There’s no feeling quite like going on an adventure in your home away from home. With the open road ahead of you, you’ll want to make sure your caravan is primed and ready for your journey. You might feel like there’s just too much to remember ahead of your trip, but our guide can help you check your caravan is safe and make sure you have everything you need before you set off.
It’s important to not get too carried away with your packing. You’ll want to use your space in the caravan efficiently, so only take what you’ll definitely need whilst you’re away.
Make sure your caravan has a fire blanket and/or a fire extinguisher. Check the expiry date on your fire extinguisher to ensure it’s still safe to use. You should also have a smoke alarm fitted in your caravan and should test the batteries before your journey.
Make sure you first aid kit is properly stocked with all the essentials, like bandages, plasters, cleansing wipes and painkillers. Check everything is well within date to last your trip.
If you’re able to go to a shop at your destination, only pack what you’ll need for the evening and following morning. You can then stock up properly once you’ve settled in to your pitch. If you’re not sure about what shops will be available at your destination, make sure to take enough food to last a bit longer until you have a chance to visit another shop.
Whilst you probably won’t need the air fryer and sandwich toaster, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to prepare and eat meals. This means crockery, cutlery, a few pots and pans and sharp knives to prep food. You’ll also need to remember your tea towels and washing up liquid. If you’ll be BBQing on your holidays, make sure to pack the tongs and skewers.
In addition to what you’d usually take on holiday, remember to take the usual things that you would expect to get in a hotel, like loo roll, shower gel and shampoo. You’ll also need towels and maybe a hair dryer.
It should go without saying, but make sure you’ve packed plenty of weather appropriate clothing. If you’re forecast rain, make sure to take your raincoats and wellington boots. If you’re due hot weather, take cool clothes. Remember to pack your sunscreen too!
You’ll need the right cables to connect to the points at your pitch in the campsite. If you’re taking your caravan abroad, remember to take plug adapters.
Once you’ve packed everything into the caravan, make sure everything is secured properly, so there’s minimum movement when you’re driving. Lock all the cupboards and drawers so nothing can fly open when the caravan is moving. Close all the windows and make sure the doors are latched and locked.
There are a few simple checks you can undertake before you set off on your journey, to prevent any accidents and to keep to safety legislation.
Check all your tyres are correctly inflated and the right pressure and pump them up if required. This is especially important if it’s the first journey in your caravan for a while. Make sure you have spare tyres, both for your car and for your caravan.
You should check the towbar is fitted securely before you start driving. Make sure the towbar has been properly maintained and isn’t starting to rust or crack. Tighten any bolts that may have become loose.
Your car registration plate should be clearly displayed at the rear of the caravan. It will also need to be visible at night, so make sure the lights are connected and working properly. This includes your indicators.
You need to be able to see clearly down both sides of the caravan when you’re driving – the legislation states you need to see 4m either side at a distance of 20m behind it. Most standard mirrors on a car won’t provide an adequate view and you may prefer to fit towing mirror extensions, so you know you’re within regulations.
Make sure your LPG gas cylinder is switched off before you set out. Secure it properly and ensure it’s stored in an upright position.
Empty all the water tanks before your journey, particularly behind the axle. If you need to carry water, take a small container in the car. Top up the tanks when you reach your destination.
Jockey wheels carry the noseweight of your caravan when it’s being stored or pitched. When your caravan is hitched, make sure the jockey wheel is unclamped and wound up to its highest position.
Check the 12-volt cables are connected properly. They should have enough slack so you can easily turn corners, but not so much slack that they drag on the road, as this can damage them.
The noseweight should be at it’s optimum, which is usually around 5-7% of the laden weight. You can check specifics in your caravan handbook. There are many different noseweight gauges available for you to use to measure the optimum weight.
If your caravan is tilting backwards, the noseweight is too low. Moving heavier items to the front of your caravan can help counterbalance. If it’s tilting forwards, the noseweight is too high, so try moving heavier items to behind the caravan axle or remove the payload from the front of your caravan entirely.
If it’s your first time, go for practice run to help you feel more comfortable. A short trip on familiar roads will put you at ease before your longer journey. Remember to leave extra time for braking and to take corners widely. If it’s possible, practice reversing in an area you’re comfortable with.
Once you’ve set off on your journey you might even want to stop the vehicle after 20 minutes to make a final check on the caravan. Make sure the caravan handbrake is still fully off and the items inside the caravan are still secure. This will give you peace of mind for the rest of your journey.
Euphoria Finance offers the best caravan finance deals so you can achieve your dream of owning a caravan and start your adventures now. We can even help you buy a caravan on finance if you have bad credit.