Buying a caravan isn’t the end of the process – you’ve got to make sure you have the right caravan towing equipment to keep your caravan and tow vehicle in order.
To clarify, the tow bar is the bit you can’t see, laterally mounted on the underside of the towing vehicle. In most cases, the bits you can see are the tow ball and the tow ball tongue. The terminology varies according to manufacturer and country, but professionals will know what you’re talking about.
For peace of mind, the best choice for caravan towing equipment is to stick with a factory-issued model. However, there are many reputable third-party suppliers or fitters to choose from. Modern tow bars often feature a slide-in, slide-out tow bar tongue, allowing you to remove it when not in use and to easily switch over coupling types.
The coupling is the part of the caravan that attaches to the towing vehicle. It’s important you get advice from your caravan manufacturer on which type is suitable for you.
- Fixed or ball mount: This isyour typical 50mm ball and socket, quick-release coupling. Suitable for normal road conditions and aggregate trailer masses (ATM)of up to 750kg (unbraked) and 3,500kg (braked).
- Overrun/override: This typeutilises inertia to activate the caravan’s brakes as the towing vehicle slows. It suits caravans under 2,000kg with both mechanical and hydraulic brakes.
- Off-road: Off-road couplings are required to have more motion than just horizontal rotation. They rotate with 360-degrees of articulation.
Weight distribution hitch (WDH)
- Usually a ball mount, WDHs have anti-sway bars that help spread the load from the tow vehicle’s rear axle to its front axle and the caravan’s axle(s).
Your caravan now blocks your rear view. Towing mirrors allow you to see past your caravan and better judge distances. They clip or strap on and some have support arms.
Corner steadies and stabilisers
When you’ve found a place to camp, corner steadies will ensure your van won’t lurch as you move about the caravan or change the location of payload. As the name suggests, they’re mounted at the corners, and are dropped down and/or wound up and down with a crank. They are NOT jacks and should never be used as such.
Put together a safety kit that will help you to stay safe and be seen. Include:
- First-aid kit
- Reflective triangle
- Collapsible witch’s hat
- Flashing light-emitting diode (LED) light
- High-visibility jacket or reflector vest
- Fire extinguisher (tow vehicle and caravan)
Assemble a toolkit to suit car and caravan. Make sure it’s easy to access when you’re on the road. (You probably won’t need it, but it’s better to be prepared!) Include:
- Wrench/socket set
- Screwdriver set
- Mini screwdriver set
- Jumper leads
- Basic electrical kit
- Electrical and gaffer tape
- Tyre gauge
- Chock (pair)
- Wheel blocks
- Wheel brace or torque wrench (preferred)
- Tyre lever (pair)
- Silicone spray
While you’ll find that there are more odds and ends that you need, these are just some of the basic items that you should consider before you take your caravan on its maiden voyage.
Get the lowdown on caravan towing equipment and accessories in our Product Catalogue.