Caravans are already great fun, and they make it possible to enjoy some great locations with convenience. The fun really multiplies when you start going off road though. With the amazing variety of landscapes across South Africa and the growing popularity of off-road capable campers, the options are only getting better.
At Kennis Caravans and Motorhomes, we want to see you enjoy your caravan as much as possible, and so, we have some important things to keep in mind when you hit the gravel and the towing gets tough.
Depending on your journey, you will need to change your tyre pressures. Softer tyres give you a larger footprint with better traction off road. The increased footprint also reduces sinking into soft surfaces like muddy roads and sand. Softer tyres also reduce bouncing and absorb more of the impact of uneven roads. Usually, about 20 PSI is recommended, but you can go lower into the teens around 15 PSI for beach sand or deep mud. Just remember that pressures lower than 15 start introducing the risk of tyres coming loose.
Packing correctly is also an important thing to get right. For the most part, this involves wrapping fragiles and avoiding having loose items that can slide around, which most people already do anyway. But when it comes to towing, both off road and on, weight distribution is crucial. Caravans are designed safely these days, so it should not be a problem, but do not put heavy items in the back.
When towing, most of the weight of the towed vehicle should be in front of the wheels. This is a stable situation where side to side movements of the caravan decay over time, like a swinging rope settling in the middle. If you place too much weight behind the axel, however, this can create an unstable situation where side to side movements build up with each swing, eventually swinging the caravan wildly and causing a loss of control and likely tipping.
Most caravan parks and campsites will provide an opportunity for you to refill your water tank, but it is better to have your own hose and fitting in these situations, since you cannot trust the site hose most of the time. Having your own hose and fittings and maybe even an in-line filter, will ensure that you can get water in a majority of the situations you find yourself in.
It is recommended that you get a hitch lock, especially when you are off-roading. You might want to leave your base camp set up and take the vehicle for some 4x4 driving, and at these moments, it is best to lock your camper with a hitch lock. Considering how cheap a lock is compared to your camper, the investment is well worth the potential savings.
We are more than happy to offer you more helpful advice at Kennis Caravans and Motorhomes. Our friendly staff and camping equipment store should have you ready for anything when you roll out for some off-road caravanning. Visit our premises and browse our impressive range or contact us here for more information.