Top tips for the new car­a­van­ner

Practical Caravan - - Caravan Chat - Jeremy Bing­ham

WE’VE CARAVANNED for nearly four years now, are mem­bers of the Car­a­van and Mo­torhome Club and the Camp­ing and Car­a­van­ning Club, and dip into your won­der­ful mag­a­zine, which I now sub­scribe to. My wife and I, and Mer­lin the dog, ab­so­lutely love our Bai­ley Pe­ga­sus Verona. How­ever, when start­ing out, we found car­a­van­ning very com­pli­cated and quite con­fus­ing. Hav­ing read nu­mer­ous starter guides, we still find it amaz­ing that very lit­tle em­pha­sis is made on some quite im­por­tant is­sues that may ac­tu­ally be quite danger­ous but are, at the very least, frus­trat­ing. So here goes, my guide to the things no­body seems to tell you when you start car­a­van­ning – the first one, es­pe­cially, I have never read about any­where, yet I have seen many peo­ple strug­gling to con­nect car­a­van to car.

1 If you have a sin­gle Euro plug on the car­a­van, which pushes then twists to lock on to the car, you should have been pro­vided with a green cap type-thing with the car­a­van. This is very im­por­tant – the socket works by the outer sleeve ro­tat­ing to lock on to the car once ap­plied. Some­times this will ro­tate it­self, es­pe­cially when you store the socket in its place on the van, if it has one. If it does this, it gets ‘out of sync’ and won’t al­low you to con­nect van to car. The so­lu­tion: sim­ply pop the green socket on to the car­a­van socket to re­align it, and twist. We’ve never read any­thing about this, any­where! 2 Un­coil the mains ca­ble be­fore us­ing it to pro­vide cur­rent to the car­a­van. Many seem un­aware that a coiled ca­ble is ba­si­cally a heater – the higher the cur­rent go­ing through, the hot­ter it gets. This could be very danger­ous. Stretch it out around/un­der/ be­hind the van, where peo­ple aren’t go­ing to walk. If the electrics at­tach on the awning side of the van, tuck it be­hind the car­a­van’s cor­ner stead­ies. 3 Al­ways dou­ble-check the jockey wheel is right up and tight dur­ing the tow – they can have a habit of loos­en­ing and/or ground­ing on speed bumps. 4 Make sure that the ca­ble won’t trail be­tween car and car­a­van

when tow­ing – the road sur­face is a very good abra­sive! 5 Make sure your car­a­van is level, us­ing ramps un­der one wheel, not the cor­ner stead­ies. If not, the fridge might not be happy! 6 If you’re pay­ing ex­tra for a fully ser­viced site, make sure you have plenty of the ap­pro­pri­ate hoses, with join­ers and so on. They’re rea­son­ably priced on ebay. 7 Force a bit of water in to your water pump if it ini­tially strug­gles to suck up. 8 If you can’t put up the awning, for ex­am­ple if it’s too windy, and you have a larger waste bin than those lit­tle door-mounted ones, then pop it in a wardrobe or the shower cu­bi­cle and move it when you want to use the shower. 9 When leav­ing the car­a­van for a time, drop a tea­spoon or so of food-grade dis­in­fec­tant into your water and waste con­tain­ers, and some neat toi­let fluid into the hold­ing tank – it won’t freeze, or harm any­thing in those even if it does, and things are so much bet­ter on your re­turn. Sim­ply rinse out the drink­ing water tank on ar­rival. 10 When trav­el­ling, put the small plates at the back of the rack and big­ger ones at the front. Then they won’t fall out. 11 If you are cook­ing in the car­a­van, the smoke alarm will drive you nuts. Buy an op­ti­cal one in­stead – far less prone to false alarms when you make toast. 12 Carry some duct tape and at least a mul­ti­tool. 13 Want to save some gas? Buy a small Ge­orge Fore­man type grill – or the equiv­a­lent – from a car­a­van shop. They’re healthy, too, but watch the am­per­age draw, of course.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.