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Safe Winter Caravanning

Monday 1st July 2019
By Neil Fahey
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By Neil Fahey
If you’re looking for an affordable, adventurous winter camping holiday, hiring a caravan through Camplify is an attractive option. While winter caravan towing can seem like a daunting prospect, it’s actually easier than you think to get yourself hooked up with a caravan and head off to explore Australia.

If you own your own caravan, you know how much downtime it has, sitting in storage while you wait for a free weekend to hit the open road. Listing your caravan with Camplify allows you to make money off its downtime and maximise its full adventure potential.

Whether you are a caravan owner or planning to hire one, there are some things to consider when setting off in winter – many of them you need to consider all year round. Camping in winter is glorious - warm campfires, crisp early mornings, and a cost-effective way to enjoy Australia’s snowfields. Travelling in a caravan makes winter camping easy, with heating, insulation and a comfy you can take wherever you want to go.

Here’s what you need to consider before taking a caravan out this winter.


Warmth


While any caravan provides an effective shelter from the elements, you need to add some extras for effective winter cosiness. 

Check your caravan’s heating systems before you leave to make sure they are working correctly. While you are on the road, park your van in a position where it can soak up the sun for as long as possible, then close up the doors, windows and curtains just before the temperature begins to drop. Ensure that the caravan is leak proof and draught proof, and consider investing in some winter weight curtains and a draught stopper for the door. 

Make sure you pack your winter woollies, especially if you’re planning to spend some time out by the fire! A good jacket, gloves, a scarf and beanie are essential. Add some good quality thermal underclothes and you’re all set.

Pack plenty of layers for sleeping, and ensure you have lots of blankets. A winter weight sleeping bag spread over the bed will allow you to regulate the temperature of your coverings throughout the night.


Preparing Your Vehicle

Prepare your caravan!

Image credit: Campabout Oz (on Camplify)

Before any long trip, you need to make sure your vehicle is roadworthy and in excellent condition. Check your lights, brakes and oil levels on a regular basis, and make sure your vehicle is up to date with its services. 

Hiring a caravan through Camplify means it comes with the assurance that the owner takes good care of it, and has completed basic safety checks before pick up. However, break downs or flat tires are sometimes unavoidable and you need to be prepared, especially in cold weather. Keeping a safety blanket in the car or caravan is a good idea, in case you can’t use your heating while waiting for assistance. Keep a torch and a first aid kit close by, and make sure your mobile phone is charged. You can call Camplify’s assistance line for 24-hour support.

Tyres and tyre pressure are extremely important, especially when driving in cold weather or taking long trips. Check your tire pressure is adequate and your tyres are not worn before heading off.


Safe Caravan Towing


Towing a caravan requires a lot of concentration and patience. Special care needs to be taken when driving any long vehicle, and you will need to be very aware of any potential hazards. Caravans are wider and higher than cars, so be aware of trees and power poles close to the road, and of upcoming turns, hills or traffic.

The key to driving a caravan is slow, smooth driving and momentum. Ensure plenty of distance - at least five seconds - between you and the vehicle in front, to make sure you have plenty of time to brake or stop. Avoid any sudden braking or fast, jerky movements, take corners slow and wide, and leave plenty of time to respond to the traffic ahead of you.

Towing a caravan can be fatiguing, and more so if you are not used to it. The extra concentration required means your energy will be quickly drained. Take regular breaks to eat, hydrate and stretch your legs, and swap drivers often if you are able to.

Make sure you pack up your caravan well before you start driving. It’s easy to become complacent about this, especially if you are moving around a lot. Ensure all doors and windows are well secured, and that you haven’t left behind any of your equipment like chocks or awning poles. Things inside will move around more than you would expect, so clear off benches and secure anything potentially breakable.


Safe Caravan Towing in Winter

Is your vehicle ready for a Winter trip?
Image credit: Sascha Grant (on flickr)

Towing a caravan in winter is much like towing a caravan at any other time, but with some extra safety precautions needed. It’s important to be very aware of icy conditions, which can be deceptive if you are not in a snowy area. Early morning travel makes you particularly susceptible to encountering patches of black ice on the road. Minimise danger by driving to the conditions and if you do get in trouble, stay calm and slow down until you ‘find your feet’ again. Be extra cautious with braking distance when towing a caravan and maintain plenty of space and time to react to changing conditions.

If you are driving in areas with snowfall, snow chains are essential. Diamond chains are best, and they need to be fitted well before you encounter any snow. Most snow areas will have signs advising you when you need to fit your snow chains. This may seem daunting, but most Australian snow areas make this an easy process by offering snow chains for hire at local businesses. They will advise you on which chains you need, and most places will also fit them for you for a small fee.

Australia’s snowfields are generally small areas, which offers a huge bonus in terms of being able to get back below the snowline in a few hours. This means if you are not overly confident towing your caravan in the snow, you can unhook it and leave it at a campground below the snowline, where you can return to it at night. 


A caravan makes for the perfect winter camping - a cosy and easy alternative to pitching tents in the cold.
Search here for the perfect van for your holiday.

If you own a van and would like to know more about unlocking its earning potential, check out our owner's page


Feature Image Credit: Matthew Paul Argall (on flickr)


To find out how Camplify can work with you and your RV, register today here.

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