Tow Vehicle Considerations
If you’re planning to buy a caravan, camper or tent trailer and you already own the the tow vehicle, you must ensure that your tow vehicle is capable of towing within the guidelines of the roads department in your state or territory and comply with the caravan, camper or tent trailer manufacturer guidelines.
You will need to consider the following information for the purchase of your new RV (consult your tow vehicle handbook or manufacturer):
- The tow vehicle’s allowable (braked and unbraked) towing weight.
- The tow ball weight rating.
- Any additional equipment required for towing, such as the fitting of a transmission or power steering oil cooler in your tow vehicle.
- Manufacturer specifications for the type and rating of the tow bar required for specific towing weights.
- Tare and gross weight of the caravan, camper or tent trailer you plan to tow.*
*Tare is the weight of the caravan, camper or tent trailer after manufacture (this is also considered a dry weight). Gross is the all-up weight the axles are legally allowed to carry. The difference (weight rating) between tare and gross varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so ensure you always check this.
If you are still to purchase your tow vehicle you will be less limited in the choice of caravan, camper or tent trailer. You will not be restricted by gross or tow ball weight (unless you are planning to purchase a two-wheel drive vehicle). Once you have selected the caravan, camper or tent trailer, you can then match the tow vehicle to suit, according to your budget.
Tow Vehicle Accessories
After you have purchased your caravan, camper or tent trailer you may wish to consider the following:
Electric Brake Controller -
In most cases you will require an electronic brake controller fitted to the tow vehicle to activate the trailer braking system. This should only be fitted by an authorised auto electrician.
Weight Distribution Hitch -
Depending on the size and weight of the caravan you may also require a weight distribution hitch. This device helps distribute the additional weight to provide more level and stable road behaviour. There are various configurations of these devices and we recommend you visit a Hayman Reese dealer after you have purchased the caravan to ensure the correct distribution hitch is installed. Weight distribution hitches are not required on all applications, however they are recommended as a safety feature and offer stability on the highway when larger trucks pass or overtake.
Choosing the right caravan, camper or tent trailer
Before you purchase your new caravan, camper or tent trailer, consider the following:
- How long do you intend to live in it?
- How many people will sleep in it?
- Will you be travelling on the road, off road or on 4x4 tracks and trails?
- Do you require alternative power, such as solar panels and dual batteries?
- Do you require an onboard toilet and shower?
- Will you require an awning or full annexe?
- Do you intend to cook inside, outside or both?
- Do you require plenty of storage for personal items?
- Will you be carrying bicycles and other large objects?
- Do you intend using it at home for additional accommodation?
- Is height a major consideration for storage?
This list is only a start. We recommend that you develop your own detailed wish list in conjunction with any towing, budget, height or other limitation.
Before you depart
Delivery lead times vary between brands and models. It is not unusual to wait a few months for final delivery. Whilst awaiting delivery of your new RV, you should consider the following:
- Obtain comprehensive insurance inclusive of contents.
- Freshen up (or learn) towing skills.
- Plan your trip and obtain the information required.
- Check out the huge range of accessories available that will enhance your trip.
- Service your tow vehicle and ensure that your trailer wiring harness is the right connection.
- If you have specific alternative power, you may need to fit an ‘Anderson direct power feed plug’ to your vehicle.