OFF HIGHWAY TOWING TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Any trailer or caravan should be driven at speeds with respect to the terrain being traversed, the loads carried and care of both the caravan and towing vehicle.
  • Off-highway towing has additional challenges and is only recommended for experienced off-highway drivers.
  • Always drive within your capabilities.
  • Always drive appropriately for the road/track conditions. Specific vehicle set-up and/or driving techniques may be required for rough roads, corrugations, and steep or narrow tracks.
  • Ensure that your caravan design is suitable for use off the highway. If unsure, seek advice from the caravan manufacturer.
  • Check your warranty coverage, as some items may not be covered for off-highway driving.
  • Be realistic as to where you are going. A large “off-road” caravan is unsuitable for most 4WD/Fire trails as they are too high (overhanging branches etc).
  • Use a suitable vehicle; in most cases a Low range capable vehicle is necessary.
  • Use an “off-road” style coupling which allows a bigger range of movement on the coupling.
  • Have at least basic 4WD skills, knowledge of recovery techniques, picking the best line, using the right gear, understanding the technology in the vehicle etc.
  • Have electric brakes fitted to the trailer/caravan. Also know how to set up and use the electric brake controller correctly.
  • In an “off-road/highway” situation set the bias on the trailer brakes so that the trailer wheels will lock up before the car, thus preventing the trailer trying to overtake the car.
  • Know your approach, ramp over and departure angles and also the angles associated with the drawbar and trailer.
  • Know where the vulnerable/low points are underneath both the Car and Trailer.
  • Know where the wheels of the car and trailer are travelling. Are the trailer wheels wider apart or narrower than the Tow Vehicle wheels.
  • Avoid side slopes as the trailer can easily drag the rear of the car sideways causing roll-over.
  • Avoid travelling alone.
  • Practice reversing skills as you need the ability to be able to reverse the combination up or down steep inclines and/or around corners on narrow tracks.
  • Practice recovery skills and carry the appropriate recovery equipment.
  • Ensure that the trailer/caravan has rated recovery points.
  • Ensure that the load is located correctly in or on the trailer and is securely fastened.
  • Ensure that you do not exceed the Aggregate Trailer Mass as stated on the compliance plate and you also do not exceed the Tow Vehicles rated tow capacity.
  • Ensure that you do not exceed the Tow Vehicles Gross Combined Mass. (I.e. the total weight of the car and trailer). This should be in the hand book.
  • Some vehicles have a “off Road” tow capacity and/or a speed restriction.
  • Carry appropriate spares to suit the trailer and car. For the trailer you should be carrying at least spare bearings, wheel nuts and studs.
  • Have a suitable jack that can be used to raise the trailer for changing a flat tyre or repositioning the trailer. You also need to have a suitable wheel brace that fits the nuts on the trailer.