How to set up your caravan for your seasonal pitch
When you’re setting up your caravan to live in in for a season or full time you only want to have to do it once and get it right. If you put the hard graft in at the start then it will save you hassle in the future.
Living in a caravan permanently is such an exciting venture and whether you are young, looking for alternative living or older free spirits who just love the caravan life we all come together when setting up our pitches.
Without neighbours the set up would be hard so be welcoming and chat to the other seasonal caravan guests on site. Whether you need to borrow some extra pegs, some advice on awning flooring or need some pals to liven up your BBQ, your neighbours have usually got your back. If they’re sound.
We’ve been very lucky with our caravan neighbours and have loved every single one. They have all been so welcoming, helpful and a right laugh.
So let’s get to it, a step by step guide on setting up your caravan pitch for the season. Also handy tips for setting up a caravan when you’re on holiday. Whenever you set up your caravan, just follow these tips!
Check In With Campsite Reception
Checking in with the reception is your first port of call. Usually they send someone down to help you position your caravan and hand you your welcome pack. They will give you your pitch number and a map of the park so you know where you’re going. It’s good to be friendly with the receptionists, after all, you’ll be seeing them a lot over the season.
Check Ground Before Positioning Caravan
When you arrive at your pitch, scope out the ground. Check for any dips or bumps in the ground, any nails or sharp objects that could puncture your tyres or any super soft squidgy ground you could get stuck in.
Check your towing line. When reversing your caravan, take it slow and figure out the best line to take to get your caravan in exactly the right position.
Position Your Caravan
Think about how it is best to utilise your space. Do you want the caravan on the far left of the pitch to allow for a windbreak to create a DIY garden area? Or do you want to position your caravan on the right and have space for cars? Or perhaps you want a balance of both? Every time you pitch up you’ll find your preferred caravan positioning.
We have a 4x4 and a van so we require parking. We have positioned our caravan towards the right of the pitch with room for the awning. We like it like this but will probably swap things around next year.
Chock The Tyres
When reversing, put some plywood, wedges or hard plastic mats where the wheels will end up. This will stop your caravan sinking into wet ground over the season. Once you’re in your desired position, chock the wheels with some wooden blocks. Leave the handbrake off over the season if you’re on stable flat ground. The handbrake can seize up so the chocks should hold the caravan.
Unhitch your car and double check you’re happy with the position. Next you MUST level the caravan.
Level The Caravan
Levelling the caravan is SO important. Whether you want to use a spirit level or use your phone with an app it will all work the same. You need to ensure it is level in all directions. To level it length ways the jockey wheel is the best way to tilt the front end up or down until level.
To level across the caravan we use wood wedges under the wheels. This may mean pushing the caravan forward and back a bit to get it right. We also use wood under the caravan legs to stop them sinking and prop the caravan up.
Levelling cross ways is important so that the drainage from your kitchen and bathroom sink doesn’t sit in the pipes. We actually very slightly tilt our caravan with drainage pipes facing down a tiny increment to allow for good kitchen and bathroom drainage. We have had the water come up into the bathroom before, which was a nightmare!
Put Up Your Awning
Put up your awning and pay attention. We have put the whole awning up with the cover not fitting properly. It took us a very long time and a lot of pole manipulation to realise the cover was on inside out. It takes a bit of brain power to figure out which way to slide your awning in, but do double check and triple check.
The suction pads stick on to the caravan, that took us a while to work out without instructions for our awning.
Ensure you use an awning tensioner. This handy device clamps on to the middle part of the awning pole where you can tighten it up. It helps wench the pole as far as possible allowing you to make the pole extra tight. This is important so that your awning material isn’t loose. If it is loose, when it rains it will gather water and potentially soak through to all your lovely belongings. If the doors aren’t tight they will flap violently in the wind and keep you awake ALL NIGHT.
Peg the Awning
Peg the awning and peg it good. Peg every elastic band, every hole and use every guide rope.
Peg the Storm Strap
A strom strap is essential. On the Isle of Wight the caravan parks are usually in beautiful seaside or hilly locations. The wind though, oh my. It can get unbearably windy on the Isle of Wight and without a storm strap we would probably be on the moon right now. They’re about £20 but will take a lot of the tension off your awning when it’s blowing a gale.
Position / Build Flooring for Your Caravan
We have a whole blog coming up about flooring for the caravan but ensure you put down a few layers or tarpaulin and an awning mesh floor before building any floor. We use recycled pallets and lift them off the ground. Currently we have a flexi floor, it’s a bit wobbly but it’s moveable. Read more about awning flooring soon.
And once that’s done, you’re all set to start unpacking! It’s a bit of a boring house keeping blog but forgetting little things like levelling your caravan or choking your tyres or leaving your handbrake off can come back and sting you later.
If you have any caravan set up rituals please comment below! This is our current guide but I’m sure we’re missing some tips and techniques from long timer caravanners.