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Caravanning

So there have been one or two posts on towing, as well the ones on the best-suited vehicles capable of towing.  So, for those of you who have the right tow vehicle, let’s take a look at some tips when it comes time to hitch up the caravan and be off on a trip of a lifetime around Australia.  Caravanning is still one of the best ways of seeing Australia and meeting plenty of people along the way.

If you are going to be travelling for a long time or for a great distance, then there are a few things worth considering so as to make your trip as rewarding as possible.  Here is a list of suggestions for you to consider before departing on your next caravan trip:

I’m assuming that you’ve already got the right tow vehicle.  The tow vehicle manufacturer’s towing recommendations shouldn’t be exceeded.

You may be thinking seriously about your caravanning adventure but still be at the pre-caravan purchase.  Do ensure that you take your time purchasing a caravan; this will help you make the right decision for you and your family (if they’re going to go with you).

If your tow vehicle is an automatic, then you should look at investing in a new transmission oil cooler, particularly if the tow vehicle has seen a few kilometres.  Hauling a big load does put higher stress loads on the transmission, thus heating it up.  If the transmission cooler isn’t up to the task, it won’t be long before you’ll cook the transmission and hit problems.  An overheated transmission is likely to cost plenty to repair or rebuild.  The price you’ll pay for a decent new transmission oil cooler will be cheaper than a new gearbox or gearbox overhaul.

Planning ahead always helps; so write a checklist when planning your caravan holiday.  This is so that you don’t leave anything important behind.

Keep in mind that your camping gear, which includes equipment such as water, food, clothes, blankets, camping gear etc, will generally add another 3-to-500 kg to the weight of the empty caravan.  And it’s also important, when loading the caravan, that the heaviest items are packed on the floor of the caravan, close to the middle where the caravan axles are, above the wheels.  This distributes the weight nicely over the axles and prevents the caravan becoming front-or-rear heavy.  If the weight bias is toward the front or rear then you’ll strike handling and braking issues.  Light items should be stored at the top, and can span the length of the caravan easily enough, but the more weighted items should be distributed evenly on the floor and in the middle and over the caravan axles.

Always carry a fire extinguisher on board your caravan; that way you’ll be properly prepared to stop any fires from getting out of control.  And, on the topic of fires/heat, a great idea when having a BBQ at caravan parks is to use baking paper on the BBQ plate, this way you can simply fold up the paper after use, and the plate will remain clean.  I’m all for avoiding doing dishes as much as possible!

Make sure you do pack some flat blocks of wood.  These can be used as a sure footing for the caravan’s parking-stability arms when your camp site is on uneven ground.  They can also be used as a firm base for changing any tyres.  Oh, and make sure you have a spare wheel for the caravan, just in case your caravan gets a puncture a long way from a service station.

One addition that makes hitching up very easy is a reversing camera.  You can even buy an aftermarket unit for reasonable money if your current vehicle doesn’t have one fitted.

Do check out the caravan and camping accessories that are for sale on the market.  These can help make your caravan holiday even more comfortable and enjoyable.

There will be even more great tips, so do share your ideas/experiences with us….

Have fun and enjoy the sights!

2 comments

  1. Bill Nixon says:

    Back in the 1980’s I rented a caravan and towed it around the coast from Sydney to Adelaide and back along the inland route. Climbing a long steep hill South of Bateman’s Bay, I observed a lot of smoke billowing over the highway on my outside rear view mirrors. I thought some car behind me was having engine trouble and blowing white smoke. Until I glanced in my rear view mirror inside the car. Horror, the smoke was being emitted by my car. I pulled over as soon as possible and looking under the car observed automatic transmission fluid leaking badly from the rear seal, falling onto the hot exhaust pipe and creating the smoke. On a hot Saturday afternoon in early January it was impossible to find a repair shop open and all the caravan parks were full, unless you had a booking. I waited for a long time to allow the engine and transmission to cool down and attempted to continue to my planned destination where we had a spot booked at a caravan park. It soon became obvious if I maintained my speed at 60 Km/h or less the leak stopped, increase to 70 Km/h and the leak and smoke came back. To make the story short we completed our several thousand Km trip at 60 Km/h, we must have been a real pain in the a.. to everyone else on the road, but during the holiday period it was difficult to find a shop to investigate the problem and repair whatever was wrong. OK, not to leave everyone wondering, the radiator in this car (a 12 months old XD Ford Falcon had become partially blocked and when subjected to the extra load of the caravan it allowed the transmission to overheat and leak through the rear seal.

    March 15th, 2021 at 4:35 pm

  2. Yvonne Burgess says:

    I am looking to buy a motor home could you please advise me where I should go as I am a female on my own and don’t know where to start

    March 15th, 2021 at 5:36 pm