Viewing 15 posts - 41 through 55 (of 55 total)
  • Talk to me about towing a caravan
  • hot_fiat
    Full Member

    My usual approach to reversing with a big trailer is to use the mirrors & steer towards where the trailer is starting to appear.   Vans, car transporters or boxes are easy.  It’s the little camping trailers that are a pig. Them and quad bike trailers.

    porter_jamie
    Full Member

    From experience when I used to tow a caravan for motorcycle racing years ago. Ensure all 3 tyres are new, of a decent brand and properly load rated and inflated correctly and check the pressures every time you use it.

    Also ensure you have a means of changing the wheel. This includes a trolley jack or something and  wheel brace.

    The worst happened on the M4,.it was terrifying but luckily we got away with it. Had a van full of tools but couldn’t get the fresh wheel on as we couldnt lift the van high enough on the wind down legs to get the new inflated wheel and tyre under the arch. So we deflated the tyre fitted the wheel and then pumped it up again. All on the hard shoulder with lorries whizzing by inches away. Yeah, you don’t want that.

    All three tyres were brand new avons from the local tyre shop, specific caravan ones so we think one had a slow puncture. Caravans spend all the time at max weight so the tyre is doing a lot of work.

    porter_jamie
    Full Member

    I also agree one of those big stabilisers makes all the difference.

    nickewen
    Free Member

    Thank you everyone for taking the time to respond to my OP, there’s a ton of really helpful stuff in here. Been mad busy with work/kids recently hence only getting a chance to respond properly now.

    Seems like I misunderstood the 85% thing as being on the tow limit rather than the vehicle weight, however, coincidentally the vehicle weight (1850kg) is close to the tow limit of 2000kg.

    Good points about getting the OEM 13 pin electrics when I get my bar in the short-term for bike rack use. I hadn’t even thought about stuff like shift points, throttle response, stability control, etc. etc. I wonder how the car knows when I’ve hitched just a bike rack vs caravan?

    I had considered the level of faff generally but not the specific point about balancing comfort of van in use vs dragging it about the place! Kids are 5 and 1 so we would get plenty of use out of it before they go off and do their own thing but I was thinking single axle 4 berth TBH. How do people find the faff of camping vs caravanning? Is it a million miles apart? I love camping and weirdly enjoy the planning/organisation/graft side of things when I’m away (although there is nowt worse than packing up in the rain!). Another consideration for me is any van would have to be kept at a storage unit as the driveway, although big enough for 3 cars is not suitable for a van.. this would obviously mean additional costs + more faffage..

    Some great tips on loading, driving, nose weights, license requirements, etc. too and I had a good laugh at some of the comments re. forcing a nice car to tow a caravan and silence rules when reversing with the family in car!

    Thanks!

    benpinnick
    Full Member

    car knows when I’ve hitched just a bike rack vs caravan

    Your Caravan will run a 12v supply off the car that other stuff does not use. I suspect this being hooked up will alert the car to it being a caravan, but… that said, why wouldn’t you want it the same for a large trailer say? So maybe it will just do it whenever there’s electrics going to the socket.

    silence rules when reversing with the family in car!

    This is the most important rule of all.

    hoops
    Full Member

    I don’t have space to store the van at my home either…  One advantage keeping it at a storage unit is it doesn’t have to be local to your home.  Currently keeping mine in a storage unit just off the M5 in the south West – making it easier to get the bulk of the journey done without towing.  Only need to pack clothes as everything else is already in the van.  Then it’s easy to get to all of the South West and Southern Wales.

    you can move your storage from year to year, exploring different areas of the UK.

    Of course, the downside to this is a longer journey for any maintenance chores that need doing or spontaneous weekend breaks.

    Faff factor is much smaller than Camping.  Comfort factor is much higher.

    mert
    Free Member

    I wonder how the car knows when I’ve hitched just a bike rack vs caravan?

    It compares the acceleration and deceleration rates against the torque or power being supplied against a standard map. Plus a little bit of tow hitch detection flags. (So a fully laden, MGVW vehicle with nothing on the tow hitch will behave differently to one of the same weight with a trailer).

    Bike racks are awkward. But usually not heavy enough to trigger changes to shift maps, brake bias or other safety systems.

    molgrips
    Free Member

    How do people find the faff of camping vs caravanning? Is it a million miles apart?

    It is ultimately much less faff.  Our first trip with our caravan was to a Big Bike Bash many years ago.  We arrived about midnight, in the rain. Putting the legs down then climbing into the warm dry comfy van and putting on some cocoa as the rain pattered on the roof was sheer joy. Then getting into a comfy bed with a real duvet and a sprung mattress.  Compare that with putting a soggy tent up and sleeping on the floor.

    There is still some faff but it’s much more limited and is the same every time so you get drilled on it.  Especially when the kids get older – you get them to fetch water and empty stuff etc.  Although you’re not under canvas you are a lot closer to the outdoors than you are in a building.  I still remember one lovely afternoon we sat inside with the windows all wide open watching steady summer rain fall whilst being warm and dry.

    Don’t bring a TV though as then you really will miss out on everything.

    Re storage I do keep the van as close to my house as I can because we like to load the van firs with clothes and food, then come back with the bikes and paddleboards and whatnot in the boot where they stay for the journey.

    mert
    Free Member

    Caravanning with a big awning that you can open up is almost all the fun bits of camping with none of the downsides.

    A good awning goes up in 15 minutes, and you can put it up *after* you’ve sat down, had a cup of tea and popped down to the beach/lake/shops/nearest black run/got changed.

    I sleep in the awning sometimes as well. (I have a 4 berth, but sometimes there have been 5 of us, so i take an inflatable mattress and sleeping bag that gets slotted in on top of the top bunk during the day).

    molgrips
    Free Member

    A good awning goes up in 15 minutes, and you can put it up *after* you’ve sat down, had a cup of tea and popped down to the beach/lake/shops/nearest black run/got changed.

    Yep, and you can opt not to put it up if you are only going for a few days or stopping overnight on the way somewhere – unlike a tent.

    stcolin
    Free Member

    We completed our first trip at the weekend. Very stressful, but in the end it was fine. The Focus coped pretty well, although heading up the hill from Leek to Buxton was a struggle at times, but that feels steep even without towing anything. Plus by the time we left Glossop we had to head back home before heading to the site and by that time it was proper Friday afternoon traffic. The journey back on Sunday late afternoon was much more relaxing. I could certainly feel the weight of the van, but it towed pretty solid with only a little bit of movement at times.

    We’re off to North Wales next weekend and then the Lakes for a few nights at the start of July. No bikes being packed at the moment, just chilled weekends with plenty of walking etc.

    We woke up on Sunday and the rain was coming down rightly and we both agreed it was a million times better than being in a tent. We will get better and quicker at getting setup and taking down, but that comes with experience.

    tewit
    Free Member

    Oh and you will definitely want a corner steady adapter for your drill. Miles better.

    mert
    Free Member

    We will get better and quicker at getting setup and taking down, but that comes with experience.

    I’m down to about 10 minutes from spotting the pitch to kettle on the hob, 15 or so if i pull the basic awning out, 30 if i have the full tent to fit.

    All on my own.

    Strip down takes about twice as long. Mainly from putting the kids stuff away!

    molgrips
    Free Member

    My kids hate using camp site toilets so I always have to deal with the chemical toilet when we go, that adds some time on.

    1
    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    My kids hate using camp site toilets so I always have to deal with the chemical toilet when we go, that adds some time dry retching on.

    FTFY

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