First night in the caravan

Feb 13, 2022
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I've been having some mixed feeling this evening, but finally starting to feel some semblance of relaxation. Everything has just taken so long to sort out, unboxing stuff, learning how stuff works etc. It's just seemed like every time I was about to relax there was something else I needed out the car or whatever. Finally settled down with a glass of cider!

My first tow was not too bad, roads only moderately busy and the X Trail seemed happy enough with the van on the back. Very nervous at first but quickly started to feel more comfortable with it.

Managed to get the van in the pitch after a few failed attempts. Didn't use the motor mover. :) One of the wardens even complimented my positioning.

Was a little bit miffed to discover the van is missing a TV antenna . Apparently nothing in side the dome where it usually is. There are two clamps on one corner with butterfly nut to tighten and an aerial socket below it. Picked up a domestic antenna from B&Q, only to discover a vital part is missing, so it needs to go back tomorrow. With hopeless Caravan Club wifi wanting to do 3D auth thing with the bank and not actually loading anything, and sporadic 4g connection, I had resigned myself to staring at the wall all evening whilst drinking into oblivion. Then I suddenly remembered reading that the front of caravans are plastic rather than aluminium. With phone placed in top cupboard above front window I have a superb hotspot to connect to on my laptop. So at least I'm online now.

Didn't get round to putting the awning up, I'm going to have a look at that tomorrow. Had a takeaway this evening and tomorrow morning will Christen my cooker with a full English. I'll have plenty to do tomorrow, but I'll have all day to do it so can do it in a relaxed manner. Tomorrow I will try and get my TV up and running after exchanging antenna at B&Q. Then if I'm feeling keen and it's not raining too hard I'll get the awning up.

One thing I need to sort out is gas bottles. At the moment I only have two 3.9KG cylinders from my tenting days. So I dealt with some ****head at one garage who wouldn't exchange my empty one for a 6KG because "it has to be like for like"; no it doesn't, just within the same "family" of cylinders. After realising my locker will take a 13 KG, tried exchanging at another garage for 13KG (they had no 6KG), only to be told again "it's gotta be like for like". Went on the Calor website on my phone hoping to be able to go back in and prove them wrong, but discovered 13KG is next "group" up, so my argument would fall flat on it's face. So I think for the time being I'll put up with the 3.9KGs and changing often until a 13KG on eBay comes up at a reasonable price and distance. Might even look at Flogas, I don't think their bottle charges are as extravagant as Calor's. Or stop at every garage I see selling LPG until one makes a mistake and accepts my 3.9!

Anyway, nice to get all that off my chest. I'm feeling a lot better now and more relaxed. I've been a busy boy today and hopefully I'll sleep well. I'll post some pictures when the van is a bit tidier and my awning is up.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Calor Gas cylinder size swapping depends where it's done - main distributors will swap in groups but retail outlets can insist on like for like.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Seems that you are getting yourself sorted. Sadly nor many places with swap a 3kg for a 6kg. but did you try the dealer where you bought the caravan?
Forget the 13kg as that is going to affect your nose weight drastically and may make towing uncomfortable. Also it will reduce your payload.
Secondly I don't think the floor in the front locker will be strong enough to support a 13kg when travelling the bottle may go through the floor. UK A roads can be very bumpy to travel along.
 

GAS

BANNED
Jun 5, 2015
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Good luck just trying to get Gas of any type at the moment. Big shortage up here.... After a few outings you will be set up and comfy in no time.... Awning can be a marriage breaker right enough , Bought a new one 5 years ago and and still to see daylight.

As a routine when finally on pitch I do the ootside stuff and the Mrs when "she can be bothered to come" does the inside stuff but me being ultra OCD usually rearrange things to the wife's great annoyance ...

Seen me me set up deck chairs out , kettle on or cold beer within half an hour on site... Pre -planning is the secret... Enjoy ....;)

GAS ....
 
May 11, 2021
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Our first night in a caravan was camped on the drive, just so that we could set everything up, see if it worked, work out how to set up and use everything etc with the safety net of a house to flee to if it all went wrong. After that the main new things to learn were how and where to pack everything to get the nose weight right and to be in the right place to be found again. We have 3 external lockers and each is for stuff that is needed together (eg all water and waste paraphernalia goes in one locker, steadying, winder, levelling, locks etc in another.)

We also pitched the awning at home before using it for the first time, again to know what’s what. We have a porch awning for longer stays away and a simple canopy for weekends where we just want some shade/shelter. The main time taken on the awning is getting all the pegs in, especially on hard standing.
 

