How to Prepare Your Caravan For Towing

We all love our home comforts, so going on a caravanning holiday is a great option for many people who prefer to cater for themselves but still want the freedom of exploring what the UK and Europe has to offer. From beautiful seaside towns to warm beaches and green pastures, you can get that little bit closer to nature by travelling in a caravan.

But, before you set off on your next trip away, you may need to prepare your caravan for towing. The experts from SG Haulage have kindly provided some top tips that will ensure your trailer is safe for the journey ahead:

1. Pack it correctly

Packing your caravan in the right way will minimise a lot of problems that could otherwise occur while towing. Always start by referring to your car’s handbook so you know exactly what the maximum towing capacity is before you begin packing. It’s also a good idea to make the nose heavier than the back of the trailer as this will avoid tipping, and only pack the necessities. Unless you’re travelling to the middle of nowhere, extra water can be accessed at your campsite, and groceries can be purchased at your destination.

Items should be packed in the following way:

Heavy items – larger items such as bikes, barbeques and TV’s should be weighed before loading, and always keep the heaviest items as low as possible to prevent unnecessary pressure.

Medium items – next, you should load medium sized items, these can be spread out more than heavier items but should still be stored in the middle and bottom of the trailer.

Light items – small amounts of clothing and lighter items can be kept in the overhead storage.

2. Plan your route

As you would with any other type of trip, plan your route well in advance as some areas are not suitable for caravans, and you may not be able to access certain routes. This is particularly important in this era of the Satnav which can lead you through tricky, narrow roads that are difficult to navigate, so querying this beforehand will allow you enough time to come up with an alternative route.

3. Extra tips

● Be careful when driving – allow extra room around you, more time for manoeuvres and stick to towing speeds.

● Purchase mirror attachments so you have full visibility.

● Use the lightest version of everything you need – e.g. reusable plastic plates and cutlery.

There is nothing quite like the freedom of meandering around our beautiful countryside. And as long as you prepare your caravan for your trip, you can truly relax and enjoy.

If you need more help with your caravan, SG Haulage offers domestic and commercial haulage services across Lincoln. Whether you need your caravan moved across the country or you require international road haulage, go to the UK’s leading haulage company.

And where could you go with your caravan? Well, here is a selection of campsites with excellent facilities specifically for caravans to help your holiday go without a hitch (sorry, couldn’t resist that one!)

Scottish borders: Lilliardsedge Park

North East England: Thornton Hall Country Park

North West England: Park Foot Holiday Park

Wales: Brynawelon Touring and Camping Park

East Anglia: Fakenham Fairways

South West England: Langstone Manor Park

South East England: Chestnut Meadow

Packing your Caravan away for Winter

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!)

Awning

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!

Kitchen

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:

  1. Remove ALL the food from the kitchen cupboards except for tins. I remove all the sugar, coffee, tea, salt, pepper, sauces, the lot!
  2. Give the cupboards a good hoover and wipe out.
  3. When dry, put in a few loose tea bags. These will soak up any moisture and stop mould appearing.
  4. 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.
  5. Clean your fridge by giving it a good wipe out with bicarbonate of soda.
  6. When dry, put loose tea bags in it and leave the door open so it can ventilate.

 

The secret weapon against mould?

Bathroom

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!

Living area

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)

General maintenance

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.

Storage

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.

An Affordable Caravan? We Found One!

By Kate, mum of two boys (one of which answers to Scooby) and caravan fan.

I have noticed these days, that people have a tendency to put barriers up that stop them from having a go at things.  When it comes to caravans for example, people think that they will be too expensive, that they are not affordable. It doesn’t have to be that way. You just need to think in a different way.

When I was a little girl, my mum and dad saved up and bought the family a second-hand affordable caravan. I loved it. It was like living in a dolls’ house when we went on holiday. It was old but had been loved and looked after and everything had its own special place where it was kept and it was comfortable. We had years of fun in it, travelling all over the United Kingdom with it. What a sight we must have been:  three kids in the back of an estate bursting at the seams with stuff, a caravan piled with more stuff and a roof rack on the car with a boat on top of it. Not to mention the bikes, scooters and barbecue. We often went to stay down in Cornwall or Devon and enjoyed so many camp sites and made hundreds of new friends.

So when I had my own child the memories of those great holidays flooded back into my mind. A lady I worked with always talked about her holidays in the caravan at the weekend and school holidays and the great adventures she had with her family and friends in her caravan. I always liked to hear about it but never thought I would ever own a caravan as my husband liked to camp in a tent. He said it reminded him of his scouting days. Also, I simply didn’t think a caravan was affordable.

Then one day Barbara at work said she was selling her caravan which they called Green Windows for £1000 and did I know anybody that was interested. Well, this made what I thought was impossible, possible so I did what any good wife would do…started scheming! I hatched a plan with her and managed to convince my husband to visit Barbara and her husband, who by the way had a caravan for sale.

One week later I was the proud owner of Green Windows. I bought her new towels, cushions and bedding. Knives, forks, spoons, plates… the lot and she was ready to go. Barbara had taken really good care of her and she was old but immaculate. “Plenty of life in the old girl yet,” Barbara’s husband had said when we paid for her. And he was right.

We have had Green Windows six years now and have endless amount of fabulous holidays in her. My husband loves going away in her, I love the comfort of her and my son feels like I did when I was small – it’s just like living in a doll’s house.  If it’s raining or blowing a gale it doesn’t matter because you’re snug and cosy inside playing board games, drinking wine, relaxing. Enjoying your holiday!

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When the weather is great you get all the stuff out: wind break, deck chairs, body boards, crab nets, buckets and spades, kitchen sink and you go off down the beach.  All your clothes are in cupboards or wardrobes so no searching through bags trying to find things.  You can flick a switch and a light comes on. You can make a cup of tea easily and sit and enjoy it while it’s still hot. You can have a barbecue but if the weather turns half way through cooking you can finish cooking it all inside… in a relaxed manner while drinking your wine! When you go to sleep you have a bed to sleep on which is small but comfortable and warm and there’s no danger of getting wet in the middle of the night. You have a toilet in the caravan so in the middle of the night you don’t have to find your shoes, put your coat on, find a torch, take your loo roll and stumble down the field to the toilet. However we do have one very important rule in Green Windows, we are a no Poo zone. All poos must be done in the campsite toilet, Green window’s toilet only accepts wees!

At the moment, she is stored at Anglesey and we have enjoyed many holidays in her there (including this half-term week.) We have stayed at many fabulous sites and enjoyed the wonderful beaches. We intend to have plenty more of that this year and if it rains it doesn’t matter. Because we won’t be damp, cold or soggy. We will be cosy, warm and dry in our luxurious and affordable Green Windows. Cheers!

If you want to try before committing to buying, you can hire from Camplify. Check out their huge range of affordable options from teeny to gigantic, all over the country!

Nice comfy bed to go with it? Bundle Beds are so snuggly! And make it even more cosy with a Jofli Bear to cuddle and share your journey with.

Great sites that welcome caravans: Petruth Paddocks Free Range CampingRiddings Wood Caravan and Camping Park,  Bay View Farmers CampsiteForest Glade Holiday ParkLee Meadow CampingWarcombe Farm Campsite