Whether you’ve bought a new caravan, or are overhauling an old one, there are few more important things than making sure you’re well-packed.
But being well-packed should never come at the expense of your safety.
Here’s how to make sure your caravan and its payload are safe and secure for the journeys ahead. Use this checklist to inform yourself of the common practices that will help you on the road.
Make Sure the Mechanical Essentials are Packed
One of the first things you should do is to create a list of caravanning essentials. You should go through this checklist before you leave for each trip, just to ensure you have everything you’ll need, should some mechanical error befall you. This includes things like a spare tire, an extra tow mirror, a survival kit, etc.
No matter how long you’re hitting the road, you’ll want to ensure that everything that isn’t nailed down, is packed away securely. While you might not anticipate your caravan moving around a whole lot, it certainly will if you need to turn sharply for whatever reason.
This means making sure that all of your cupboards close securely, your cutlery drawer included. You should also ensure that the doors of any fridges and ovens also shut securely.
Make sure there are very few things that are circular or cylindrical and could roll around if toppled. In general, make sure that as many things that might cause problems are as secure as possible.
Check Your Weight
Before you head out on the open road, it’s important you check your caravan’s weight. Each and every model will come with a standard maximum weight, check out what this is and make sure you get yourself to your nearest weight scale before you depart for the open road.
Overloading your caravan could cause serious problems with your hitching, which may cause a disaster on the road, make sure you’re under the maximum weight.
Check Your Brakes
After checking your weight, you’ll want to make sure you have a mechanic thoroughly go over your caravan’s braking system. Whether your caravan brakes are electric — as some newer models are older.
So you’ll want them to be checked out by a professional before you leave for any long-haul trip. Especially if you’re going to be decking out an older model van with all of the trappings for a long haul, you’ll want to make sure that the brakes can take the weight and stop properly if necessary.
Use a Stabilizer
Caravan stabilizers are God’s gift to caravan owners. These devices are usually attached directly to your tow hitch. They provide resistance if your caravan begins to sway one way or the other while on the road.
The resistance that is created forces your caravan to stabilize itself and remain in line with your vehicle, for the most part (sharp turns notwithstanding). If you are experiencing any pitching (the feeling of your caravan ‘floating’), chances are it is loaded too heavily in the rear, causing the front end to lift up slightly.
Evenly Distribute the Weight
Just like if you were towing or driving a U-Haul, or some other moving van, it’s important you distribute your weight in your caravan as evenly as possible to mitigate the type of pitching spoken about above.
If you’re concerned about weight distribution in your caravan, this handy guide might be helpful. Basic practices are to distribute the weight evenly throughout the middle of your caravan, leaving either end as light as possible to avoid pitching in one direction or another.
Prepare for a Worst-Case Scenario
Long-haul journeys usually entail good times and fun. Nobody wants to think about the things that could potentially go wrong during their trip, but at the end of the day, it is important to be prepared for difficult situations.
From something as simple as a flat tire to a full-on car accident, you should know what to do. Make sure your vehicles are fully insured and know what to do in case you do find yourself in the aftermath of an accident.
Packing your caravan for a long-haul journey should be an exciting journey, thinking of the open road with just you, your family, and your caravan. Following some very basic principles can help save you a whole lot of headaches on the road and help keep you, your family, and your possessions safe from accidents.
Make sure to follow our guide to packing, and check your weight before you leave. Don’t worry about it too much as there is no absolutely perfect way to pack your caravan for a long-haul journey, do the best you can and institute best practices and you’ll be fine. Now, stop reading and start packing for the adventure of a lifetime.