The top five things caravanners forget to check before driving off!

Article from RV Daily

They may seem obvious when they’re written down – and that’s our point: to help you avoid these mistakes! Check out our top tips for a pre-trip checklist

Plus download the lists we’ve compiled, print them out and use them so they become second nature – happy travels.


This is a big one, especially if you’ve a three-way fridge on board. It’s a big non-no to travel with the gas on. You carry a pilot light in there somewhere and that’s the last thing you need, a naked flame in the van, unattended, particularly at the servo when there’s fuel vapour around. Make sure all your gas cylinders are off at the bottle and any inline taps are closed too.


We’ve all done it. Maybe you’ve done the inside check and you’re satisfied that it’s all okay to head off. You use the step to exit the van, close the door and walk to the vehicle to drove away and the step just sits there, invitingly, in anticipation of snagging or dragging over something, especially if you’re off-road somewhere. It’s possibly an expensive oversight. Make sure you retract the step!


If you’re someone who doesn’t use these very often, they’re more likely to be forgotten. Or if you’re used to quick overnighters and then stopover somewhere for a few days and drop the legs to steady the van. The last thing you need is that scraping sound and a spark shower as you leave the caravan park (never mind broken welds) and your neighbours will certainly be aware of your early departure because you’ve a ‘long drive ahead’.


Is the hitching operation not going to plan? Sluggish movement of the whole rig? Or perhaps you’re driving off and feel a sudden bump form back there? “I don’t recall speed humps here” you mutter. Maybe you’ve just driven off the levelling ramps! Or your chocks are conspiring against your efforts to leave your site. Like the stabilising legs, make sure you remember to check underneath… everywhere. Oh, and when you have hitched up and moved forward, re-check to make sure you haven’t left a chock or two for the next occupant of your site!


Are other travellers passing you and pointing to the roof of your van, arms waving and them mouthing warnings you can’t understand? It’s likely you’ve forgotten to close your roof hatch or hatches. They’re standing up there, shaking in the breeze, waiting to be ripped off or to let dust and rain pour into your pristine interior. If you opened the hatch last night for ventilation but closed the blind, then this is easy to do; same in the bathroom if you’d had a shower. Make the roof level part of your visual sweep before you head off to the next destination, so you’re equipped with hatches when you get there!

Click below to download the checklists.

Caravan Checklist 1 – Pre-drive inside

Caravan Checklist 2 – Pre-drive outside

Caravan Checklist 3 – Once hooked up

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Comments 2

  1. Hello all
    On your 5 things to check before moving off with your van, one thing that I think that you overlooked, and is extremely important, is to make sure that you release the handbrake or manual parking brake. Lots of people forget to do this, and I will admit that I have done it myself on occasions.

  2. A couple of additional items among many possibilities to check (yes, bitter experience speaking here!):
    On a pop-top, make sure the roof clips are done up. Long story short, I missed this once due to a branch falling and punching a hole in the roof just as I was finalising the packup. Helpful passing vehicle on the freeway alerted me to the problem of one side of the roof lifting up in the breeze!
    On dirt/off-road travel particularly, ensure that windows are securely locked, especially if you are in the habit of opening them nightly. Part-way along the Tanami we pulled up for an overnight stay and walking around the van I noticed a side window flapping; luckily we weren’t full of bulldust but could easily have been.
    Check indicators before the start of the trip. Seven pin flat plugs are prone to losing electrical contact on the outer pins due to the wiggling action usually used to unplug and plug in the connectors: these are normally the indicators. Using your hazard flasher button works well for a quicker walk round.

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