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Pitching Up For The First Time This Weekend, Nervous!


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Hi All

 

Totally new to the caravan scene and we are off on our first weekend away this weekend.

 

We have had the caravan for a few months now, its a Swift Charisma 560 2001. Now I have the manuals etc but i'm more of a hands on but i'm a bit nervous.

 

I've never towed and i've never set up a caravan before, where the heck do I start with the turning the water on, turning the hot water on, running the shower. ...help!!!

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Welcome

I presume you have all the equipment including waste and freshwater carriers?

If you are going to a CC site then there will be lots of people there who will help you. You only have to ask. Everyone started somewhere!

As for towing I would suggest that you attend a towing course if you are uncertain otherwise just be careful. Always allow for the van when turning so that you take a wider angle than you usually do.

Not of it is rocket science. Just common sense!

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Do not do what we did then.

First time out in July went up to Oban where we got an empty pitch-in July!

Should have been a warning!

The pitch resembled the side of Ben Nevis.

Undaunted I decided to put up our awning for the first time

.

Immediately knowing caravanners appeared

.

"Would you like some help with that--oh no its fine"

They settled down in their camp chairs to enjoy the free entertainment.

After several hours we went to the pub and left the 1/4 erected awning to the following day.

Our neighbours-having had their entertainment-erected it.

You will get more practical advice I am sure.

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Maybe ask if another member of the forum is nearby. ... Am sure someone would give you a hand. ..

Lunar Solaris 1 Limited Edition Hopefully Behind A

BMW 520D MSport Touring. ...

 

***** Jack of all Trades. ... Master of None *****

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The first time we ever used a caravan was to a CC rally.

 

When it was obvious we were newbies we just stood and watched while 4 blokes setup the caravan and awning ! We learnt very little that weekend other than how friendly other caravanners are.

 

Now it's payback time and I try and help newcomers as much as I can.

 

Bill

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When we pitch up the first thing we do is level the caravan from side to side with blocks under the wheel if necessary. Put a small spirit level on the floor of the caravan near the door for this.

Next level the 'van from front to back using the jockey wheel, when it is level lower the steadies.

Connect the electric cable, connecting to the caravan first then the post.

Fill water container, connect to 'van. connect waste container.

Open the taps and turn on the water pump, when water comes through the hot water tank will be full and you can turn on the power supply to heat the water.

connect the gas and ensure that it comes through to the cooker and fire etc.

Job done.

Sibbee & Harry

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2006 Sterling Eccles Moonstone

2005 Vauxhall/Opel Signum 1. 9 CDTI 150 Elegance

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I think we have everything we need. I did forget to add that I have stayed in caravans before but generally all i've had to do is empty the waste and fill up the water and my Dad did the rest when it came to collecting the caravan after he'd pitched it up for his. Pretty sure i've got the basics but just have that nervous feeling.

 

We have the water carrier, waste water carrier, plates, cuttlery, TV, DVD, bedding, gas, kettle, toaster, etc etc



When we pitch up the first thing we do is level the caravan from side to side with blocks under the wheel if necessary. Put a small spirit level on the floor of the caravan near the door for this.

Next level the 'van from front to back using the jockey wheel, when it is level lower the steadies.

Connect the electric cable, connecting to the caravan first then the post.

Fill water container, connect to 'van. connect waste container.

Open the taps and turn on the water pump, when water comes through the hot water tank will be full and you can turn on the power supply to heat the water.

connect the gas and ensure that it comes through to the cooker and fire etc.

Job done.

That's what I was looking for. That's exactly as they salesman said at Jacksons when we got the van. Top tips - noted!

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When you arrive at your pitch take your time doing stuff - it's not a race. If people offer to help best not turn it down straightaway, simply ask for a rain check. But don't be afraid to ask for help - we've all been there.

We found it useful on the first few trips to sit down for 5 minutes at the end of the first day with a pad and pen and write down stuff that we would do different next time, and a list of things we didn't bring as well as a list of stuff we wouldn't bring next time.

Happy caravanning :)

Land Rover on SORN so not towing anything for a while

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There will be many people who will provide lists of what they do in what order, but broadly they all fall into the same key areas- 1) unhitch and get the caravan stable & secure (level, steadies down, handbrake on, wheel clamp on etc). 2) connect services (gas, electricity, water) 3) get the inside of the van organised.&npsp;

 

My top tips would be- 1) don't take any more than you need, you can build up to a load of optional stuff but too much stuff will just seem overwhelming. 2) if someone onsite asks if you'd like a hand - take it, we're generally pretty friendly people and it could prevent you making an error. 3) take your time and enjoy it - don't feel that everyone is watching. They probably aren't and people come and go all the time. &npsp;

 

Most of all - enjoy. And welcome to the wonderful world of caravanning.

Fire. Now there's a hot topic!

