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Post Info TOPIC: General fitness level for towing a caravan - member experiences


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General fitness level for towing a caravan - member experiences


Just thinking longer term and was wondering about the general level of fitness and or flexibility required for all things associated with towing a caravan post retirement age (65), assuming a leisurely pace rather than a marathon race. 

I would be interested in feedback from experienced caravanners re how things like doggy backs, necks etc cope with the demands (or lack of) caravanning.

Things I would particularly be interested in would be things like members who have had back operations and are still a bit delicate  down there, towing for long periods of time, setting up and erecting all things associated with caravanning, emptying waste etc etc etc.

I know there must be thousands of post retirement aged people traversing this great country and would welcome any advice re your experiences in this area from members who do not class themselves as Olympic level athletes.

Regards.

David 

 



-- Edited by Pradokakadudavid on Monday 22nd of January 2018 12:58:44 PM

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G'day all. Throw away the jockey and use a trailermate in place. Fitted permanently with springs attached for retraction. A stool could be helpful to sit on while dropping to stabilizers as well as using a power tool to lower the stands.

If possible driving for 2 hours or less could be helpful.

A short stepladder could be useful when putting the annex in or out, and get someone to help with it.

Taking your time if possible will help and planning what needs to be done.

Keeping your back as straight as possible and thinking about it will also help. Consider doing Pilates training.

Those are my thoughts.

Robert

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Hi Pradokakadudavid, thats some username! Good thing about a van is you can take your time. You dont need to set everything up at once. Have rests in between. There are lots of handy tricks and tips to make things easy as possible for a dicky back. Another use for the drill is using coach bolds in hard ground instead of tent pegs. Saves heaps of time. Just get a good cordless impact driver. The cheap units dont have enough go in the hard ground. Stretch

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Any body that can handle a Prado Kakadu can handle a caravan David .

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1 - ensure you have a good mattress/bed - you need to have restful sleeps.
2 - for wind down stabilizers - put an extension rod on to to them so you can use a cordless drill
3 - don't put up the annex if staying for 1 or 2 days, just use the roll out awning!
4 - Extra long Coach screws instead of tent pegs for the annex.
5 - only drive for max 2 hours and then stop for morning tea then 1.5 hours before having lunch - then stop for the rest of the day. (you are retired and there is no rush)
6 - replace anything which requires you to get under the van or down on the floor into the van cupboards. eg water tank selectors on the floor in the cupboard - I used electric solenoids with the switch under the bench top.

Above all else - enjoy the scenery and life

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For emptying the toilet get a small folding hand trolley so you don't have to carry it when the dump point is on the other side of a caravan park. We bought ours from Bunnings, they are the size suitable for suitcases or similar, not the large garage type ones.

I have back problems, my husband has dodgy knees, but we manage just fine using some of the tips given by others above. Just don't rush!

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Chief one feather

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Hi David, I have found I can do all things needed to travel and live in my aluminium tent but all things take longer these days. The one thing I can't do anymore is climb a ladder to clean roof etc but then at my age I spose I shouldn't be on ladders anyway. Being solo I have had to change how a few things are done but all works for me.

I can still manage to drive without any problems. I am one that leaves at the crack of dawn and at my camp around lunchtime after having a few stops along the way. 

 



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Pradokakadudavid wrote:

Just thinking longer term and was wondering about the general level of fitness and or flexibility required for all things associated with towing a caravan post retirement age (65), assuming a leisurely pace rather than a marathon race. 

I would be interested in feedback from experienced caravanners re how things like doggy backs, necks etc cope with the demands (or lack of) caravanning.


 I think if you one of you can handle a standard full weight airline suitcase and handle a Trail-A-Mate jockey wheel you should be able to keep on vanning. The other thing is can both of you handle long periods driving (that does not mean stretches of more than 2 hours continuous driving.) It is a personal thing how much you can endure and still enjoy the experience.

I know a bloke with a buggered back who could not handle a Trail-A-Mate but his wife would put it into place and he could do the rest.



