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Buying Your First Caravan

  • 20th Jul 2013

Buying Your First Caravan



Looking to buy a new or used caravan? Learn everything you need to know about what to look for when buying your first caravan plus how to stay safe when packing it to ensure you the best possible caravan holiday.

The first thing to do before you even start looking at caravans is to check your driving license to ensure you can actually tow one. The thing to look for is the date that you passed your driving test. Through this you can learn about your limitations.

The standard driving license states that when using a combination of a car and a caravan, the initial weight must not exceed 3,500 kg. This means you could drive a lighter car and heavier caravan or vice versa. If you wish to carry a load that exceeds this limit, you must first pass an additional test.

However, if you passed your test before the 1st January 1997, you will already have the additional qualifications on your driving license. This means that you can drive a car and caravan combination with a weight up to 8,250kg. It is always important though, in either circumstance to ensure that your car and caravan combination is a stable and comfortable one for you.

The next thing to do is to choose the car you want to tow with. For larger, heavier caravans such as the American Airstream, you may want to consider using a bigger car with more power. For something little, you will still need a car with power depending on how full the caravan is, but will not need a car that is overly big in size.

Ensure you have all the correct towing equipment fitted securely before you take your caravan anywhere. Now you’ve checked your driving license and chosen your towing car, it is time for you to pick your first caravan! There are many different types, all with different shapes and sizes suitable for a variety of lifestyles.

The most popular caravan used in the UK is the conventional caravan. Fitting up to six people, depending on the interior design, it has all the essentials needed for a short weekend away. For something slightly larger, fifth wheeler caravans may be for you.

These are perfect for longer holidays and are equipped with slide-out sections to add to the spacious interior. However, because of their weight and size, they should be towed by a pickup truck fitted with proper articulated towing gear.

An important thing to remember when packing for your caravan holiday is weight distribution within the caravan. Otherwise, it may cause the caravan to become unstable and in serious cases, topple over.

Be sure to spread the weight out evenly, keeping the heaviest items in the middle of the caravan, closest to the axle. Medium items can go either to the left, top or right of the heavy items to ensure perfect balance when towing. Light items commonly go in the top of the caravan if possible, if not it is always safe to keep them in the actual towing vehicle.

At first it may seem like a scary concept towing a caravan however with the correct balance of items, the right route and level of confidence whilst driving, you can enjoy your caravan break without any problems.

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