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Caravan movers: What are they and how do they work?

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One of the drawbacks of owning a caravan is dealing with it when it’s unhitched. Regardless of your age and level of fitness, pushing a three-tonne van around isn’t ideal. Also, reversing a caravan is a fine art requiring practice so that many drivers don’t feel up to the task at all.

So, what are your options for moving your caravan when dealing with a heavy van or tight areas? Make sure you know your way around a caravan before reading on.

Move it

As the name suggests, a caravan mover moves your caravan unhitched. There are three main types:

  1. Ratchet jockey wheel
  2. Motorised jockey wheel
  3. Traction roller

Ratchet jockey wheel

These movers look very similar to a standard jockey wheel. Most fit using the standard jockey wheel clamp on either side of the draw bar. A ratchet handle extends from the axle of the jockey wheel and is used to both cock the ratchet and steer the wheel.

Flicking a switch changes the direction in which the jockey wheel moves. It’s not very fast but it’s a sure-fire way of moving your caravan into a tight space with ease. Best of all, you can get a quality ratchet at a reasonable price.

Benefits

  • Installs on draw bar
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple operation

Drawbacks

  • Slow
  • Some models can freewheel, rolling forward when moving down a decline

Motorised jockey wheel

No points for guessing the key difference here. The motorised jockey wheel adds more ease and control over the ratchet type. Most units attach to the draw bar like your typical jockey wheel. Some, known as motorised trailer dollies, are designed to couple with the tow socket, offering a sturdier connection with the caravan.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Faster and smoother than a ratchet
  • Significantly cheaper than traction rollers
  • Significantly lighter than traction rollers

Cons

  • Generally can’t remain in situ
  • Can be bulky
  • Usually requires external battery

Traction roller mover

The Rolls Royce of caravan movers, the traction roller attaches to the chassis on either side of the caravan, just above each wheel. When engaged, its rollers are pressed against each tyre, driving the tyres forward or backward. You can even rotate a single-axle caravan on the spot. A wireless remote allows you to stand where you can see best. The rollers retract when not in use – better models feature power retraction.

Pros

  • Wireless remote
  • System tucks away when not in use
  • Ideal for heavy caravans
  • Ideal for inclines
  • Better for soft and wet ground

 Cons

  • More expensive
  • Some configurations can reduce the ground clearance of the caravan
  • Expert installation required
  • Heavier than other options

Regardless which style you choose, there’s no doubt that adding a mover to your set of accessories will make moving your caravan a breeze. Your choice comes down to budget and how often you’ll be using your caravan. And even the most physically frail caravan enthusiast can move a three-tonne van.

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