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Hi David,

We too know an 83 yo chap who tows his van, a much older van 24ft from Adelaide to Exmouth WA with a 100 series Landcruiser.

He needs a bit of help with his WDH in the heat. (There is enough of us to help whenever needed).

Without us he uses a length of gal pipe for leverage on the bars.wink 

He does everything else himself.

For me I'm allready stuffed in the back and neck. Mind over matter and a bit of know how gets the job done.

I still shift 2700kg and 1900kg units sideways on my own with the right gear.( Go Jacks for me. Plus one Trail-Mate.)

I weigh in at 84kg in my Undies.biggrin

Jim



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Both of us have back issues and as everyone has said its not a race when travelling, we only drive a maximum of 1-2 hours and then stop for a break which includes walking around the town or a couple of laps around the carpark, setting up the van on site usually starts mid afternoon and is often finished next day.

I use a drill and extension bar to wind down stability drop jacks and a trailer mate on the front, we dont use a full annex anymore we have light weight shade screens which are much easier to put up and as for the toilet canister you can either use a small collapsible trolly (bought at $2 shop) or drive to the dump point with it.

The other thing to remember is if you get stuck most caravaners are friendly and helpfull if you are genuine and ask them to help with something like a WDH.



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Thanks everyone for that fantastic and very sensible advice.  I have made a list of tips of those I am not already aware of to help out when needed. I am not a geriatric yet but plan on getting there one day!

Re handling a Prado Kakadu, this is the easiest and most comfortable car I have ever owned and driven and when I had my recent back operation I would never have been  able to easily get in or out of my previous car without this vehicle.  My other cars had to be fallen into and crawled out of!  

All the comments re dodgy backs and dickie necks makes me feel less "disposable".

I will remind my wife lol. 

Kakadu Dave is my 4 x 4 ing UHF call name so seemed like a easy way to define myself on this site. 

As there are 5 Dave's in my 4x4 group, it is necessary to be able to distinguish between Daves!

Thanks for all the useful tips and enjoy 2018. 

David. 



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Another thing to think of.

Set your rig up so that it is level for to aft when coupled to vehicle then for an overnighter you do not have to uncouple. Perhaps lower a stabilizer to stop the rock n roll as you move around inside the van.

I have also put a relay for van power that charges battery and runs fridge that turns off when the tugs ingnition is off.



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Buy a motorhome - pull up, open the windows, doors and the fridge - step outside and enjoy your drink!

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At 71 and suffering a Aortic Dissection which has restricted blood flow to my legs and arthritis in my hands I have had to make some arrangements to enable me to continue to use our caravan.

Some of this has already been mentioned.

1 / Plan small journeys each day for me that is 250kl

2/ Get rid of everything that you dont really need in the van and carry only the essentials.

3/ Do not carry extra gear in the van ( Van should be ready to just walk in and use at any time )

4/ I have had the electric plug re mounted on the rear bumper bar ( this makes it easy to connect without bending under back of the car )

5/ I cut my chains in half and have half permanently on the tow car ( makes it substantially easier to hook up )

6/ Plan what you carry in the tow car so that what you need is easily accessible

7/ Have wind down stabilisers and set up electric battery drill to wind them up and down

8/ Make sure you can attach sullage pipes easily without crawling under the van ( modify as needed )

9/ Have a set up routine and have a chair so you can sit between efforts

10/ Ask for help if you need it ( most people you meet will give you a hand if they see you struggling )

Enjoy

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Hey David, Great question! I've been towing caravans post-retirement for a few years now, and I can tell you that it's definitely doable without being an Olympic athlete. Flexibility and fitness do play a role, but it's more about pacing yourself and being mindful of your body. Personally, I've had some back issues in the past, but with the right precautions and products, it's been manageable. One thing that's made a significant difference for me is incorporating human growth hormone (HGH) supplements into my routine. They've helped with muscle recovery, flexibility, and overall energy levels, making those long towing days much more manageable. If you're interested, I've found great results with https://worldhgh.best supplements. Of course, everyone's experience may vary, but I'd highly recommend looking into it if you're concerned about your physical well-being while caravanning. And remember, take it easy, listen to your body, and enjoy the journey!



