If you’re an amateur caravanner, the number of tasks before taking a road trip seems endless and sometimes overwhelming. But each act is important and going through them will ensure you are prepared in case of emergencies. To help you, we have created a checklist to ensure your holiday will be hassle-free, safe and enjoyable.
Have you prepared an itinerary for your destinations? Planning helps you map-out your trip. When preparing your itinerary, you must consider the weather in your destination, your budget, store locations, free campsites, safety and dumping stations along your route. Remember to include the iconic attractions in every stop to make the most out of your trip.
It’s very important to check whether your fuel tank is full before departure. You never know where you will be stuck and if there are fuel stations nearby. It's best to mark all the fuel filling stations in your route if you need refilling.
A significant part of the itinerary, your route plan should include the type of terrains you have to drive through, which highways to pass, tolls, attractions and petrol bunks on the way.
By doing this, you will find the shortest route to your destination and you can avoid traffic and dangerous roads.
Have you checked your gas tank? Have you turned off your gas cylinder? Make sure you check whether your gas tanks are fitted securely.
It will be better if you will make an account of your last filling date to prevent running out of gas along the way.
If you’re off to a remote route, make sure your white water tank is full, so that you don’t worry in case there are no filling stations en route.
Make towing easy by flushing out the gray and black water tanks before the trip. It's paramount that you check whether you have enough water or coolant in your rig’s engine.
Don't forget to ensure that the water hose is tucked and stored without tangles after draining it.
A vital part of safe caravanning, tyre pressure must be below 5 psi.
If you’re travelling on an unsealed road, make sure that your tyre pressure is reset before the trip. Make sure that your spare tyre is appropriately inflated too.
The weight of your tow car should be 30% less than the weight of your rig, so you must pack accordingly. Inappropriate loading of your caravan leads to snaking and snaking leads to accidents.
Is your stabiliser in the rig locked and linked? Connect your electrical system to the stabiliser system and tuck the cables or chords well. Crosscheck if the stabilisers at the front and back are positioned upwards.
Windows and Doors
Are the windows and doors latched securely? Make sure you allot time in checking the windows and doors of your rig and lock them when you're on travelling.
Additionally, ensure that the hatches are closed and items are securely positioned within the shelves and cupboards.
Store your annexe safely. Taking away the panels and storing the awning separately means a safer journey. Just make sure that the awning is dry before folding and that you store it in an aerated shady place without any damp.
Switching AC to DC
Change your caravan fridge power from AC to DC when travelling. It is recommended that the fridge remains connected to the 12 V DC, so that the battery would not get drained.
Are all the appliances in your van off? Double-check if you have disconnected the electrical hookup cable and secondary coupling from your towing car.
You should also disconnect the 240V electrical lead while on the move.
Another vital part of safe caravanning is the wheel nut. Ensure that the wheel nuts are not corroded and working well.
Moreover, crosscheck if the nuts are tight enough every 1,000km or once every 6 months.
Switching off the lights and electrical appliances within your rig are as important as connecting the 12 Volt power of the van lights to your car.
As indicators and lights are necessary for safe driving, check if the taillights, headlights and indicators are functioning well prior to your trip.
Retract the Slides
While some caravans have automatic slide-outs, others are equipped with manual ones. If your rig is built with manual slide-outs, ensure that it is retracted and secured well.
Another essential step to ensure a safe caravanning trip is checking the towing mirrors. The towing mirrors must be inspected and adjusted correctly, before starting a trip. Improper positioning of these mirrors could lead to your caravan insurance being nullified in case you get into an accident.
Remove the wheel chocks and release the handbrake!
A complete round check and inspection by taking a look around your caravan ensure that everything is working properly for your trip ahead!
Checklist to Cross After Reaching the Destination
After reaching a caravan park or campground, comply with the rules of the park and carry out a safety routine to prevent any damage to your van. From electrical hook ups to levelling, the Parking Checklist for caravans helps in safely stationing your rig.
Choose your Site
Is your site shady enough? Are there low hanging foliage that could fall on the caravan roof or damage it? Choose a camp space that is well aerated and safe from falling objects.
Levelling the Rig
Using a ramp underneath the pitch will maintain an even level of the caravan which prevents toppling or misalignment. Even if you’re parking the rig for a few minutes, ensure that it is levelled appropriately using a levelling indicator.
Keep Wheel Chocks
Another traditionally used accessory to secure the parked caravan is wheel chocks. If you need to park on an unlevelled terrain, it is mandatory to use wheel blocks.
Ideally, you must keep wheel chocks in the front and back wheels.
Apply the handbrake to ensure you’re parked safely.
Install Jockey Wheel
Lock your jockey wheel by lowering it. Next, use the jockey to lift the van hitch at the towball. You can also modify the level of the rig using the jockey wheel.
Verify Power Source
To ensure that there is no occurrence of electrical shocks due to reversed polarity, cross-check the polarity at the sullage point in the park using a multimeter.
Also, ensure that the plugs and sockets in your rig have the right polarity to keep your electrical system intact. Inspect and clean any dirt from the power chords before connecting.
Using a residual current device or RCD, connect the mains connection to your rig as well as the sullage. Avoid leaving extra-long cable around the hookup as it tends to overheat fast in such cases.
Change your refrigerator power from 12V direct current to AC as the opposite will drain the battery during static position. Now, detach the weight levelling bars and chains slowly as well the corner legs.
Have you checked the size of your campsite?
Prior to rolling out your slide-out, ensure that you have sufficient space in your permitted camp space to do so without trespassing into other sites.
If you’re travelling with a pet, avail permission from the manager of the park before arrival. When in the park, ensure that the dogs are always on a leash and attended to at all times.
In addition, you can also check whether a park permits pets on board while planning the itinerary too.
Check Water, Gas and Air
Inspect your gas and water connections, in addition to mains hose pressure, to prevent leaks. Switch on your appliances and open your cupboards to ensure that your commodities are safe, secure and functioning.
Put up bug repellents around your camp space
To keep of rodent infestations such as ants, roaches, termites and mosquitoes, it is advised to sprinkle bug repellents around your campsite before parking. Areas to mandatorily sprinkle bug poison are jockey wheels, floor vents, wheels, power cable and cords.
Crosscheck your Space and Socialise!
Do you know the facilities in the park? Talk to the caravan park manager about your options in and around the park. Remember, caravan parks are an excellent place to network and find like-minded people!
Checklists save time and prevent mistakes or excess costs. Some other important things to include in your inspection checklist before and after a caravanning trip are first aid box, toolkit and food.