Setting up my caravan for the 1st time - Travelling K
Hunt for the Caravan – South Island Search
October 27, 2016
Caravan’s 1st impressions
November 10, 2016

Setting up my caravan for the 1st time

Now that I've bought a caravan to live in permanently, I need to learn how to set it up!

Learning the basics

Derryl the caravan dealer gives me a great overview to survive the first few days.

I'm feeling nervous - how will I find the whole process? How to I attached the caravan to the car on my own? Derryl makes it seem easy by moving the caravan around on the concrete by hand.

He's set me up with the toilet ready to go. In the future, it'll be my job to empty it - mmmm.


All I'll need to do on the first night is:

  • Detach caravan from my car, drop down front wheel and make sure it's level
  • Wind down the stabilisers so caravan doesn't sway while I'm inside
  • Full fresh water tank and attach to caravan
  • Attach grey water tank for waste water
  • Attach power cord to campground power supply
  • Turn on fridge
  • Turn on pump, flick switch to 'Van' setting and check the Space Heater and Water Heater switches are on.


For now, we're ignoring how to use the gas as I'll be staying at a powered campground.

I have a new tow bar attached to my car as a different type is need for this caravan. I'd seen this mentioned on Trademe before.

My turn

Once my caravan is attached to the car, I slowly drive out onto the road. I can feel the extra weight and every bump of the caravan. I find it disconcerting not being able to see cars in my rearview mirror. All I can see are the two sides of the caravan and I visualise side-swiping expensive cars as I drive along.

I am staying at a campground that is just down the road, just in-case I get stuck with something and need help!

At reception, I explain that I'm a newbie and ask for a spot where I can drive straight in with no reversing. I'll save that lesson for another day.


Setting up seems straight forward. I will finally be getting some arm muscles from winding the stabilisers up and down.

I realise I'll need to buy a hose and attachment to get fresh water into the tank. Holding the tank up to the tape, I can only fill a third before it becomes too heavy for me.

Cooking my first meal is novel. There's not a lot of bench space and it's a bit of a juggle. Where to put everything!

The caravan starts to feel like home once my bedding is out on the bed.

First impressions - it feels like a combination of camping and apartment living.

I've survived the first set-up of the caravan and looked forward to settling in over the next few days.

Do you have any tips for me? Anything you especially want to know about? I'd love to hear.

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