New to caravans

May 11, 2021
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After a few years of family tenting we have recently picked up a 2014 Bailey Pegasus GT65 Rimini. The final straw was camping in a tent last August through storm Francis - we were proud that the tent survived, largely intact (this was not the case for several other campers), but looked enviously at the warm, dry caravanners and decided that was for us. Of course lockdown(s) got in the way but gave time for research and on the stroke of opening time on the day lockdown ended we were at our local dealer looking at the van we had spotted on their website. This is the one we now have parked on the drive.

Our first time away is the coming half-term week (from B/H Monday) in Devon. We are, of course, fretting about not being ready, about not knowing how to do it, about making mistakes and all that but, hopefully, we'll get through it and on to the next ones (so far booked: a two week, two-site tour of Devon and Dorset in July and a weekend away with motorhoming friends in the Cotswolds in August).

I have a million questions, all of which elude me at the moment but I'll be back when they come to me. The tug is a Volvo XC40 T4 AWD Auto which coped very well on the 20 mile journey home. I have some past experience towing horse trailers so feel fairly confident with the caravan, but it is wider than a horse trailer.
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Welcome to the forum and to your new adventures with the caravan.
It is almost certain that you will make mistakes, we all did , and still do !, but just mark it down to experience and move onwards.

Towing will be no more difficult than a horse trailer and the extra width will soon sit OK with you, just take your time and take rest breaks regularly to give yourself time to let everything settle and become more familiar.

On site, it is worth remembering to fill the water system using the van battery power before plugging into the mains bollard, just in case you have left the water heater on.

Any of your questions will be answered by at least one of the regular contributers, so ask anything you are not sure of.
 
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Jun 16, 2020
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Welcome, I have no doubt you will fall into this, sounds like you are applied great common sense. Be prepared and enjoy. Off the top of my head I think your combination sounds well balanced.

John
 
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May 11, 2021
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Welcome to the forum and to your new adventures with the caravan.
It is almost certain that you will make mistakes, we all did , and still do !, but just mark it down to experience and move onwards.

Towing will be no more difficult than a horse trailer and the extra width will soon sit OK with you, just take your time and take rest breaks regularly to give yourself time to let everything settle and become more familiar.

On site, it is worth remembering to fill the water system using the van battery power before plugging into the mains bollard, just in case you have left the water heater on.

Any of your questions will be answered by at least one of the regular contributers, so ask anything you are not sure of.
Good tip on the water - I am paranoid about the site arrival procedure and which switch or valve to flick when. We are planning an overnight stay in the van on the drive to test drive all the systems (except the toilet) and make sure it all works.
 
May 11, 2021
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Welcome, I have no doubt you will fall into this, sounds like you are applied great common sense. Be prepared and enjoy. Off the top of my head I think your combination sounds well balanced.

John
Thanks - I had researched weights and made sure this was well within the accepted recommendations. My next paranoia is loading, weight distribution and nose weight but that’s for another day.
 
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Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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Hi Figbat, welcome to the forum and congratulations on buying your caravan.
Don't worry needlessly, touring caravan ownership isn't rocket science and if you need information quickly, either ask a nearby caravanner or get in touch here on this forum.
You could make a list of hitching up procedure and for setting up your caravan on site.
In our case, Herself usually deals with the inside tasks (clothing, food storage and where to put the booze) and I do the outside tasks (levelling the caravan using the jockey wheel, lowering the corner steadies, connecting the water, electric hook up and turning on the lpg bottle).
After a couple of outings you'll develop a routine.
Enjoy! 😊
 
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May 11, 2021
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I may be slightly overplaying the paranoia, but I do like to be prepared and have prepared a checklist based on all the hints and tips I have read, plus various YouTube and other sources.
 
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Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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I may be slightly overplaying the paranoia, but I do like to be prepared and have prepared a checklist based on all the hints and tips I have read, plus various YouTube and other sources.
Great idea!
You want to use your caravan to it's full potential.
 
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May 2, 2020
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Hi figbat welcome to the forum most of us have been a bit paranoid about our first trip, most caravaners are very happy to help if you have any problems or ask a question on here, you will get into a setup routine, dont worry just enjoy your new ventures.
 
