Wednesday, 27 February 2019


Whilst your caravan is in storage, it’s really important that you properly maintain your leisure battery, to ensure it’s ready for your next trip out.

Caravan Battery Maintenance

Despite what you might think, you shouldn’t just forget about your caravan battery once it’s fitted – it’ll require some attention to make sure it doesn’t slowly discharge and deteriorate. So, if you’ve invested in a good quality battery, and take good care of it, there’s no reason why you’ll need to fork out for a new one next season.

  • Check if your battery is charged by taking a voltmeter reading monthly. Avoid doing this immediately after use – leave it to settle for a few hours. You can buy a voltmeter for around £20. Always remove the negative terminal first when disconnecting a battery.
  •  A fully charged 12V battery would show a voltmeter reading of 12.7V. 75% charged would read 12.5V, 50% would read 12.4V and a reading of under 12V would be fully discharged.
  • If you’re putting your caravan into storage for the winter, your leisure battery should be fully charged.
  • If you store your caravan at home, you’ll be able to plug it into the mains supply and recharge that way.
  • For periods when your caravan is in storage, you can buy a maintenance charger to keep the battery fully charged.
  • Mains operated maintenance chargers provide a low trickle charge for keeping batteries fully charged. However, new technology uses circuits that are reactive to the battery and deliver tailored charging patterns – e.g. when the battery reaches full capacity, the charger will switch off.
    Caravan Battery Maintenance
  • When in storage, you may want to remove your leisure battery from the caravan so that you can attend to it more easily at home. However, removing the battery may disable an alarm or tracker which may invalidate your caravan insurance and leave your tourer vulnerable.
  • For maintenance, caravan batteries should be recharged as soon as they fall short of 50% charged. This should be done as soon as you return home or to storage from a weekend or holiday.
  • Turn off small electrical items in your caravan which could drain your battery.
  • Use high quality clamps and ensure their contact areas don’t rust.
  • Letting a battery lose all charge will make it pretty much impossible to fully charge again. Leaving a battery discharged will result in white deposits forming on the battery plates. When this happens, the battery can’t be used again.
  • If you’ve got a ‘wet’ battery, you’ll need to check the battery regularly to see whether the electrolyte liquid is covering the top of the lead plates inside. If it’s not, add de-ionised water to top up the level.
  • There are a range of battery chargers on the market – most battery manufacturers recommend that lead-acid batteries charge best when given a 14.4V input. 
Caravan Battery Maintenance


Always remember – Please read individual manufacturer guidelines prior to any maintenance work, and do not attempt in the vicinity of naked flames or cigarettes. 

How to buy a Caravan at a Show

There are a number of caravan and motorhome shows throughout the year, taking place at locations across the country. These events see new model launches, great offers and the opportunity to view a huge range of caravans and motorhome all in one place.
If you’re looking for a new caravan, one of the shows could be an ideal time to make your purchase. Here are our tips for getting the most out of a show, and hopefully making the right purchase for you.

Make a shortlist of caravans you want to see.
Do some research prior to visiting the show, so you’ve got an idea of which types of caravans or motorhomes you’re looking for, and which brands and dealers you want to visit. Exhibitor information will be available on the event websites prior to the show, so you can 
plan your day.

Don’t forget to check that your car can safely tow the caravans on your shortlist. Use an online caravan and tow car match tool to find out and make sure you won’t have to buy a new car too!

Dealer Specials


At shows, dealers will often offer a number of special edition versions of standard caravans. 

These special editions will be more expensive than standard models, but the value of the extras will represent excellent value for money, then it’s worth considering these.

Caravan Magazine have an handy comparison list printable to help you compare caravans when you’re at a show.

Special Offers

Dealers will be competing for your business at shows so there should be some excellent deals to be had. However, the best price for your ideal caravan may be from a dealer based miles away from your home. You’ll need to consider that if there is an issue, how easy will it be to tow your caravan to the dealership to get it repaired under warranty? This could also be the case for annual servicing.

