First time you arrive on site

When you arrive at a site, you will usually be greeted at reception by one of the camp wardens. Sometimes you will be given a choice of pitches so here are a few things to consider:

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Hard or soft-standing pitches? Hard-standing pitches are more suitable for motorhomes, but if using grass then check how soft the ground is before you drive onto it.

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Flat ground? The flatter the ground the less you’ll have to worry about using blocks under your wheels to level your motorhome.

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Toilets and showers nearby? Being near the wash-blocks is convenient for night-time trips to the loo and speedy washing up, but it can also lead to people walking around or across your pitch.

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Playground nearby? If you have kids, then it’s great to have play areas nearby so you can keep an eye on them. If you’re travelling without kids, you may well prefer to be away from the noise.

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Sunrise & sunset. Some sites will stipulate the motorhome faces a certain way on the pitch. If it’s your call, then think which side of the van your habitation door is and work out where the sun will be when you’re enjoying your breakfast or teatime beer.

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Open or closed pitch? Hedges or walls can form great windbreaks on an exposed site.

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Tree cover? A bit of tree shade is brilliant in warmer conditions, but the grass is often poor because it’s protected from the rain, and birds and squirrels will deposit all manner of detritus onto the roof of your motorhome. Also, trees will continue to drip long after a shower has passed.

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Check surrounding water. Rainwater has to go somewhere, so try to make sure it won’t travel under your motorhome on its way. This is particularly important if you are using an awning.

When you arrive at a site there are a number of things to consider, particularly if it’s your first time. From which pitch to choose to hard or soft standing, we discuss a few things to consider in this video.

Before you get to your pitch

Once you have finished with the warden at reception and before you drive onto your pitch, there are a couple of jobs that you may need to take care of.

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Water - now is a good time to fill up your water tank. You can fill from the outside or from the inside, as we prefer (pictured), to keep an eye on the level.

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Grey waste disposal - if you have created some waste during your journey now is a good opportunity to expel it from the van. Park the motorhome so that the grey waste pipe is directly above a designated drain and empty.

With the motorhome in place, what else do you need to do?

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1. If you’re using an electric hook-up, connect the cable between your motorhome and the electrical hook-up bollard on your pitch – for safety, plug the cable into the motorhome first, then the bollard.

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2. Turn on the gas. Turn the valve anti-clockwise, then press the large green button followed by the small green button. This will allow the gas to flow into the manifolds switches (see next step) and then into your applicances. When you leave the site, you just need to turn the valve off by turning it anti-clockwise.

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3. Turn on the manifolds that control the four main appliances in the motorhome, ensuring all switches have been turned on. The switches are on when they are in the horizontal position.

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4. Turn on the electrics control panel and make sure the pump is on as well. When turning on the water pump, keep the hot tap open until you get a steady flow.

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5. Choose whether you want your fridge to be on GAS or ELECTRIC using the fridge dial. There are 4 icons on the fridge dial:  OFF, ELECTRIC, LEISURE BATTERY and GAS. (Tip: When going on a day trip, switch your fridge on the day before to give it time to chill ).

To use gas, switch to the GAS icon, then push in and turn the thermostat dial to full, and continue to hold the dial in. Start continually pressing the gas ignition button for 15 seconds until the red line on the ignition gauge has moved over to the right. You can then release the thermostat dial and turn it to where you want your gas level to be - the higher the gas, the colder the fridge will be.

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6. Turn on the water heater and habitation heating if required. The heating panel will typically show specific items. With our Truma system we use a dial to scroll across 4 icons (heater, water heater, electric or gas, fan speed) and click the dial to choose the desired setting.

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7. Add the toilet chemicals. You'll generally need pink for the flush and blue/green for the waste tank.

The Overnighters