Setting up a new Caravan

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 11:44
ThreadID: 110017 Views:2033 Replies:4 FollowUps:12
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Hi to all, Im new to Caravaning and have bought a 20' semi off road Van. Im a 52yr old single male and was wondering if you can help he with setting up the Manditory Requirements i will need to take. I will be heading off to the north in March 2015. Cheers to all
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Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:26

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:26
What I'd do is join a local caravan club and have a chat to a few of them. Then make up your own mind.

Aside from that, are you going to be a free camper. If so decide whether you need lots of 240 volt power (generator) or Solar. Water Tanks? how much do you have how much do you need.

What are you towing with etc?

Other things, how are you getting your mail, how are you going to pay the bills.

So I reckon the caravan club is the way to go.
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Follow Up By: 2rnamuk - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:28

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:28
Ok thanks for that will find out if there is one on the gold coast cheers.
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Follow Up By: Notso - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:33

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:33
Gold Coast ClubGold Coast Caravan Club

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 19:55

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 19:55
If the Gold Coast Club does not suit there are others in Brisbane. Here is the Qld list
PeterD
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:41

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:41
You don't say whether your new purchase is new or second hand but regardless the first thing I would do is empty the van completely, water tanks, extra gas bottle etc and take it to a weigh bridge. You may find the stated Tare (unloaded) weight as recorded on the VIN plate bears little relationship to the reality. As an example our 22 footer had a stated Tare of 2040 kg. A visit to a weigh bridge gave us an unloaded figure of 2300 kg.
Next have a look at the ATM and GVM stamped on the plate. these figures will give you an idea of how much "stuff" (technical term for payload..LOL) you will be able to LEGALLY carry and what vehicle (if not already owned) will be needed to whisk you away on your travels. Keeping in mind it is accepted practice to have 10% or a little more tow ball weight applied to the tow vehicle for stability reasons.
Heaps more of course but as already has been suggested a call to a caravan club or one of the towing clinic type companies around is a pretty good idea.

Enjoy running a muck on your journey.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: 2rnamuk - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:55

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 13:55
Hi thanks for your reply, I bought a new van and have a Nissan Patrol Ute 2004 Model, My tow weight is only 2500kg's so ive had to get my Van at a tare weight of around the 2000kg which i have. I did a lil research before i bought but i will check the Tare weight with the manufacturer. Cheers
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Follow Up By: 2rnamuk - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 14:31

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 14:31
Ill run it over a weighbridge when i get it as well thanks
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 15:04

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 15:04
Hi 2rnamuk,

Welcome to the fold though at 52 you haven't graduated to long pants yet. LOL
Or should that be short pants. Seems the older we get the more we wear shorts. LOL

You will find that you will use a mix of caravan parks and free camps as well as everything in between. That is what we do but my preference is free or freedom camping as there is more space in free camping usually, and there seems a higher level of camaraderie in the free camps I find.

The first advice is to talk to anyone and every one without being to demanding of others time. We all like our space. Happy hour is the first essential. A couple of beers or wines at the end of the day in good company is about as good as it gets at our age and is something to look forward to every day. I only drink when I an caravanning as it is a social thing for me. Mind you, I can talk the leg off a chair at the best of times.

You may need a reasonable supply of DVDs as you will not always get good TV reception.

One of the first things to buy is "Camps Australia Wide" which comes in 2 main sizes and both spiral bound and hard bound I think. I prefer the spiral bound as you can flip the pages you don't want, out of the way. This book is the travelers bible. Available from any outdoors shop and caravan outlet as far as I am aware as well at the EO shop here.

You will need a set of leveling ramps for uneven ground (yellow wedge things) and a couple of blocks of wood for same as well. The best thing to do is to get that book and go and try your van for a few weekends, especially between now and Xmas and that is the best teller of what you need. Avoid traveling in the last 2 weeks before Xmas. Keep watching these pages and also search these pages for any info you need as we are unsure of your specific needs.

If you get onto the Greynomad101 site This Site and get their early DVDs about what you need to take it is a good starter. Mind you though, you do not need everything that Sid takes.

Another good source is the Gall Boys Adventures DVDs and are both extremely entertaining and very informative. They clearly show what not to do with your Kedron caravan LOL. You will find them on the net also.