Remember that you don’t have make a purchase there and then, unless it’s the last day of theshow and a show only offer. Take a coffee break to mull over your options, or better still, sleep on it.

Finance options should be available at the shows, but it’s worth considering this in advance, if you’re planning to make a credit purchase.

Insurance & Storage

Before you make the final decision, don’t forget to consider how much it will cost you to insure, and where you will store your new tourer – you may not be able to park it on your driveway. CaSSOA has over 400 secure storage locations across the country.



Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Why do caravans snake?

….and how to avoid it.

Caravan snaking happens when a tow car and caravan become out of sync with each other and veer side to side. This usually happens as a result of a sudden swerve, crosswinds or high speeds, though can also happen when a tyre blows or if the caravan is loaded incorrectly.

Snaking is relatively uncommon thankfully, but can cause serious accidents and major disruption to other road users.

Good towing practice is the first step to prevent snaking, and this begins even before you start the engine. Correctly loading your caravan is vital as one which is unevenly loaded is far more likely to sway. Make certain that the nose of the caravan isn’t overloaded.

Next, make sure your tyre pressures on both your tow car and caravan are at the right pressureCheck out our post on Caravan Tyres for more information about caravan loading.

Snaking can sometimes happen if a caravan is travelling at a high speed and is passed by a larger vehicle like a lorry causing crosswinds. Towing mirrors are therefore essential in alerting a driver to approaching vehicles so that they can slow down.

When it comes to speed, always tow within the legal limit. Don’t feel you need to reach the limit, and take into account weather conditions like rain or high winds.

Anti-snaking stabilisers are available, often attracting a discount on your caravan insurance if you use one. These devices automatically apply the caravan brakes if a snaking movement is detected and cost in the region of around £200.

Best Caravan Sites for Winter Escapes


For some, caravanning isn’t just for the spring and summer months. Exploring during the winter can bring a whole new dimension to touring; waking up to frosty mornings, discovering scenic winter wonderlands, and returning to cosy evenings in your caravan.
If you fancy some all year round caravanning, here are our top caravan sites to pitch up in.

Cornwall

Woodview Campsite in Cornwall is open all year and is located near Bude on the North Cornwall / Devon border.

The site features both hardstanding and grass pitches and have a newly refurbished shower block with under floor heating!

Explore the neighbouring National Trust beach of Sandymouth, or head over to the nearby South West coast path for a windswept walk.

Yorkshire
If golf and spa facilities tickle your fancy, Rudding Holiday Park near Harrogate in Yorkshire offers winter pitches with some added benefits.

Set in the grounds of Rudding Park Hotel with beautiful gardens and woodland, this award winning caravan site features an on-site pub and access to the hotel’s spa facilities and 18-hole golf course.

Grass and hardstanding pitches available throughout the year, including Christmas and New Year.

East Sussex

For a rural winter retreat, book some time at the adults-only quite site Idle Hours Owlsbury Park. Perfectly situated in Crowborough, this site is perfect for exploring the South Downs, and whilst shops, pubs and eateries are all within a mile, the site still maintains a secluded atmosphere.

Wales
Explore North Wales and stay at Islawrffordd Caravan Park, located at the southern end of Snowdonia National Park coastline in the village of Talybont.  

Islawrffordd boasts 75 fully serviced touring pitches, an indoor swimming pool, bar and restaurant, luxury shower blocks and direct access to the adjacent beach. And if that’s not enough, each pitch has its own TV connection the site’s own digital free-view network, so you can while away those long winter evenings.

Cumbria
Riverside Tourer Park in Millhouse, between Keswick and Carlisle, is an adult only caravan site, perfect for exploring the northern Lakes. The CL site is popular with Caravan Club members but also open to non-members.

Riverside is the perfect escape from it all, offering secluded hardstanding pitches, heated shower and toilet facilities, 4G and WiFi. What’s more, Riverside Touring Park is dog friendly.


Scotland
For spectacular highland scenery, try Castle Cary Holiday Park, just a short drive from Newton Stuart and Galloway Forest Park in South West Scotland.

