You’ve arrived at an idyllic campsite. Now what? Read on to get all the tips on manoeuvring your van into the right spot, and setting it up properly.
Reversing the caravan
Reversing a trailer or caravan is an important skill to learn – and it’s wise to practice in a clear, open space before you attempt to steer it into a tight parking spot. Here are some tips to help you master the technique:
- Whenever possible, start with the car and caravan in a straight line
- When backing a trailer, steering wheel movements are reversed – to move the trailer to the right, turn the steering wheel to the left
- Appoint someone as your guide when reversing, and agree on any hand signals to be used
- Get that person to stand where you can clearly see them and they can see where the caravan needs to go
- Ensure everyone is at a safe distance from car and caravan
If you’re not comfortable reversing, there are tools to help manhandle a caravan into position. Caravan dealers can help.
- Manoeuvre the van into position. If the site’s not level, you may need to run a wheel/set of wheels up onto a packer to level up the van.
- 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.
Usually, the cost of power is included in caravan park fees. You’ll need a 15 amp heavy duty three core electric lead (minimum recommended length 9 meters) to connect to power points in caravan parks. For safety, get the lead checked and tagged regularly by a qualified electrician.
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
Many caravans now have chemically activated toilets. The contents of these toilets should only be dumped in approved places – never into a septic treatment system, as the chemicals used in these toilets can ruin the system.
There are some new enviro-friendly chemicals available that may be less harmful. Get advice before dumping contents.