2022 is a special year for Practical Caravan, as we celebrate our 55th anniversary. Since the magazine first launched in 1967, we’ve been helping caravanners pick the ideal tourer, find the best tow car and choose the accessories to take on tour with them. It’s with this in mind that the Practical Caravan Awards take place – we want to help you make 2023 your best year of touring to date.

To mark our special 55th anniversary, we’ve picked out what we consider to be the biggest innovation the industry has seen in that time.

The winner of the Practical Caravan Anniversary Award is:

ATC: Al-Ko Trailer Control

A car towing a caravan

Since Practical Caravan hit the shelves in mid 1967, the touring caravan has seen some ideas come and go, from electric braking systems and electric reversing to disk brakes. The 1970s in particular was an era for innovation: we had the auto reverse system in 1974, then bonded construction, gas lighting phased out in favour of 12 volt lighting, and finally the galvanised chassis, which had been introduced by the early 1980s. And by the 1990s Tyron’s tyre safety system was made available keeping caravans in line with a sudden blow out.

There have been other ideas too, including air brakes and in-built caravan jacking systems. But many of these were short lived, although caravan moving systems have become a must have for caravanners these days.

Towing stability, however, has always been an issue, with attempts to address it ranging from external stabiliser designs to adding wider tracking on caravan chassis.

But one of the best innovative designs has to have been ATC (automatic trailer control) by Al-Ko. This electronic stability system has been quite simply a life saver over the years, helping keep caravans under control in poor stability conditions and adding peace of mind, especially to first time caravanners.

If the system detects a stability problem it applies the caravan brakes to bring the caravan back in line and avoid any possible accident. Bailey was one of the first caravan manufacturers to fit ATC as standard to some of its ranges over 14 years ago.

ATC has to be the best innovation in the last 55 years of caravanning and continues to be used by manufacturers to aid good towing characteristics and provide reassurance.

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