Travelling and camping with a caravan has become more and more popular in recent years, so if you are a first-timer, you are certainly not alone. Setting up your caravan for the first time can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow our simple tips to ensure you and your loved ones have everything you need for a comfortable, enjoyable experience.
Before you go
When you just bought a new caravan, it can be tempting to get out there and hit the road right away. However, it is important to take some time to familiarise yourself with the caravan and any accessories it includes. Refer to your owner’s manual, or look up information on the manufacturer’s website. It can help to practise setting up and taking everything down ahead of time so you know what to expect. The caravan experts at Lewis RV can assist you as well, so don’t be shy about reaching out with any questions.
Once you understand how everything works, it’s time to start packing. Don’t forget to stock your caravan with wheel chocks and ramps to help stabilise it once it is in place. Outdoor rugs, furniture, and other items will give you more flexibility in getting your caravan set up on-site and make the space more comfortable, so be sure to include these as well.
It’s always a good idea to check the amenities at your chosen campsite so you know whether electricity, running water, and other amenities will be readily available. Even if your campsite provides firewood, it is smart to bring your own in case the site is busy and runs out.
Finally, make sure that your caravan is mechanically sound. With a new caravan, you likely won’t have any issues, but with an older model, you may want to have it serviced before heading out. This will alert you to any potential mechanical issues that could derail your plans.
Campsite caravan setup
If you are setting up your caravan for the first time, you’ll likely want to start with an official campsite, as this will give you easy access to amenities and services when needed. If you have options when you arrive, try to select a spot that is as close as possible to water and power connections. Before you connect anything, though, be sure the handbrake is on and the jockey wheel completely attached. Use wheel chocks as needed for stabilisation before lowering the stabiliser legs.
When you are certain that your caravan is secure, attach the water, power, gas and drainage connections, following the instructions for your specific caravan model and any provided by the campsite. In general, a 15-amp cord is best, and you should look for 240-volt connections when available. Be sure to turn on the power management system and test all of your appliances to ensure the power, gas, and water connections are working properly.
When planning how to set up a caravan on site, take note of where the sun is, as this can influence the direction you’ll want your caravan to face. Think about where the awnings will open and how the light will move throughout the day to ensure you have access to shade, especially in hot weather. Try to avoid facing your door and awnings towards the hot afternoon sun to keep your caravan as comfortable as possible.
Caravan awning setup is relatively easy. In most cases, you’ll simply need to pop the awning out from the side of the caravan and secure the support legs. Don’t forget a floor mat to help keep the area clean and prevent dirt from getting inside the caravan.
Off-grid caravan setup
Once you have some caravan camping experience, you’ll be ready to venture out into the bush. When camping off-grid, you’ll need to bring everything you need as you won’t have access to campsite amenities. Before you leave, verify that your water tanks are full and batteries charged. If you have a generator, don’t forget to pack plenty of fuel. Check that your gas cylinders are full as well. These are heavy-duty travel cylinders, so you won’t be able to replace them at typical petrol stations. They’ll need to be refilled rather than replaced.
When you reach your desired destination, the first thing you’ll need to do is select your campsite. Look for an area with firm, level ground, and do your best to avoid low branches and waterways. It is also a good idea to choose a campsite that is not too close to any roads. This will give you plenty of privacy and protect you from any road noise, pollution, and other hazards. Don’t forget to consider the sun whilst choosing your caravan site, too. Trees can provide welcome shade, but they can also be hazardous in windy conditions, so weigh the pros and cons to suit your needs.
Aside from connecting water, electricity, and gas lines, setting up a caravan in the bush is much the same as at a campsite. First, secure the caravan so it won’t roll away. Then, set up any awnings and accessories. Finally, customise your campsite with furniture, mats, and other items you brought with you.
One extra consideration, though, is that you may need to contend with local wildlife. Check for ant nests, spiderwebs, animal droppings, and other signs that the area might not be safe. Be on the lookout for bushfire hazards as well, and always ensure any fires you light are completely extinguished before you leave.
After your visit
Whether caravan camping in the bush or at an official campsite, you should always take the time to thoroughly clean up after yourself. Camping is a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature, and you don’t want to spoil it for others by leaving rubbish behind. The goal is to leave everything as good as or better than you found it. Lastly, don’t forget to give your caravan a thorough cleaning so it is ready to go for next time.
Ready for a caravan camping adventure?
Caravan camping has never been more popular, so now is the perfect time to join in on the fun. At Lewis RV, we proudly offer a wide variety of caravans for sale, both new and used, and our knowledgeable associates can help you select the perfect one to meet your needs. We’ll be right here to help with any repairs and maintenance your caravan needs over the years as well. We’ll be more than happy to demonstrate how to set up your caravan for the first time, so come on down to see us to get ready for your next adventure!