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Re user name.  My first 4x4 was a 2016 V6 Toyota Prado Kakadu.  Best 4 wheel drive I have ever owned hence the handle name - added to David which is my real name.  Although I loved this 4 wheel drive and thrashed the s---- out of it 4 wheel driving, this 4 wheel drive had a 2500 kg towing limit which severely limited my towing abilities.  As you can see from my avatar, I now tow with a Y62 Patrol but I kept the old "handle" name that I joined with.



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Thanks.

Can you advise the exact name of the human growth hormone (HGH) supplement you purchased and recommend as I looked at the website which contains lots of products.

I have done most of the things that members recommend re spreading the work load and minimising efforts required.

After several back operations, I still find that any physical work takes its toll the next day so I do need to modify my activities.

I have only been retired for two years so have plenty left to do.

Thanks.

David.



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David,

The user suggesting HGH treatment has been removed from the site as a commercial interest come scammer.

Before contemplating going down any type of hormone treatment you talk to your doctor.

Self medication of this type is fraught with danger.

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G'day David, I have found that simple things like foam pad to kneel on, waterproof picnic rug to lay on under van, pre-placement of standing aids, etc are all that are required to keep a reasonably healthy person nomading.

It boils down to "reaping what you sow" in most cases - active healthy when young, fit and able when old.

Mind you a few (prescribed) pills and potions can assist but, be wary of off the shelf miracles in a bottle proffered by on-line peddlers.

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Well, I must say a very interesting topic. Both Jay&Dee are recipients of the OBE award which is the OVER BLOODY EIGHTY Award.
We have been restricted in our travels lately due to illness. But we hope to hit the road again soon.

We carry a small 3-step ladder.
Ryobi drill is a must.
I found that the BOS jockey wheel is great. only need a good battery Drill...bos370.com.au/ Check it out. ( cost a few $$$)
a 12-volt TV is a must.

We drive a 100 series Landcruiser. Never leave home without.

I concur with all the other forumites comments.

Jay&Dee


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Guru

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Another thing to remember is to have plenty of travel stops,and stretch the legs.

Just got back last Thursday after a trip along the Murray,long distance driving never bothered me before.

But now we are in our eighties,I arrived home with swollen sore painful calf muscle,turned out to be DVT.

Deep vein thrombosis,required a injection of heparin and now on blood thinners,getting older you to take things easier and slower.

But will keep on,keeping on ,next trip will be after winter.

 

 



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Thanks to all for your sincere advice.

If you look at my back it looks like I have visited a medieval torture chamber with multiple long incisions.

This is the result of a misspent youth and I can still hear my mother saying, "David if you don't stop doing that one day you will be sorry".  Yep she was right but my kids don't take much notice of my advice either!

Just to summarise actions taken already which might be useful for newbies.

1. I integrated a BOS wind up jack several years ago and this was a real back saver.  Started with a cheap Bunnings Ryobi drill which did the job but quickly burnt out (320kg TBW). I was advised to buy something more heavy duty so I bought a De Walt which has never let me down (yep and a lot more expensive).  The Ryobi had a three year warranty so I got all my money back which made me smile. 

2. I do use the cordless drill with extension bit to reach under to the corner stabilizers and that too was a great help.

3. My wife bought this cheap gardening stool with handles that fold up and is great for sitting on to connect and drop stabilizers etc.  Can definitely recommend one of these.

1 Set, Garden Kneeler And Seat, Foldable Garden Kneeling Bench With Comfortable Pad & Tool Pocket, Ideal For Gardening & Weeding,Temu

4. Yep we do tryyyyyyyyyyyyyyy to do short stints with short coffee or lunch breaks and it is great to get out and stretch.  I am most fortunate that my Y62 Patrol seats are extremely supportive and comfortable but I still stiffen up when I get out!

