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Some of the latest and greatest caravan gadgets

Caravan outings might have had to take a back-seat these past few months or so. All the better to have given thought to one of those subjects that seems to have perennial appeal to successive generations of caravanners – the latest and greatest, must-have gadgets.

Here’s a small selection of innovations some ingenious minds have dreamt up.

Wasps away!

A caravan is perfect for enjoying the relaxed outdoor life. But if there’s one pesky intruder likely to have you jumping up from your lounger quicker than you can say “buzz off” – it’s a marauding wasp or two.

Now you can beat them at their own game by hanging a fake wasps’ nest in your caravan awning. Luigi’s Wasp Deterrent claims to be so realistic that real wasps steer well clear of the fake nest.

Mosquito repellent

If it’s not the wasps, just wait until the sun starts to go down and the mosquitos are likely to get you – unless you have a portable mosquito repellent, of course.

This year’s MR150 mosquito repellent from ThermaCell is a disposable mat infused with the chemical Allethrin – similar to the natural repellent found in Chrysanthemum blooms. The mat is gently heated by a fuel cartridge and the harmless fumes drive mosquitos away.

Instant Pot

Since you are now relaxing in the wasp-free sunshine, the last thing you’ll want to do is return to your caravan’s galley to cook the evening meal.

So, that’s when you might want to turn to the Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 – an electric cooker that comes in three sizes (3 litres, 5.7l and 8l), capable of automatically cooking an amazing selection of dishes, from soup and broth, to meat and stews, beans and chilli, rice, porridge and even yoghurt. Slow-cooked, pressure-cooked or for simply warming food.

It’s described by the BBC Good Food guide as a “cult gadget” that has taken the USA by storm.

Dometic gas level checker pen

Never be caught out again by failing to judge when your gas cylinder is running on empty.

A nifty, pocket-sized device from Dometic incorporates a highly-sensitive ultrasonic sensor which tells you the level of remaining LPG when you press the gadget against the side of the gas cylinder. It requires no power source and can be used anywhere.

DJI Osmo Pocket camera

Like just about everyone else in the world, caravanners are keen to lay claim to the latest electronic and photographic gadgetry.

The DJI Osmo Pocket camera is just that – but with one major innovation that is likely to make the world of difference in the quality of photos you take. A clever, miniaturised gimble mechanism keeps the camera stable (over three axes), so you can use it anywhere in the knowledge that horizons are as level as they should be and your pictures perfectly framed.

Motor movers

Motor movers are among the more expensive items, but many owners might regard them as essential pieces of kit rather than needless gadgets or accessories.

Certainly, the Caravan Helper website votes motor movers the best gadgets to buy in 2020. It goes further in suggesting some of the latest and greatest models – the motorised jockey wheel mover from Happybuy, the manual motor mover from E-Move, Enduro’s Caravan Manoeuvring Aid, and the Apollo Caravan Mover from Royal Leisure.

YETI Cooler bag

You’ve almost certainly got at least one cooler bag that you use to keep drinks and snacks cold when you’re sitting outside and taking the sun.

It might well be time to invest in a new one, confident in the knowledge that the “extreme insulation” of the YETI Hopper Flip 12 keeps contents colder than most other cooler bags – mind you, at around £250 for a single bag, that’s a claim you’d expect to be kept!

What’s your latest and greatest find?

These are just some of the latest gadgets and accessories we’ve spotted online. You might well have discovered your own. We’d love to hear about them.

Caravan flood insurance

It probably won’t have escaped your attention that flooding over recent years appears to be becoming more and more commonplace. Scientists are enjoying themselves arguing about whether this is due to global warming or not and if it is, just what role human intervention is playing in the problem.

Interesting as that debate is, the issues for static caravan owners are rather more prosaic and pragmatic.

Flooding and your static caravan

Bad weather (whatever the season) brings a degree of concern amongst the owners of static caravans for the battering that might be brought on by storms – for good reason, too, given the amount of damage that might be caused.

In an island nation such as Britain, given its many rivers which might become swollen by torrential winter rains, damage – or indeed total loss – as a result of flooding is an ever-present concern for the owners of static caravans.

Examples of flood damage to static caravans may be legend and are well illustrated by a video published by Wales on Line on the 14th of February 2020, which captured the moments when a static caravan was lifted up and carried away on a swollen Welsh river during Storm Ciara. The area has been subject to severe flooding three times in the past eight years according to the news report.

Earlier the same winter, the York Press reported the fate of 12 static caravans affected by flooding at a holiday park near Scarborough.

