What To Do When Arriving On Caravan Site

Caravanning for beginners. Everyone who uses a caravan was new to the game once. Everyone has pulled up to a caravan site having that stressful first tow and thought “What now”? My very first tow was to bring out new caravan back from Monchengladbach (the one in Germany!)

Early Mistakes

Yes, we all make mistakes and I’m obviously no exception, why would I be? So, here’s a little insight into my first Caravanning adventures. Firstly, was the pickup of our caravan from Germany. Myself and my 10 year old daughter went. Mandy stayed at home minding the other kids. We were planning to do it in one go. Get the ferry, drive to the dealer, pay for the van, pick it up and return.

Mistake number one. Not knowing about caravan stays (legs). Now, 12 years on, I can’t believe I didn’t know about the legs. But if you think about it a bit longer, why would I know? I didn’t know anyone else that owned a caravan, I was in my 40’s and my parents didn’t even drive a car, so they wouldn’t have had a caravan!

I saw the caravan we’d bought and asked if I could have a look. So, myself and my daughter wondered over. In my excitement I walked straight in straight to the back and BANG! The caravan tipped up. No damage done, apart from to my ego…

Mistake number two. I was explaining to Mandy and the children about the dangers of gas in the caravan. “Now, be careful here” I was standing at the hob explaining how to light the gas. “Light the gas right away, don’t let in pool in the hob otherwise when you light the gas, as gas is heavier than air, it will go bang” There was no igniter, so matches or something similar was used. As I was talking, the thing I was explaining about avoiding was happening, As I lit the gas…. Put it this way, it was a way good practical demonstration of the dangers I was trying to avoid. Much laughter from the family followed. I tried to pretend I did it on purpose, no one believed me and it’s still brought up even 12 years later..

Anyway, I could go on with mistake after mistake. But let’s get back to the reason I’m writing this article; to help beginners with what to do on site.

Arriving On Site

So, you’ve dragged your caravan to the site of your choice. You need to check in, so you can stop your caravan where instructed. There’s normally a lane for “arrivals”. Now get out and go to reception, show your membership card if necessary and pay.

On Caravan and Motorhome Club sites, you can drive around and find your own pitch. With other clubs you may be lead to a pitch.

Setting Up On Pitch

Right, here we go, now to get your caravan on the pitch. If you have a motor mover, all well and good. If it’s your first caravan, you might not have one, so you’ll probably need to reverse. There’s no easy way to tell you how to do it, it’s all about practice. I’ve had some shocking attempts at getting onto a pitch, in the end I got a caravan with a mover. However, what I have found, is that if you don’t get it right first time, it can be a nightmare. If the caravan isn’t too large you should be able to push it back. Once in position if reversing, the first thing to do is disconnect the car.

13 pin, brake safety, handbrake, jockey wheel
  • Remove the 13 pin electric connector
  • Remove the emergency braking cable
  • Pull up handbrake
  • Wind down the jockey wheel

Now your caravan is free from the car, you can move the car and you can wind down the jockey wheel to enable you to release the car. You’ll need to lift the mechanism that secures the car. Pull the hand brake up first to ensure the caravan doesn’t roll into the car. Yes, I have done this before!

Next ensure your legs (stays) are wound down. You can use the winder that’s normally supplied, or go up market by getting an attachment for your

Bosch Home and Garden Cordless Combi Drill PSB 1800 LI-2 (2 x 18 volt batteries, 20 torque settings, drill and impact function, in carrying case)*
  • Packaging may vary!
  • Optimum power for every task 3-in-1 system that can be used for screwdriving, drilling and impact drilling. It also features 20 torque settings for screwdriving in different materials
  • Suitable for different materials For drilling and screwdriving in wood and metal or impact drilling in masonry, Drilling in metal 2.5 m/s²
  • Easy screw and drill bit changes The cordless combi drill features a 10 mm shank and a single-sleeve drill chuck
  • Power for ALL 18 V The battery supplied is compatible with all tools within the green Bosch Home & Garden 18 volt system

I’d personally use a cordless drill as these tend to be a bit more powerful than some cordless screwdrivers.

Setting Up Services

Generally speaking you need to set up these things.

  • Fresh Water
  • Waste
  • Toilet
  • Electric
  • TV aerial
  • Awning

We split these tasks between the two of us, makes it easier and you’ll get into a routine quite quickly. We normally connect electric first, so that the fridge is working and carry a bottle of water to fill the kettle. Let’s have a brew!

You might have been supplied with a

25m Orange Caravan / Camping Hook up Extension Lead Cable with 16 amp Blue Plug and Socket*
  • 16A Male Plug and Coupler (Socket) commonly used on UK Caravan and Camping Sites
  • High visibility orange cable
  • Constructed to Relevant British Standards
  • Great Quality product can be used time and time again

You’ll see an electric hookup point somewhere near you pitch, which might have your pitch number on. Connect one end to the caravan and the other to the hookup point. Sometimes you need to twist when you push it in.

Caravan Electric Connection

For fresh water you’ll need to take your

Hitchman 40AQ Caravanning Camping Aqua Roll, Beige*
  • Hitchman 40 litre Aquaroll
  • Best selling portable water carrier that rolls across the ground
  • Comes with filler hose and tap connector
  • Features collapsible, removable handles
  • Can be used with the mains adaptor to provide a continuous fresh water supply
(or whatever make you have) around to the water tap. There’s usually a service area somewhere on site with two taps, one for fresh water. Position your aquaroll under the tap and fill it up. Most sites sell little tubes that make it easier to fill it up. Sometimes there are just bits of white waste pipe, but they are worth having. You can buy these from Amazon also 

Fresh water, waste and bins: [amazon_link asins=’B000X173AQ,B00FYUB6HW’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’caravanvlogger-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’ea05e020-ae20-11e8-bed5-4fd38662fa3f’]

Now, position your waste collector under your waste outlets on your caravan. There will be two. One for the kitchen sink waste and another for the bathroom. This is known as grey waste. Your waster container, will look like these : [amazon_link asins=’B000W4CV0G,B01EXBR3M4′ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’caravanvlogger-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’1535831953&sr=1-15′]

You can also get a handy little device that allows you to connect the two waste outlets together: [amazon_link asins=’B00KMR4I1I’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’caravanvlogger-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’1535831953&sr=1-15′]

Pull the toilet cassette from under the toilet. You should add the blue (or green) fluid to the cassette itself, with a bit of water. This breaks stuff down and makes it smell nicer. You will also have some pick fluid, this goes in the flusher, which is usually a lockable hole above the toilet cassette. Add the recommended amount of fresh water in the flusher as well as the pick fluid. This makes the water look pink with flushed. I’ve never had a smell issue with the toilet, they’re very good. [amazon_link asins=’B003I5A9RI,B01MG6SH6D’ template=’ProductCarousel’ store=’caravanvlogger-21′ marketplace=’UK’ link_id=’1535831953&sr=1-15′]

You’ll get better at doing these things and it WILL get easier.

* We use Amazon affiliate links in this article. If you’d like to click on the link you’ll be taken to the Amazon product. It won’t cost you anymore but, if you purchase, we’ll get a small commission which helps us part fund the website. So many thanks if you purchase a product this way.

See Also

Top 10 Must Have Caravan Accessories

Do I Need Caravan Insurance?

*Last update on 2024-06-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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