Mar 14, 2005
46
0
0
Visit site
I am about to take delivery of our first ever caravan in February, my husband has never towed anything bigger than a trailer and I am getting a bit nervous now about going on our first caravan holiday, I would be grateful if you experienced caravaners would give us tips on all aspects of caravaning,

including how to set up the caravan on a site without looking like big fools.
 
Mar 14, 2005
9
0
0
Visit site
Lisa, For a start don't worry about making a fool of yourself. Everyone had to start somewhere and you'll find that the touring community are only too ready to help. DON"T misconstrue this for nosiness!

As long as you and your husband have done your homework as far as towing is concerned there really isn't any problems. You have to remember that the 'van acts as a huge drag anchor. It takes longer to get going, longer to stop and you have to go out a bit wider for left turns. The secret is to TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't be intimidated by other road users. There are the so and so's who simply must pull out in front of you then go at 30 mph on a fast road, but they are in the minority. After the first few miles are completed you'll wonder what it was that was so concerning you.

Try and pick a dry weekend for your first run out both from a driving and camping point of view.

Have fun,

Vic
 
Mar 14, 2005
365
0
0
Visit site
Hi Lisa,

Welcome to caravanning.

Firstly the thing is to take your time,have a practice at home setting up the caravan,you will need a small spirit level to level your caravan that is important.As far as towing your hubby has some idea of towing with a trailer,just remember the caravan is a bit longer the people selling you the caravan will give you a demonstration,but as in everything we do we learn from our mistakes and after 35years caravanning I still make one or muckups,its all down to being patient and practice and working as a team setting up.If you join the Caravan club and go to one of there sites you will ALWAYS find some to help you and do not be afraid to ask remember all us expiernced caravanners had to learn and ask for help.If you live in Hertforshire or near I would not mind giving you some first time help.Good Luck. Jim
 
Mar 14, 2005
3,157
0
0
Visit site
Hi Lisa, people have written whole books (ok pamphlets) on this subject, so putting it all down in this forum must be daunting. I can start it off though and hope some of the regular scribes will pitch in with the finer details. Firstly, if you have a good van/tow car match weight wise, the towing won't present a problem. Remember to fit extended mirrors (and use them) on you car and to take your time when driving, pull in at the next lay-by if your holding up traffic and fill up before you start your journey as doing so with caravan attached can be awkward.

For your first excursion, pick somewhere local (easy to *** back home if you forgot something etc) and with a decent amount of amenities. This will mean getting plugged into the mains and having toilet facilities. A weekend will be long enough for this first outing and give you a taste of what is to come. An awning is a great idea but don't feel pressured into buying one straight away, likewise you don't need to go spending
 
Mar 14, 2005
3
0
0
Visit site
Hi Lisa ..welcome to the caravan fraternity. There are many helpful booklets available from both the major caravan clubs and indeed from "Practical Caravan". Towing is not difficult providing that you have a good car to caravan weight ratio (the 85% rule). Keep well within the speed limits (60 on motorways) and load your caravan carefully i.e. keep heavy stuff on the floor over the wheels. Don't load up with all the food you think that you'll need for your holiday and keep your clothing down to a practical minimum.

Allow extra time for your journey - acceleration and cruising speeds are somewhat slower with a van on the back and overtaking is quite frequently difficult off the motorways.

If you are not too happy reversing onto a pitch then site the van as best you can, unhitch and man handle the van into its final position. In my experience you will always find willing helpers on neighbouring pitches.

As for the awning - well others can tell you about that!! Roger.
 
Mar 14, 2005
48
0
0
Visit site
I'm fairly new to caravanning myself, so I still feel a bit "over awed" by it all. The best thing I've found is don't rush anything. When you get on site and have your caravan in position, just take your time. Let yourself think and stay calm. If it takes 4hrs to set up,(I'm happy with that!) make it look like you meant to take that long. After all, you are on holiday and nothing should be rushed! If people are watching, and they do, a nod and a polite hello always helps. Experienced caravanners can never stop themselves passing on bits of advice. all worth listening to. Always very friendly, all have been in the same boat. Have fun Simon.
 
Mar 14, 2005
38
0
0
Visit site
Lisa, believe me, towing a caravan is easier than towing a trailer - I assume you mean the small 4ft x 5ft types of thing. For a start, you can see the caravan. The wheels are further from the car than a small trailer so it has a greater turning circle, meaning it does not quickly turn so it is 90 degrees to the car. I've been towing a caravan for over three years now and do not mind admitting that sometimes it goes absolutely fantastic - and other times oh so wrong when reversing onto a pitch. Yes, other caravanners are very helpful and if anyone watches you getting it wrong it will only be that it strikes a chord with them. When towing on the road go at your own pace. If there is a build up behind and you can pull in do so, if not do not be intimidated. Those behind might be delayed by a few minutes but, if you feel pressured into towing with the feeling that you are not safe then that is the time that things could go wrong and they might be delayed by a couple of hours. So relax, work as a team and try to keep to wide roads to start with until your confidence builds. As for setting up, there are no prizes for who can set up fastest. Over time you will develop a routine and when you pitch each of you ill know what their task is. Remember to laugh at things not cry.
 
