End of August

I was expecting this to be "We're off" to pick up the new Eriba Troll. However, I must share the next phase of the journey, deserved of its own blog! Let me reiterate that we are first time vanners, never having owned or towed a caravan before. For those of you in a similar position and maybe considering buying a caravan, the following will be of value. Like any new adventure, hobby or interest there will inevitably be an upfront commitment.  I recall when I first started scuba diving (many years ago) the credit card took a right bashing getting all the essential gear that goes with it. It is what it is! Buying a caravan is no different. Once you have the caravan you have to purchase all the essentials that go with it.  Little did I know how long the list was! I would also add I've picked up so many useful tips during this part of the journey and it may read like I know what I'm doing but believe me I an a total vanner novice here.

The first bit advice we were given (by fellow caravan owners in our village) is join the caravan club. Lots of info and discounts. So we did, the first additional spend (£54/yr). What a great purchase! Info on sites all over UK, with discounts and members only benefits. Access to exclusive Certificated Locations (CL) - max 5 caravans per site - Love that one!  loads of pointers on insurance, breakdown etc.  Well worth the investment - Caravan Club

OK lets cut to the chase and itemise the essentials - Do I really want to see this? You may find it useful and I'll start outside the van and work in! :-

Towbar - If your car or vehicle does not have one you will need one (obviously) to tow the caravan. Do shop around here, I was gobsmacked at the cost variance for a same spec requirement, (£340 - £800).

Awning - You may not want or need one but we want outdoor space for the dog. We bought ours second hand, a bargain (as new) and Eriba specific! New ones can set you back over £1000 so do search online.

Chairs (outdoor folding type of course!).

Number plate - Easily forgotten, no more than a tenner on Amazon.

Hitch lock (Came with caravan). Security is important for your new investment, and insurance will insist on a minimum of hitch lock and wheel lock, so do invest. The hitch lock is a gizmo that fits over the towbar to prevent someone picking up and towing off your prized possession.  Get one! A decent one will cost you £50/£60.

Wheel lock. Many out there so do search. My thoughts on this if I invest in a good quality hitch lock, a mid level priced bit of gear will suffice. Top of range here will set you back £110.

Now, lets get inside the caravan and this is where the female influence runs away with budget ;-) Many of the home from home comforts can easily be lifted from your home to caravan. We (no she) decided new is required....who am I to argue, anything for an easy life! Brace yourselves:- 

Melamine dinner set and all the utensils - I never heard of melamine before! Apparently a shatter resistant, lightweight plastic.

Bedding - New quilt, covers and all the usual bits.

Cleaning products for the cassette loo system (Bleach is not allowed) including special loo roll...oh boy!

Gas bottle - 6KG propane (this will vary depending on caravan).

Many of the caravan items such as electric hook up cable, water hoses, waste water container etc may come with your caravan, if not, guess what £.....

I am certain after our first Eriba adventure the list will grow. Will update on future blogs.

One final note on towing/car. Towing capacity of your car relative to caravan weight is really important. Do your homework online in order to stay safe.

That's a kit wrap (I hope). I've had enough, all I want now is to get out on the road and travel, caravan, dog and camera. UK we are ready 4 U - #ETGT

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