Whatever the actual conditions and damage from one winter to the next, however, some issues seem indisputable:

  • many caravan sites are located in low lying areas either directly adjacent to large areas of water or indeed the coast and sea itself;
  • the news broadcasts over recent years have regularly featured worrying shots of damage caused to caravans as well as some being swept away in torrents of water; and
  • this problem is highly unlikely to vanish in the near future.

So, what options do holiday caravan owners have in this area? The good news is that you might still be able to arrange for cover of your static caravan against the risk of flooding, subject to a few simple and straightforward considerations.

The risk of flooding – is it a “material fact”?

A basic tenet of English law is that insurance contracts are based on the principle of “utmost good faith” (uberimae fidei to give it its formal Latin term).

This requires the insured to declare at the outset – or subsequently if the situation changes – any “material fact” likely to affect the risks that are insured. A material fact, in other words, is an event or information which makes a risk greater than usual.

If the site on which your static caravan is pitched has been subject to flooding in the past, therefore, this is considered to be a material fact and must be disclosed to your insurer – if it is not, the insurer may claim a breach of your duty of utmost good faith and void any subsequent claim.

What is the risk of flooding?

Nobody can tell you, unconditionally, whether or not your caravan and its site are going to be subject to flooding – the effects of which can obviously be severe. Different parts of the country, of course, each have a different level of risk.

Because of their very nature as holiday homes, caravan parks are often situated close to the coast or along the banks of some scenic inland waterway.

Research the risks in your area, therefore, by searching the Environment Agency’s scalable map of the risk of flooding from rivers and the sea in any given part of England and Wales.

It is not just the geographical location of your static caravans park which may determine the risk, but your actual pitch within it – if you are worried about the risk of flooding you might consider bidding for an alternative pitch on higher ground.

Check your static caravan insurance policy

Make sure to look carefully at your static caravan insurance policy quote so that you choose the most suitable insurance solution. While you will need to make sure you have the standard type of cover – such as loss, damage, and theft – you may also need to choose one that covers flood insurance.

Some static caravan insurance policies may have complete exclusion for flood risks, others may cover them but with numerous conditions and yet others may impose punitive additional premiums for caravans in flood risk areas.

Speak to your static caravan insurance provider if you are unsure as to what your policy cover entails.

What you may need to be particularly careful of is being in a caravan with an insurance policy that specifically excludes flood risk because even on caravan sites with no previous history of problems, flooding may arise unexpectedly.

You have probably given serious thought to insurance cover for your caravan – if you are also worried about the risk of your caravan flooding, you might want to consult a specialist insurer, such as us here at Cover4Caravans, on the subject, and here’s why:

  • whenever you arrange insurance cover for your caravan, your insurer naturally needs to be able to assess the risks of its loss or damage – that is what insurance is all about;
  • if the siting of your static caravan is in an area perceived to be vulnerable to flooding or has been affected by it in the past, the insurers take this into account when offering to insure the risk;
  • the assessment may result in no change to the policy proposal, or caravan insurance premiums may be increased to reflect the heightened risk or your request for cover may be rejected;
  • a specialist caravan insurance provider is familiar with the particular problems likely to be faced by owners of static caravans and to have established contacts with those niche insurers prepared to advance cover in areas of risk;
  • if you consider the cost of caravan insurance premiums too expensive, however, a specialist provider may instead offer caravan insurance quotes on alternative policies which provide comprehensive cover (such as theft and contents cover), with the exclusion of flood risks in particular.

Although the risk of flooding is likely to be a particular worry for the owners of static caravans sited in vulnerable areas, caravan insurance is not always out of the question, provided certain basic considerations are taken into account.

Is my proposal for insurance cover going to be rejected if there has been flooding in the past?

If you tell any existing or prospective insurer that there has been a problem with flooding in the past, it does not automatically follow that your application for cover is going to be declined.

Instead, the risk of it happening again is considered by the insurer and, if it is deemed necessary, an adjustment of the premiums payable may be made.

Naturally, some parts of the country might be more vulnerable to the possibility of flooding than others – even where there has been no apparent problem in the past.

So, different insurers are likely to adopt significantly different criteria when assessing the current risk.

Some providers may offer cover against flooding whereas others may not.

Specialist providers

It is for just that reason you might want to consult a specialist provider of static caravan insurance – such as those of us here at Cover4Caravans.

Based on our intimate knowledge of the insurance market, we may be able to identify those insurers prepared to entertain cover for static caravans in areas vulnerable to flooding.