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This link HERE takes you to a beginners guide that takes you

through the basics, step by step, including pitching up.

A lot is explained with the help of photos. Quite informative.

Hope this helps

 

Enjoy you first outing

Dave

Dave & Annette .

07 Kia Sorento 2. 5 CRDi XE --- 2012 Lunar Clubman CK

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This link HERE takes you to a beginners guide that takes you

through the basics, step by step, including pitching up.

A lot is explained with the help of photos. Quite informative.

Hope this helps

 

Enjoy you first outing

Dave

Thats brilliant Dave, thank you.

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Why don't you practice doing everything at home before you go. ....... (unless the the caravan is stored elsewhere?) I had the water and heating on both gas and 240v all working on our drive before we left for the first time.

 

Plus. I would read the manual over and over again as everything will make far more sense. ......

 

It is the unknown that make for nerves. If you have everything covered (as much as you can) then you will be more relaxed ! Well that's the theory anyway ! ;)

 

Good Luck.

Edited by Shirl250

2007 Bailey Series 5 Senator Arizona (4 berth, rear bathroom, side dinette) towed by a 57 Kia Sorento XS Auto with Kumho KL17 tyres, Reich Mover, Kampa Rally 390, Caravan Tyres : GT Radial Maxmiler CX 185/80 R14 102R.

 

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Hi there, having read the comments already posted I can add only advise that you take notice of what Shirl250 has suggested and have a dry run setting everything up while still at home, and take your time when towing your van, like everything else it`s easy WHEN you know how, if you feel the need the Caravan Club run some very good courses on towing and reversing a caravan.

 

After leveling the caravan and putting down the stands, connect it to the mains electrical system, follow the manual for instruction on how to do this, most caravanners have a short adaptor cable to convert the caravan cable from a round plug to a 13amp socket fitting for use at home.

 

You will find that most caravans have the water inlet and waste outlet near each other, so fill up your water container and then connect these up at the same time, read the manuals to find out how to activate the pump and prime the system, this is incredibly easy WHEN you know what you are doing, read the manual and select the correct temperature and voltage settings for the fridge, put the kettle on, make a brew, put your feet up and enjoy your drink, worry about everything else later, you have the basics essentials completed for now, the TV and awning will wait while later.

 

Dont look a gift horse in the mouth, I some kind soul offers to help, accept the offer, everyone has to learn sometime and you may as well take any help you can get, as you get more experience you will work out as routine that suits you.

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Do you have the van at home and is there the chance to do a run through before you go? Putting the awning up may be pushing it a bit but did a dry run with the full awning before our first trip out, spent a couple of hours making an a**e of myself on the drive but it made doing it for real much easier. Water and gas/electrics as above. Once you've done it a couple of times it gets a lot easier, honest.

 

Have fun.

Cruzer, aka Colin

Growing old is unavoidable, growing up is optional. .. Hyundai Santa Fe & Bailey Pegeant Bretagne.

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Just take your time,we all started some time, its a learning curve. ..but remember to have the beers on ice for when your finshed and sited :D

 

The CV is at home and we do have the adaptor for the power. Don't think i'll have time to mess with it before the weekend though, i'll ask for help when we are there if I need it.

 

I've made sure the pub is within 5 mins walking distance so thats sorted!

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We had our first trip last week and like you was quite nervous about it all. We did do a dry run outside the house and even had our tea and slept in our van for 1 night before going; the nieghbours must of thought us nutters! it was even snowing outside. ..lol, but it really was a lot of fun, the trip (3 nights in Derbyshire) went very well, only thing we forgot was the cooking oil for the fry up! but if thats the worst thing then can't be bad.

 

All in all just enjoy every moment of it, the nerves pass really quickly when you get going.

 

We had one humerous moment when the people on the pitch next to us came over and said "you are clearly experienced caravaners, any chance you could help us with our awning as it's our first time!" I had to laugh and explain that we were newbies also and it was our first time. .lol. . but between us we got it sorted in the end.

 

Hope you have a fantastic time.

Volvo V70 D5 Auto geartronic (2006) BMW X3 3. 0D SE Auto towing Bailey Pageant Moselle S5 (2006)

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We had our first trip last week and like you was quite nervous about it all. We did do a dry run outside the house and even had our tea and slept in our van for 1 night before going; the nieghbours must of thought us nutters! it was even snowing outside. ..lol, but it really was a lot of fun, the trip (3 nights in Derbyshire) went very well, only thing we forgot was the cooking oil for the fry up! but if thats the worst thing then can't be bad.

 

All in all just enjoy every moment of it, the nerves pass really quickly when you get going.

 

We had one humerous moment when the people on the pitch next to us came over and said "you are clearly experienced caravaners, any chance you could help us with our awning as it's our first time!" I had to laugh and explain that we were newbies also and it was our first time. .lol. . but between us we got it sorted in the end.

