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Does Caravanning Get Easier?


Poppymay
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For us, the answer would be "no" (at the moment) but then we came from a motorhome back to caravans in July 2016 after a 3 year break from caravanning. Pitching and setting up the MH was so easy in comparison but now we've got back into a routine and accept the fact that more things need to be done before pitching up and packing away when leaving, things are getting better every trip out. (says he who now has a seasonal pitch lol).

 

On reflection, it's not that bad, now we've got the right mind set :) .

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Yep,after 40 yrs we have got it off to a tee. After I reverse onto the pitch my wife & son put the awning up while

 

I make the tea & pour the beers. The dog jumps onto his bed & goes to sleep. Job Done. ;);)

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There are some things you can do to reduce the time expended. Apart from valuables, kit the van out as funds allow with all the everyday stuff you need. This avoids having long lists of things to find and (forget to) take from home. In the van keep all related items together in lighweight containers, so everything has a place where you can find it. Lots of people have mentioned lists - also setting up of awning/porch/satellite dish/tv/whatever. At home type some notes that you understand and laminate them - useful if outside and its wet. It much quicker than hunting through a manual. It all helps to save time and reduce stress.

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I concur with the scheme of keeping stuff together in boxes to take. I bought some collapsible crates from Tesco at about £4 each and some lidded boxes from Homebase, not much more. Stuff that has to be packed in the car every trip like water connection stuff (hose, water connection pipe, toilet chemicals) Electric connection stuff, Awning pegs and mallet etc goes into the sealed boxes which are stored/stacked in the garage to go straight into the back of the car. The fold up crates are for the clothes and food/drink you are going to take which also get flipped straight into the back of the car. Once on site and you have finished setting up, the lidded boxes go under the van and the folding crates collapse and stack under a bed/sofa all ready for the return. We found that by using the crates for clothes you can limit the amount you take which was useful when there were five of us, also helps you keep a bit of a rein on the weight you are carrying. regarding food we only take just what we need for the first night and maybe breakfast, the rest you can buy once you're on site from local shops.

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Funnily enough, I'm finding it more stressful as I get older! It never used to fase me coming in from work on Friday night, hitching up, driving to a rally, setting up and then the reverse coming home Sunday.

 

Now I've got so much more time on my hands I tend to be a tad apprehensive until I actually get on the road. Maybe it's something to do with the deteriorating standards of driving and the widespread disrespect of people deemed to be slowing the racetrack with their caravans.

 

Coming home these days, I wouldn't dream of arriving back from a trip on Saturday, Sunday or a bank holiday as I wouldn't be able to get the van onto the driveway due to inconsiderate parking in the close where I live. Coming home Monday-Friday late morning or early afternoon the roadway is usually empty with everyone out at work, and I text retired neighbours who park on street to let them know we're on our way - they are usually happy to give us the space we need.

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Hi and welcome, we have been touring for quite a few years now and there's always something new to learn, that's life and thank goodness for other caravanners who are always willing to help. First don't take too much, some folk load up the 'van with stuff that they can do without. I have tick lists and I still use them, what to do for hitching up and unhitching, what is in the 'van and what we need to take with us. In the 'van is everything we need apart from food and clothes and valuables and meds. When we come back from a trip I launder the bedding and towels and they go back in the 'van, even the clothes I launder and most go back in the crates ready to go. I then go around the house with my tick list filling another crate or bag and we're ready to go. When we were first towing, the advice we were given was that where ever we point the car, the caravan will follow. Last year we helped a some new caravanners with hitching up, silly mistakes like loading up the back window,couldn't see, not raising the jockey wheel, oops, making sure that they could actually see their partner when reversing ! we also helped with a couple of awnings, so you see we all help each other, just ask.

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I think most of the stress and hard work comes from the awning.

For stays of less than five days we don't bother with it.

Why should putting up an awning be hard work and stressful? The only time I won't put the awning (1050 2. 5 or 3 metre) up is on an overnight stop.

Dare I suggest you may not be using the right technique?

Edited by Tuningdrew
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I think it is as stressful or as calm as you make it. We went from a folding camper to a caravan. The camper's limited space meant you only took what you really needed whereas in the caravan we take much, much more. Awning is definitely the worst part but you do develop a system. I deal with pegging out, water, waste etc and my wife deals with the inside of the van. You will find a lot of it is down to how you pack things, and that will get better with experience. But we don't help ourselves as we take so much stuff with us e. g:

Halogen Hob

Electric Fan Oven,

4 tables

8 chairs

Camping wardrobe

Camping fridge

Electric Coolbox

 

We are will be getting a new van next month and I keep saying that the bigger fridge will mean we won't need the coolbox anymore but I bet it still comes with us.

When we have the awning up, we prefer to cook out there which is why we bring so much stuff.

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Yes it does.

 

It used to take us the best part of an hour to get the van back into storage now 15 minutes. Towing does become less stressful, but it is natural for it to be an initially stressful but it gets easier. I think the two big differences I think are we each have our own jobs so we are not standing around cross checking. But also if we forget something it is normally not the end of world and we can work around it when we began we would turn around a collect it.

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Yes it does.

 

It used to take us the best part of an hour to get the van back into storage now 15 minutes. Towing does become less stressful, but it is natural for it to be an initially stressful but it gets easier. I think the two big differences I think are we each have our own jobs so we are not standing around cross checking. But also if we forget something it is normally not the end of world and we can work around it when we began we would turn around a collect it.

so true and sometimes it would be something stupid. One time I forgot the dog's medication so I went to the local vet and they phoned my vet and it was all sorted. At one time it would have been panic stations.

