How to Hitch Up Your Caravan

How to Hitch Up Your Caravan

Recently purchased your first caravan? At the outset, congratulations are in order. You’ve just stepped into a world of holidaying on your terms, and connecting with the open road and the bush in a way that you never have before. Before you take your caravan out for its very first spin, let’s quickly go through the essentials of preparing it for towing – basically, the essentials of hitching your caravan to your towing vehicle.


Meet Your Caravan’s Hitching Ensemble:

In order to understand how to hitch up your caravan, you would need to familiarise yourself with a few caravan components.

  • Tongue/Ball Mount - This part is found on your vehicle at the drawbar’s receiver. This will either have a tow ball or pin if using an off-road coupling attached to it. 

  • Caravan A Frame - Otherwise known as the drawbar. This is the front part of your caravan’s chassis to which your coupling body is attached. 

  • Coupling Body - This is the main link between your caravan and your tow car. A coupling/receiver affixed to the caravan’s A-frame attaches itself to the tow ball affixed to the car.

  • Standard Coupling - The tow ball or off-road coupling receiver is welded to the top of the caravans A-Frame

  • Underslung Coupling - The tow ball or off-road coupling receiver is welded in the middle or underneath the caravans A-Frame 

  • Stabiliser Hitch/ Weight Distribution - Most weight distribution hitches on the market today offer sway control/stabilising as well. Not only will it distribute the weight it can prevent ‘snaking’ along for safer towing. 

  • Caravan handbrake - This is lifted or lowered to lock your caravan in position or leave it free to move.

  • Jockey wheel - This device is wound up or down to lift or lower the coupling hitch to match the level of the tow ball. Caravan Jacks in either hydraulic or electric are becoming popular, making it less back breaking winding your caravan off the tow vehicle. 

  • Breakaway cable - This emergency appendage activates your caravan’s brake should the caravan become unhitch from the tow vehicle. It is attached to the tow vehicle on hitching. 

  • Electrical lead - This composite of wires and cables connects your caravan’s electrical wiring to your tow car, allowing the caravan’s brakes and lights to draw power from the engine.


Step By Step Guide To Hitching Up Your Caravan:

  1. Walk around inside the van and check all hatches and windows are closed. Fridge door is secured and all cupboards, tv and microwave are latched shut. 

  2. Turn off all appliances (gas/electric) in your caravan. Turn your gas off at the bottles.

  3. Secure all loose items inside the van, the sink is a good place to store items that don’t have a home. 

  4. If your fridge doesn’t have an automatic power selection flick it over to 12v ready for connection at the hitch. 

  5. Disconnect the 240V power lead from the caravan and stow securely. 

  6. Disconnect your water supply and sullage hose and store securely. 

  7. Raise your caravan’s corner steady’s and remove any chocks from under its tyres (unless you’re on uneven ground and the chocks are needed until hitched).

  8. Ensure the caravan’s handbrake is activated.

  9. Reverse the tow vehicle to get the tow ball as close to the coupling hitch as possible.

  10. Wind the jockey wheel down to lower the coupling hitch over the tow ball. Once this is done, lower the coupling latch until it clicks into place. Attach your chain links to tow vehicle if you have them.  

  11. Secure or store your jockey wheel. 

  12. If using a weight distribution system, then now is the time to engage. 

  13. Connect your breakaway system now. 

  14. Plug the electrical lead into the socket on the towing vehicle to allow 12v power from your vehicle to get to your caravan for the fridge. 

  15. Your caravan is now hitched to your tow vehicle. Disengage the hand brake 

  16. Do one final walk around, checking all windows and access doors are closed and locked. 

  17. Check indicators and brake lights are functioning and remove any chocks if still under wheels. 

  18. Fix towing mirrors to your tow car and verify that you can see the entire length of your caravan in them.


That’s about it. Your caravan is now hitched up and ready for its first ride! To make sure that you’re ready as well, read up in detail about caravan safety considerations before commencing your road trip.


DISCLAIMER* Please note, this advice is general in nature and we strongly recommend consulting the product manual and where relevant, a professional installer.

Leave a comment

Comments have to be approved before showing up