I’m sure that anyone that is a four season caravanner will recognise this… in winter you arrive on site around six in the evening in the dark, in the pouring rain. You get to your pitch and it’s a tight reverse manoeuvre on to it. Your partner gets out with a torch to guide you back. In the rain it’s hard to see out of the side windows and mirrors and you partner disappears into the blackness with only a point of light from their torch to give you any idea where they are. You put the vehicle into reverse and the reversing lights on the rear of the tow vehicle light up the front of the caravan like a National Trust stately home but not much else. You now struggle to see the corners and edge of the pitch in the contrast of the brightness of the floodlight front of the caravan. The darkness down each side caravan and the illumination from the reversing lights of the caravan just seem so far away the little orange side marker lights are not much help in lighting up the area around the van.
This has happened a few times to us and I’ve been pondering over it for a while. What I’d like is not only the normal LED awning light but one on the off side of the caravan and on the rear too with the ability to be able to switch on all three to give a general illumination around the caravan when manoeuvring at night. The LED awning light on our Swift caravan is quite effective at providing enough illumination on one side so what about two more being fitted? Or giving the side marker lights the option to be changed from orange to bright white? They could be controlled from just inside the main door and a simple electronic circuit to turn them off after a few minutes or when the caravan is disconnected from the tow vehicle could be incorporated or even off the key fob remote so you could turn them on when returning back to the caravan in the dark.
Off side and rear illumination would be handy too when it comes to the late night “Oh God it needs emptying/filling” moment just as the full moon disappears behind a cloud and the batteries are a bit run down in your torch (or flashlight for our American cousins) and you just happen to be next to the EHU bollard that the light doesn’t work.
Now while we are on the subject….un-hitching or hitching in the dark is also a bit of a black hole, pun intended. Hitching or un-hitching using a torch becomes a bit of a pain and if you wear vari-focal or bi-focal glasses, using a head torch means constantly adjusting it to get it in the right focus area to see. So, while the additional awning lights are being installed, what about a similar light above the front locker that can be turned on to light up the hitch head allowing easier coupling and un-coupling?
It doesn’t have to be standard on all caravans, but what about an “All Seasons Touring” option pack that could include the above and other things… like mud flaps on the caravan? I’m sure you can think of other things as well. So manufacturers….It’s too late for 2016 caravans but what about considering it for the 2017 range?
I think I can feel a couple of projects coming on…