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1St Time Towing!


acupofteawouldbenice
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Hello everyone, I'm new to Caravan Talk and this is my first post.

 

On Saturday I'll be towing my caravan for the first time, it's the very first time I have towed anything, ever, I'm terrified.

The caravan I have is a 25 year old 2 berth Abbey, which I've spent the last six months fixing up and equiping ready for caravanning, we are so excited, about using the caravan at long last.

Only thing is that I'm not sure if I'm ready for the road, usually I will have a go at anything, I see others towing caravans and think if they can do it I can too, but it scares me :unsure:

Has anyone got any 1st towing tales to tell, or advice, I'm particularily worried about going through narrower roads with parked vehicles, going up hills, going down hills, in fact I'm worried about the whole thing, help.

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Hello and welcome, it is only natural to be nervous your first time. Re narrow roads with parked cars you wait until the road is clear then move out, take your time if you are going slow it is easy to stop if unsure. Going up hill get in low gear prior to climb, coming down hill never overtake and again nice and steady not too quickly. Allow extra gap from vehicle in front, allow more time for braking at junctions etc. allow a longer gap when pulling out onto roundabouts or junctions.

Never set a time of arrival, get there when you get there.

Just think on Saturday night you will be set up in your caravan proud as punch and wondering why you were so worried.

2015 ABI ASHCROFT EXCL

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I was in the same boat as you just 2. 5 years ago . .. My best advice would be take your time, be very deliberate when going around parked vehicles etc . .. allow plenty of room, most of all practice, practice reversing, practice manoeuvring, practice hitching and unhitching, its all part of the towing experience. On top of that play around with the loading of the caravan and find a method that suits your outfit but always heavier items low down and as central as possible (over the axle), how you load has a massive impact on the towing experience. Each year before any journey after it has been serviced I always take the caravan out for a journey just to ensure all is well, maybe an idea for yourself.

Mostly . .. enjoy it and good luck!

Saab 9-3 2. 2 tid. Abbey Aventura 2001 312

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Slow and steady. ... if in doubt dont. Easy braking and nice gradual pulling off. Drive as if you have a bowl of water on your lap.

 

I went on the camping and caravan club towing course. Strongly suggest you go on that

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If you don't think you are ready for the road and are terrified of doing it, I think you should go and get yourself some proper tuition.

 

If you cock it up or scare yourself you could put yourself off for good for no better reason than you were inadequately prepared.

 

Good luck

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just take it nice and steady and your'll be fine, before going on your first time to a site try hitching up and towing around in your own area that you know, just get use to the tight corners and slowing down over the speed humps, even after years of towing i still take it easy and never go over 60mph with caravan on, you will be fine

 

phil

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I was in similar position six years ago when first started Caravanning, but was too confident. Wish I had taken the CC towing course when looking back.

My first outing was a trip from Manchester to Devon to meet up with my sister who didn't know I had just bought a caravan and I was going to surprise her when turning up at the site she was on.

My outfit was a Nissan navara with a twin axle bailey senator, yeah a big over unit.

Once hooked up went to fill up with fuel at the local supermarket filling station, a bit tight to say the least.

To cut a long story short i didn't understand the balance swing at the rear of the caravan from the pivot point on the axle when doing tight turns, filled up, went to pull off, pulled forward paying attention in my mirrors, tight right hand lock got too close to a BMW on the offside, just clipped his bumper. Stopped then after a few works with the other driver he reversed a bit so I could continue, set off again, all I could hear was people shouting at me, so stopped again, got out of my truck and to my total shock and horror, the back of the caravan had taken out the fuel pump on the near side. Sainsburys system was immediately shut down automatically. People were not happy as they could not complete their fuel supply and pay.

To make this worse every one was evacuated from the area until engineers arrived, once safe I unhooked truck from caravan and moved, when asked by engineers to move caravan I enlisted the services of the people waiting. Could not understand why six men could not push the caravan until some bright spark noticed that the handbrake was still on. I just wanted a big hole to open up for me to get into.

My advice is 'towing a caravan is easy, but there are a lot of things to consider, so be careful and if possible get some tuition,

 

Grown up since and never had a problem and look back and laugh.

 

Mike

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Take the caravan out round your area on roads you know to get used to towing before going away . This will give you a idea of how much braking distance you need and how wide you need to take corners for the caravan to miss the corner kerb and setting your towing mirrors.

 

I set my towing mirrors down the side of the caravan and set my car mirrors then to see the caravan wheels by just adjusting them down slightly so you can see the position of the tyres and kerbs or white lines.