Is your static caravan park prepared?

When choosing the site for your static caravan, you might want to investigate the extent to which the park’s management might be prepared for the risk of flooding.

The government has published quite detailed guidance for static caravan park owners where there is any likelihood of flooding. The local authority licence granted to your park owners may also contain conditions relating to their displaying flood warning notices and information, together with a flood plan where appropriate.

Naturally, you should make yourself aware of any such information provided and enquire whether a flood plan exists – and if it does, be sure to read it.

Any flood plan relating to the park on which your static caravan is pitched also needs to be incorporated into the management’s overall site plan, to show such important information as gas and electricity isolation points (so they can be turned off in an emergency), assembly points and evacuation routes, the location of life-rings and the formulation of traffic management plans.

On vulnerable sites, you are likely to find that static caravans need to be located on the highest ground possible, fitted with flotation devices on the underside, raised by approximately 0.5 metres above ground on axle stands and firmly anchored into position.

Specifics for high flood risk areas

If it appears that your chosen site or caravan park is in a high flood risk area, check that the caravan site owners are aware of the government’s guidelines for mitigating those risks.

Be certain that you know where the emergency assembly and evacuation points are for your site. Do not leave trying to find this out until a crisis has struck.

It would also be sensible to check that you fully understand your static caravan insurance position in terms of the provider’s requirements relating to maintaining your cover in place and any specific conditions that might apply.

Review of the general principles for avoiding flooding risks

Whether your caravan site is low or high risk, it might be prudent to consider some of the following to mitigate any potential flood damage:

  • try to select caravan berths that are located on higher ground within the site rather than lower;
  • with the help of any relevant expert advice, carefully construct your own flood plan. Essentially, that should be designed to tell you exactly what you have to do should you be, however unexpectedly, hit by flooding;
  • you should be absolutely clear where your gas, water and electrical master switches are. Ensure these are all switched off in the event of flooding. While a caravan site owner should also have such a plan, don’t rely on what they may do in these areas but take your own steps to keep yourself safe;
  • check that you have adequate emergency lighting and perhaps portable heating of types that cannot be put at risk by a flood;
  • keep a supply of good waterproof clothes and boots to hand. Remember, clothing that can cope with heavy rainfall is not the same as that required to protect you if you are wading through perhaps knee-deep water;
  • store some emergency high energy foodstuffs with a long shelf life in waterproof containers in your caravan.

We hope this article has provided some useful tips and advice. If you require any clarification on what your static caravan insurance policy covers, please do contact us. We’d be very happy to help.

Making the most of your static home

If you find that your static caravan is looking a little tired, then it might be time to think about giving it an overhaul and refresh inside and out.

Before offering a few useful top tips that just might help keep your static caravan in better all-round condition, let’s quickly review – and dismiss – some of the excuses you might hear from other holiday homeowners.

My static caravan is strapped for space – so my options are limited

However true that might be, it’s no reason for being defeatist.

A significant amount of space in a static caravan is typically wasted – just think of the empty air at or around shoulder and head height, and other unused areas.

You may be able to create additional storage space and free up floor space by putting in some additional wall cabinets, removing items from floor level and thereby making space for additional seating or decorative items and the like.

It might also be a good idea to think about purchasing furniture that doubles up as storage areas – seats that lift up, for example, giving access to hollow spaces underneath.

I can’t afford new furniture and décor

Understandable perhaps but don’t forget that it is sometimes possible to obtain nearly new items at a fraction of the cost by purchasing them at public auctions, garage sales and jumble sales.

You may also be amazed at how things can be improved by simply giving surfaces a light sanding down and applying a coat of new paint or varnish.

Keep an eye open also for liquidations and stock clearances – they are often good sources for new furnishings at knockdown prices.

I don’t have the time

Of course, only you can make the decision, but it may be advisable to think about how much the value of your caravan might increase if you undertake some basic renovation and redecoration.

The difference may be substantial and something that brings a smile to your face.

On a related subject, remember that if you have significantly renovated your caravan, you may have increased its value to an extent that it requires an increase in the cover levels stated in your static caravan insurance.

What can I do about the windows?

Leaving aside expensive options such as replacing them with more modern and decorative versions, it may be possible to replace existing curtaining and significantly change the internal and external appearance of your caravan.

Yes, curtain fabric can be breathtakingly expensive at times, but you may wish to check on the internet for off-cuts. Remember that today you may be able to bring fabric in from overseas for a fraction of the cost it may be available for in UK retail outlets – and that is even after the shipping costs have been taken into account!

