The reality of life is that you rarely get anything handed down to you in the perfect way. That’s why we do alterations. Altering and personalizing are important as we have a lot of requirements when it comes to our caravans, from simple ones to sophisticated alterations.
The question is where do you start with the RV modifications. Which caravan modifications give you the perfect Australian caravanning experience? What mods give you the best value for money?
We have outlined some RV and caravan modifications for a comfortable camping life. These modifications are essential if you are caravanning off-road or on-road.
There’s a lot of information out there regarding RV modifications and sometimes makes it difficult to decide on what to spend. Here, we will consider some of the popular RV modifications available in the market which will help you to have an amazing caravanning experience, no matter where you are driving.
An awning is usually custom-made for the caravan it is attached to. They are made from a variety of materials ranging from light shade cloths to heavy canvas to keep the rains out. If your caravan doesn’t come with one, you can ask the manufacturer of the caravan what they recommend. The manufacturer should be able to suggest what would work on your model of caravan. The type of awnings includes side awnings, awnings to cover windows, bed end awnings, etc.
Imagine your RV parked in the summer sun. From where the sun rays get in? Where will you need shade? Do you need a full awning for the rains and wind? Find answers to these questions and you will know how big and in what shape your awning needs to be.
Most caravans have side mirrors for use but they are not built for towing caravans or camper trailers. Side mirrors have a limited field of vision which makes it hard to keep an eye behind. So upgrading your side mirrors to towing mirrors is something you need for safety.
Towing mirrors can be attached to your RV and caravan mirrors using clamps and safety cords. They usually come quality tested; they are durable, aerodynamic and perform well in high winds. Caravan towing mirrors not only provide the maximum view possible by reducing blind spots, but they will also keep you and other fellows on the road safe.
There are various types of tow mirrors, one being a clip-on side mirror extender which can be attached to the side mirrors. There are different brands on the market in different sizes and shapes to suit different caravan models.
Hitches for weight distribution
Weight distribution hitches are necessary if you have a heavy caravan and your car is not heavy enough to tow it safely. The WDH connects the caravan to the tow vehicle. It combines with the coupling to improve the towability of the caravan by sharing the load between the caravan and the tow vehicle.
If you have a light and well-balanced caravan, with a light ball load, you probably don’t need weight distribution hitches. But if you think you need a WDH, you need to find the nose weight of the caravan and select the WDH that will accommodate the load. Make sure your WHD is compatible with your car and caravan.
You get a variety of WDH brands in the market with different specs. Depending on the weight of the caravan and the type of tow vehicle, you may choose the model.
Electronic braking system
In Australia, it’s a legal mandate for all caravans over 750 kg to be towed by a car with an electronic braking system. So probably this is the first RV modification you would make.
There are two types of braking systems available – proportional and user-controlled. In the proportional braking system, you can ensure accurate, optimal force is applied in response to the braking of your vehicle.
There are a variety of top-of-the-line electric brake systems and controllers. Some moderates your electric braking signal via an internal pendulum providing you the safest tow around. There are other systems featuring a sleek design and made without an internal pendulum allowing for mounting in any position.
Riding a bike around a caravan park or a bush campsite is a joy and is worth the effort of hauling bikes around on your road trip. That’s why you need bike racks.
The types of bike racks range from those you attach to your rear tow ball to those used on the roof racks. Some can be attached directly to your caravan. If you have some free space on your drawbar, you can mount a rack there, it makes it easy to lift the bikes on and off.
There are also many racks that allow you to mount bikes on the spare wheel of the caravan or tow vehicle. Some use bolts while some others use cradles and straps.
Solar panels are of different kinds. You may need to think about why you are getting one and how large the panels are. Solar panels are available in mounted or portable forms. A major difference between them is that portable panels allow you to place it where the sunlight is whereas mounted panels are fixed on the roof. Caravans with mounted panels need to be parked in the sun to get enough sunlight.
There are three main types of solar panels – glass, mobile and folding panels. Glass panels have been around for long, have a rigid frame and are attached to the roof. Mobile solar panels are lightweight, flexible but a bit expensive. These can be fixed directly onto a curved roof without mounting brackets. Folding solar panels is the latest trend. They are easy to transport and can be stored inside the caravan. You can place them where there is most sunlight to maximise the energy absorption.
It’s a constant worry when you have to back up into the garage or a caravan site if you can’t see things going on around the caravan. A reversing camera helps solve that problem. They have become cost-effective over the years.
You can also place them on the back of your caravan so that you can see what’s behind you. However, this modification should be installed by a professional since it involves delicate electronic components.
These are some of the popular RV modifications that people do to make Australian road trips comfortable. We bet there are some other mods that are not in this list but make a big difference.
Also Read: Caravan & Motorhome – Common Problems You Need To Watch Out For