Be the boss of all things towing
When it comes to towing and manoeuvring, people tend to fall into one of two camps...
On one side, it’s the most intimidating thing we could possibly do on the road. On the other, it seems pretty straightforward and “how hard could it possibly be anyway?”
Both the Caravan Club (below) and the Camping and Caravanning Club offer towing sessions with the same info presented in slightly different ways. Here’s the lowdown on each course for you to decide what’s best for you.
The Caravan Club
The Caravan Club’s practical caravanning course is ideal for new starters. Held across the country at any one of 16 venues, it’s a one and a half day course with both theory sessions and practical learning between 9am-5pm on the first day’s session and 9am-1pm the second.
Caravan mag attended a course at Appletree Lodge in Chipping Warden, in Northamptonshire to get a taste for towing training and learn a thing or two… Or three. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ll pick up.
You start off by studying the basics of caravanning – all the stuff that you probably think you know but with the addition of all those things you’d never even thought about.
With up to 12 people split into two groups per course, it’s interesting and surprising the questions that come up and subjects are covered thoroughly by the staff. The introductory lesson covers all aspects of caravanning, including service and maintenance, setting up, handling differences compared with a solo car, tyre pressures, how the caravan’s brakes work and more – all followed by a Q&A session.
Outside, you learn about towbars, coupling and uncoupling, levelling, reversing in a straight line and around corners, as well as covering road and vehicle safety checks before finishing back in the classroom with learning about legal issues and taking part in another useful Q&A session.
It’s a thorough introduction/refresher that really boosts confidence.
T 01342 336 666 W Caravan Club website
The Camping and Caravanning Club course includes advice on: towing and reversing a caravan, caravanners and the law, loading, hitching and unhitching. It’s delivered by qualified instructors who are also caravanners.
The course that Caravan magazine attended was situated at Newark Showground; there are 11 other venues throughout the country.
There are 12 participants per course, meaning that it usually works out at four people per instructor, so everyone gets a few goes behind the wheel and at coupling and uncoupling a caravan comfortably.
Starting off in the classroom going over the basics of setting up, essential accessories, loading and what is to be expected of the day’s course, the group then moves outside to get a hands-on look and explanation of a hitched caravan.
Splitting into groups, each instructor leads participants to an area of the showground to work on hitching, unhitching and manoeuvring the outfit. The key to these courses is repetition, with time being taken to ensure that each participant knows how to understand and undertake the actions needed to guide a towcar towards the hitch before hooking up and preparing to set off, and reversing the process for unhitching.
Reversing is the next step, in a straight line and around a corner from both directions, before we head back into the classroom for a debrief and Q&A session. All in all it’s an incredibly interesting and fun day!
T 0845 130 7412 W Camping and Caravanning Club website
Need to know
• Both courses require you to bring both parts of your driving licence and a suitable towcar with towing mirrors
• Warm clothing will be required in cold weather
• Hot drinks are provided but participants are required to bring their own lunch