Trailer tent checklist - The Camping and Caravanning Club
The Camping & Caravanning Club Logo

Trailer Tent Safety Checklist

When you first own a trailer tent or folding camper there seems to be loads of things to do and remember – though after a couple of trips most of it comes naturally.  

In the meantime, however, here are some checklists to help you avoid missing out something vital.

Hitching up checklist

You can print out the summarised guides at the bottom of the page whether it’s a braked or unbraked trailer to use when you next venture out. You could even print this page and even consider laminating the checklist if it’s likely to rain.

When you leave home the first couple of points may already be covered, but you’ll need to remember them when you leave a campsite.

  • Turn off the gas at the cylinder
  • Disconnect electric cable from the Electrical bollard first, then from the caravan
  • Empty the fresh- and waste-water containers and clean out any toilet cassette in an appropriate place
  • Stow all hoses and cables
  • Check internal doors and cupboards are closed and stowed as required, loads are safely secured and the external lockers and door are locked
  • Check the trailer handbrake is on or chock the wheels for unbraked trailers
  • Lower the jockey wheel and lock in place
  • Raise the corner steadies if fitted
  • Check the trailers noseweight on level ground as necessary
  • Adjust the hitch using jockey wheel so it is higher than the car’s towball
  • Remove the towball cover on the car’s towball
  • Align the car to the caravan hitch and reverse into position and hitch-up - an assistant would be helpful
  • Attach the breakaway cable for braked trailers or secondary coupling for unbraked trailers
  • Secure the hitch on the towball
  • Check the coupling is secure by looking at the safety indications, they will usually show green if OK.
  • Always use the jockey wheel to raise the car by about an inch to make sure the hitch is properly coupled
  • Stow the jockey wheel
  • Engage the stabiliser system if it’s fitted and connect the electrical plug(s), making sure the cables will not drag on the ground or pull as the car turns
  • Release the caravan handbrake or remove any chocks
  • Fit towing mirrors and set-up with the help of an assistant
  • Check the road lights and indicators are working
  • Pull clear of the pitch and check the area for anything left behind.

Uncoupling and setting up

Once you’ve reached your destination you’ll need to unhitch. You could use the summarised guides at the bottom of the page whether it’s a braked or unbraked trailer to use when you arrive at the campsite or again. Again, you can print this out to take with you on holiday.

  1. Release the stabiliser if you have one to aid manoeuvring
  2. Position your trailer on the pitch, using a ramp under the wheel(s) on one side if it needs levelling, ideally pull forward on to ramps so trailers with a braking system is fully engaged.
  • Many trailer tents have the hitch assembly at the rear of the unit, while folding campers tend to have it at the side. If the campsite manager is more used to caravans with their hitches at the front, he may try to pitch you the wrong way round, so be prepared to explain things.
  • Be aware of the pitched dimensions as your unit may be up to three times wider than the trailer – and significantly longer when pitched - so don’t put the trailer too close to the edge of the pitch
  1. Apply your trailer’s handbrake or use chocks for unbraked trailers once level side to side
  • It’s also worth chocking the wheels if you are on a slope
  1. Lower the jockey wheel and lock it in position
  2. Disconnect the electrical plug(s) and breakaway cable or secondary coupling from the car
  3. Pull up the hitch-head lever and use the jockey wheel to raise the trailer’s hitch from the towball
  4. Drive your towcar away
  5. Replace the cover on your car’s towball
  6. Adjust the level of your trailer front and rear with the jockey wheel
  7. Lower any corner steadies so in firm contact with the ground. Wooden blocks can be handy to spread the weight under the steadies
  •   Wooden blocks can be handy to spread the weight under the steadies
  1. Unfold your unit and peg out

You’re now ready to climb inside your unit, but there are some final preparations you may want to make before you can really relax. Depending on the complexity of your trailer tent or folding camper, they may include: 

  • Connecting the mains power cable to the trailer and on to the hook-up point, checking the residual current device (RCD) is working correctly
  • Turning on the fridge
  • Collecting fresh water
  • Positioning the waste water collector
  • Adding toilet fluids
  • Turning on the gas
  • Turning on the water heater when you’re sure it’s full of water

Download and print these summarised safety checklist cards for unbraked trailer or braked caravan and trailer safety checklist.