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Why should putting up an awning be hard work and stressful? The only time I won't put the awning (1050 2. 5 or 3 metre) up is on an overnight stop.

Dare I suggest you may not be using the right technique?

It's not actually putting it up its pegging it down, Probably because we usually go for hard standing pitches.

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Also dont try and do everything in one hit. There are plenty of jobs that dont need doing straight away such as the hitchlock or wheel clamp, EHU cable if you have a battery even waste water barrel if your not putting anything down the sink for a while.

 

Most of our caravan use is at steam rallies for weekends which normally involves turning up after work around 6-7 oclock, Only thing the other half helps with the actual caravan is levelling up then her and the kids pile in (normally before i even have the legs down) she gets the TV out to keep the kids entertained and starts cooking dinner while i plod along with the other jobs. Toilet is already set up from the last outing and we only use bottled drinking water. All the clothes and food is packed in the van before we go in fact if we know we are turning up very late and have dinner on route i will make the beds up before we leave.

 

Personally i am not a list man, the fact the water doesnt come out the taps is normally a good reminder i forgot to connect the pump up!

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It's not actually putting it up its pegging it down, Probably because we usually go for hard standing pitches.

Used to be my biggest bugbear but following some useful advice on here I now use long coachscrews and penny washers. Usually a 13mm impact socket in my Snap On drill gets them in and out but they are beefy enough to withstand some stick from a 4lb mallet as well.

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If there are specific things which you find stressful then address them one by one. The Caravan Club (and possibly others, I don't know) do towing courses which might be of interest. If you find getting the van onto the pitch difficult then maybe investing in a mover is a good idea. Awnings . .. it took me a full year of experimenting with the best way to put it up.

 

The best de-stressing tip is probably don't travel too far, and aim to arrive early afternoon. That way you can park up, plug in, have a cuppa and then take the rest of the jobs a steady pace. Too often in the first year we were too ambitious and arrived at 6pm, so I'm trying to get everything done ASAP while the boss is champing at the bit to get the dinner on and the kids & dogs are starving.

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We try to keep it simple and we try take the minimum stuff.

 

We find it helps if you set up the loo, fill the flush tank before you go and for ours the on board water tanks too. .. Less to do when you arrive we think. ..

 

Those little plastic feet that hang off the legs save time not messing about with putting wood under the legs and we level it with a ramp and a mover (mover definitely removes some faff on arrival and if you've got kids it can be a bit of fun too rather than a job you need them out of the way for)

 

We use a caravanstore shelter to keep the rain off the door / bbq under(sometimes) and that lives on the awning rail all the time. ..often we just dont bother with it. . and we only bother with the full awning for a week long stay at a festival we go to once a year. ..

 

We usually pack food for an easy first meal and some snacks/drinks and sort the rest as we go along. ..and the basic cooking stuff like oil, seasoning etc are in there anyway

 

Lately for a weekend we just put a rucksack of clothes each in the car boot and hitch up and go. ..and pack them into the cupboards later on. . To save endless trips to the van packing this and that.

 

I'm sure you'll find a system that woks for you!

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We're about 18 months in and it's now much easier than the first couple of times all done including awning in around an hour on my own. We worked out that if she takes the kids to the park or anywhere really out of the way things are much easier ;) we have a small air awning and a bigger air awning both take about the same time to put up and they can be done single handedly which has saved us all kinds of arguments I still argue with myself occasionally but at least I stand a chance of winning then :)

Just practice and finding what works for you it will suddenly come together don't stress over it there's no rush and no prize for the fastest setup.

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Basically you just have to remember why you got the van in the first place.

 

To relax!

 

You can do that with a bottle of wine, a bed to sleep in, the views to soak up, the chatter with other vanners, the fresh air and happiness in your heart.

 

The rest comes with need and time.

 

H.

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Firstly we don't tow so that's one less worry we store on site. The owner tows out of the store onto a pitch and lowers the steadies. As the pitches are usually fairly level the last two breaks there was no levelling. It probably takes 15 to 20 mins to hook up and load up the van with our stuff. It actually takes a lot longer to pack up because SWMBO insists on cleaning hoovering everything and vacuum packing the bedding before we leave. We have got more adept over time.

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Think I must have peaked after quite a few years at it as each time now I find it a little harder rather than easier. :(

Stay safe - Griff.  :ph34r:

Wheels at the front Green Oval Towing Machine

Wheels at the back Bessacarr 845

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It will soon feel second nature.

Personally, I prefer towing at a nice unrushed pace to driving solo and feeling you need to drive quicker to avoid upsetting other drivers.

Yes they may have a moan about being caught behind a caravan, but at least they expect you to be driving slower.

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. .......our Achilles head is the awning, divorce in a bag. .......

I know what you mean Odd days.

 

Generally I can get our awning up on my own in an hour.

 

If my wife lends a hand and helps out I can get it up in just under two.

Stay safe - Griff.  :ph34r:

Wheels at the front Green Oval Towing Machine

Wheels at the back Bessacarr 845

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Yes it gets easier but in my almost 40 years of doing it it has never got as easy as some would have you believe. and we hardly ever did the"weekend thing" as my wife felt it was as much work and preparation as a full blown holiday. There are things you can do to speed up packing and moving such as give up the awning and take less equipment away with you but if you want comfort and convenience on a longer stay just accept its going to take as long as it takes.

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