 

 

Dave

Edited by CommanderDave

Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

Isuzu D- Max Utah Auto

Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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Make sure you have towing mirrors fitted, as well as the advice from Dave they also remind you how wide the caravan is and that you need more room, they also remind you that you're towing ;)

Paul B

. .......Mondeo Estate & Elddis Avanté 505 (Tobago)

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I was in similar position six years ago when first started Caravanning, but was too confident. Wish I had taken the CC towing course when looking back.

My first outing was a trip from Manchester to Devon to meet up with my sister who didn't know I had just bought a caravan and I was going to surprise her when turning up at the site she was on.

My outfit was a Nissan navara with a twin axle bailey senator, yeah a big over unit.

Once hooked up went to fill up with fuel at the local supermarket filling station, a bit tight to say the least.

To cut a long story short i didn't understand the balance swing at the rear of the caravan from the pivot point on the axle when doing tight turns, filled up, went to pull off, pulled forward paying attention in my mirrors, tight right hand lock got too close to a BMW on the offside, just clipped his bumper. Stopped then after a few works with the other driver he reversed a bit so I could continue, set off again, all I could hear was people shouting at me, so stopped again, got out of my truck and to my total shock and horror, the back of the caravan had taken out the fuel pump on the near side. Sainsburys system was immediately shut down automatically. People were not happy as they could not complete their fuel supply and pay.

To make this worse every one was evacuated from the area until engineers arrived, once safe I unhooked truck from caravan and moved, when asked by engineers to move caravan I enlisted the services of the people waiting. Could not understand why six men could not push the caravan until some bright spark noticed that the handbrake was still on. I just wanted a big hole to open up for me to get into.

My advice is 'towing a caravan is easy, but there are a lot of things to consider, so be careful and if possible get some tuition,

 

Grown up since and never had a problem and look back and laugh.

 

Mike

I was in similar position six years ago when first started Caravanning, but was too confident. Wish I had taken the CC towing course when looking back.

My first outing was a trip from Manchester to Devon to meet up with my sister who didn't know I had just bought a caravan and I was going to surprise her when turning up at the site she was on.

My outfit was a Nissan navara with a twin axle bailey senator, yeah a big over unit.

Once hooked up went to fill up with fuel at the local supermarket filling station, a bit tight to say the least.

To cut a long story short i didn't understand the balance swing at the rear of the caravan from the pivot point on the axle when doing tight turns, filled up, went to pull off, pulled forward paying attention in my mirrors, tight right hand lock got too close to a BMW on the offside, just clipped his bumper. Stopped then after a few works with the other driver he reversed a bit so I could continue, set off again, all I could hear was people shouting at me, so stopped again, got out of my truck and to my total shock and horror, the back of the caravan had taken out the fuel pump on the near side. Sainsburys system was immediately shut down automatically. People were not happy as they could not complete their fuel supply and pay.

To make this worse every one was evacuated from the area until engineers arrived, once safe I unhooked truck from caravan and moved, when asked by engineers to move caravan I enlisted the services of the people waiting. Could not understand why six men could not push the caravan until some bright spark noticed that the handbrake was still on. I just wanted a big hole to open up for me to get into.

My advice is 'towing a caravan is easy, but there are a lot of things to consider, so be careful and if possible get some tuition,

Grown up since and never had a problem and look back and laugh.

Mike

I was in similar position six years ago when first started Caravanning, but was too confident. Wish I had taken the CC towing course when looking back.

My first outing was a trip from Manchester to Devon to meet up with my sister who didn't know I had just bought a caravan and I was going to surprise her when turning up at the site she was on.

My outfit was a Nissan navara with a twin axle bailey senator, yeah a big over unit.

Once hooked up went to fill up with fuel at the local supermarket filling station, a bit tight to say the least.

To cut a long story short i didn't understand the balance swing at the rear of the caravan from the pivot point on the axle when doing tight turns, filled up, went to pull off, pulled forward paying attention in my mirrors, tight right hand lock got too close to a BMW on the offside, just clipped his bumper. Stopped then after a few works with the other driver he reversed a bit so I could continue, set off again, all I could hear was people shouting at me, so stopped again, got out of my truck and to my total shock and horror, the back of the caravan had taken out the fuel pump on the near side. Sainsburys system was immediately shut down automatically. People were not happy as they could not complete their fuel supply and pay.

To make this worse every one was evacuated from the area until engineers arrived, once safe I unhooked truck from caravan and moved, when asked by engineers to move caravan I enlisted the services of the people waiting. Could not understand why six men could not push the caravan until some bright spark noticed that the handbrake was still on. I just wanted a big hole to open up for me to get into.

My advice is 'towing a caravan is easy, but there are a lot of things to consider, so be careful and if possible get some tuition,

Grown up since and never had a problem and look back and laugh.

Mike

Wonderful you've made my day, you couldn't make up if you tried. Just shows how important it is to have a few lessons.