Top tips on making the most of your static caravan

With those excuses for inaction safely out of the way, let’s turn to some of the practical – and sometimes seemingly minor – ways of making the most of your static caravan by keeping it in better all-round condition:

  • keep the outside skin of your caravan free of detritus. Twigs, small branches and – above all – leaves, can cause major problems with things like gutters and seals. The issue here is no different to that associated with a conventional property – so get rid of these things as fast as possible and don’t allow them to accumulate;
  • disconnect everything when you are leaving. Make sure that all gas, electricity, and water feeds are shut off at their point of entry into your static. In the case of water systems, they should be fully drained down if you are planning to leave for any length of time and certainly if you are shutting up shop for the winter period.  Some static caravan insurance quotes and their associated policies might make this a mandatory requirement of for the cover provided;
  • regularly check the seals on windows and doors. Even on the best-quality designs, these can at times cause problems, and you’ll want to pick that up and rectify it sooner rather than later;
  • be hyper-cautious with food waste. However house proud you may be, it’s easy to allow crumbs and other spills to accumulate – sometimes at the back of cupboards and the like. This is a heaven-sent invitation to various forms of pest which may be far more prevalent in rural surroundings than perhaps your normal urban environment. Once the pests have taken up residence, they can be especially difficult to shift – so don’t provide them with any encouragement;
  • deal quickly with any serious scratches or dents. If your caravan’s paintwork or other forms of metal insulation are damaged, you may find rust gets in very quickly and once it does, it can be almost as difficult to shift as some sorts of pest infestation. So, get remedial treatment the moment you notice anything that looks even slightly damaged;
  • make sure you regularly service your locks. It’s incredible how wind and rain can get into locks on exposed sites and then corrosion sets in. The first symptom is usually when you can’t get into your static for the first time in the season! So, use plenty of lubrication and other manufacturer’s recommended treatments;
  • regularly inspect your gas and electrical appliances, using a professional where practical.  Remember both sets of appliances could be dangerous, and even lethal, if they are poorly maintained.  It’s not an area where you want to take chances;
  • on a closely related subject, do the same for your flues and ventilation.  Few things in a static home are likely to be more dangerous than combustion-based heating or cooking with a defective or blocked flue. Hopefully, it also goes without saying that you should also have installed carbon monoxide and smoke detectors – and they should both also be regularly tested.

The above checks – and others like them – typically will only take a short time but they may improve your safety and help you to maintain the highest asset value in your static caravan.

Now that it’s done

Now that your caravan is fully maintained, spruced-up, spick, span, and looking its best, you are likely to spend as much time as possible enjoying it. So, it is probably time to pose one of the most frequently asked questions we receive here at Cover4Caravans – can I live in my static home permanently?

Can I live in my static home?

The question of living permanently in a static home is a complicated one.

Although this article cannot, of course, offer qualified legal advice, it may nevertheless give you a quick overview of at least some of the issues involved.

What is a static home?

Local authorities and insurance providers may see this as being a question of one of three quite different situations:

  • someone living in a static home on a site licensed for permanent 12 months per year occupation.  This is typically referred to as being a park home site;
  • a static caravan, either on private land or a site licensed only for recreational purposes, which is nevertheless being occupied permanently. Note that local laws may prohibit the occupation of a caravan on a recreational site for more than 9-10 months each year – some insurance occupation limits may be lower;
  • static caravans on authorised sites being used for holiday and recreational purposes.

Typically, the first category above is not an issue from either a legal or insurance viewpoint. The same is true for the third category.

It is only in the case of the second category where things may become complicated and you may find yourself vulnerable and exposed in both legal and insurance terms.

Insurance issues

If you compare static caravan insurance policies, you will typically find that they do not permit a static caravan to be lived in permanently for cover to be maintained.

They may require that, amongst other qualifications, in order to obtain cover for permanent residency in a static, it must be on a local authority approved site for permanent occupation.

If the site meets the specified criteria, you may be able to obtain cover through what is called park home insurance – insurance specifically designed for park homes which are lived in permanently the whole year round.

However, if circumstances necessitate you moving permanently into a static caravan on an unlicensed site, you may need to have an in-depth discussion with your insurance provider to ascertain what cover (if any) might be available.

Legal issues

Whatever the custom and practice may be in some situations, you may find that it is against local authority laws to occupy a static caravan permanently, whether it is on private land or a site approved for recreational purposes only.

In the case of private land, even if it is your own property, you may need to seek planning permission and these days that may be difficult to obtain.

