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How to caravan in the rain

If you're driving in the tropics or along the Victorian coast, you're going to encounter heavy rain at some point. Here's what you should do when caravanning in the rain.

 

On The Road

  • Check road conditions before heading off each day. You may intend to get to a particular location, but overnight rain can put a stop to that.
  • Once roads reopen, they will usually still be affected by floodwaters and warnings may be in place. Always check the details of those warnings and consider whether it is worth the risk to continue with your travels.
  • Roads may be reopened to 4X4 vehicles only or there could be some road surface damage.
  • Slow down when driving on roads with cautionary warnings. Approach water on the road with care and drive through at a speed that minimises splashing. Water in the engine bay can disrupt electrical components such as the alternator or even the engine ECU, stopping you in your (possibly flooded) tracks.
  • Keep your UHF radio tuned into channel 40 and listen for any updates from other traffic in the area.

 

At The Campsite

  • If you're free camping, don't camp in or close to waterways. Flash floods can occur without notice, turning your campsite into a raging torrent.
  • Consider your entry and exit to a campsite. A dirt road can turn into a sloppy quagmire after overnight rain making your passage out potentially impossible.
  • If you do get stuck in muddy conditions, lower tyre pressures down to 20psi on both the tow vehicle and the caravan. This may provide sufficient traction to enable you to drive out to dry land.

 

At The Caravan Park

  • Ask for a site with a concrete slab. No one wants to bring mud and dirt into their van every time they go outside.
  • If you’re putting your awning out, keep one end lower than the other to prevent water pooling and damaging the awning. If you have awning rafters, put these out as well.
  • If using your stabilising legs, place a piece of wood under the pads to prevent the legs from sinking into the wet ground. Also have a look at your jockey wheel.
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast, particularly the predicted wind gusts. Anything over 25km/h can damage a rollout awning. If you know thunderstorms are coming, probably a good idea to retract the awning away.
  • If your site is on an angle, and you’ve a warning, be wary of a flood rush that could run through your awning or annexe area, and have a look at what gear you have stored there.
  • When packing up, be very careful about handling wet power cords. If possible, turn off the power at the supply point before disconnecting the cables.

 

This article was originally published in RV Daily Magazine, Issue 050.

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