Trying to remember everything when going on holiday at the best of times is tricky.
So we have put together a caravan set up checklist to help you on your way.
The list covers checklists right from your caravan purchase to essential equipment and finally going on your caravan holiday and getting ready for your return journey.
You can make your own checklist in the notes on your mobile phone, on paper or even print out or return to this guide any time.
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Pre caravan purchase check list
Before you purchase your caravan you may like to think about how you are going to use it and what you may need as a result.
For example if you are likely to be using a gas barbecue then you may want a fixed barbecue point on the outside of the caravan.
So here is a list of things that you may require when choosing a used caravan or extras that you may require when ordering a new caravan.
- caravan stabiliser hitch
- Alco ATC stabiliser system
- Tear drop tv serial
- External gas barbecue point
- External electric point
- External satellite point
- Led lighting
- Security alarm
- Fitted safe
- Detachable carpets
- Fitted low wattage microwave oven
Caravan essentials checklist
Before you purchase your caravan you may like to make a caravan essentials checklist. These are items that you will need to use your caravan from day to day.
It may be worth doing this on a spread sheet and even adding a column for estimated prices for each item and the costs can soon mount up into hundreds of pounds.
The following caravan set up checklist may help with some items that you may have forgotten about.
- Caravan Wheel clamp
- Hitch lock
- Caravan leveling ramps
- Spirit level
- Electric hook up extension cable
- Gas bottle (plus initial bottle rental fee)
- External whale pump if needed
- Aquaroll or other water carrying device
- Waste master or other waste water container
- Toilet chemicals
- Toilet roll
- New shower curtain (if buying second hand van)
- Caravan bedding
- Low Wattage Microwave (if not fitted)
- Air fryer
- Halogen oven
- Knives, forks, spoons plates pots and pans
- Mats and coasters
- Cleaning products
- Caravan Awning or Porch Awning
- Storm straps and pegs
- Awning table
- Outdoor seating
- Awning heater
- Extension lead
- Bat, ball, bucket and spades for the kids
Vehicle check list
Many people have not consider the vehicle for a second or two. They think “is my engine large enough to pull this thing”.
In actual fact the question that they should be thinking about is “is my car Harvey enough”. The caravan should only make up upto 80% maximum of the vehicles weight.
There are many other things to consider when making your own vehicle check list. Some of the legal and some of them are more practice.
- Here are some items that you may want to consider.
- Does your driving license cover me to tow the caravan?
- Does your vehicle insurance cover you to tow a caravan.
- Do you have a vehicle where the caravan will not exceed 80% of the vehicle weigh
- Do you have a tow bar fitted
- If you do have a tow bar is it designed for a caravan or trailer. If not you may need a towball spacer.
- Do you have any extended mirrors or do you need to buy some.
- Do you have the correct electric sockets to plug in the caravan
Spares and tools check list
Talking about the vehicle brings us onto our next check list. The spares and tools checklist
You will need to consider any potential issues where you may need to make an emergency repair.
Personally I carry a small hydraulic Jack in the front of my caravan and a small selection of tools in an old bag.
Here are some of the tools that you may need in an emergency.
- Small hydronic Jack for caravan puncher repair.
- A wheel brace again for puncher repair.
- Is there a spare wheel in the caravan and do you know how to access it.
- A small selection of tools including, screwdrivers, adjustable wrench.
- A tools to put down the legs on the caravan (some people use a battery drill)
- Spare bulbs for both the towing vehicle and the caravan.
- Tyre pressure gauge that goes high enough to check the caravan tyre pressures. (Often over 50psi)
Booking the caravan site checklist
So often we call caravan sites to make and enquiry or booking. We come off the phone and our significant other asks us a load of questions that we forgot to get the answers to. So this checklist to help you book could be invaluable.
You may want to ask…
- What time can you check in.
- What time should we leave
- Do you offer a late departure for an additional fee, if so, how much
- Are you going to be on hard standing or grass.
- If you have your children are there any water dangers ie lakes etc. they may situate you on a different part of the site if there is a risk.
- What facilities do the pitches have ie water, or water and drainage
- Are there any events on that you will need to pre book.
- Are there any restrictions with regards to dogs, bikes, kids etc.
- Do you need to bring any hose lock type connectors for the water taps.
Many of the answers can be found on the camp sites website, however it’s good to know that you have your own list so that you don’t miss anything.
Run up to your caravan holiday checklist
So now we are getting closer to our departure day, there are a few things to add to the checklist that we won’t be able to go back to later.
So it’s important to think about this now.
- What clothes do we need to take (leave enough time to get the laundry done)
- Do we need to freshen up the caravan bed sheets. (Again ensure enough time for laundry particularly with your washing machine getting busy with the extra clothes mentioned above)
- Pre book any events or even restaurants so that you are not disappointed when you arrive.
- Clean and check over the caravan just incase you need to replace any bulbs etc.
- If you keep your caravan at home then you may be able to turn the fridge on a couple of days before to give it time to cook to temperature.
- Plan your meals for whilst you are away and go shopping. Put the cool stuff in the fridge. The fridge should still run whilst you are traveling to your destination.
On the day of travel checklist
It’s time to go but there are a few things left to check. Hopefully the following checklist will help you. We also have a final checklist prior to towing that you can access via the link.
- Check the tyre pressures on the caravan and towing vehicle.
- Check that the car has enough water in the washer bottle, oil in the engine and coolant.
- Make sure you have enough fuel before you hook up the caravan. It is easier than taking the caravan to the fuel station.
- Load the caravan ensure that the caravan is loaded correctly as is the car.
- Follow theses caravan pre towing checks.
- Set up the sat nav or make sure you know on the map where you are going. You don’t want to get lost whilst towing a caravan.
Arriving at site checklist
When you arrive at the caravan site there are a few things that you need to know.
- Where is the pitch (most sites will give you a map of the site). If you’re unsure and parked safely then walk to the pitch first.
- Do you need to display any kind of receipt to show that you have paid
- Where on the pitch does the warden want you to pitch your caravan. Some like you to go right to the back some like you to go to the far right so that the awning in on the gravel or grass.
- One all of the above is clear then you are ready to set up.
Setting up a caravan for the first time
If your setting up a caravan for the first time then it can be quite daunting.
Other people will be watching but don’t mistake this for them wanting you to mess it up. In my experience everyone is an expert and wants to help.
If you are reversing for the very first time then my I suggest that you practice somewhere else first before you go on holiday. I used the local Asda car park to prefect my own reversing skills.
If you are planning to use the motor mover then you will need to know where the remote control is and that is where we start our next caravan set up checklist.
Have the motor mover remote control handy (I keep mine in the glove box, always)
When you put the caravan on the pitch, if you have the type of wheel lock that threads into the chassis of the caravan, make sure that the alloy wheel is not obstructing the port.
- Put the wheel clamp and hitch lock on
- Make sure you know where your leveling ramp is and your spirit level
- Have your electrical hook up lead to hand
- Have your tools ready to lower the legs.
- Complete water connection and waste connection
- Put the caravan steps in place
- Attach anything the site gave you to show you have paid.
- Take a beer out of the fridge and breath!
Packing down checklist
This is very much a combination of the reverse of the checklist for setting up a caravan for the first time (above) and the caravan pre towing check list.
The only other things to check are
- Have a final look back at the pitch to check that you haven’t left anything behind.
- That you have everything ready as per previous check lists, for when you put the caravan back into storage or on your Dirve/garden.
I hope that you find all of these check lists useful. You are welcome to print them out or save this page in your favorites so that you can return in the future and use this page as a reference.