Caravanning With Your RV

Presented by Bob Bennett


Caravan Handbook

Number – Number

Traveling With Your Airstream

  • Equipment
  • Dry Camp
  • Slow Down
  • Stop and See Stuff
  • Take Friends With you (no more than 3)
  • No Reservations


Expand it to your Unit Friends – Requires planning

  • Reserve campsites
  • Need Directions
  • Reservations for eating out
  • Group Tours
  • Pooled funds (kitty fee) enables discounts

Caravan Number Requirements

  • Duration of 10 or more nights, not including nights spent at organized rallies
  • Park in five or more different cities or geographical locations, not including organized rallies
  • Number ten or more Airstreams, including the leader
  • Use the kitty-fee method for handling financial matters
  • Adhere to provisions of the current Club Caravan Handbook

Submit a request for a Unit Caravan number to the International Caravan Chairman prior to the Caravan.

Submit a final report to the International Caravan Chairman at the completion of the caravan.

For this you get:

  • A unique U number for your caravan
  • The U number listed in the WBCCI Directory for each member who completed the required days
  • WBCCI Liability Insurance
  • 250 points for your Unit in the merit award program

Non-numbered Caravan Requirements

  • Caravan approved by the sponsoring function President or Board of Directors and published in minutes of a meeting or newsletter
  • There are NO other requirements

For this you get

  • WBCCI Liability Insurance
  • 250 points for your Unit in the merit award program

Traveling With Your Airstream

  • Make sure your equipment is in top condition and ready to go
  • TOW VEHICLE & TRAILER OR MOTORHOME: Both should be in A-1 condition.  Check the brakes, wheel bearings, belts and hoses, and have good tires and spare (be sure to check the air pressure in the spare).  Radiator: always check to see that your radiator is in good condition; if the fin tubes are 25% restricted by chemical build-up, do something.  An auxiliary transmission cooler is a good investment if you do not have one.    Overheating can cause problems costing much more than a new radiator.  Remember, it is much cheaper and more convenient to prevent problems at home than to have failures on the road.  Check the hitch ball regularly for tightness, cracks, and broken welds.  Lubricate hitch as required.  Check hitch platform bolts and wheel lugs (both vehicle and trailer), and have a good battery; be sure pump, water heater and refrigerator work: LP gas bottles are full and current certification (10 years in Canada); check for LP gas leaks.
  • Be prepared to DRY CAMP

Water tank Full

Waste tanks empty

Take Some Friends With You

  • No more than 3 RVs
  • Pick a destination or direction you want to go
  • Everyone gets to input what they want to do
  • Have NO defined schedule

Slow Down

  • Travel no more than 200 miles in a day
  • Stay away from Interstate Highways
  • Make NO reservations
  • Stop and see anything that looks interesting
  • Plan to get off the road by 4:00pm at the latest
  • Stay a day or 2 at interesting places

You are now TOURING, not just getting somewhere

TOURING is what CARAVANS are all about!!!!!

SO now expand it to more than 3RVs and make it a Unit Caravan – what do you have to do?

  • If you don’t have enough ideas of your own as to where to go, ask your fellow Unit members
  • Get written approval from your unit, documented in Board minutes or Unit Newsletter

HOWEVER – Now you have more than 3RVs you will:

  • Have to plan ahead for stops and make reservations
  • Travel in small groups that will need directions
  • If you plan to eat out, group reservations will be needed
  • Group tours will need pre-arrangement
  • Pooling funds (kitty fee) will make it quicker to pay for camping, tours, meals, etc. and may make discounts (comps.) available

Typical Sequence of Events For Running a Caravan

. Decide where you want to go.

. Pick a theme.

. Begin recording expenses.

. Determine how long the total Caravan will be.

– How long at each stop

. Estimate how many Units/People will go on the Caravan.

. Arrange for camping spots.

. Estimate the Kitty Fee.

. Start to advertise the Caravan – include a registration coupon.

. Decide what you want to do at each stop.

. Arrange for tours and guides.

. Arrange for catered or restaurant meals.

. Set up drivers instructions.

. Set up work assignments.

. Set up Caravan schedule.

. Prepare drivers manual.

. Send welcome letter and include directions to first campsite.

. Double check reservations and arrangements.

. Arrive at rendezvous prior to your caravanners.

