A Beginner’s Guide to Towing A Caravan
Have you ever tried running in mud-soaked shoes? It’s as if you cannot control your legs.
Towing a caravan feels that way the first few times. You are suddenly conscious of everything you previously took for granted.
You become aware of the big log behind you. Changing lanes becomes a long-considered decision, speeding is no longer an option and don’t bother looking in your rearview mirror.
So why put yourself through all this stress? It’s because of the destination.
When you set foot on your vacation spot or caravan park, and you set up for the perfect getaway weekend (or longer), you’d appreciate all the effort.
That is when it sinks in, that it was all worth it.
Choosing the Right Caravan
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and your first step is getting the right caravan.
Picking out a caravan is similar to selecting a car. You have the same considerations as you would any other automobile.
Reliability, comfort, cost, performance, height, weight, primary usage, color, etc. These are all important, but you have to prioritize.
Which car would you use to tow it?
Your first consideration has to be how you are going to move about your caravan. The size and weight will depend on your own vehicle’s Towing Capacity.
You could go with a bigger caravan if you plan on hiring a car to tow your Galaxy caravan about, or if you plan on buying a new car.
How many people can it accommodate?
Think about the number of passengers now and over the period of ownership. But a larger caravan doesn’t necessarily mean it can carry more people.
A visual inspection of the listed facilities is also necessary. Different manufacturers use different dimensions for what would be a double bed or a shower cubicle for example.
You should also consider how freely the travelers can move about within the caravan.
Alternatively, you can purchase a smaller caravan with a pup tent, which opens up beside the caravan to create the extra room you may need.
This is ideal for small families that may occasionally invite guests or a new caravan driver who doesn’t want the inconvenience of a larger vehicle.
Primary Use of the Caravan
Why are you getting a caravan? How often do you intend to use it? Who will use it more often and for what?
For camping trips, you might decide that the caravan will only be used for storage and a flushable restroom, but not for sleeping.
It could also be that you need a large kitchen for the master chef in the family.
Are you going to use the washroom onboard or are you going to use those provided at the campsites?
Where to Keep Your Caravan
Consider where you are going to keep it when it’s not in use. You might want one that fits comfortably in your garage.
If not, is there a safe place – hopefully inexpensive – where you can keep it?
You would need to factor in other details such as fuel consumption, ease of use and the accessories that come with it, insurance costs and second-hand value.
How to Properly and Safely Tow a Caravan
Now that you’ve got your caravan picked out, it’s time to tow.
1. Learn How to Tow
Hang on, didn’t we just say that? By this, we mean take a towing course. I know it may sound silly, but it is definitely worth it.
You had to take driving lessons right, so what harm would it do to learn something you’ve never done before?
A full instruction package will take you through hooking up the caravan to your car, driving, going on reverse, using the extra attachments and in properly maintaining speed.
2. Make Sure It Is Securely Fastened
This is the most important step before you start driving. The rig behind you is powerful enough to sway your car, or get unhinged in the middle of the road.
If you need a professional to assist you, don’t hesitate to get one.
3. Distribute The Weight Evenly
Make sure whatever you are carrying in the caravan is spread out evenly. Some items have designated storage areas by the manufacturer, do adhere to them.
Once in their proper positions, ensure they are locked or fastened securely. You don’t want a gas cylinder to start rolling midway through your journey, or ever.
4. Get The Right Mirrors
As you have probably figured out, the mirrors in your car won’t work as efficiently when towing. You would need door-mounted mirrors.
For something fancier, rear-view cameras can be attached. These are really handy when going in reverse as well. Unfortunately, the cameras might get covered with dust and mud or in whatever else you find yourself.
5. Learn How To Reverse
You can’t escape it. If you plan on stopping anywhere besides the middle of the road, you need to learn how to reverse with your Galaxy caravan.
Get a spotter or use the rear-view cameras, if you went for that option. Otherwise, you would need to do this with great care and patience.
You might need to practice a few times before you get it right, but even then, you can’t be too confident about it. Always do it slowly.
6. Check Your Brakes
It’s not like you are going to be traveling at high speed, but your brakes still need to be in top condition. If in doubt, test them or have them changed.
When you hit the brakes, the van should not swing from side to side or jerk your car forward.
7. Keep Tires In Top Condition
All the tires – including your spares – have to be pristine. In all likelihood, you will be traveling over a long distance.
Changing the tire on your car when on a journey is hectic enough, but with a caravan attached it is heightened. Make sure you carry a spare tire for your caravan as well.
8. Maximize Teamwork
All hands on deck. Everyone should have assigned roles and practice before going on to your journey.
When you arrive at your destination after several hours on the road, the last thing anyone needs is confusion.
We mentioned having a spotter to help when going on reverse. You would also need someone to hitch and unhitch the caravan.
