RV KNOW HOW – SAFE CARAVANNING: Things to check before you go

RV KNOW HOW – SAFE CARAVANNING: Things to check before you go

Getting ready to head off on your next adventure is certainly very exciting. It can also sometimes be a bit stressful.

There are many things to take into consideration. We have created this checklist to help you get your van ready to follow you wherever you go.

There are some items that you don’t want to leave until the last minute. Ensure that:

  • Insurance is paid and up to date
  • Tyres are in good condition (including the spare)
  • Tow ball is in good condition
  • Gas bottles are full
  • Jockey wheel winds smoothly up and down (often overlooked! Read our blog on Jockey Wheel maintenance here)

Next, things to check inside the van:

  • All items are packed securely (including boot and baggage areas)
  • All drawers and cupboards are latched closed
  • No loose items left on benches, tables or floors
  • Smoke detector tested and working correctly
  • Fire extinguisher is charged and in date
  • Windows and hatches are all closed and secured
  • Antenna is down
  • Spare batteries for remotes, smoke detector, torch
  • Spare fuses and globes for lights
  • Fridge is on ‘dc’ to run when connected to your car
  • Battery switch on (where fitted) to charge from vehicle while driving
  • First aid kit stocked and in date

Outside the van:

  • Tyre pressures correct (refer to vin plate for correct pressures)
  • Wheel nuts are all tight (torqued to manufacturer’s recommended settings)
  • All baggage doors are closed and locked
  • Awning is closed and latched
  • Roof clips are all latched
  • Window shields are latched and secured
  • Boot closed and locked
  • Gas bottles are turned off
  • Water tanks are filled (if required)
  • Roof mounted solar panels are clean
  • All poles, pegs ropes for your annex are packed

Check that you have:

  • Caravan Jack
  • Wheel brace
  • Lock nut key (where fitted)
  • Winder handle for corner steadies
  • Winder handle for camper
  • Tube for snap up brackets (where required)
  • Drinking water hose(s) & hose fittings
  • Waste water hose(s) & fittings
  • 15 amp power leads (and they are in good condition)
  • Water filter

When you are hitching up, ensure that:

  • Tow ball is clean and in good condition
  • Shackles are rated to suit the van you are towing
  • Cross chains when connecting to vehicle
  • Lock down coupling
  • Weight distribution is rated for the tow ball weight and fitted correctly
  • Safety pins are fitted to snap up brackets
  • Van is plugged in, all lights, indicators and brakes are working
  • Fit and adjust towing mirrors

For extended travel through remote areas, it is a good idea to carry a few spares:

  • Spare wheel bearings, you will almost always find someone to fit them, but may not have the right ones
  • Spare fuses for both the car & van
  • Spare globes for lights (including stop lights & indicators)
  • Spare batteries
  • Spare water filter cartridge
  • Hot water service anode & wrench
  • Spare safety pins for snap up brackets

Don’t forget to pick up your wheel chocks, jockey wheel receiver, level up ramps, coupling lock etc.

Don’t forget your caravan keys!

It is a good idea to remove the tow hitch from your car when not towing as these can be stolen, or at least have a hitch pin lock to help keep it safe.

It is important that the vehicle/caravan are not overloaded and are within the towing capacity of the vehicle. Be mindful of the vehicle GVM/GCM and that you have not exceeded these weight limits. An overweight vehicle is dangerous to both you, your family & other road users.

This checklist is only intended as a guide, hopefully you will find it useful and there may even be some items you add to your own checklist.