Just because you’ve bought yourself an off-road caravan doesn’t mean you’re ready for the bush. You’ve got a bit of work to do to get it – and everything in it – prepared for the harshness of the outback.
Ditch the breakables
This should be a no-brainer; if you haven’t done so already, throw out the crockery. Melamine dinner sets make for an excellent substitute. Replace glassware and mugs with plastic versions. Transfer foodstuff such as coffee and jam to plastic storage containers.
Dress your drawers
Prevent items from sliding around by lining your cupboards and drawers with cut-to-size nonslip liners or mats made of silicone, foam or EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate). You can also adhere these materials to the underside of trays and chopping boards so they stay put when you’re using them.
When you must carry breakables or when you have lots of small and fiddly items, place them in plastic storage bins with lids that fit into your cupboards. To further reduce movement, again, line the cupboards with nonslip drawer mats and stuff tea towels or other padding around any fragile items.
Insulate your delicates
If you’re facing hundreds of kilometres of unsealed roads, you can bet your caravan is going to be showered with stones kicked up from your towing vehicle. To protect your water, grey-water and gas hoses as well as the regulators on your gas bottles, it’s a good idea to insulate them. Sheath them with foam or other firm sheeting and tie them off with cable ties.
When it comes to caravan protection, one of the most important steps is the prevention of dust – even if you’re not going off-road. Seal any air gaps in the cladding or mouldings with silicone. Corrugations in the road can be very destructive, so be sure to check these seals regularly, as the combination of vibration and dust can unstick the bead after a while.
Window seals can go brittle over time, so it’s important to inspect them every now and then. Brittle window seals can allow dust into the caravan’s cabin, so replace them when necessary.
Tie down your gas bottles and jerry cans
Check for any play in your gas bottles and jerry cans. The galvanised straps on your bottle holders should fit snugly around the bottles. If not, adjust the latches. If rattling is still a problem, insulate the bottle and straps with a bit of rubber or foam padding. An alternative to metal straps is the Quick Fist Securing Strap, which consists of industrial-grade rubber. One strap safely holds as much as 23 kilograms.
Be friends with gaffer tape
Although you have to accept that your caravan will take on bumps and scratches, you can temporarily protect problem corners and larger surfaces if you know you’ll encounter heavy scrub and trees.
Using gaffer tape and flexible sheeting, such as vinyl or thin polycarbonate, mask off corners and lengths down the side of the caravan.
Much like a boat, a shipshape caravan is a must for the safety and security of you, your belongings and your caravan. By following these easy low-cost measures, you can avoid problems both on road and off road.
Travelling with kids? Caravan the kid-friendly way with these additional safety measures..