– determine how to handle first parking committee

. Schedule a welcome meeting on the first day to review entire Caravan

schedule, work assignments, answer questions, and hand out drivers

manuals and other information.

. Check reservations & commitments at least one day prior to the event.

. Be on time for scheduled Caravan activities.

. Record actual Caravan expenses as they occur.

. Schedule a drivers meeting before each move to review move details and work assignments.

. Have someone on the Caravan verify the Kitty Fee/Expenses near the end of the Caravan (at a minimum).  You may want to have it done periodically during the Caravan.

. Return and excess money to the caravanners.

Your rig and how to make optimal use of it.

Your Airstream is an excellent self contained travel vehicle.  Once you understand (and use) its capabilities, you can expand your traveling experience considerably.  We travel with our fresh water tank full and wash water tank empty – the black water tank varies.  We rarely hook up to anything other than electric even if it is available because:

  1. Using the fresh water tank insures that the water stays fresh and that the pump is really working when we need it.
  2. It also insures that we have an ample supply of water wherever we may stop.
  3. Although it is of less consideration, this also insures we always have good water pressure (never too much or too little).
  4. Letting the waste tanks fill a bit before dumping helps keep them clean and flowing.  We dump the wash water before each move and the black water every 3-4 days.
  5. Although it is probably just my imagination, I find that handling the hoses (water and drain) only one time is less work.  Our normal procedure is to fill with fresh and dump the holding tanks just before hitting the road in the AM.
  6. Using this process we never have to worry about what facilities our next campsite has – we are prepared for anything from dry camping at Wal-Mart to full facilities at a resort.

The way we use it, the capacities of the trailer seem to be:

  • The fresh water tank is good for 3 – 4 days average use.  You can stretch that by being very careful of how much water you use.  Use dish water sparingly, use a dish pan rather than running water to rinse, take “navy” showers (turn water off after wetting down and rinsing), if you don’t need it don’t let the water run.
  • The wash water tank can last for 3 – 4 days without being emptied.  You can stretch that by dumping your dish water into the black water tank and using the water saving measures listed above.
  • The black water tank can last for 4 – 7 days without being emptied.  Traveling with it partially full liquefies the contents and helps keep things clog free.
  • 2 batteries can last for 2 – 3 days without being charged.  The key is IF YOU NEED IT, USE IT – IF NOT, TURN IT OFF.  Overnight use is rarely a problem because your batteries will charge the next day you move.  We have enhanced our battery capacity by adding solar panels and adding a propane catalytic heater (the furnace is a BIG 12V draw) – as a result we rarely worry about 12V power.  We have converted just about everything to 12V use – we have a Fantastic Fan for cooling, a Fantastic Breeze floor fan for additional cooling if needed, and installed 12V fluorescent lights in heavy use areas.  The only things that will not work are the Air Conditioner, Microwave, and TV.

Equipping your Airstream

Adding self-containment equipment to your Airstream (as I noted we have done) can be expensive if attempted in one large addition.  Fortunately, since your Airstream is very capable just as it is delivered, equipment can be added over time.

We added equipment in the following sequence:

  • As soon as we began to travel with other people we found the need to communicate while on the road, so we added a CB to our tow vehicle.  Later we found that communication with others while we were at a campsite but separated from people we were traveling with was desirable we added a CB in the trailer.
  • We began to dry camp and found that some method of cooling was desirable since we could not run our air conditioning unit.  We added a Fantastic Fan.
  • Dry camping and using 12V facilities was workable for 1 to 2 days between moves (when the batteries would be      re-charged).  As we found we wanted to stay in a dry camp location for longer periods, we added solar panels.  This allowed us to use the furnace, lights, fans, and pumps for longer periods of time.
  • As we spent more time in the trailer in colder areas we found that the furnace was a big user of propane – and when we were dry camping 12V power.  Our first move was to add a 115V ceramic heat cube.  This only worked when we had electrical connections so we later added a propane catalytic heater.  In most cases we do not run the furnace (or heater) all night, we just turn the furnace on long enough to warm us up in the morning.  However, we found once again that we were traveling to colder climates and pushing earlier in the spring and later in the fall – so we began using the aux. heaters for all night comfort.

It has now been a few years since we have seen a need to add more equipment and those years have been full of rewarding travel.  We think we have about added all the extra equipment we need.