5. I have found that putting  up all the awning stabilizers causes back strain and much of this process has to be done on a ladder which my back doesn't like. Now days I just tie it down with screw in pegs and fold it up each night when it get windy.

So off down to Pemberton and Nannup in WA on Sunday so I will try to innovate all of the advice received. We have had a better quality mattress made for the caravan but it is never going to be as good as the one we have at home.

Cheers.

David



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Seems like a lot of mixed messages here. get a drill, change you jockey wheel, exercise. I would have thought winding up stands and jockey wheels would be good for you, it is exercise. Even walk around the van and the car a few times is good for you. We sit enough in the car, if you have a crook back more sitting wouldn't help. just my thoughts. I guess I am a lucky one, I am still very mobile, well try to be.

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gold dandelion wrote:

Seems like a lot of mixed messages here. get a drill, change you jockey wheel, exercise. I would have thought winding up stands and jockey wheels would be good for you, it is exercise. Even walk around the van and the car a few times is good for you. We sit enough in the car, if you have a crook back more sitting wouldn't help. just my thoughts. I guess I am a lucky one, I am still very mobile, well try to be.


 I have spinal stenosis along with one very crook foot so nothing is easy. Even if I get down on knees that causes extreme pain in the foot as I have a plate and screws in it. Any weight on it sends a bad signal to what brain I have left and that then combines the back pain to go with it. Endep is my friend, but it then affects my driving ability. No win win situation for me

 



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biggrinbiggrin"signal to what brain I have left "

Ah, that is why you follow the wrong team mate .biggrinbiggrin



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Cheers Craig



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My brother in-law in Germany had 2 hip replacements, actually 3 as 1 got a shocking infected. We have been with them on a few camping trips around Europe. Our Macpac tent is more waterproof than aluminium.

 

But back on the subject of the infirm... he got remote control wheel clamps to remotely move the caravan. Like all caravans in Europe. No one there physically moves their caravan.

 

No need to bend your knees for caravan manoeuvring.

 

Remote controls for pretty much everything.

 

 

Europe is way ahead of us Antipodeans.



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Craig1 wrote:

biggrinbiggrin"signal to what brain I have left "

Ah, that is why you follow the wrong team mate .biggrinbiggrin


 Geez mate I won't come down and see you again with that sort of talk    smilebiggrin



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Age does not weary us, makes us go travelling more



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PradokakaduDavid - I'm a reasonably fit mid 70s and all the labour-saving hints above are good to know. I've always done a lot of walking and a bit of weight training to try to keep the fitness level up. The only tip I have is that you should always lift with your head. That is, think first and only use your body in ways that will not damage it. Get a second person or use mechanical aids to help with heavy things. Know your personal limits and take your time.

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It's the main reason I quit my van, hooking up the van and the wdh, having to disconnect the wdh to do tight turns or going into servo's , setting up the stabilisers and putting them away. Doing the awning, Popping the top, I was fed up. My campertrailer a Campomatic sets up in just 11 seconds, and folds down with a winch in 4 minutes. I prefer that instead.

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In terms of driving, if you are fit enough to drive a car you are fit enough to tow a van. In terms of setting vans up for the night etc, there are quite a number of things that you can do to help in that regard. Make sure that things such as water connections both fresh and sullage are easy to access, same applies to your stabiliser jacks. Some vans have them tucked well under the van which makes things difficult with bad backs and arthritic knees. Look at thinks like electric jockey wheels so you don't have to crank these up and down or even a hydraulic one. Look at vans that are lower in height as an off road version can be difficult to climb into as you age. Hitches too can be made easier. I have a McHitch Auto loader and it is the best hitch I have ever seen or used for hooking up or unhooking. Just get the height of the tow vehicle level with the van hitch and you can hook up very easily from a variety of angles. Not a great fan of using cordless drills on stabiliser jacks as I have witnessed a number of people strip the gears in the jacks with them, but if you do not have the torque adjusted very high, then they can be of benefit for relieving your back to some extent.

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