Caravans are a great and useful way of being able to have the comforts of home with you along with the sense of the great outdoors and adventure. If you are new to camping, caravans and even motorhomes you might be wondering what the handles on the back are used for.
The main reason why caravans have handles on the back is to manouvre the caravan when it’s not attached to the vehicle. The handles allow the people handling it more control and grip over the caravan when pushing it into place. They are helpful for tieing things to the caravan or for achnoridge.
In this article we are going to break down some of the most asked questions on why caravans have handles on the back and what they are used for.
Do All Caravans Have Handles On The Back?
It is almost impossible these days to buy a new caravan without grab handles on the back. It appears to be the case that having handles on the back of a caravan is a given. Have a play with your favourite caravan purchase sites and you will notice that there are no default or indeed custom options to choose a caravan without handles.
The reason why it is almost impossible, and not completely impossible, is that you could conceivably contact any new caravan manufacturer and request that they remove the handles before the point of sale. Similarly, if purchasing second hand you could ask the seller to do the same. A company will most likely agree to your request with some confusion, whereas a seasoned caravan tourer will likely acknowledge your request with a knowing smile borne of experience.
If you wish to purchase a caravan without handles on the back your best bet would be to buy a model built around or before the 1990s, before the fad became the norm.
Should You Add Handles To Your Caravan?
If you have managed to purchase a caravan without handles on the back and see this as a mistake then do not fear, for you have the option to retrofit (or indeed retro-refit) them at very little cost. If you feel like something is not quite right about your freedom-trailer’s rear end, you should ask yourself a few questions to determine whether you need to grab handles to complete the picture.
Do you have the physical strength to turn your caravan using handles? Even the smallest caravan weighs a lot more than you might think, making it very difficult to put enough force into turning the trailer on its axles. A handle might seem like it will assist you, however with a fully loaded caravan the chances are it won’t make a huge difference.
Are you wanting to save space on your pitch? If so, having handles on the rear of your caravan could be a good idea. Don’t want to put up a rotary washing line? No problem, just tie off a piece of string between your grab handle and your car. Need somewhere to tie the dog while you set up your pitch? You have a ready-made tie-off point. Need something to hold on to on your way back from a particularly enjoyable evening in the side bar? You get the picture. Sometimes handles are nice to have.
Are you concerned that the aesthetics of your caravan just aren’t quite right? Sometimes decisions are based on feelings, opinions, and generally just looking at something and thinking, ‘it needs this.’ Like a lot of things in life, caravaning can feel a bit like keeping up with the Joneses. If you are tired of being one of the very few caravans on-site without rear handles, or you simply want them because you like the look, then absolutely go for them.
Why Do Caravans Have Handles On The Back?
The stated purpose of having handles on the back of a caravan is to assist you with manoeuvring when the caravan is not attached to a vehicle. They are able to perform this function to an extent. However, people often make the mistake with the handles of thinking they are for pulling the caravan. It won’t take you many attempts at this, or many frustrated go at re-screwing the handles back into place to realize that they do not really help in this situation.
In terms of maneuvering a caravan, the golden rule is to push, don’t pull. This is where the handles become useful. If you are pushing the caravan forward from the rear the handles will give you a better grip, and you can use them to perform subtle changes in direction. If the caravan is not moving forward or backward at the time then you most likely will struggle to run the caravan on its axle at all.
This is the same principle as a car, in that it is much easier to turn the wheels left and right when the vehicle is moving due to reduced friction. Don’t pull them to the side too hard though, otherwise, you will likely end up holding a handle but not a caravan!
Whilst having handles on the back of a caravan has some utility for an owner, they seem to be more useful for other people. Whenever you drop your caravan off for a service, for example, you will see the mechanic use the handles to maneuver it into position while it is suspended in the air. They are also very handy for factory workers during the manufacturing stage, as they can easily move the caravan around when it is on the production line.
In some ways, handles on the back of a caravan seem like a brilliant idea that doesn’t quite reach its potential. When seeing them for the first time a prospective caravan buyer may have visions of themselves dragging it onto a pitch single-handedly like a modern-day Samson. Sadly the vision is far from the truth.
However, they provide just enough assistance to be useful, and as such, it seems like more effort for a caravan manufacturer to design a caravan without them. Some people love them, others are indifferent, therefore there is simply not much point in not having them in the design.