If you move permanently into a static parked on a recreational site, you may find that court orders are taken out against you and ultimately that may result in eviction.

If the next step in terms of insurance issues is to speak to an experienced provider of static policies, in terms of legal issues you may need to consult people such as the citizens’ advice bureau, the local council or a suitably experienced solicitor.

Take these steps in advance rather than waiting for your occupancy position to become a legal or other issue.

Caravan prices, sites to reopen, Wildlife Trusts, and new caravan site for Skegness

Hibernation has lasted quite long enough for your touring caravan this year, so there is good news on the horizon as caravan and campsites are set to reopen.

Together with other important snippets of caravan news, here is our round-up of some of the latest developments.

Staycation boom sees used caravan prices rocket as dealers report sales surge

It’s little surprise that the vast majority of people will be looking to holiday in the UK this year – foreign travel, after all, is hardly likely to be back on the cards any time soon.

The surge in staycations has also seen a steep rise in the price of caravans and motorhomes, said Car Dealer magazine last week. The sudden swell in demand, coupled with the dwindling stock held by many dealers, has led to an inevitable surge in prices.

The magazine also cited figures collected by Auto Trader which suggested that 40% of the visitors to its website are planning a staycation this year. Caravan holidays are likely to equal the number of hotel nights sold.

When will camping and caravan sites reopen?

It might signal the celebration of American independence for our friends across the pond, but the 4th of July this year is when the UK’s campers will rejoice in the reopening of camping and caravan sites, reported the Express newspaper earlier this week.

The date is practically certain, but subject to a final green light not only from the government in Westminster but also the assemblies in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, noted Wales Online on the 12th of June. Although most camping and caravan sites are likely to reopen, therefore, you will do well to check whether those in and around your chosen destination have followed suit.

The Camping and Caravanning Club, for example, is planning to reopen as many of its sites as possible, but warns that stringent health, hygiene and distancing rules will be enforced and that some sites may need to stay closed.

Under current conditions, therefore, the Club warns that onsite toilet and shower blocks will only reopen if the situation allows – so some sites may not offer these facilities. Where they are open, they will subject to two deep cleans everyday and a further four supplementary cleaning regimes.

Look after nature says Wildlife Trusts

The Wildlife Trusts have issued an appeal to visitors to take greater care and show more respect for the nature reserves that are being visited as the warmer weather attracts thousands to enjoy the countryside.

The Trusts are responsible for some 46 sites across the country and the recent influx of visitors has seen some alarming instances of antisocial behaviour, resulting in:

  • damaging wildfires caused by the use of portable barbeques;
  • ground-nesting birds disturbed, and plants trampled by people and their dogs;
  • littering, vandalism, and the use of outdoor spaces as toilets – not to mention the unprecedented level of abuse directed towards staff at some site.

New caravan site to bring something ‘totally new’ to Skegness

Nothing else like it in Skegness – that is the promise of caravan site owners Jo and Ashley Boxhall who plan to expand their Herons Mead caravan site and fishing lakes in Marsh Road, Orby, in a scheme described to the Lincolnshire Live last month.

The couple plan to build a state-of-the-art spa, leisure centre and holiday park at the site, which also incorporates a pub called the Hide at Herons Mead, which they opened only last year.

Visitors intending to make a short break or holiday around the use of the new spa’s facilities will have the choice of staying in one of 33 static caravans, five two-bedroom holiday cottages, or six smaller log cabins each with its own hot tub.

Caravan towing tips

Whether a kind and understanding friend has lent you theirs for a weekend’s trial or whether you have taken the plunge and already decided to buy your own touring caravan, sooner or later you are going to be faced with the challenge of towing it from one place to another.

Initially, it might seem a daunting prospect. In most instances, however, drivers soon pick up the particular skills necessary for towing a caravan behind the car they are driving.

The National Caravan Council – in cooperation with the Caravan Club and the Camping and Caravanning Club – has published what is probably the definitive guide to towing a caravan. By distilling the contents of that 32-page document, however, we present the following more basic guide.

The paperwork

Before getting behind the wheel, you first need to think about some of the paperwork required for towing a caravan.

Naturally, you need to be qualified to drive the car vehicle that is towing a caravan.

The particular driving licence you require depends on the weight and size of the caravan and the date when you passed your driving test.

