Coming out of hibernation
The Club has joined forces with tent camper Gav Grayston from website Get Out With the Kids to tour England in a Compass caravan. We’ve challenged Gav and his family to visit 20 great Treasure Houses
and English gardens in 12 months.
They managed to visit a handful of Club Sites and Treasure Houses
before the worst of the winter. And after a short lay-up, they’re ready to hit the road again!
Spring has sprung, the clocks have gone forward, and with all the Club campsites just opened following the Winter months, it's time many of us will be keen to hit the road, especially with the May bank holidays upon us.
After the Winter Months
Casper didn't hibernate for long this winter.
With so many Treasure Challenges to complete, we were away in Casper right to the end of the last season and were soon off again in February.
Before the caravan took its (pretty short) winter rest, in storage at Salop Leisure, there were a few precautionary measures we took. Here’s our 10-point check list for laying up your van for any length of time:
Fit a hitchlock and wheelclamp (we always do this when the van’s in storage).
Corner steadies down and handbrake off, to prevent the brakes binding.
Vacuum and wash down the caravan interior throughout, and remove all perishables
Clean the fridge and leave the door ajar
Cover the cushions with sheets, and stack them away from the caravan walls
Leave seat boxes in the open position, to help air circulate.
Leave blinds open, and locker and wardrobe doors open.
Check all windows and rooflights are closed
Drain down the water system and drain and clean the cassette toilet
Close the gas valve on the cylinders, and don’t leave a leisure battery more than 6 weeks without charging.
You can find more information about winterising your caravan in the Club's Winter care for your caravan data sheet.
But Casper was never far from our minds, and as he's stored not too far away from where we live, we did check on him regularly.
Our spring checks were basic for a new van after such a short lay up: there were no signs of damp getting in, the batteries for the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are new, a quick dusting down inside, and sterilising the water system ready for use again, and we were ready for the off!
At the start of 2017, Casper still smells and looks like new, and with tyre pressure good and all other items checked and OK, it was a quick start to the new season. See the Club's Ready for the road data sheet for more information on geeting your unit ready for its first outing of the season.
Winter in the Caravan
Even though spring is well underway, there's still plenty of cold nights.
We have been both tent camping and caravanning in February.
In our tent, we used no heater or electric hook-up, just warm sleeping bags and insulation. When it got dark, and the campfire died down, we had no choice but to go to bed, even though it was still quite early.
In the caravan, on the other hand, we just set the heating control, cooked food, and even watched a movie.
Two very different experiences, each with their merits, though it's clearly much more comfortable in a heated caravan!
The Club's Oxford campsite that we were staying at only had a 10amp power supply. That wasn't a problem. We just went into the Compass Casita's control panel and told it the hook-up was 10amp. It then regulated the amount of electricity and warned us if we got close to the limit.
Plus, the heating in the caravan can also use the gas cylinders, so if you wanted a quick boost to the temperature while having the kettle on, then that wasn't a problem either for the 10amp supply.
With our first caravan treasure challenge of the year complete already, we're off to a great start :-)