13 Sep How To Prepare For A Caravan Trip
Trip preparation is probably the most important part to ensure you don’t end up ruining a well earned holiday! If you’re thinking ‘how to prepare for caravan trip’, then read on. Having recently completed a trip to Cape York towing the van all the way to the most northern point of mainland Australia I decided to write about this in the hope of helping others on their own trips.
I will run through the basics that I would recommend having, although every trip is different so some may apply to you and others may not. Just remember even if you don’t know how to use some of these listed items chances are if you get stuck someone else will be able to help you out!
Basic tools- You don’t need to carry a giant toolbox with you, it may only be a cheap set you’ve gone out and bought specifically to leave in the car or caravan. A hammer, Allen keys, screwdrivers and spanners, socket set and a shifter will cover 90% of your needs!
Basic spares and consumables- wheel bearings, hoses, belts, fuses, filters, nuts, bolts, screws, washers, electrical tape, electrical wire, duct tape, zip ties, Wd40, oils and fluids etc (remember these are just the basics, you can take whatever spares you want!)
Recovery gear– depending on where you plan on going, having your own recovery gear is pretty important, a full recovery gear bag can be purchased fairly cheap these days but even just a shovel, good 4×4 jack and a snatch strap (tow rope) with some D shackles may be enough to get you unstuck. I also personally opt for a good tyre puncture plug repair kit instead of carrying a second spare with me but there’s no reason you can’t have both.
Max Trax are another great investment if you plan on driving on any sandy tracks
The next step up is fitting an electric winch to your vehicle so you don’t need to rely on other people helping in remote areas.
Tyres, tyre pressures and compressors- ensure your tyres are in good condition prior to your trip (including your spare). Lots of people assume if they have plenty of tread its good to go but many factors can come into play here, one of them is the age of the tyres as they tend to go hard and become very unreliable over time.
If you plan on going on rough dirt roads it pays to have a portable air compressor and tyre deflator with you. We dropped our tyre pressures down from 40psi on the sealed roads to 25psi on the corrugated dirt roads on both the van and tow vehicle so we were getting a much smoother ride.
Weight and weight distribution- I am not going to go into great detail here as it is a very in-depth subject from insurance, road legality reasons to the overall safety/comfort of towing your van. Please do some research into correctly loading your caravan/vehicle, even get a mobile weight tester to come out and help you sort your weights out. Lots of people now use weight distribution hitch setups to help counterweight distribution problem as well but it pays to know where the KG’s are in your tow vehicle/caravan setup.
Towing a van that has bad weight distribution can result in “tail wagging” where the van sways and starts pushing the tow vehicle all over the road. Not something you want happening to you at 100kmph
Well maintained Caravan and tow vehicles- Yes, some things do fail out of nowhere but most of the time preventative maintenance and regular servicing are the key factors in ensuring everything performs how it should on your trip! Keeping your van and vehicle in good condition is where it all starts.
Well maintained equipment- just like your caravan and vehicle it’s important to check your other equipment is in good condition this includes hoses, power leads, batteries, wheel chocks, bbq gas bottles etc
Epirb/satellite phones/roadside assist- These are the items you need when all else has failed. Worthwhile if you are going to be travelling remotely.
These for me are just the basics for travelling off the beaten track, hopefully, you never need them but if you do at least you’ll be prepared!