It’s the stuff of grey nomad nightmares. You pull up for the night in another piece of our Australian paradise. You pull out the awning, set up the campchairs, and just nip inside to pour yourself a glass of vino when you notice things aren’t quite level. “Oh, no not again,” you think. Another night of rolling off the bed, another night where the oil gathers on one side of the frying pan, another stop where the water in the sink and shower doesn’t drain away properly.
While in days gone by, a wonkily parked caravan or motorhome was just seen as part of the adventure, that is far from the case for today’s ‘five-star’ travellers. Pulling up on a block of wood or a chock, and winding down steadying legs may have been sufficient for previous generations of vanners, but no longer.
While many motorhomes have long embraced the possibilities, caravans are only now being exposed to remote-controlled self-levelling systems, often powered by the caravan’s own 12 volt battery. Now, at the press of a button or the flick of a switch, folded-away ‘legs’ can automatically descend and take the proverbial strain. These electric legs are very different to standard stabiliser legs or corner steadies in that they are designed to be able to actually lift and level a pretty hefty caravan. They are able to support the van from each corner, thus offering great stability.
The whole process can be completed in just seconds, making the whole setting-up camp rigmarole that much more painless. And, when all’s said and done, who really wants to do all that winding up or winding down when it’s pouring down rain, or it’s 40-degrees plus outside?
Self-levelling systems are rapidly gaining in popularity and can be retro-fitted to existing caravans. The cost varies depending on the system chosen and the type of van it is being put on, but you can expect to pay several thousand dollars. It’s not cheap … but many travellers are calculating how many hours of hassle it will save them – and their back – over potentially years and years of vanning, and deciding it’s a price worth paying.