Edited by chad
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If you have a large supermarket nearby that has a big car park & closes at 9pm ( or a big industrial estate ) you could try towing to it and practice a few manouvers on the empty car park, or quiet roads on the industrial estate. It's especially useful for getting used to towing around left hand corners & getting the feel of how far you go before starting to turn.

 

Overall my advice would be as per other posts - load your caravan correctly ( heavy items low down as close to axle as possible ) use a good pair of towing mirrors & take your time, don't let anyone rush you & try to read the road ahead as much as possible to avoid sudden braking.

Les.
2. 0ltr 150TDCi TITANIUM X KUGA + 2016 Elddis Crusader Mistral ( Misty )

" I could agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong "

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while you have to watch out for the big lorries passing you, we found that it is the white van that causes the most ripples. When we bought our first 'van the advice was the caravan will follow your car and that if a dustbin lorry can make it down a lane then so can you ;) good luck on your first trip

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I can remember my first tow in 1980 when I went to pick up the caravan I had bought from a dealer 35 miles from home. I remember coming to a humped back bridge and wondering if I could get over it. Well I did manage it then got lost and went over it again, this time with less stress. The old van, a 1972 sprite would only manage 45 mph before it got a bit wobbly so we changed it after 18 months for a newer one that was much better. Loading is important but it could not fully cure our wobbly van. As has been said take it easy until you gain confidence. Try to get some practice in before your first long tow. If you are a confident solo driver you will be surprised at how quickly you get used to towing. Have a great time and enjoy yourself.

2004 Citroen C5 2. 0ltr diesel auto VTR and 2011 Bailey Orion 430/4

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Steady and precise would be my advise.

Also don't forget your towing mirrors and fit a stabiliser if you haven't already.

Good luck.

Defender 90  cruising along with a Coachman Laser 640/4.  :)

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Don't panic would be my tip.

If you need to go slowly past an obstruction then do so, don't worry about holding up the traffic behind at that point.

If a queue has built up behind and your not feeling confident of speeding back up too quickly, simply pull over when a safe suitable spot appears and let them past.

Simply remember, if your mirrors will fit through a space, then the caravan will, taking into account the amount of space needed to make tight turns.

If a really tight manouevre is required, get your passenger to guide you, or, worse case, unhitch the 'van and manhandle it through if we're talking about an inch or two either side.

After having said all that, once you get used to it, most of the time you'll settle down and relax (as much as you can when driving) and enjoy the journey as part of the trip.

I actually find the enforced slower pace is generally less stressful than, say, travelling solo at rush hour.

Ssangyong Korando Sports SX / Adria Altea 472DS Eden

 

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Don't panic would be my tip.

If you need to go slowly past an obstruction then do so, don't worry about holding up the traffic behind at that point.

If a queue has built up behind and your not feeling confident of speeding back up too quickly, simply pull over when a safe suitable spot appears and let them past.

Simply remember, if your mirrors will fit through a space, then the caravan will, taking into account the amount of space needed to make tight turns.

If a really tight manouevre is required, get your passenger to guide you, or, worse case, unhitch the 'van and manhandle it through if we're talking about an inch or two either side.

After having said all that, once you get used to it, most of the time you'll settle down and relax (as much as you can when driving) and enjoy the journey as part of the trip.

I actually find the enforced slower pace is generally less stressful than, say, travelling solo at rush hour.

Agree with this very much! Another tip is to make sure, when moving slowly, if you need to pull out to go past a parked vehicle for example, that you pull out earlier than you would when solo. That way, by the time you are level with the "obstruction", you are the right distance out and parallel with it. If you leave pulling out to the last moment, you will have to go right out with the front of the car to avoid the nearside front of the caravan being dangerously close to the parked vehicle. ....and you will be taking up some of the other side of the road. If you pull out and then find the oncoming traffic does not leave you room to get past, just move slowly forward until a gap magically appears. (Someone will refuse to play "chicken")

If at first you don't succeed, it may be best to give up.

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Do not underestimate how quickly the caravan will follow the car when you turn, as it will nip in quicker than you expect, This happened to me on our old van, with the concrete post of the storage yard getting the better of me. :unsure:

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Good luck. SLow and easy! And if you have kids get the misses to sit in back to keep quiet order!

And focus on the task and not other peoples views! ;-)

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I have to agree with all the advice given, the key factor is take your time and don't worry about other traffic, the majority of other road user hate caravans anyway so why worry about them, think of it as getting your own back. :P

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Plus - Fill the car up with fuel before hitching up ;) and send someone out the back when slowly manoeuvering to let you know how close you are to anything.

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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  • 3 months later...

Although it made me smile,I'm sorry to hear about your mishap. when you look at the overall length of your outfit your not far short of a HGV, and you would expect to see one of them filling up at sainsburys lol.

image

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