and against the law.
The smaller your caravan, the more vehicles you might be able to use to pull it.
Four-cylinder cars with 2L engines or more can usually pull trailers weighing between 1000kg and 1200kg, as long as the manufacturer's ratings for the car and towbar are high enough.
Some sedans and wagons with six cylinders or eight cylinders can pull lightweight single-axle campers and caravans that weigh up to 1700 kg without any trouble.
Many medium to large 4WDs can pull trailers that weigh up to 2500kg before they become too heavy.
There aren't many vehicles that can tow three tonnes or more, but Ford F250s and LandCruisers do a great job in this category.
Just remember that when you're getting ready to tow a small caravan on vacation, you should go to the nearest weighbridge to check the caravan's loaded weight with full water tanks and all your gear to make sure it doesn't weigh more than what your vehicle can tow.