WE ARE BIG fans of caravanners improving their own vehicles at Practical Caravan so were delighted to see this chunky new book arrive at the office. How to Improve & Modify Your Caravan is a 224-page guide to a huge range of technical jobs, written by Lindsay Porter.
The guide is stuffed full of large colour photos and for the most part, instructions are clear and easy to understand. It covers a lot of ground although it is fair to say that many of the projects are pretty in-depth and offer an insight into what’s involved in some complex, professional-level caravan upgrading, rather than a strictly hands-on guide to DIY improvement.
Some of the information is excellent. Features on fiddly tasks such as adding worktop extensions, table upgrades, improving drainage and fitting a shower curtain rail is really useful and gives good step-by-step info on what you need to do and important details to consider when tackling such seemingly simple jobs.
On the downside, what look like quite helpful guides to buying accessories such as caravan steps and levelling ramps are actually of limited use because the products featured are pretty old and many are simply not available any more. For example, the Raydyot, Vision View and Milenco mirrors reviewed in the book are no longer available, but there are plenty of others which are.
Another slight niggle is the slightly random order of the material. For example, installing the Propex Malaga Water Heater is included in the General Improvements chapter, while installing the functionally identical Whale Water Heater is 100 pages further on in the Comfort section. Similarly, useful features on adding, improving and extending blown air heating systems are in the same Comfort chapter, while a very similar short piece on replacing blown air trunking sits 60 pages away, sandwiched between forced ventilation for fridges and improving your battery charger.
How to Improve & Modify Your Caravan should be considered an accessory to a more general guide such as Haynes Caravan Handbook, which is a more complete guide to buying and using a caravan and covers enough of the basics for most users. If you are dedicated to DIY however, we’ve no doubt you’ll find this useful. Shop around to beat the optimistic £30 cover price.