Changes to the rules have made the situation quite complicated, but the Caravan Club’s website has a handy tool and a guide which explains that:

  • if you passed your driving test before 1997, you may tow a caravan of up to 8.25 tonnes;
  • if you passed your driving test after 1997, your category B driving licence allows you to tow a trailer (including a caravan) of up to 750 kg or a car and trailer combination with a maximum authorised mass (MAM) of up to 3.5 tonnes;
  • if you passed your driving test after the 1st of January 1997, and the combined MAM of car and trailer exceeds 3.5 tonnes, you need to hold a licence which allows you to tow such a trailer – a so-called B+E category driving licence – for which you need to pass an additional driving test.

In addition to the relevant category of driving licence, you also need to check on the status of any insurance for the caravan you are towing. The law requires that you have a minimum of third-party cover and many insurers limit their policies to just that minimum for the caravan too.

Therefore, you might want to contact us here at Cover4Caravans to arrange comprehensive caravan insurance for any trailer you are planning to tow.

Practical considerations

Further practical considerations with respect to weights and loading also need to be taken before towing your caravan.

Weight ratios

One of the most critical aspects of towing a caravan is getting right the weight ratio between the trailer and the car that is towing it.

This may be quite a challenging and complicated business, requiring a knowledge of some of the esoteric terms used by both car and caravan manufacturers.

The key terms are:

  • Gross Train Weight (GTW) – the maximum permitted weight as defined by the car manufacturer of the car and the caravan combined;
  • Maximum Permissible Towing Mass (MPTM) – again defined by the car manufacturer as the maximum weight of any trailer the car may tow;
  • Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) – the weight of the car combined with the weight of is driver and passengers, luggage and the nose weight of the caravan it is towing:
  • Mass of vehicle in running order (MRO) – perhaps one of the most critical measurements, also known as the kerbside weight or kerb weight, which is the weight of the car as defined by the manufacturer;
  • caravan MRO – the caravan also has an MRO which is defined by the manufacturer and refers to the unladen weight of the trailer; and
  • Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass (MTPLM) – is the maximum weight of the caravan and everything you pack within it, including water, gas cylinders, and personal kit, a total weight that must not be exceeded for legal use on the road.

Your caravan and the vehicle needed to tow it

Armed with this bewildering array of technical terms, it is possible to begin to match the caravan you want to tow and the car that is needed to tow it.

The equation boils down to a ratio expressed by the fully-laden weight of the caravan as a proportion of the kerb weight (MRO) of the car – in other words, the fully laden weight of the caravan times 100, divided by the car’s MRO.

It is generally recommended that this ratio should not be greater than 85% for someone learning to tow a caravan, up to 100% for the most experienced such drivers, and never more than 100%.

Getting these ratios right and ensuring that you do not exceed any of the weight limits is important for staying within the law and also helps determine what size vehicle you need to tow the caravan.

Matching caravan to car – and vice versa – may, therefore, prove a mathematical headache. It might be welcome news, therefore, that the website WhatTowcar has a useful online calculator to help you make the right match.

Generally speaking, of course, the heavier the caravan you want to tow, the heavier and more powerful the car you need to tow it.

Loading

It is not only the laden weight of your caravan that matters but also how it is loaded. Heavy items need to be stowed on the floor, as closely as possible to the trailer’s axle and in a way that does not adversely affect the nose weight which the car is designed to bear.

Finally, when towing, don’t underestimate the importance of having the most appropriate mirrors. Since the caravan you are towing may be wider than the car itself, you may need to fix special extendable wing mirrors to ensure that good rearward vision is maintained.

There are both safety and legal implications, so check out our Guide to Towing Caravan Mirrors for more information.

Taking to the road

There are several simple things to bear in mind when it comes to the actual practice of hitching up and towing a caravan:

  • the first step, of course, is to hitch the caravan to the car that is going to be towing it – although the hitch ball arrangement, with its lock and safety chain, makes this fairly straight forward, beware that as you are manhandling the caravan into position even the slightest change in the level of the pavement may send the trailer scooting forward at a suddenly alarming rate;
  • on the road, you obviously need to exercise rather more caution and to drive well within the prescribed speed limits;
  • you might need to take corners wider than you otherwise do, to avoid the caravan’s wheel’s hitting the kerb or other roadside obstructions;
  • once you have mastered the art of driving forward with your caravan, at some stage you may need to reverse it whilst it is still hitched to your car – this is likely to prove a whole new experience, which you might wish to leave ‘til a later date.

Although towing a caravan poses no intrinsically difficult skills, it is important to ensure that you are properly licensed and insured and that you exercise due caution when taking to the open road for the first time.

Finally, if you want to gain more confidence when towing, the Caravan Club offers caravan towing courses.