We’ve been lucky enough to be able to borrow the family caravan for the big lap, but as the van is not brand new there were a few things we needed to do to make sure it will adequately serve as our home for the next 10 months.
If you’re thinking of updating your own caravan, take a look at the things we did to modify our van to suit our needs.
It’s important to always check car, caravan and trailer tyres before any long distance road trips. Our caravan tyres showed enough signs of wear and deterioration to warrant replacement (we paid approx $110 per tyre). Light truck tyres are a must, but make sure you get advice on the right tyre for your needs from your local tyre supplier.
Changing the wheel bearings on the van was more of a precautionary measure than a necessity. Regreasing was an option; however, given their low cost (approx $25 each), we decided it was worthwhile just to replace them. It’s much better to have the extra peace of mind that comes from knowing the wheel bearings will last the whole trip.
Luckily we checked the gas cylinder, as we found out the original gas cylinder holder was an outdated size, which means it had to be replaced. We replaced the cylinders and modified the cylinder holder to accommodate the current standard bottle size. We’ve found it’s best to always travel with two so you never run short of gas.
Tip: Be wary of expiry dates on portable gas bottles. They usually don’t last longer than 10 years.
Anderson plug fittings
Anderson plugs were fitted to power the caravan during towing and when parked. Portable solar panels can also be plugged directly into these fittings. For us, replacing these fittings was a relatively easy DIY job as the wires were already there; however, for some caravans an auto electrician may be required.
You never know what is essential until you actually trial your caravan on the road. After two months on the road, we’ve identified further modifications to make life easier and more enjoyable. These include indoor and outdoor LED lighting to replace the existing incandescent globes, and a storage box for our Weber and other items.
We’ll spend some time adding to these items when we visit family in Perth, where we’ll have access to the right tools and a workshop.
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for the next 10 months. They’ll be writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.
In their next article, Drew & Court will explain how they went about packing for their trip.