You’ve become familiar with your caravan, you know where everything is, you’ve tended to all of the key maintenance points and everything’s ready to pack – you’re nearly ready to go! Use this guide as a checklist for some of the key items you need to take care of before hitting the road.
The Caravan exterior
First, let’s have a look at the outside of the caravan. We may be revisiting bits that are covered in our caravan maintenance guide, but it’s worth doubling up. Obviously, the consumables (gas and water) can be dealt with once you’re on the road, but tempers will flare if you hit a caravan park at dinnertime, unable to heat a meal.
- The coupling is secured to tow vehicle.
- The safety chains are in good condition and properly secured to both drawbar and tow vehicle.
- Brake Away cables (if fitted) are connected from your vant to the designated anchor point on your tow vehicle.
- The handbrake engages and releases cleanly (and remains released before you set off).
- The tow bar wiring insulation is in good shape and that the plug and socket are free from dirt before connecting.
- Any additional power supply plugs between the tow vehicle and your van are clean and connected.
- The lights work (brakes, indicators, reverse, parking lights, side lights, and number plate). You’ll need someone else to be your eyes for this.
- The indicator light on your AL-KO Electronic Stability Control system is illuminating green confirming that it’s self test has been completed without error.
- The tyres are in good condition and pumped to correct pressure.
- All wheel nuts present and tightened.
- The battery is in good condition and charging.
- The brakes engage and release (run it around the block before leaving).
- Your jockey wheel is there, either raised and secured or stowed away.
- Your spare tyre is there and pumped up.
- Your caravan’s corner stabilisers work and are fully raised.
- The water tank is full.
- The gas bottles are full, turned off and secured.
- Any other tools, accessories, awnings and aerials are secured.
- The 240V mains is disconnected.
The caravan interior
The idea here is to secure everything that can break, cause damage or make a mess.
- The fire extinguisher is present, in good condition and not expired.
- The fridge door is secured.
- The fridge has adequate ventilation.
- Cupboards, drawers and doors are closed and secured.
- Your payload (items stored inside the caravan) does not exceed the maximum recommended by the manufacturer.
- Food, drinks and odds and ends are packed away.
- Any open windows are closed in case you hit rain or dust.
- Both 240V and 12V electrics work.
- The gas and electrics are turned off.
- Interior lights work.
- You have spare light bulbs and tubes.
- Water pumps and drains are clear and flow freely.
- The toilet operates.
- The toilet cassette is emptied.
- You have toilet chemicals.
Make sure you pack a toolbox with tools for the car and caravan. Also include:
- Wheel brace
- Wheel chocks
- Tyre blocks
- Jack plate
It’s common sense that you need to check the spare tyre and the gas cylinders as well. There’s a lot to remember, so use our travel caravan safety checklist to ensure that you and anyone with you remains safe and happy.
Check out our caravan safety guide for more information on how to ensure a safe trip.
Image: Brett Goldsmith