Helpful Hints for Caravanners

In the interests of better caravanning enjoyment, this has been compiled for you by Ron & Thora Schafer with the co-operation of Caravan Industry Australia (Qld). Here's some helpful hints for Caravanners.

  • When buying a van first know the capacity of the towing vehicle. Check with local distributor.
  • Ensure you have a suitable jack for lifting your caravan (turn all gas off before jacking).
  • Paint hammer handle and annex pegs white. They are easier to see in long grass or at night.
  • Keep a spanner handy to disconnect the battery in case of a short circuit.
  • Make sure everyone travelling with you knows how to unclip and operate the fire extinguisher.
  • When leaving any camp site, check after moving that nothing has been left behind.
  • Keep a bottle of antiseptic with your laundry detergent. Clean the inside of washing machine and tubs before and after use.
  • It is wise to know the height of your caravan, as some bridges in the country are low.
  • Metal against metal cause black friction marks. To avoid this pack saucepans, etc. separately in old pillow cases or plastic bags.
  • Use plastic ice cream containers to pack loose items in. Containers can be used to bathe a would or if children are car sick.
  • Whenever you stop along the road for a tea break, both drive and passenger should have a walk around your van and car. Mainly an inspection tour, but the exercise will do you good.
  • Try to limit the quantity of souvenirs you collect, as these will add to the weight of your caravan for the home trip.
  • Take photo albums with you and insert placenames, dates and captions as you go. It is so easy to forget by the time you get home.
  • If you have your choice of where to park overnight, try to keep fridge vents away from the hot sun.
  • Keep a watch on the following traffic and be courteous to other road users. If you have a CB radio, tune to the truckies’ channel and talk to them, and help them to pass. You will get a “thanks mate” and you feel good.
  • If you are travelling with friends in another van, keep at least 200 metres apart so that faster traffic can pass safely.
  • Never clean your awning with chemical cleaners, it will remove all the protective coatings and render the fabric useless with in 12 - 24 months.
  • Keep a note of all interesting events, mentioned in the media, to assist in your future trips.
  • Before you leave home on any trip, check water pump, fridge and lights.
  • Brakes, bearing and tyres should be thoroughly checked at least once a year.
  • When travelling in hot weather, prepare lunch at breakfast time, then you need only open the fridge once in the heat of the day.
  • A 35mm film container is just the right size for $1, 20 and 10 cent coins. Keep these in the car for parking meters and phone calls.Before you head off, use this helpful checklist
  • Be sure you fit rear vision mirrors which allow you to see down the side of your van.
  • Your first aid kit should be well stocked for all seasons. In some areas it is a long distance between chemist shops.
  • Do not mark your toilet bag etc. with your home address. Instead put your name, car and van registration.
  • It is great for your hair to shampoo in the water from a running stream. Please take the water in a dish and throw all soapy water on the land. Fish, platypus and all their friends will thank you.
  • Carry a tyre gauge and check pressure before a trip when tyres are cold.
  • If a gas bottle catches fire, do not try to extinguish. Hose the bottle to keep it cool until it burns itself out.
  • Always turn gas off at the bottle before entering a service station.
  • When going on a day tour, by boat, rail etc. leave your car locked with your van and use tourist pick up bus or local transport for safety reasons.
  • Sleeping bags are becoming popular. Their synthetic fibres allow easy washing and quick drying. Turn the sleeping bags in-side out each morning to air.
  • Don't take much in the sewing basket. One reel of clear poly cotton will mend all coloured garments.
  • If you are visiting a point of interest in your travels and the weather is not good, buy post cards of the area - you may never visit here again.

Check List

Outside

  • Check tyres - condition and pressure
  • Wind up jacks - stow handle
  • Turn gas off at bottle
  • Connect van to car
  • Remove and stow jockey wheel
  • Connect safety chain
  • Connect wiring - check all lights
  • Fit level ride bars
  • Clean and stow waste bucket
  • Remove and stow power lead
  • Release hand brake

Inside

  • Secure all cupboard doors
  • Secure windows and hatch
  • Lock fridge
  • Ensure no loose items to roll about on the floor
  • Fold up step
  • Close and Latch Door
  • Move off-site and return to check if site is clean and nothing has been left behind

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