 

Hope you have a fantastic time.

 

Well done ! All it needs is a bit of preparation and forethought ! Being 'a bit' of a control freak myself means I don't go anywhere or do anything without first understanding everything that is involved ! Sad I know ! But it seems to work ;)

 

This book may be of use :

 

The Caravanning Handbook

Edited by Shirl250

2007 Bailey Series 5 Senator Arizona (4 berth, rear bathroom, side dinette) towed by a 57 Kia Sorento XS Auto with Kumho KL17 tyres, Reich Mover, Kampa Rally 390, Caravan Tyres : GT Radial Maxmiler CX 185/80 R14 102R.

 

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I made a list of everything I needed to check etc. adapted from a Caravan Club one. Sorry if this is a bit long, but I still find it useful!

 

Hitching up checklist

 

When you leave home the first couple of points may already be covered, but you’ll need to remember them when you leave a campsite.

  • Check the caravan’s windows and roof lights are closed, internal doors and cupboards are closed, loads are safely secured and the external door is locked
  • Close fridge and put switch to red (12 volt)
  • On power panel put top switch to the right (car) – 4 aux switches down
  • Remove wheel lock
  • Check the caravan handbrake is on
  • Check the caravan’s noseweight (before mover on and on flat ground)
  • Engage mover – put handle on drivers seat
  • Lower the jockey wheel and lock in place
  • Raise the corner steadies – make sure completely up
  • Handbrake off
  • Move van to car
  • Adjust the hitch height so it goes above the car’s towball
  • Lift stabiliser (button pops up to green)
  • Secure the hitch lock and hitch on the towball
  • Check the link by using the jockey wheel to raise the car by about an inch to make sure it is properly
    coupled
  • Stow the jockey wheel (make sure locked)
  • DISENGAGE THE MOVER
  • Put remote control in the car
  • Connect the electrical plug(s) and the stabiliser system, if it’s fitted, making sure the cables will not drag or pull as the car turns
  • Attach the breakaway cable or secondary coupling
  • Release the caravan handbrake and remove any chocks
  • Check the road lights and indicators are working
  • Pull clear of the pitch and check the area for anything left behind

 

Uncoupling and setting up

 

Once you’ve reached your destination you’ll need to unhitch.

Get out of the car and have a look around the pitch

- Turn on hand brake

- Disconnect electrics

- Pull up the hitch-head lever and use the jockey wheel to raise the caravan hitch from the towball

- Remove brake cable
- Drive your towcar away

- Engage mover

- Handbrake off

- Position your caravan on the pitch, using a ramp under the wheel(s) on one side if it needs levelling
- Apply your caravan handbrake
- Chock the caravan wheels if you are on a slope
- Lower the jockey wheel and lock it in position

- DISENGAGE MOVER
- Adjust the level of your caravan front and rear with the jockey wheel
- Lower the corner steadies (back first)

- Put on wheel lock (offside wheel) and covers to jockey wheel

 

ON SITE

You’re now ready to climb inside your caravan, but there are some final preparations you may want to make before you can really relax.

DO THIS IN THIS ORDER

  1. Collect fresh water – put switch to battery
  2. Run water through the cold and hot taps before turning on the water heater
  3. Turn on the water heater
  4. Position the waste water collector
  5. Connect the mains power cable to the caravan and on to the hook-up point, unravel cable from reel and put under van
  6. Turn power to caravan
  7. Switch fridge to 240v
  8. Turn on the gas

"Mavis" 1992 Elddis Force 2 towed by 2011 Vauxhall Meriva 1. 7 CDTi - Just me and my dog

“Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love. They depart to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old dog; it merely expands the heart. If you have loved many dogs, your heart is very big." Erica Jong

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Hi,

 

Position your caravan, put the legs down, level it up, then get the legs back up, move the caravan to a different position because it's not in the right position for the missus! Most of all take your time, don't get stressed and ENJOY :D

Volvo XC90 D5 AWD, Lunar Ultima 615,Towing at 62%

 

You have a second chance at life it's called tomorrow!

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Hi,

 

Position your caravan, put the legs down, level it up, then get the legs back up, move the caravan to a different position because it's not in the right position for the missus! Most of all take your time, don't get stressed and ENJOY :D

You can read that in more than one way :) Edited by jks
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You can read that in more than one way :)

 

You are BAD ! :)

2007 Bailey Series 5 Senator Arizona (4 berth, rear bathroom, side dinette) towed by a 57 Kia Sorento XS Auto with Kumho KL17 tyres, Reich Mover, Kampa Rally 390, Caravan Tyres : GT Radial Maxmiler CX 185/80 R14 102R.

 

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Not sure why but nobody has mentioned get a glass of wine /bottle of beer.

 

Even if it goes wrong it wont seem as bad with a drink in your hand

 

(Best to wait until you arrive and level the van first )

 

Danny

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