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
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Well done on your first tow and set up. It will get easier and quicker with practice. After a bit you settle into a routine of tasks. Good luck with the awning. They can be really easy or a complete pain. Again it gets easier with practice. If you have your OH assisting just remember that whatever is going wrong is not their fault!
Enjoy, it really is worth it.
Mel
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Well done Chris, once you get used to everything, you can start to forget things like the electric hookup lead, ( I now have 3) legs for the BBQ, put the awning up inside out, leave your wallet at home on the way to France, 160 mile round trip.
Most of all enjoy yourself.
 
Feb 13, 2022
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Seems that you are getting yourself sorted. Sadly nor many places with swap a 3kg for a 6kg. but did you try the dealer where you bought the caravan?
Forget the 13kg as that is going to affect your nose weight drastically and may make towing uncomfortable. Also it will reduce your payload.
Secondly I don't think the floor in the front locker will be strong enough to support a 13kg when travelling the bottle may go through the floor. UK A roads can be very bumpy to travel along.
Managed to get a swap for a 6kg today. Put it in the locker and installed my changeover valve I bought. I get all the “fun” again of trying to obtain a 6kg bottle when my other 3.9 runs out! I’ve never known it be so difficult to give money to someone ! As I understand it, 3.9 is in the same “group” as 6kg, and as you say I did start to think that 2 x 13 kg would have been a lot of added nose weight.
 
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Feb 13, 2022
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Well done Chris, once you get used to everything, you can start to forget things like the electric hookup lead, ( I now have 3) legs for the BBQ, put the awning up inside out, leave your wallet at home on the way to France, 160 mile round trip.
Most of all enjoy yourself.
Got the awning up today… almost wish I didn’t! Didn’t realise how much the wind was going to get up. Pegs with it are rubbish, good job I brought with my my rock pegs I used to use for my tent.
Bit more relaxed tonight. Got TV working and some scrumpy, so I’m content!

Bed was fairly comfortable, managed to sleep alright on it.
 
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Jun 20, 2005
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Well done Chris. Getting to know now another as they say. Take your time and don’t put the awning up if it’s windy. More divorces over awnings than anything else. We are all here. Ask away .👍👍
 
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Feb 13, 2022
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Well done Chris. Getting to know now another as they say. Take your time and don’t put the awning up if it’s windy. More divorces over awnings than anything else. We are all here. Ask away .👍👍
Next item for the inventory is an old cushion or a bit of carpet for kneeling when pegging. The gravel on this hardstanding is like broken glass!
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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Managed to get a swap for a 6kg today. Put it in the locker and installed my changeover valve I bought. I get all the “fun” again of trying to obtain a 6kg bottle when my other 3.9 runs out! I’ve never known it be so difficult to give money to someone ! As I understand it, 3.9 is in the same “group” as 6kg, and as you say I did start to think that 2 x 13 kg would have been a lot of added nose weight.
Hi Chris if you manage to get one you will get another when your 3.9 runs out well done (y)
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I use a foam kneeling pad marketed for gardeners - very light weight.
I use the same and the advantage over a cushion or carpet is that a foam kneeling pad doesn’t retain moisture. Got mine from Screwfix and it comes in handy around the house too.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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Got the awning up today… almost wish I didn’t! Didn’t realise how much the wind was going to get up. Pegs with it are rubbish, good job I brought with my my rock pegs I used to use for my tent.
Bit more relaxed tonight. Got TV working and some scrumpy, so I’m content!

Bed was fairly comfortable, managed to sleep alright on it.
Hi Chris i see you got your awning up lucky you kept some decent pegs well done ;)
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Managed to get a swap for a 6kg today. Put it in the locker and installed my changeover valve I bought. I get all the “fun” again of trying to obtain a 6kg bottle when my other 3.9 runs out! I’ve never known it be so difficult to give money to someone ! As I understand it, 3.9 is in the same “group” as 6kg, and as you say I did start to think that 2 x 13 kg would have been a lot of added nose weight.
A 6kg should last you many months unless using off grid sites i.e. those without electric hookup. During the winter going off grid a 6kg bottle will last about 4-5 days at the most as it is used for heating plus fridge.
If you are going to go off grid a lot then think about a refillable like a Safefill bottle which is either 7.5kg or 10kg. Cost about £10 to refill a 7.5kg bottle a lot cheaper than a Calorgas at over £30. There is a place in Somerset that gets them in occasionally. If you are on FB there is a Safefill Group that will keep you up to date on supplies.
 
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We simply use a gardening pad as cheap and cheerful. Also use it for hooking up the caravan. Another effort saving tool which can be used for winders and awnings is of course a drill. :D
 
Mar 27, 2011
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Memory foam kneeling pad from screw fix for 5.99 and last for ages, I use them all the time and can use it for around 3 to 4 hours a day and I have one currently that’s about 4 or 5 months and still does the job.

BP
 
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