“What?” I hear you ask. Well…camping season of course!
I know, I know…the weather is still doing its crazy British thing, but it really won’t be long and I, for one, cannot wait for our next family adventure.
Before the season gets started, it is a great time to check last year’s equipment: make sure it is all in working order, repair and replace as necessary. If you want to check out the new products and innovations on the market before committing to buying, then you could pop along to one of the caravan and camping shows up and down the country. These are great opportunities to have a good look at products you have heard about, to test things out, find a good deal, stock up on items or just dribble over the amazing things you could buy after you’ve won the lottery (a favourite pastime).
Whatever your budget, caravan and camping shows certainly get you thinking about the summer ahead and we’ve put a list together of a few shows that are on over the next few weeks that might just be worth a visit:
Now, some of you might find the idea of going to a camping show too “peopley” but still feel the need to go shopping. I must tell you that I stay away from ‘normal’ shops like the plague but there is one type of shop that I am irresistibly drawn to… the beauty that is a camping shop (jumps up and down with excitement!) One place that is full of proper camping knowledge and an amazing range of products is the wonderful family-run World of Camping in Cornwall.
They really know their stuff and can help to find you the right product for your budget. If that’s a bit far to go, they also have a website with plenty of offers available for different products. Check them out here: World of Camping.
When it’s the end of the season and time for packing away your caravan for winter, you might wonder what you should actually do to keep it in good condition until next year. Well, here are a few tips from our good friend, Kate, who admits to OCD when it come to her beloved “Green Windows!” (check out Green Windows’ story here: An Affordable Caravan? We Found One!)
The same as for Packing your tent away for winter, we always make sure our awning is clean and dry before we put it away for winter to prevent any mould or mildew taking hold. We hang it out and look for any marks or tears – cleaning the marks with an appropriate awning cleaner and patching up the holes. When we are happy it’s completely dry then we fold it away putting it back in its bag. Replace any guy lines or poles that are on their way out and put some new tent pegs in also. There is nothing worse than getting it out next spring and finding half your bits and pieces don’t work, are broken or missing!
Everyone gives their caravan a good clean after every use, but it needs the winter special spruce before you tuck it up. I clean every nook and cranny in mine. I am obsessed about damp and mould. To beat this, you need to be really thorough:
Remove ALL the food from the kitchen cupboards except for tins. I remove all the sugar, coffee, tea, salt, pepper, sauces, the lot!
Give the cupboards a good hoover and wipe out.
When dry, put in a few loose tea bags. These will soak up any moisture and stop mould appearing.
Make sure your oven and grill are clean and empty out your toaster. We don’t want any crumbs left about that little friends might come looking for.
Clean your fridge by giving it a good wipe out with bicarbonate of soda.
When dry, put loose tea bags in it and leave the door open so it can ventilate.
When you clean your toilet, empty and flush your waste tank. I make my husband do this several times (I know, I spoil him). However our waste tank is never too bad as our toilet is a no-poo zone. We also don’t put toilet paper in it. We always leave our tank in the open position over winter.
I also empty the bathroom of shampoo, shower gel and soap. The spare toilet roll also comes home because no-one wants a damp crinkled toilet roll next season!
I take all my bedding home and towels, even if it’s clean. I want everything washed, aired and packed away in the loft until next season.
It’s a personal choice but I like to leave my curtains open – I don’t leave anything in it to pinch and I take everything home apart from the plates and cutlery. I also leave my blinds open, just because they are roller blinds and she is an old van. I worry that if they a pulled down for months they might not roll back up in spring.
I lift up the cushions and stand them on their sides. Because I am obsessed!
Last few jobs before you shut the door:
Hoover the floor
Clean it by hand with warm water and floor cleaner.
Use a towel until it is bone dry (no mould zone please)
The water system – now this is not my job. But I know it always takes him ages to sort out (I think my OCD might be rubbing off…well, I can hope!) He drains the whole system and leaves all the taps on including the shower head. Remove any filters, as you don’t want any water being held in your unit. Freezing in your pipes would be a disaster darling!
Leave all your vents open and unblocked. You want your van to be able to breathe over winter. Make sure that your windows are shut properly and that any perished rub seals have been replaced. Also check the seal on your roof vents. No dripping in here please.
Our boot doesn’t leak but it could when I’m not there. So, we place a great big piece of plastic sheet over the boot contents so it doesn’t get wet.
Where are you keeping your caravan over winter?
Obviously, it needs to be somewhere secure, clean and dry. We make sure we park it on level ground and put its legs down. We choke the wheels and leave the hand brake off. If you can visit your van over winter to check it and make sure it knows it is still wanted, great. I can’t unfortunately but the people who keep it in storage for me let me know if there are any problems and know to give her a little pat now and then.
As you may have guessed, there can be no shortcuts to packing away your caravan for the winter.
Remember: clean looked after well cared for caravan = great holidays 2019!
I love my “Green Windows,” and have no intention of replacing her. But that doesn’t stop me from dreaming and I love checking out camping/caravan shows to see what innovations have come onto the market and what accessories I could add to her. For a list of these check out Camping and Caravan Shows Spring 2019.
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