Clean up crew, vehicle and caravan checkers, the full works. Everybody should be crystal clear and ready for action at all times.
9. Take Your Time Around Bends
Remember, it’s not just your car you are driving. The caravan cuts angles sharper than your vehicle would, so you have to be careful around a bend.
Take the wider path and do it slowly. The extra few seconds are worth it.
10. Be Alert
Watch out for oncoming trailers, as the side winds might pull you in. Acknowledge that it will take you longer to go past street lights, so don’t be an amber gambler.
Animals crossing the road and inattentive pedestrians must be observed more keenly. Coming to an abrupt stop will not bode well for either vehicle.
Much has been covered about driving techniques already, but a few things are still worth mentioning.
1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It’s not a race, it is a holiday. The aim of the vacation is to have a memorable time with or without your family, and to arrive safely!
You are probably tired of hearing it by now but maintain a reasonable speed.
2. Don’t Overtake
Yes, I know Miss Daisy is moving at a snail speed in front of you, but resist the urge to overtake, if there is any risk at all.
It will take you half a minute or more to overtake another vehicle, compared to your usual maneuver. This delay has to be factored in and if in doubt, don’t.
3. Handy Reversing Tip
Some campsites have a clear line of sight, so all you have to do is find your parking spot and drive past it. Then you just back up in a straight line.
If this isn’t an option, angle the car and van how you want it to be parked, while still moving forward. This will give you an idea of how the caravan will fit in when you go on reverse.
Depending on the coupling mechanism you used, you should be able to angle your car in a way that keeps the caravan straight (v shape), but you are still able to see the rear of it to detect when to stop.
4. Take A Driving Course
There we go again, talking about things you need but may or may not want to do. But it will keep coming up so hop to it.
5. Use Two Lanes if You Have to
Get a “don’t overtake” sign on the rear of your vehicle, so that when you are going round a bend or at a roundabout, you can use up two lanes if needed.
Accessories for Your Caravan
After purchasing or hiring your caravan, you would need a few extra gadgets, as follows:
Extension Mirrors – these cannot be excluded. A rear view camera is optional, but modified mirrors aren’t. It’s worth knowing that Galaxy Caravans is offering people the option to get an STD rear view camera for their caravans.
Lights – Either attach or connect lights to the caravan. It’s easier when they come pre-installed in the van, so go for this if available.
Hitch stabilizer – these can be mechanical or electrical. It does as the name suggests and is a handy accessory.
Caravan Jack – we hope you’d never need it, but it is a must-have. If you’re looking to purchase a caravan from Galaxy, you can ask staff about the caravan jacks that they are offering.
Fire extinguisher, 12V leisure battery, number plate, fresh and waste water containers and much more.
There is no limit to what you can get with your caravan. You don’t have to get them all at once, but the more the merrier.
It’s a must for you to have a fire extinguisher on your caravan though, because you can never tell when they can come in handy. For those who want to purchase a fire extinguisher for their Galaxy, dedicated staff will be able to assist you with your inquiries.
Get a Galaxy Caravan
Now you are ready for your epic holiday. You know what you want; you know how to drive it, all you have to do now is get it.
When you invest in something as important as a caravan, you want to be confident you’ve made the right choice.
First, it has to be adequate for you and your family. We’re talking about style, performance, and comfort. Your caravan should be something you enjoy spending time in, even when it’s parked at home.
It also needs to have all the right bells and whistles. There is a vast and growing difference between modern and ancient caravans.
Older ones may be cheaper, but you may not have basic amenities such as hot water or a light switch.
In full consideration of your camping and family needs, tastes, preferences, experience and budget, we recommend Galaxy Caravans.
For over twenty years of being one of the biggest caravan manufacturers in Australia, Galaxy Caravans have provided top-of-the-line luxury caravans for clients all over Australia.
With a time-tested approach and a willingness to explore new ideas, Galaxy Caravans have provided unparalleled excellence in the industry.
Galaxy Caravans are made with a particular purpose in mind: to provide quality at an affordable price, for any and every need.
What began as a passion for founder Steve Borg has grown into a company with customized offerings suitable for any occasion.
Your purchase of a Galaxy Caravan isn’t the end of the tale for us; it is just the beginning.
With dedicated staff handling after-sales requirements, customer service and warranties, you have peace of mind for as long as you have one of our caravans.
An enormous amount of research and development goes into the production of each caravan, none more important than feedback from actual clients. Read what our client’s say about us.
The intricate and modern designs accommodate the need of every camper, with room for improvements and enhancements over time.
Trusted dealers can be found nationwide, and you have access to help round-the-clock, so you’ll never be left stranded.
Isn’t it time you went on your own adventure? Explore the world, hit the road and make lasting memories with your very own Galaxy Caravan. Contact us at (03) 8301 1800 to find out more.