Towing a caravan sounds a daunting task.
Towing an average 1,000kg (which is the average weight of a 2-4 berth caravan), having full control of its movements as well as navigating around all sorts of road obstacles make it appear even more challenging and difficult.
Caravans are not particularly hard to tow. Reversing is one of the most challenging aspects of towing a caravan, especially when reversing and turning are both required. A caravan will naturally follow the navigational path of the vehicle. Care and attention are required.
Surprisingly, towing a caravan is easy once you get used to it.
There are some towing tips I will share with you to help anyone getting started or thinking of towing a caravan for the first time, plus some safety accessories and whether your caravan should ideally be braked or unbraked.
If you are considering towing a caravan, this article should help guide you on your journey and first experiences.
How to Make Towing a Caravan Easier
Towing a caravan may look easy, just hook it on the back and drive off.
If only everything in life was that easy.
In some respects, that’s all there is too it but there are several things you can do, especially as a beginner, to make towing a caravan easier.
Here are just some of the ways to improve your caravan towing experience, improve safety, and have a more comfortable journey.
Get the Right Towbar
Getting the right towbar for your vehicle to properly tow your caravan is one of the most important things.
It must be fitted correctly, securely, and safely and from experience I can tell you they are not easy to fit on some vehicles!
I’ve been under the back bumper with an adjustable spanner trying to tighten the bolts. Room is not plentiful.
Also, unless it’s the right towbar for the vehicle and caravan, the caravan may not manoeuvre properly, and go where you want it to go, especially when reversing.
The right towbar will definitely make the journey safer and easier.
Fit External Extending Towing Mirrors
The first thing a beginner will notice is how reduced the visibility is of the road behind them.
The caravan completely blocks out the back window of course, and the wing mirrors tend to see more caravan than they do other vehicles coming up behind them and beside them.
This can make any driver not used to towing a caravan nervous and uncomfortable.
That loss of visibility around you is quite unnerving.
A solution is extending towing mirrors.
They fit on to the wing mirrors of your vehicle and extend the length of the mirror, and your view, allowing you to see following traffic easier.
This is considered to be one of the best ways to reduce the nerves of beginners and give them more confidence behind the wheel.
They really are a good investment to have.
Choose a Braked Caravan
If the caravan is your own you may not have a choice in the matter, but if you are choosing to hire a caravan to tow for a break or holiday, then make sure it’s a braked caravan.
A braked caravan is simply a caravan that as you brake in your vehicle, the caravans own braking system is activated.
Suggested Reading: Are Caravans Braked or Unbraked?
This means simply by pressing down the brake lever with your foot you control both the vehicle and the caravan and bring both to a comfortable stop and are not relying on the braking power of your vehicle to slow not only it down, but the caravan too.
It really does make for an easier drive.
Take a Caravan Towing Lesson
If you really want peace of mind and are particularly nervous about your first caravan towing experience, then why not take a lesson.
Practice will not only give you some really good experience, but it will also boost your confidence when it comes to taking to the road.
There are a number of caravan towing lessons, tests, and courses up and down the country helping give guidance to beginners.
You will start out by learning how to hook up your caravan properly and safely, which is really important, as well as how to position your vehicle and the caravan when on the road, and also when turning to give your vehicle and caravan the best birth possible as you navigate around the course.
You will also cover reversing, which is considered to be one of the hardest things to do when towing a trailer!
Watch out for the Weather
It can be dangerous to tow a caravan in high winds and storms.
Although many vehicles are low to the ground and are built for travelling in all sorts of conditions, many caravans are relatively light compared to their size, and easy for them to get caught by gusts of wind – particularly those that blow across wide open spaces.
If storms are on the horizon, then pull over at the nearest safe place, like a service station, grab a hot drink and some food, and sit it out.
It’s far better to play safe with the weather than chance it!
Why do people find towing a Caravan difficult?
Much of the difficulty around towing a caravan, particularly for a beginner, is the sheer size of the object being towed.
A caravan is not a small item.
Visibility is lost, reversing is a challenge and although you should always be alert when driving any vehicle, you need to be extra vigilant when towing something as large as a caravan.
You’ll suddenly become aware of obstacles you don’t usually have to deal with when driving a standard vehicle.
Much of the difficulty really comes down to confidence and experience.
It’s almost second nature to those who are seasoned in caravan towing. They simply hook up their caravan and are away without a second thought.
It’s like driving abroad for the first time and dealing with the challenges of driving on the opposite side of the road.
The first couple of times are really daunting, but after a few times and many miles of driving experience behind you, it becomes much easier.
Practise makes perfect, and experience helps with confidence.
Is reversing a caravan when towing difficult?
Reversing a caravan when towing is considered to be one of the most difficult things to do when towing.
It needs a lot of practice.
As you reverse and turn your wheel anti-clockwise your caravan will move off to your right. As you turn your wheel clockwise your caravan will move off to the left. This is the opposite to the reversing direction your car will head in.
This is why reversing a caravan is tricky.
Once though you get the hang on how your caravan manoeuvres as you reverse and steer everything will become clear, and reversing will become much easier.
In Conclusion – Are Caravans Hard to Tow?
Caravans are only hard to tow until you know how to tow them.
Practice makes perfect, so make sure you get plenty of practice in before your first caravan towing roadtrip!