Of all the things that you have to worry about when choosing a caravan site, hard standings needn’t be one of them.
Soft ground is a problem for caravans all year round in the UK, and worrying about whether your caravan will sink should not stop you from enjoying your holiday, wherever you decide to go.
To this end, many caravan accessories manufacturers have brought out a series of stabilisers. The BearPad Pro is one such product.
The BearPad increases the surface area that the steadies stand on, which will spread the weight load of the caravan, to reduce sinking in soft ground. It is secured to the caravan steadies with a metal pin and clip, which are easy to use.
The metal pin goes through the caravan steady and the holes on the sides of the BearPad, before the metal clip is slipped through a hole in the end of the pin.
There are instructions on the pads themselves as to which way they should face for optimum stabilization, however the Bailey Olympus on which we tested them had side-facing steadies, so we had to put the pads on facing outwards rather than in the direction of travel. This didn’t seem to make much difference to the stability, therefore the BearPad is suitable for use with all caravans.
At £12.95 for a set of four, they are marginally more expensive than many of the alternatives, however most of these competitors do not have the metal pins which BearPads benefit from, and a quick search will show many complaints that the plastic pins are not strong enough for regular or prolonged use.
The pad itself is made of strong, durable plastic and the product comes with a five year warranty, just in case it fails to live up to the task.
It is also advertised as being able to be used as a well for pest repellent, a well that to me seems quite shallow, however with a strong repellent this could be a very useful feature, especially in the Summer. This feature is common to many other stabilisers on the market.
What else is available?
Another product that you might want to buy to go with it is the BearPad Stacker, sold in sets of four RRP £8.99, which fits into the bottom of the BearPad Pro to help level the caravan if you are on an uneven or sloping pitch.
Lining the stacker up with the BearPad Pro was slightly tricky.
However, when fitting the stackers I have found it tricky to fit them together properly before lowering the caravan on to them, and a mistake in this could cause it to be unstable.
In comparison to Milenco’s Stacka Corner Feet system, the surface area of the BearPad Stacka is quite small. This means that the Milenco’s product may be better on very soft ground, but it is difficult to tell without testing it.
The main competitor with metal pins rather than some form of plastic is the Mammoth Pad from Kampa, which has an RRP of £19.99. This product is a round shape, with a well around the edge that can be filled with water or pest repellent to prevent ants from climbing up the steadies.
Overall, this product is very easy to use, even for those new to caravanning (For example, I am a total novice). It is good quality and value for money compared to other products on the market, but the stacker system could be better designed. Both the BearPad Pro and the Stackers are lightweight and easily stow-able.