This all year round site is located around a 16th-century baronial castle and features both hardstanding regular and super pitches. The on-site Lairds Inn offers a welcome retreat at the end of a cold winter’s day, and the heated pool is ideal if you fancy sheltering from the weather.



CaSSOA Member Spotlight - The Dorset Hideaway



We’d like to introduce you to one of our members, The Dorset Hideaway.
Based in West Dorset, near to Charmouth, Bridport and Broadchurch, Esther and Mike run their Gold award caravan storage site alongside a camping and glamping site.

Here’s our interview with The Dorset Hideaway, giving you an insight into the running of a caravan storage business.

How long have you been in operation: We opened in the summer of 2015, so will be coming up to our 4th year this summer.

Have you always been in caravan storage: No. We became storage owners as a result of diversifying our former dairy farm into a campsite and glamping site.

What has been the biggest change in the caravan storage industry since you started?

The biggest change I’ve seen in caravanning in the last few years has been the number of people preferring not to tow anymore - young and old alike. They prefer to stay in an area for a season or two with someone else towing the van to & from storage or seasonal pitch sites and then the van being sited each time for them. They see the cost savings in downsizing their car and running costs and they tend to use their vans more as a result. 

Having an organisation like CaSSOA is helping to consolidate and regulate storage and make it more viable for both customer and business provider with more secure and better insured sites.

What do you find most challenging about caravan storage?

The most challenging thing is getting caravan owners to maintain their units. Once stored, they tend to forget they still need as much maintenance as when they’re in use. They need to be kept roadworthy for us to tow them in and out. Vans sitting up tend to get seized brakes and high spots on tyres like all things they are best used regularly! Thefts are a big issue for the industry but investing in CCTV and security are the best deterrents.

What do you like most about caravan storage?

For us, caravan storage means seeing lots of new faces on site, so getting to know a new family group is nice. It also uses an area on the farmyard to earn extra income from. 

We are a former dairy farming couple of 30 years. My husband’s family have farmed the Marshwood Vale for nearly 150 years! Diversifying has allowed us to keep our land but use it in a different way to earn an income. It has allowed us to stay and live out our later years in the area where we were born and have lived in for decades. It’s great to be able to share this stunning location with many thousands of people every year. With panoramic hills and fields as our backdrop, and the Jurassic coast less than 3 miles away, it’s no wonder people return year after year. 

We provide indoor and outdoor storage, caravan cleaning services, water, EHU in the storage areas, toilets, a site to stay on with fab award winning facilities, a spa with hot tub & sauna, and a fishing pond on site. We put up awnings for customers and we offer to fully set up the caravan for arrival so the only thing our customers have to do is take the beer/wine from the fridge and sit down in their warm caravan! We can even provide pet and babysitting services too! In addition, we have a petting farm and luxury glamping in 6m domes this year. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

We love the great outdoors, so anything countryside or rural or animal related. We own a menagerie of animals, dogs, 6 cats, 2 miniature Shetland ponies, pigs, goats and chickens. We love gardening and visiting gardens. We have a shared love of history and music and try to go to the cinema and concerts as often as possible. That’s us!


For more information about The Dorset Hideaway, visit the CaSSOA site listing, or head direct to The Dorset Hideaway website.

Friday, 28 September 2018

12 Apps for Caravanners

Here’s a round-up of our 12 favourite apps – from travel apps to keep you moving to first aid apps to keep you safe, we’ve got all the essential apps you need for your caravanning trips and holidays.


Caravan Sitefinder

£-FREE

Caravan and camping directory of nearly 4000 campsites across the UK and Ireland.
IOS / Android  


Caravan Buddy

£2.99
Everything you could need as a caravanner. Features include:
  • Caravan Site Search
  • Services Search
  • Caravan Leveller
  • TV Signal Finder
  • Set off / arrival Checklists
  • Weight Calculator
  • Document Store
  • Service Reminders
  • Storage Reminder


Live Traffic Info – Highways England

£-FREE
Check how the traffic is flowing on motorways and major A roads in England with official information live from the Highways England National Traffic Control Centre.
However, a great alternative is TomTom GPS Navigation Traffic, which combines precise traffic and speed camera alerts along with navigation for roads in over 150 countries.


