Almost every caravan on the road can be improved with a few minor modifications by its owner. Or, perhaps more accurately, minor mods can be performed so that the van better suits its owner’s travelling style and needs.
Sure, you could add additional solar panels, upgrade to a lithium battery, or even swap out the suspension for an independent coil setup. But there are plenty of little things you can do to your caravan that will increase its lifespan, improve your time on the road, and won’t break the bank.
These are three of our favourite minor caravan modifications…
It’s quite rare to find a caravan without some amount of exposed PVC plumbing. Despite hailing their caravan as ‘offroad’, more often than not, you’ll find that the manufacturer has fitted a metre or two (or more) of PVC grey water piping that would be quickly shot-peened to pieces on the Oodnadatta Track.
Anything you can do to protect this plumbing is worth the time and expense. And, frankly, it doesn’t have to be a costly exercise. Offcuts of rubber, lengths of agricultural pipe that has been split up the middle so that you can wrap it around the pipe, or even old lengths of carpet would do the job. Zip-tie the protective material into position, making sure all vulnerable areas are covered, and you’re good to go.
Naturally, whatever you choose to wrap your pipes with is bound to be belted by spraying gravel or other road debris, but the good news is that it’s easy and cheap to replace. Much easier and cheaper than replacing the PVC grey water piping, that’s for sure.
On the same topic, think about how you can protect your van from the stones and other material that will inevitably be flicked up by your tow vehicle’s rear tyres. Most ‘offroad’ vans will be fitted with a stoneguard of some variety; however, they are usually fitted above the drawbar, offering no protection below.
There are plenty of commercial solutions available, and these are known to do a good job. However, a cheap and effective way to minimise stones flicking up under the drawbar and damaging your cladding is to secure lengths of thick, durable rubber to your existing stoneguard.
Yes, this idea requires your van to have a stoneguard in the first place but, let’s be honest, most vans built to go offroad are fitted with these as standard. If not, it shouldn’t be too difficult to rig up something similar.
You may have already seen some caravans with shade-cloth secured to the offside when parked up. The shade-cloth is typically secured to a sail track that the owner has installed, and then pegged out. The idea is to keep the fridge area a bit cooler in order to make the fridge work more efficiently.
However, why not take this idea a step further and opt for a much larger shade-cloth and longer sail track? In hot weather, with the sun beating against the offside of the van, this should make a real difference in terms of keeping the inside of the van that much cooler.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Max Taylor has been caravanning since he was a kid and was the editor of some of Australia’s most well-known RV publications for almost 10 years.