As you may have heard, we have recently launched a new type of caravan towing protector, the Pro-tec Towing Jacket. Keen caravanner and blogger, Barry Goulding, has got his hands on one and his first-look review has been kindly published on the fantastic caravan blog, GetYourLegsDown. We've republished it here for our readers.
There are many things that I love about caravanning - too many to mention at this juncture and most have been covered in various Vlogs, Blogs & other media outlets anyway so I won't waste your time listing them now.
What I am going to write about is a couple of things l don't like. The first one is cleaning the outside of the caravan.
I take care of the interior of my caravan, an Elddis Avante 550 more than I do my home. I instantly wash up after we have eaten, I dust and vacuum daily, in fact I have made a rod for my own back because my other half expects me to have the same enthusiasm for domestic chores at home now but we won't go into that. Anyhow, I digress, it's the exterior of our beloved 'van that causes some consternation.
Don't get me wrong, I love it to be a dazzling example to other people on the road, I am very proud of my caravan, but cleaning it is so frustrating. You can spend a couple of hours washing, rinsing and waxing it before your short weekend break but if the conditions are against you by the time you arrive at your chosen destination it can look like this.
Thank you Nigel Hutson for allowing me to show the worst our roads can do to our home from homes.
The weather this last week is a prime example, the Beast from the East conspired with Storm Emma to conjure up a torrid time for the nation. Many parts of the country were cut off for a short while and lot's of commuters were trapped on the Motorways and Highways for many hours.
Fortunately the Beast & Emma have absconded but left us with some very messy roads, roads that will cause havoc with your recently cleaned vehicle.
If you are like me you will have given your caravan a clean down before embarking on your latest outing, however, with the recent weather your pride and joy could end up looking like poor Nigel's unit following a trip to York.
So, the question is how do we avoid this and the answer is a towing cover. That brings me to the second thing I have not liked so far in my caravanning journey so to speak. This little addition to your caravanning kit can not only protect your 'van from the perils of a dirty road or muddy campsite but it also has the added advantage of protecting the windows from stones and other debris thrown up from the ground.
So, I set out to purchase one and being a typical Yorkshireman looking for a bargain I bought a second hand one that was a few years old but still served it's purpose. However, putting it on the caravan was a right royal pain in the neck. I had to insert about twelve separate ties in each awning rail then fold the cover up from the bottom and tension each tie separately, something that really needed two people and was time consuming, so as you might imagine, after a short while I stopped using it and we were back to square one, until now......
Let me introduce you to the Brand New Pro-tec Towing Jacket. The Towing Jacket was presented to the caravanning world at the recent Caravan and Motorhome show at the NEC and by all accounts it has been received well by the community.
So, what is different? Well, firstly, it is a one person operation, it is unbelievably easy to attach to your caravan. The cover is in two parts, unsurprisingly a left and a right side. Slide the left side into the left awning channel.
Then the right side of the jacket into the right awning rail. You can do it the other way around if you so desire, we are very easy going us Yorkshire folk!
Once both sides are inserted into their appropriate rail, simply zip the two sides together and there you have it. Well almost, there are two hooks on each side of the jacket that you attach to the fascia of your caravan and a strap that you pass under the A-Frame to secure it. And that is literally that. It will take you two minutes, probably less with practice. It's so simple, let's face it,it has to be for people like me:
But that's not all. With most other towing covers, once it is on you can't get to the front locker box, not easily anyway, so fingers crossed you haven't absentmindedly forgot anything important like your towing mirrors in there. Ahem. However, with the Pro-tec jacket you don't need to worry about that because guess what? You can just pull the zip up and get access to the locker.
The jacket has two toggles at the top of each corner allowing you to fasten the cover so it doesn't impede you when you are doing what it is you are doing in the locker.
It doesn't end there. There may be some reason that during your journey you need to stop, maybe you are on a tour on the continent, France maybe and you stop in an Aire possibly and want a coffee or meal in your caravan. Do you take off the cover or put up with it obscuring any view, the chances are with all the shenanigans of putting it on you won't want to take it off. Well, with the Pro-tec Towing Jacket you don't have to.
All that is required is to pull down the zip from the top down to the desired level and you have a view again. The zips are kept in place with a Velcro cover, obviously I have not put these to the test yet, that observation will come later this month.
As you may have spotted there are a couple of other benefits to the towing jacket I haven't yet mentioned. On the photo above you can see at the bottom left and bottom right of the cover are two inlets that allow your lights to be seen, don't worry, they have a soft plastic cover so no chance of the dirt getting in there.
Also you may have noticed the two pockets on either side of the cover about half way up, the more astute will have gathered that these allow you access to the handles.
So to summarise my first impressions:
The Towing Jacket is lightweight and packs up into a neat little bag, handy for storage.
It is available in blue (like mine) or green, I have to be honest, I am not sure if they are available in other colours. The wife preferred blue because our colour scheme in the van is blue!
For me the main benefit is that it can be fitted quickly and is a one person task. That minute or two needed to fit it can save you time ( not having to clean the van as often) and money ( preventing damage to windows or body from stones etc).
Access to handles, windows or the locker is no issue.
So, we now have to put it to the road test, which, as I have mentioned I will be doing in a couple of weeks.
So far though, the Pro-tec Towing Jacket has ticked all the boxes and I haven't found any negatives yet (which has surprised my wife).
If you have got this far, thank you for reading this blog, it is appreciated and if anyone does have any questions they want to ask me regarding the jacket, I am on twitter @tyke34.
Check out the Towing Jacket HERE.