This is where to post your more serious general questions and discuss caravan related topics not covered by other sub-forums.
Please use specifically named forums where possible in preference to Caravan Chat as this make it easier for members browsing a topic.
Caravan insurance is one of the most important considerations for many caravanners. Knowing that your investment is sufficiently protected, whether in between trips, on the road or pitched on site, will give you the peace of mind you deserve.
Caravan accessories and equipment have increasingly more sophisticated in recent years, as has the manufacture of the caravans themselves.
Whilst some caravan equipment is all but essential for a self-sufficient trip - ovens, fridges, gas, motor movers and so on - other caravanning accessories provide home comforts or luxuries that can turn a good caravan holiday into a great one, such as mobile internet, satellite TV, or an awning to increase living space.
You should always charge a new battery. You dont know how long its been sitting at the wholesalers or dealers. Most of them dont have the facilities to keep the batteries charged and checked. TBH I wouldn't get a battery from a dealer unless I knew that he had a decent turnover and that they hadn't been sitting there for ages.
Just putting a battery into a van and hoping that it will be ok isn't enough. Most van chargers (unless they have multistage chargers) are set to around 13.6-13.8v whereas a battery needs 14.4v to fully recharge it so it never gets fully charged. Even when connected to the car it's unlikely that the voltage will get high eneough for lon enough to get the battery fully charged.
Most solar controllers do get the battery up to 14.4 volts, but only when theres's enough sun , so shouldn't be relied on in the winter to get or keep the battery in good condition.
By far the best way to give a battery a long an happy life is to use a decent multistage charger (like a CTek or similar) once every couple of months in the summer and one every 4-6 weeks in the winter and leave it on long enough for the battery to get fullly topped out - 3-4 hours is insufficient especially if the battery is a bit down.
It takes a long time to recharge a battery especially if it's been allowed to discharge, 24 hours is about right (or even longer if it's been allowed to go completely flat) but keep an eye on it to ensure that it is charging properly and not smelling like bad eggs.
If petrol/diesel engines came along as a new invention today I think people would try and get it stopped for being too dangerous. That we're trusted to poor highly flammable liquid into a tank in our cars etc. I reckon in decades to come filling up with hydrogen will become just as common place normal.