As the weather starts to warm up many of us will be heading off on long awaited trips. If you haven’t done a longer trip for awhile then you will need to do some basic maintenance and trip preparation. This will help ensure that your trip goes as planned.
Fortunately, Brenden can carry out most maintenance tasks himself. Thirty plus years of working on cars, bikes, trucks and jet ski’s has given him an excellent knowledge base. If you are not confident in repairing or maintaining things yourself, make sure you get a qualified mechanic or trades person to do any work for you. It could be the difference between a hassle free trip or finding yourself stranded on the side of the road.
WHAT TO CHECK
At a minimum we would suggest you check the brakes on your trailer or van. Also have the brakes on your tow vehicle checked. You will also want to check all fluid levels are topped up, such as radiator coolant, power steering fluid and brake fluid. It is also a good idea to check the fluid levels in your automatic transmission if you can. In some newer model vehicles you are unable to do this. Also make sure that all your indicators, brake lights and tail lights are working correctly. If your vehicle is equipped with a dual battery system check that it is functioning correctly. If you have a set of batteries in your trailer like we do, check that they are all fully charged.
Another essential maintenance task is to pull the wheels off the trailer and grease the wheel bearings. We do it annually as preventative maintenance, more frequently if they see a lot of water. If the wheel bearings dry out, the wheels may lock up or you can spin a bearing on the stub axle. Again something that you don’t want to happen.
If you are new to camping it pays to have a practice run at packing your car and trailer. This will save you trying to work out where to put that last bag when you are ready to leave. We have reached the point where what we take for a weekend isn’t that different to what we take for two weeks.
When you go to buy tubs or drawers to store your gear in, make sure you measure up the space you want them to fit into.
There is nothing worse than getting home and finding that something you just bought won’t fit in the spot you wanted it to go. We have four drawers that stack on top of each other. When we are travelling they fit neatly in next to our ice chest. When we set up camp they sit next to each other so I can get to them easily when the kitchen is open.
I use the drawers to store food and our pots and pans and some extra bowls. Plates and cutlery are stored in the drawers of our tailgate kitchen.
When you are packing up your car or trailer make sure that everything is packed in securely. When our trailer is fully packed, nothing moves, so there is no chance of anything getting damaged.
Another thing you should do if you haven’t used your tent, trailer or van for awhile is get it out and open it up. Give it a good airing out, check that there are no signs of damage or mould on canvas parts. If there is you will need to clean the mould off immediately, as mould can cause canvas to rot. Not sure how to clean your canvas? Read how to HERE.
While you have your trailer or van out make the beds and get a head start on packing it. This is also a great time to write your shopping list and make a Camping Meal Plan. Having a meal plan will help you take the right amount of food for the time you are away. You don’t want to run out of food while you are away, but at the same time you don’t want to have food left over as it may go off.
Now that you have all your maintenance and trip preparation out of the road, all that is left to do is throw in some food and beers and have a great holiday!
You can read more about Trip Planning here.