Check out all the caravanners forums as there is a wealth of information out there which is all valuable. The best teacher though is experience so go do it and enjoy.

Check this one outCaravaners forum

Cheers and happy travels, Bruce.



At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: 2rnamuk - Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 20:08

Sunday, Nov 02, 2014 at 20:08
Thanks Bruce, im not receiving my van til March next yr so hope to hit the road soon as it arrives, I just thought id be a step ahead and get things arranged, u have helped alot just in what you have posted. I will be working my way around aus as i go so wont be in any hurry mainly free camping i would say, Cheers Mark
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Follow Up By: Stretchlizard2 - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 07:07

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 07:07
Mark

Before venturing too far after picking up your van, do a trip away and back to allow the rectification of small issues at the dealer. Stay somewhere with other vanners.

Show people through your new van and ask them to comment on things they have found on their new vans.

Try to remember how everything works that you were shown on handover of your van.

Enjoy the trip,

Stretchlizard
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 07:51

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 07:51
They are very good point there Stretchlizard.

Mark,
it is always hard to remember everything we are told about our new van, even if it is a secondhand van, when we first pick it up. A case of too much information at one time.

So once out there and camping don't be backward about asking others to explain the operation of the different systems on your van. No one will think the less of you as there are so many things these days in these new vans that it is impossible to get your head around them all at time of pickup. It took the mate 9 moths to work out how to turn the radio off. LOL Not even I could work it out.

Cheers, Bruce.


At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 08:20

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 08:20
Mark a couple of things have come to mind re what is needed for initial setup.

The first is that you will need to get a good drinking water quality hose to fill your van.
There are several on the market and most are somewhat rigid compared to the lay flat variety

I recommend the Flatout brand of lay flat hose as it is the best quality and will last for many years. It comes on its own reel and takes up less space than most hoses.
Flatout Hose and reel

Don't be tempted to save money and by that other lay flat brand as they are of much lesser quality. Flatout is the only one to buy. Note that they are not cheap but they are quality.

You will also need a variety of hose fittings to screw onto taps so get a few of the cheap ones as you may forget and leave some behind at some time or other so it does not pay to buy the expensive ones, unless you are on the ball all the time. I am not unfortunately.

It may pay you to get a reel for the power cord as well but that can be further down the track as it is not important first off.

The other thing you will need is sullage hose for the grey water disposal. This connects onto your sink, shower and basin outlets to carry the grey water away. Get a couple of lengths as sometimes you need a short one and other times you need a long one so getting two allows you to cut one up into varying length pieces. See if you van get some spare joiners for it as well.

Some of the other things you may need are an axe, a rake for cleaning leaves away from the van or fire pit area, a level for the A frameLike This T Level. Note that your van may come already fitted with one so check with your dealer.

As I think of other things I will add them also.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: TomH - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 09:57

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 09:57
Tried a flat water hose and binned it as it had to be rolled out fully each time. A far easier way was 20 m of white food grade hose cut into 3 unequal lengths Only need to use the right one. We actually used a length to a double water filter and from there to the van. Always had good water and a tidy hose.

Even the salesman when we were setting up advised against the flat one and it was dearer than what we bought.
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 14:31

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 14:31
Tom, my mate has one of those white hoses and just watching him mess with it was enough for me. The Flatout hose is my preference. Takes up less room when rolled up and is a neat package. Yes you have to roll it out fully but that is a small price to pay in my opinion.

But then it is a case of "each to his own".

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Follow Up By: sweetwill - Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 16:40

Monday, Nov 03, 2014 at 16:40
I tried the flat hose for a couple of trips but it was a pain so changed to the white food grade one cheers Billy.
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Follow Up By: Rob J8 - Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014 at 15:04

Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014 at 15:04
welcome to the wonderful world of caravanning 2rnamuk.
After reading all the posts I can't offer more than you need to know about caravanning in a post. Ask as many questions as you want and don't be put off by some answers you might get.
we have belonged to the oldest caravan club in W A for 25years last March. We are currently in FNQ for the 5th time in the 26years we have owned a van. Our current van 21ft Jayco Stirling is our 4th in that time. Do join a club, but ask if they want you to go to 3 rallies a year to remain a member; some clubs in the West have that stipulation in their constitution. drive to the road conditions and enjoy.
Have fun RobJ
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