Learn to live with your camper trailer

December 01, 2004

Now don't forget. . .

Nothing works like being prepared when it comes to happy camping.

So before take-off with a Dove camper trailer for the wild beauty of Victorias magnificent Cape Otway National Park we took time to pitch camp in our front yard.

The benefits are immediate. The amazed looks on the faces of passers-by make the day and we hit the road with almost all we needed.

Lisa takes being prepared seriouslyThere is a lot to think of which does not come standard.

We added:

  • A 15 amp power cord to fit park safety systems and keep shocks out.
  • A beverage grade hose to hook to the mains pressure water connection and the special fittings which screw it on to the exterior connection.
  • Four broad, flat wooden blocks to place under the campers stabilizer legs.
  • Two solid wooden chocks for the campers wheels.
  • A small spade and axe.
  • Tool and battery drill kits.
  • Two comfortable folding camp chairs. Bedding.
  • A door mat.
  • A bucket.
  • Insect repellent
  • Electric kettle, cups, steamer-pot, frying pan, plates and cutlery.
  • Barbecue implements and a really good sharp carving knife.
  • Torch and matches.
  • Corkscrew and, yes, we forgot to pack the can opener.

The day before we left we filled the water tank and switched on the refrigerator on 240 volt AC mains power and let it run overnight. We loaded it with food and drinks next morning when it had achieved optimum cold levels.

The fridge is three phase, 240 volt AC, LPG and Direct Current from the towing vehicle. Or Off. Make your choice and turn the dial.

If gas is the choice first turn on the gas bottle at the front of the camper. Go inside to the refrigerator and hold down the gas flow button and hit the spark switch. When it lights the gas the small read-out dial on the fridge will move into the green segment.

LPG gets things cold quickest, but it is dangerous and MUST NOT be used unless the campers roof is fully raised and there is plenty of ventilation.

Be certain all refrigerator cooling vents inside and outside the camper are clear.

It is hard to believe but it is said some people fill their gas bottles with Auto gas. As this contains butane it could not only foul the refrigerators cooling system it can cause fire.

Direct Current has some MUST DO things to remember. Be certain all interior lights are turned off before lowering the campers roof.

If you forget and turn on the tow vehicles ignition to run the fridge the heat from the interior roof lights, when they switch on with the tow vehicles ignition, will do bad burning things while you travel.

Leaving the interior lights on while running 240 volt AC power with the camper roof down will produce a similar result.

If you use Direct Current to run the fridge a small car battery can be flattened in quick time. Turn it off if you stop your motor. Or talk to your dealer or a good auto electrician.

The camper trailer working area, fridge, draws and cupboards can be accessed in the Jayco Dove while travelling by winding the roof up slightly to clear the top of the half-door. It is cramped hands and knees access, but it is useful.

Remember to release the four roof clips on the sides of the camper before working the winding handle which fits the winch at the front of the camper.

When finished inside lower the roof, lock the four clips and wind a little tension onto the roof lifting cables. Don't overdo it, a little is more than enough.