Mar 14, 2005
100
0
0
Visit site
Lisa, Without delay get your Husband to book onto one of the beginners courses run by either Caravannig & Camping Club or Caravan Club, they are superb. I'm just about to start my first season caravanning and like your Husband have towed both car & boat trailers. Although still a little nervous the courses have given me the confidence and knowledge to have a go, knowing the theory correctly even though the reversing may take a little more time to master!.
 
Mar 14, 2005
125
0
18,580
Visit site
Hi lisa. Join the cc the booklet you get gives you loads of info plus this site is a mine of infomation. When i started i went for a drive around with the van on empty just to get the feel of towing. Just remember it takes longer to get going & stop give your self plenty of time to pull out at junctions, keep to the speed limits for towing 60 mph tops. Your bound to forget something like a corkscrew or tin opener or the like dont worry about it as long as you have money you can buy one. Ive found that other caravaners are always ready to help if needed. Im sure you will have a great time. My first trip away we went down south stopped at a sevice station on the M5 made ourselfs a cup of tea and a sandwich instead of going in to the eatery to be robed chatted to some of the other caravaners it was great. When we were finished we pack away everthing gets back in the car starts the car and trys to pull away but it wouldnt bugde i couldnt understand it, it had pulled alright up to here. Then one of the people we had been talking to came running across, shouting youve still got your legs down. 5 mins later red faced we pull away. we havent made that misake again. Mistakes happen just learn from them.GOOD LUCK, Richard
 
Mar 14, 2005
133
0
0
Visit site
If nothing else this forum clearly shows what caravannings about, you will find people just as helpful as you do here. so don't be scared of making a fool of yourself, we've all been there on our first time. As for towing, I don't really need to add to whats already been said except remember your caravan will be slightly wider then your car, so as mentioned previously get some extended mirrors, then you'll know if you mirrors can go through the gap so will your caravan (in a straight line) and mirrors are cheaper to replace then repairs to your caravan. Anyway good luck and have fun. Thankyou to everyone for their advice, makes me proud to be part of the caravanning community.
 
Mar 14, 2005
4,909
1
0
Visit site
My wife and I have been enjoying caravaning for over 30 years and believe me I still sometimes make a right hash of things. Common sense will prevail whilst towing but on site things either go easy or you make a pig's ear of it - I have many times. Don't worry and definately don't panic. It is often easier to manhandle the van onto the pitch. As far as levelling is concerned all you need is a plastic bottle of pop (part full) and level to the liquid surface in the bottle - I have never used a spirit level. Go out and enjoy your selves and relax -it is both a brilliant hobby and holiday. P.S. I am not a member of any club as my wife and I think that quite often it is not worth it - shopping around you will find there are suppliers who will give similar discounts to those offered to club members. Enjoy yourselves - good luck.
 
Mar 14, 2005
369
0
0
Visit site
Lisa - As others have said don't worry about making a fool of yourself - on our first trip 19 years ago the awning ended up on the roof! I find towing very relaxing in a strange kind of way, as you know that you can't go too fast (60+) on M/Ways so you just accept a slower frame of mind and get there in due course completely unstressed by constantly trying to overtake or being baulked by other cars. On A roads keep up with the traffic flow, and let others pass when it's safe to do so.

Above all, enjoy & relax!
 
Mar 14, 2005
158
0
0
Visit site
Hi Lisa, If you contact your dealer arrange a time and ask if they would kindly take you out for a quick test drive when you collect your van. also they should give all the bumf which give advice on towing.

Happy travels.
 
Mar 14, 2005
107
0
0
Visit site
Hi Lisa,join the Caravan Club and get hold of their booklet 'Getting Started' - full of useful info, e.g. connecting to hook-ups, how to empty the loo cassette etc. Also have a look at the CC website, once you are a member you can download info. sheets on just about anything to do with caravanning - I found these very helpful. Have fun!
 
Mar 14, 2005
4
0
0
Visit site
Lisa, don't worry. I never towed anything until I picked my 25ft van up from the dealers to tow it home, yes I was shaking like hell, but got it back no problems, Had a week away then last summer towed it for over 1,500 miles and loved it. The only advice I can offer is don't rush, relax and if there is traffic building up behind then pull over when its safe to do so, I always find a I get a wave from motorists as a sign of thanks,
 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts