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UK Caravanning (uk.rec.caravanning) A forum for the discussion of caravanning undertaken by residents of the United Kingdom, whether in the UK or abroad. It encourages the interchange of views on the merits of models of caravan, makes of tow car, accessories, caravan sites, caravan clubs, and other related topics. The term caravan is to include trailer vans, motor caravans and trailer tents.

Tips for a First Timer



 
 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old September 26th 03, 11:00 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Mary Fisher
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Posts: 127
Default Tips for a First Timer



My friend takes possession of a sh 'van tomorrow - today now (!)

She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for her.

Anything. There's bound to be a variety of things I haven't thought of.

Mary


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  #2 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 12:19 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
John White
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Posts: 7
Default Tips for a First Timer


"Mary Fisher" wrote in message
t...


My friend takes possession of a sh 'van tomorrow - today now (!)

She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for

her.

Anything. There's bound to be a variety of things I haven't thought of.

Mary


Oh golly I could sit here and type all night.
The things I would check
1 Tyre condition and pressures on the van.

2 Nose weight. Some cars and vans have different nose weight allowances My
rule of thumb is lift the jacks up so the van is standing on its road wheels
and jockey wheel . Try to lift the jockey wheel off of the ground if you
can just lift it it should be some where near right. if it is impossible to
lift move something to the rear of the van ( put jacks down first of course)
if it lifts real easy move something forward ( jacks down of course). If you
have the correct tools and weights use them to get it just right.

3 After hitching up to car and lights have been checked use the jockey wheel
to lift the front of the van a little then shake the van firmly using the
handles on each corner.This should make sure that you have the hitch
correctly done. Obviously if the hitch comes undone it is incorrectly
attached. Then lift jockey wheel completely clear of the ground . This may
involve undoing a pinch bolt and twisting the whole assembly not just
winding the handle.

4 With the van hitched to the car apply the hand brake on the van. Gently
try moving the van with the car if it moves easily the brakes need adjusting
or servicing and I wouldn't suggest towing it any where. Also if the van
wont move with the hand brake released you have a problem ( very common if
the hand brake has been left on for some time)

If this is the first time you have towed or is it town a caravan. I would
try to pick a quiet time of day. You will find that the car will not
accelerate as quickly as it does solo and stopping distances will be much
longer. Don't worry about holding up other traffic . If you feel there is a
long queue behind you pull in to a lay-by and let the traffic pass. What
ever happens dont let the other drivers bully you into driving faster than
you feel safe.
I always drive far more gently with the van on this includes pulling away
cornering and of course stopping.

Now about reversing.
This can be very difficult at first but it soon
becomes second nature. I am not going to give you a load of instructions
here it would take to long so try to site the van where you can drive on
unhitch and drive off with out manovering. If you really cant do that for
what ever reason I suggest you apply the hand brake on the van Unhitch
borrow some hefty friends and man handle it.

Manhandling.
I never manhandle the van on my own except on the
flattest of sites. The van is heavy and can roll down hill very quickly. Try
to have a person responsible for the brake. This person doesn't push or pull
the van at all their only responsibility is the hand brake on the van . When
moving the van any one shouts brake or stop and the brake man pulls the
brake on and every thing stops. It is very important NEVER to push the van
any where apart from the handle or corners of the van. If you push in the
centre of the van it may flex and you will have a busted window.

Sited
Once you have the van where you want it apply the hand brake and
unhitch from the car ( remember to unplug the lights etc) then adjust the
jockey wheel to get the van roughly level then drop the jacks down until
they touch the ground. Now use the jacks and a spirit level ( glass of water
will do at a push) to get it nice and level. once sited you should leave the
hand brake off ( you may need to chock the wheels ) this will prevent them
from seizing up especially if you intend leaving it sited for some time.

This is the way I do things and of course it will differ from the way other
people do things. use this only as a guide don not think it is hard and fast
rules. the most important thing is common sense. If it dont feel right it
probably aint right.

If you can get hold of a friend who has some towing experience it would be a
great idea to get him or her to show you the ropes.

One more little tip .
My friend an I move a large antenna mounted on a
huge trailer. We are both Radio Hams and use our radios when we are
manovering in tight spaces (save all that shouting and arm waving) There are
available some little hand held radios that need no licence and cost about
25 pounds that are ideal for this purpose ( also good to give to the kids
save you shouting at them to come in for supper)

I hope I have been of some help let me know how you get on.
John







  #3 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 06:49 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Dave Fawthrop
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,941
Default Tips for a First Timer

On Sat, 27 Sep 2003 00:00:57 +0100, "Mary Fisher"
wrote:

|
|
| My friend takes possession of a sh 'van tomorrow - today now (!)
|
| She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for her.
|
| Anything. There's bound to be a variety of things I haven't thought of.

But you know absolutely everything about caravanning Mary! ;o)

Dave F

  #4 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 08:29 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Ophelia
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 41
Default Tips for a First Timer


"Dave Fawthrop" wrote in message
...
On Sat, 27 Sep 2003 00:00:57 +0100, "Mary Fisher"
wrote:

|
|
| My friend takes possession of a sh 'van tomorrow - today now (!)
|
| She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for

her.
|
| Anything. There's bound to be a variety of things I haven't thought of.

But you know absolutely everything about caravanning Mary! ;o)


LOL


  #5 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 09:11 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Mary Fisher
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 127
Default Tips for a First Timer



My friend takes possession of a sh 'van tomorrow - today now (!)

She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for

her.

Anything. There's bound to be a variety of things I haven't thought of.

Mary


Oh golly I could sit here and type all night.


I know ... I keep thinking of things too but they're not 'man' oriented so
your contribution will be valuable. It's in a different league from taking a
hot water bottle!

snip a lot of techie stuff

3 After hitching up to car and lights have been checked use the jockey

wheel
to lift the front of the van a little then shake the van firmly using the
handles on each corner.This should make sure that you have the hitch
correctly done.


That's new to me, good idea.

On towing:

I think her husband has towed before but I'd encourage everyone to attend
one of the very good towing courses. Even Spouse came back saying how much
he'd learned - and he taught me and we practise what he learned.


Manhandling.
I never manhandle the van on my own except on the
flattest of sites.


Excellent tip.

It is very important NEVER to push the van
any where apart from the handle or corners of the van. If you push in the
centre of the van it may flex and you will have a busted window.


Or a dented van, which we acquired when well meaning youths helped us off a
waterlogged pitch (not a caravan site).


This is the way I do things and of course it will differ from the way

other
people do things. use this only as a guide don not think it is hard and

fast
rules. the most important thing is common sense. If it dont feel right it
probably aint right.


Absolutely.


One more little tip .
My friend an I move a large antenna mounted on

a
huge trailer. We are both Radio Hams and use our radios when we are
manovering in tight spaces (save all that shouting and arm waving) There

are
available some little hand held radios that need no licence and cost about
25 pounds that are ideal for this purpose ( also good to give to the kids
save you shouting at them to come in for supper)


We do the same, when we remember ... they go with us everywhere but we often
forget to use them.

I hope I have been of some help let me know how you get on.


I'd like to think that Irene will become a keen member of this ng. But
perhaps it will take some time, I suspect that the novelty of the 'van will
take over her life for a while. It does, doesn't it!

Thanks again, I'll draw her attention to your post if she hasn't already
seen it.

Mary


  #6 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 09:38 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Sigmund
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 77
Default Tips for a First Timer


"Mary Fisher" wrote in message
t...
She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for

her.

Her first trip should be to a site fairly near to somewhere that sells
caravan accessories. With a 'new' 'van (even if it's second hand) there
will always be things that you suddenly discover you need. From real
essentials like fuses and bulbs to things which are down to personal
preference like folding chairs etc. No matter how much you plan there's
nothing like actually using the 'van to let you know all the things you
forgot to plan for :-)



  #7 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 11:16 AM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Mary Fisher
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 127
Default Tips for a First Timer




"Mary Fisher" wrote in message
t...
She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for

her.

Her first trip should be to a site fairly near to somewhere that sells
caravan accessories.


They're going for a practice weekend but I don't know if it has access to
accessories.

Excellent point. Over the years we've had to make long special journeys as
we've discovered things we nee ... er ... want!

With a 'new' 'van (even if it's second hand) there
will always be things that you suddenly discover you need. From real
essentials like fuses and bulbs to things which are down to personal
preference like folding chairs etc. No matter how much you plan there's
nothing like actually using the 'van to let you know all the things you
forgot to plan for :-)


Quite.

Thanks.

Are you listening, Irene???

Mary





  #8 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 04:04 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
slnc
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 16
Default Tips for a First Timer



--
Yours
slnc

For The Scottish Lace & Net Centre ( Scotland )
Web site:-
http://www.slnc.btinternet.co.uk
Ebay Shop:-
http://www.stores.ebay.co.uk/theoldscottishlacemill
( N.A.V )
A Member of:- C & C.C and C.C

It was my Spell Checker that check it not me?,
"Mary Fisher" wrote in message
t...
|
|
|
| "Mary Fisher" wrote in message
| t...
| She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have
for
| her.
|
| Her first trip should be to a site fairly near to somewhere that sells
| caravan accessories.
|
| They're going for a practice weekend but I don't know if it has access to
| accessories.
|
| Excellent point. Over the years we've had to make long special journeys as
| we've discovered things we nee ... er ... want!
|
| With a 'new' 'van (even if it's second hand) there
| will always be things that you suddenly discover you need. From real
| essentials like fuses and bulbs to things which are down to personal
| preference like folding chairs etc. No matter how much you plan there's
| nothing like actually using the 'van to let you know all the things you
| forgot to plan for :-)
|
| Quite.
|
| Thanks.
|
| Are you listening, Irene???
|
| Mary
|
Hello Mary,
Its John here the one that is bad at spelling again?,
I was reding this when i came to this part [:-)

| Are you listening, Irene???

"ARE YOU WHAT" Mary,
"ARE YOU WHAT" Mary,
"LISTENING"
"Is it not"
Are you looking Irene???,
Are you seeing this Irene???,
and i thoet i was bad,

This must be one of my good day's?.

John
Yours
slnc

For The Scottish Lace & Net Centre ( Scotland )
Web site:-
http://www.slnc.btinternet.co.uk
Ebay Shop:-
http://www.stores.ebay.co.uk/theoldscottishlacemill
( N.A.V )
A Member of:- C & C.C and C.C

It was my Spell Checker that check it not me?,


  #9 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 04:05 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
KevinC
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2
Default Tips for a First Timer

As relitively new vanner (first season) just a few short general comments.

1. Dont be frightened of it. (i.e. the van, towing, pitching, putting the
awning up etc.)
Take your time and try it. I've seen experienced vanners take more tries
than me to reverse the van onto the pitch, so try it, its easier than
pushing, If people laugh then laugh with them its all part of the fun. If
you can't manage it, then get out and push. The same with everything, try it
and make up your own mind. Get in a mess putting up the awning, take it down
and try again, and relax in the fact that many have done so before. Just do
everything at your own pace and let others do the worrying about what your
doing.
2. Take your time.
Take the van home and spend some time in the van working out what you need.
Get everything working at home as if on site, water, gas waste, battery,
elec hookup, spend a weekend or at least a night in it at home. It's
suprising what will come up.
3. Dont be too adventurous.
Go somewhere near to home the first time out, so that you can go home for
that essential luxury you've forgotten. (I learnt to do without the tv
remote the second time out.)
4. Sleep easy.
Get the van serviced professionally, even if bought from a dealer. Money
well spent for peace of mind. You'll know everything works as it should and
find out if they cheated you on anything. Try and be there when the van is
serviced, I got a mobile servicer to come to mine at home and he was a good
source or knowledge about how things worked.
5. Make sure your safe.
Make a check list of safety things to check just before you set off. (Gas
off, van door locked, steadies fully up, check cable attached, lights
working, handbrake fully off, check hitch firmly attached etc. etc.). And
use the check list.
6. See whats coming.
Spend some money on a good pair of extension mirrors so that you can see the
idiot behind who's about the to pull out and smear himself all over the
front of the artic you can see coming round the next bend and brake to avoid
getting involved. Seriously you have to watchout for the nutters and drive
defensively and carefully. Drive steadier especially down hill, leave more
room, look around more. Tell your passengers that if you dont reply to them
immeadiately its because your concentrating more on your driving. Leave
plenty of time for your journey. Watch out for white van man, a Merc HiTop
doing 90 down the fast lane of the motorway makes my van move far more than
any coach or Artic.
7. Lurk.
Around the site watch what others vanners do, to pick up tips, use this news
group and the web, as in life dont take anything as fact unless you've
checked it independantly elsewhere.
8. Join one of the clubs.
CC or CCC, Just because the sites are cheaper if you do. and the lists of
CL's and CS's are useful.
9. Plan ahead.
Be prepared to book your sites well in advance in the summer, vanning is
becoming very popular and wev'e found that we have been disappointed a few
times even booking a month to six weeks ahead.
10. Enjoy it.
Thats what you bought it for.




"Mary Fisher" wrote in message

t...


My friend takes possession of a sh 'van tomorrow - today now (!)

She will lurk here but I'm asking on her behalf what tips folk have for

her.

Anything. There's bound to be a variety of things I haven't thought of.

Mary




  #10 (permalink)  
Old September 27th 03, 04:26 PM posted to uk.rec.caravanning
Mary Fisher
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 127
Default Tips for a First Timer


As relitively new vanner (first season) just a few short general comments.

1. Dont be frightened of it. (i.e. the van, towing, pitching, putting

the
awning up etc.)
Take your time and try it. I've seen experienced vanners take more tries
than me to reverse the van onto the pitch, so try it, its easier than
pushing, If people laugh then laugh with them its all part of the fun. If
you can't manage it, then get out and push. The same with everything, try

it
and make up your own mind. Get in a mess putting up the awning, take it

down
and try again, and relax in the fact that many have done so before. Just

do
everything at your own pace and let others do the worrying about what your
doing.


LOL! While they're laughing at you they're leaving more sensitive people
alone :-)

2. Take your time.
Take the van home and spend some time in the van working out what you

need.

Good advice.

Get everything working at home as if on site, water, gas waste, battery,
elec hookup, spend a weekend or at least a night in it at home. It's
suprising what will come up.


We actually lived in it for a couple of days, in our front garden. It still
wasn't quite the same as being away from home in it ...

3. Dont be too adventurous.
Go somewhere near to home the first time out, so that you can go home for
that essential luxury you've forgotten. (I learnt to do without the tv
remote the second time out.)


Oh ... feels faint

They're planning to stay somewhere not far from home at first but I've a
feeling they won't have a telly. There are advantages of not having one,
even at home.

4. Sleep easy.
Get the van serviced professionally, even if bought from a dealer. Money
well spent for peace of mind. You'll know everything works as it should

and
find out if they cheated you on anything. Try and be there when the van is
serviced, I got a mobile servicer to come to mine at home and he was a

good
source or knowledge about how things worked.


That's good advice if you know nothing about it, Irene's husband has had
some experience.

5. Make sure your safe.
Make a check list of safety things to check just before you set off. (Gas
off, van door locked, steadies fully up, check cable attached, lights
working, handbrake fully off, check hitch firmly attached etc. etc.). And
use the check list.


Everyone should do that, even the most experienced. The strongest memory is
weaker than the palest ink.

6. See whats coming.
Spend some money on a good pair of extension mirrors so that you can see

the
idiot behind who's about the to pull out and smear himself all over the
front of the artic you can see coming round the next bend and brake to

avoid
getting involved.


I thought that it was a legal requirement to have extension mirros when
towing a van.

Seriously you have to watchout for the nutters and drive
defensively and carefully. Drive steadier especially down hill, leave more
room, look around more. Tell your passengers that if you dont reply to

them
immeadiately its because your concentrating more on your driving. Leave
plenty of time for your journey. Watch out for white van man, a Merc HiTop
doing 90 down the fast lane of the motorway makes my van move far more

than
any coach or Artic.


Yes :-(

7. Lurk.
Around the site watch what others vanners do, to pick up tips, use this

news
group and the web, as in life dont take anything as fact unless you've
checked it independantly elsewhere.


Yes.

8. Join one of the clubs.
CC or CCC, Just because the sites are cheaper if you do. and the lists of
CL's and CS's are useful.


They already have done. And arranged insurance.

9. Plan ahead.
Be prepared to book your sites well in advance in the summer, vanning is
becoming very popular and wev'e found that we have been disappointed a few
times even booking a month to six weeks ahead.
10. Enjoy it.
Thats what you bought it for.


I don't know why they bought it, except that I've banged on and on about
what we do with our caravans. I must ask.

I'm glad I asked this question.

Mary



 



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