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Camping / caravan tips — Setup / packup

Marty Ireland

Do you struggle when you set up your camp or your caravan?

We are on to our 3rd caravan but the latest came with a host of manuals for everything like gas stove, fridge, awning etc. so as a specialist assembler and installer, advising others that they should read all instructions provided, I decided to do just that.

Now here is a suggestion: just relax, sit down with a coffee and read, even if you do not fully understand, read all the information to get a general overview.Then go and try each appliance until it works and you feel comfortable and confident with it.

Do a dummy run on awning or tent set up if you have or can find an area to do this before leaving.

It may be a little trying, but as you get each thing down pat, start a set up list with each step in order and have it laminated and ready inside the car, caravan door or tent bag.

Label poles with a marker with appropriate numbers or letters and a brief description of which end, or middle etc; or colour code with electricians tape. Tent or awning assembly will become a dream.

Have you ever driven off with a support leg still down, or a jockey wheel not retracted, even a power cable still plugged in? Not a good look and it can be both embarrassing and expensive.

So do a reverse-order pack-down list too, and stick to it.

Having an assistant read out the lists while you do the tasks is a help, both to set up and to pack down.

Having a measured plan of your tent or van footprint with awnings and ropes sizes will help you quickly decide on arrival at the holiday site which way to face your tent or van saving a lot of frustration if you find you have to reposition. See my plan, above. A seamless set-up lets you sit down for your first refreshment early, and the satisfaction of doing it both quickly and without forgetting anything is very rewarding.

Watching new arrivals go through the same process can be cheap entertainment, however offering to assist with your experience and wisdom is a pleasure in itself.

Happy and safe camping all.

Download these files if you would find them helpful:

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