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Your First Caravan

Some Points To Know When Buying A Caravan For The First Time

caravan heading off into the sunset

You’ve decided to go for it and buy your first caravan.

Congratulations! Ahead of you are endless travelling adventures…

You’re excited; but where do you start?

Know the Towing Rules

It is important to ensure that all your paperwork is in order and that it is legal for you to tow your intended/new caravan.

If you passed your driving test before 1997, you have a B+E licence. This means that the combined MAM (Maximum Authorised Mass) of the car and trailer you are legally allowed to tow, can be up to 8250kg. It is unlikely that any car and caravan combination will ever exceed this.

If you passed your driving test in or after 1997, you have a B licence. This is somewhat limiting in terms of the type of caravan that you are able to tow, as the combined weight of the car and caravan cannot exceed 3500kg. If you require a considerably weightier caravan than this rule allows, then you can take a towing test to upgrade to a B+E licence.

Even if you do not legally need to take a towing course; we recommend that you consider taking one in order to improve your driving skills and confidence when towing your caravan.

Consider Investing in a Caravan Mover

If you never make the transition to confident caravan mover – do not despair – there are helpful electrical drive systems that will reverse the vehicle for you. They work by using rollers that engage with the tyres of the caravan. You simply unhitch, get out of the car and use a remote control to do the rest of the work.

Understand Safe Transportation

  • 1. Heavy items need to be secured, low down, close to the caravan’s axles. If the weight isn’t evenly distributed (particularly at the back), then the caravan will become unstable.

    2. Make sure that your tyres are inflated to the pressure specified in your manual and in good condition (ie. Plenty of tread remaining, not frayed or torn).

    3. Extra care needs to be taken in terms of the speed limit when towing a caravan – especially when entering a sharp bend – it is prudent to go slower than the legal speed limit.

Join a Club

Joining either The Camping and Caravanning Club or the Caravan Club (or both) can be helpful in many ways. It means that you will have access to sites only open to members, lower priced pitches and discounts/advice on other services.


So, now you are a confident caravan owner, you are ready for your first adventure. You can plan where you are going and we will provide some essential things to remember.

Create a Checklist before you go.

  • 1. Make sure that you have a suitable towing aid (and that it is fitted correctly), towing mirrors, a sway control device, a caravan jack and wheel chocks.

    2. Invest in a fire extinguisher and fire blanket – these are important safety items.

    3. It is also prudent to carry ‘spares’; extra oil and coolant, a spare fan belt and insulation tape are some that we recommend.

Make your Caravan Safe and Secure

  • 1. Lock the doors and windows.

    2. Secure the drawers, non-fitted furniture and other loose items.

    3. Remove the wheel chocks and raise the steps.

    4. Check your tyres and lights are in good working order.

On the Road...

  • 1. Have an early start and beat the traffic. You will feel more confident on your first drive if the roads are quieter.

    2. Keep your speed down and take extra care manoeuvring.

    3. Be considerate to drivers behind you. Use slow vehicle turnouts when possible.

    4. Be aware of strong side winds that could cause you to sway and swerve.

You’ve made it to the Caravan Site!

  • 1. Parking your caravan will require team work and patience. And of course practice. Don’t forget to use your mirrors.

    2. Unhitch the caravan and put on its handbrake. Move the car away.

    3. Level the caravan by lowering all four corner steadies until they touch the ground.

    4. Set up the gas and water. Connect to the camp site’s electricity.

    5. Once inside the caravan – check the power and water is working.



  • 1. Refer to ‘Make your Caravan Safe and Secure’

    2. Turn off the gas.

    3. Disconnect the electricity.

    4. Remove water and waste supplies.


A new model is always intriguing… here is a brief overview of the 3 berth Compass Capiro 530.

  • 1. Washing: this caravan boasts a larger than normal bathroom across the back. Includes a domestic sized shower and decent sized wash basin. A large wardrobe, a full airing cupboard and even a heated towel rail! Two people can easily move around in here – this bathroom makes you feel at home.

    2. Sleeping: A double bed can be made out of the two front settees. The dinette can be converted into a single bed. If you require further beds, a folding bunk can be added for £310. Ozio cushions make these beds extremely flat and comfortable.

    3. Lounging: the two settees are comfortable and include scatter cushions and bolsters. Easily seats six people. A chest of drawers includes a pull-out flap that is perfect for a board game or a tea tray. Includes two built in speakers and a stereo unit, there is also room for a decent sized television. You will not be bored.

    4. Utilities: LED lights and directional spotlights. Alde wet central heating. Mains 12V and TV socket and 2 USB connections. This caravan is well equipped electronically.

    5. Kitchen: Four-ring hob, with three gas burners and one electric hotplate. A Thetford Aspire 2 Oven and Grill. A 101 litre Dometic three-way fridge and Daewoo microwave. There is plenty of cupboard space.