Reversing the caravan
The art of reversing a trailer is one aspect of caravanning that many find people difficult. However it’s an important skill, and is better learnt at leisure rather than under stress of trying to place a caravan in a parking spot. So it’s a good idea to practice reversing in a clear open space before starting a journey.
Here are a few tips that may help you master the technique.
- Whenever possible, start with the car and caravan in a straight line.
- When backing a trailer, steering wheel movements will be reversed. That is, to move the trailer to the right, you will need to turn the steering wheel to the left.
- Nominate one person to guide you when reversing. Agree on any hand signals to be used and have them stand where you will be able to clearly see them and they will be able to see where the caravan is going in relation to the parking spot.
- Ensure your guide, children and other spectators are kept away from the moving vehicles.
- Some types of load distribution hitches need to be removed before reversing the van.
If you can’t master the reversing technique there are options that will ease the manhandling of the caravan. Contact you caravan dealer to discuss which will be best for your particular situation.
- Manoeuvre the van into position. It may be necessary to run a wheel/set of wheels up onto a packer to level up the van if the site is not level.
- Fit the jockey wheel and ensure the knobs/ridges on the casing are positioned on either side of the clamp.
- Pull the hand brake on.
- Unhitch safety chains, electrical connections and any load distribution hitches.
- Pull up the coupling locking lever while winding down the jockey wheel.
- Remove the car when the coupling is clear of the tow bar.
- Level the caravan by means of the jockey wheel.
- Wind down the corner stabilisers.
- Fold down the step.
- Connect electricity, sullage and water.
Unless otherwise stated, the cost of power is included in caravan park fees. You will need to have a 15 amp heavy duty three core electric lead (minimum recommended length 9 meters) to facilitate connection to power points in caravan parks. For safety, make sure you have the lead checked and tagged regularly by a qualified electrician.
In the interests of safety power cables should be clear of door openings, not laid on traffic thoroughfares and be fully uncoiled when in use. Double adaptors on a cable connection should not be used.
Chemical toilets in caravans
The installation of chemically activated toilets is now common in many caravans. The contents of these toilets should only be dumped where approved by the local authority or individual caravan park management. The contents should never be dumped into a septic treatment system as the chemicals used in these toilets can ruin the system. However new enviro-friendly chemicals are available and their use may be less harmful. Advice should be sought before dumping the toilet's contents.
Air-conditioning and deep freeze units
Many caravan parks charge extra for using air conditioning and deep freeze units in caravans.
The information provided in this fact sheet is intended as a general guide only. You should carry out further research and investigations into the topics outlined above prior to implementing any actions or recommendations.