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Advice for a single newbie

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Hi - many years ago I had a touring caravan with my then husband. I’m now rapidly approaching my 65th birthday, and am single. I’m quite strong and fit, with a positive outlook and “can do” attitude. I’m looking to buy a tourer to spend quite a bit of time in - I’m thinking of a fixed-bed layout. My worries are, in no order ;

hitching and unhitching on my own


setting up on site on my own

possibly attaching an awning on my own


Any advice and reassurance would be welcome! Thanks

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I caravan on my own and this is my experience....


Hitching - motor mover is essential especially if its in a storage yard and you have know one to spot for you!  If you have a motor mover hitching is pretty straightforward (also helps if you have a reversing camera on the car).  If the hitch is slightly to the left or right a nudge with the knee usually sorts it.


Reversing - again a motor mover will help but other than that its just practice


Setting up and taking down - takes longer but is probably easier as you have no-one to distract you and you can take things at your own pace.  Checklist will also help.


Awning - can be tricky trying to feed the awning through - you are pushing rather than pulling.  But you can buy the Kampa awning pulley which should help.


If you go for a 2 berth caravan - (you could always leave one bench seat made up as a permanent bed) there is still plenty of space but be a bit more of a manageable tow.

Edited by Aitch
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Good luck Shirley.


Your main priority is a caravan mover, auto engage, this will take care of a few worries. Everything else will come with practice, and you can always ask for help.

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Never towed a caravan, but used to tow a horse trailer.

Reversing - the best advice I can give is to take your time, refuse to be rushed.

Do not worry about people watching, go slow, if need be keep getting out to check.

You will find loads of people offer assistance - but if need be, close the window and carry on at your own steady pace.

If it goes wrong, pull forward and start again.

Do not assume that everybody else knows better than you.

You can do it, aided or unaided.

Hitching - check everything twice. Again, refuse to be rushed. If alone you may need to edge back and get out at intervals to check where you are, but it becomes very easy.  I used to check brake lights with the aid of a handy brick wedged on the pedal.

I believe the caravan clubs run sessions for newbies, others here will know more about that, but that can be a handy way to get a bit of practice in beforehand.

And EVERYBODY had to start somewhere, nobody was born knowing how to reverse, hitch & unhitch, and set-up/take down.

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You could always book on a course. I think both clubs run them. Caravan club run 2, one for beginners and the other for more experienced towers. Beginners is £189, 10 hours over 2 days.

What you’ll learn:

‘hitching up’ and towing safely

easy and confident manoeuvring

‘load’ and how it affects towing

curved reversing

everyday safety checks

laws affecting caravanners

Course details:

£189 per person

10 hours split over two days

Edited by madasaman
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practice practice practice


I would suggest a motor mover on the caravan will benefit you


when you say reversing is that reversing with the caravan on the back or reversing to the caravan?

practice will deal will caravan on the back and a reversing camera will deal with backing to the caravan.


Awning, good luck


setting up, which part worries you?  If levelling side to side a motor mover and  pieces of OSB 18mm board about 8 inches wide and 14, 16 and 18 inches long will help. Front to back use the jockey wheel and then put the rear legs down first and then the front.


The electric hook up lead connects to caravan first, electric pole second. When removing electric lead remove from pole first caravan second.


create a tick list of what to do when hooking up



if you dont have instruction manuals for the caravan do get them and practice at home. Your first away trip, make it close to home in case you forget something or  something goes wrong


good luck






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If you just want an awning for occasional use/storing things in then I recommend one of the cheap lightweight inflatable types like the one below.  We had one and I put it up on my own within a few minutes, an electric pump makes it even easier.




2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Hi, I caravan on my own and as others say a motor mover is essential. Attached is photo of my Van with a sun shade which takes about 20 mins to erect and about 10 mins to take down. If you go for a fixed bed, you will have sufficient room so an awning may not be a priority. By the way I tow with a Kuga Auto 180 which I find is very economical and relaxing to drive.

Caravan Sun Shade.JPG

Edited by Hoddy
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Also you could think about joining a caravan club there are hundreds in addition to the big two, CMC and C&CC.

These are basically for particular interests of people who caravan.

I'm in the CCCf (Caravaners and Campers Christian Fellowship) for example.

In these clubs they probably do weekend rallies and holiday rallies too and these are friendly groups and help others doing what you require.

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If you are worried look up these jobs on you tube and you will see some very useful videos.

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Most importantly Shirley, do it!


You will have loads of fun and if you go to club sites initially you will not be stuck for people who will happily help.


Good luck! Let the adventure begin.

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