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Mar 27, 2011
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When we bought our first caravan there was a checklist stuck in the window which we always followed and after selling it years ago I’ve said many times we ought to make new lists and I’ve finally started writing a checklist of things to take to the storage for when we fetch the caravan, then a list of essential items we MUST always take with us and the order we need to do certain things when setting up on a campsite and a routine to follow when we pack up to go home, it’s surprising just how easy it is to forget things, we went away recently and got to the storage and realised the mover remote was at home, my wife went home to get it but couldn’t find it, she tried to call me but my phone was in her handbag, she came back empty handed and then we remembered we had left it in the car glove box on our previous trip, I’m definitely going to have my checklists ready for when we go away again in 2 weeks time, hope it all goes well for you, I’ve got a GT 70 Rimini and we absolutely love it.

BP
 
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May 11, 2021
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Currently sat in it, on the drive, just listening to the radio. One more item off the checklist - the heating works on electric power, so that’s good. I haven’t opened the gas tap yet so can’t check that, but knowing we have heat is one of the fundamental reasons for getting a caravan dealt with!

Another worry I had was that we were buying a potential money pit - damp, broken etc. So far it all looks in great condition and everything works as it should. It’s clearly a bit lived in but nothing more than light scuffs here and there.

At some point I will relax and enjoy!
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Make sure your water heater has water in it before you turn it on.
Another classic thing that people forget.
Enjoy your caravan.
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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The first thing on your list is to make sure the yellow lever is down under the berth near the sink then filled the Aqua roll and heard the pump working when i switch it on . on the control panel near the door.
 
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May 11, 2021
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The first thing on your list is to make sure the yellow lever is down under the berth near the sink then filled the Aqua roll and heard the pump working when i switch it on . on the control panel near the door.
Yes, I need to do this. Small problem - the van is parked hard up against a low wall on the offside, meaning there is no room for the Aquaroll to stand. I plan to test it out with a bucket of water though, which I assume is OK?
 
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Jan 3, 2012
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Yes, I need to do this. Small problem - the van is parked hard up against a low wall on the offside, meaning there is no room for the Aquaroll to stand. I plan to test it out with a bucket of water though, which I assume is OK?
You could always try it and see if it works
 
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May 7, 2012
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Welcome to the forum. Do not worry about the first trip although this is normal. Being your first time you will be concentrating and be fully aware of the caravan on the back. Caravans do tend to cut in a bit particularly on slow corners, so you do need to take them a bit wider. If you keep an eye on the side in your mirror you will see how far you need to go to allow for this and will become second nature.
Possibly the hooking up and connecting everything up on your pitch needs to be learned and if you check this out on you tube you should find plenty of videos to help.
As Damian says anything you need to know should be available on here if you just ask as there is a wealth of experience between the various contributors. On site you will find most people are friendly and very willing to help.
Do not worry about making the odd mistake, if you listed all the mistakes made by the contributors on here over time it would probably fill a library.
 
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Mar 27, 2011
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I’m a novice compared to many of the people on here, I’ve been a caravanners for a mere 16 years, some of the people here were caravanners going back much further.

BP
 
May 11, 2021
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Well, when I was a kid our family holidays were taken in a caravan - this'll be the early 80s in a Sprite Alpine with a foot-operated bulb for water, no power, no heating, no toilet and a nylon mesh hammock as a bunk. So you might argue I am not a total novice, but back then the only worry I had was who got the best bunk between my sister and I.
 
May 11, 2021
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Most fears are now put to bed. I am in it right now:
  • I filled a bucket and put the Whale pump in it, switched it on and bled all taps and the shower ok
  • I opened the gas tap and switched on the water heater and heating - all good on both gas and electricity
  • The cooker all works
The only thing I haven’t done is start the fridge on gas, but I know it works on power so I’m content to try that another day.

I’ll admit to being very relieved to know not only that it all works but that I know how to work it all. It turns out it isn’t that difficult!
 
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Jul 18, 2017
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I’m a novice compared to many of the people on here, I’ve been a caravanners for a mere 16 years, some of the people here were caravanners going back much further.
BP
Although we had use of a treailer fold out caravan in another country and rented caravans that were static, our first purchase of a caravan was in 2004. Bought a cheap Elddis Opal, traded it in after a month for a new caravan and have progressed upwards ever since. Steep learning curve and made a few elementary mistakes along the way.
 

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