common-caravanning-mistakes

Thank us later. Caravan Mistakes To Avoid Every Year.

Published
12 Jul 2022
common-caravanning-mistakes

If you’re about to hit the road with a caravan in tow, it can be tempting to get out there as fast as you can. 

While we love your enthusiasm for exploring Australia, there are a few things you should sense-check before you get back out there.

Here are 5 common caravanning mistakes to avoid.

Buying your first caravan, camper or motorhome?

Check out A beginner’s guide to buying your first caravan.

1. Look after your van between trips!

If you expect your van to look after itself in the harsh Australian climate, you’re not serious about your caravan.

COVER

If you keep it out in the open, the least you can do is put a tarpaulin over it or preferably a weatherproof cover. Not only will the sun’s rays perish your caravan’s tyres, the bodywork will start to peel if left to its own devices. Nothing wrong with a polish every second month!

LUBRICATE

Furthermore, if your caravan isn’t in use, remember to keep its working parts lubricated. We’re talking corner drop-jacks, couplings and bearings, which will seize up during long periods of inactivity.

MAINTAIN

After that don’t forget to ensure the tyres are appropriately pumped and brakes are checked, meaning a trip to a specialised caravan repair dealer is a good idea. The $300-$400 you spend here might easily save your life.

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2. Learn how to reverse your trailer!

No one’s expecting you to become Lewis Hamilton, but you’d be surprised how many caravanners can’t reverse a caravan.

While most of the larger holiday parks will have someone who can put you and your van safely on site, it pays to be able to do this yourself.

State caravanning authorities can recommend a caravan towing school that will teach you and your co-driver the secrets to this dark art, but the cheapest way is to borrow a few traffic cones and head for an obstacle free car park before you tie yourself into knots.

3. Never overload yourself

We can’t stress this one enough. 

Hitching-up your new 3500kg trailer based on what your car can reportedly tow is a recipe for disaster. You need to know your vehicle's weight rating and towing capacity for any caravan or motorhome.

After that comes the golden rule of not adding too many worldly goods on top. Carefully consider your payload, minimise your list of essentials, and pack wisely!

A mobile weighing service like Weight Check will even come to you to ensure your van and tow car is within safe, legal weight limits.

A properly installed weight distribution hitch can also help level the load, but it’s a good idea to load the trailer properly to start with. If you’ve ever sat on a see-saw, you’ll know that you can keep it level by concentrating the weight in the centre.

4. Check your site (and where you’re going!)

Particularly in the touring season, caravan parks can get busy. Make sure you’ve asked for a site appropriate to the size of your rig so you’ll have ample clearance for getting in and out.

Even more important than knowing your site is knowing where you’re going and whether you can get out safely. Here are a few common sense tips:

  • Don't head down some off-the-beaten-narrow track unless you have a plan to get out.
  • Don't cross a dry river bed without checking you have the ground clearance to get out.
  • Understand the limitations of your van when manoeuvring. Always get out and check where you’re going first.

5. Keep an eye on the weather!

With the internet widely available,  it’s easy to check for fire or storm warnings

However, not all weather events are predictable so it always makes sense to apply common sense in terms of where you park.

For example, in hot dry weather it’d be silly to camp in heavily-forested areas or wide open areas with loads of high grass. Similarly, why would you park near a creek or river bed when heavy rain is forecast?

To help new caravanners especially, consider the following weather tips:

Caravanning in strong winds

  • To increase your vans resistance to strong winds, dig holes on the ground directly under your caravan wheels.
  • Tie your van down firmly using chains or pins.
  • Park your caravan in a sheltered location and away from potential hazards when cyclones are predicted.
  • If you’re in a campsite, take your awning down as soon as possible.
  • Secure any objects that might have the tendency to be blown away, such as your awnings and other small objects.

Caravanning in wet weather

  • Unplug your electrical devices and store them on a higher level to prevent them getting wet.
  • Switch all gas supplies off.
  • Chain your rig securely.
  • Avoid parking under the trees especially during lightning and thunderstorms.

caravanning in Extreme Heat or Fire

  • Ensure that your air conditioning is properly maintained.
  • Use proper insulation to help keep the air inside your caravan cool.
  • Cook outside as much as possible.
  • Do not leave fires unattended, especially around children.
  • Install a smoke detector in your van.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near the door.

LOOKING FOR site ACCOMMODATION?

G'day Parks has over 300 parks with site facilities including private ensuites, guest laundry's, camp kitchens and well maintained toilet and shower blocks. 

Able to accommodate a wide size variety of caravans, campervans oand motorhomes, our parks are in Australia's best destinations and are staffed by teams of friendly local experts.

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