Talking Caravan Level

£1.99
This app tells you what leg / wheel to raise on your caravan or motorhome, when to raise lower jockey when and when its level. Place your Phone / Pad on a flat surface and follow the audio instructions. Can be used with or without a motormover.


iBBQ

£-FREE
This great little app provides a host of handy features for both BBQ lovers, and those cooking outdoors. Features include:
  • Locate the nearest Quality Standard accredited butchers
  • Recipes
  • Video Guides
  • Weather forcecasts for your BBQ location


UK Motorway Services

£1.99
This app provides comprehensive information on every motorway service station in the UK.
You can search and filter service stations, find those closest to you, as well as being able to see which food outlets, shops and petrol providers are at each services.


Sun Locator

£-FREE
Sun Locator predicts the sun and moon position and path at a specific location during the course of a day, perfect when you’re pitching up and want to know where the sun will shine on your caravan.


Met Office

£-FREE
This app needs no introduction. This weather app is a must for all caravanners.


Antenna Aligner

£2.99
Take the guesswork out of aligning and tuning your aerial by using Antenna Aligner. With just one click, this app will show you where to point your aerial, and which channels to focus on when fine tuning.


Caravandroid 

This is one for all the list lovers out there. Caravandroid creates checklists that can be checked off as appropriate. Lists can be edited and there are also screens for storing outfit details, insurance and clubs. There’s also a vehicle to caravan weight ratio calculator and renewal reminders.
IOS – Not available / Android  


Calor / Flogas Gas Stockists

£-FREE
The app helps you find your nearest cylinder gas stockists, so you’ll always be able to locate one of the 10,000 stockists whether you’re at home or away in the caravan.


First Aid by British Red Cross

£-FREE
Free, simple and life-saving – and doesn’t need an internet connection as all the information is contained on the app itself.

If you’ve got a favourite app you couldn’t do without on your caravan holiday, let us know. Share it with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, 14 September 2018

5 Caravan Sites for Autumn Escapes

Yes, we know it’s the height of summer, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of forward planning, so how about an autumnal getaway to see some glorious displays of leaves that could rival New England.

1) Loch Lomond
Trossachs Holiday Park 

Head to Loch Lomond in Scotland during September to see swathes of browns, oranges, auburns, yellows and mustards. Loch Lomond is around an hour north of Glasgow and lies as the centrepoint of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.

Where to Stay: Trossachs Holiday Park

2) Wye Valley
Nestled along the border between England and Wales, the Wye Valley is home to the Cambrian Mountains and the picturesque River Wye. Renowned as one of the most dramatic landscape areas in southern Britain, the Wye Valley is the perfect place to take in the turning leaves.


Where to Stay: Forest & Wye Valley Camping Site

3) The Cotswolds
If you’re wanting a quintessential English experience the pretty villages of The Cotswolds fit the bill perfectly. Seeing the autumn leaves transition amongst cobbled streets and winding rivers provides the perfect end of season getaway.

Where to Stay: Cotswold View Caravan & Camping
Castlerigg Caravan & Camping Park


4) The Lake District
As leaves turn from green to gold head to the Lakes and explore wooded valleys, rolling hills and majestic lakes. Head over to Sizergh Gardens where autumn sees the harvest of apples, quince and damsons, or explore the Buttermere Valley to see the late summer light cascade over the lakes.

Where to Stay: Castlerigg Hall Caravan & Camping Park

5) Thetford Forest 

Thetford Forest Caravan Club Site
Covering over 50,000 acres, Thetford Forest is the largest lowland pine forest in Britain, and the perfect destination to view the golden hues of autumn. Travel 45 minutes west of Norwich and enjoy the numerous walking trails, mountain biking, horse riding, or just simply enjoying some late summer sun.

Where to Stay: Thetford Forest Caravan Club Site


And don’t forget, if this is your last outing for the year, search for a CaSSOA accredited storage site to keep your caravan safe and sound over the winter months.