As technology advances, so does the capability of the reversing camera for caravan towing safety, offering higher quality visual and audio feedback to help you reverse your caravan more smoothly and easily into difficult camp sites and parking spots.
The expectation from drivers has also shifted in the last decade with a rise in the use of reversing cameras in cars, many coming installed or inbuilt. Given this, a reversing camera is also fast becoming an essential accessory that caravanners not only look out for but expect when towing a caravan.
Why you need it
With a caravan in tow, you’re longer and wider than usual, making it harder to see the rear of your caravan and traffic coming from behind. By using a reversing camera for caravan towing safety you can increase your rear visibility, eliminate blind spots, be alerted when objects get too close, and be guided safely into tight camp sites and parking spots. It will also work on any road surface, in any type of traffic or weather, and makes a great driving safety aid.
What it includes
The rise in popularity of caravan reversing cameras has led to a swathe of products entering the market, some that are good, others that have let people down due to poor image quality and vision range. Given this, it’s important that caravanners ensure they look for the following features when buying a reversing camera for caravan towing safety.
A basic system should include a camera, display monitor, mounting accessories and connector cabling. If it's a wireless unit it won't come with cables. From here you then want to look for a system that includes:
- CCD reversing camera with high quality image & light settings
- 90+ degree angle lens so you can view traffic around
- long distance focus for full rear-view vision of a small to large caravan
- night vision, with a minimum 10 LED lights & 5m or more light illumination
- front, back and mirror image vision capabilities
- audio capacity to hear outside noise & communication
- water-proof and dustproof camera & cabling
- sun shield for proper day vision
- automatic switch on when reversing
- easy to remove display monitor and store.
You also want to avoid purchasing anything that has:
- short distance focus that can't give full viewing range to long roadtrains from behind
- super wide angle lenses that can distort images and lead to miscalculations
- short-range wireless signalling with an unreliable signal strength.
- manual automation, meaning you have to switch your system on every time you reverse
Cabled or wireless system?
“Although wireless systems are on the market, most grey nomads report that the level of interference these pick up makes them far too unreliable.”
While anything without cabling sounds far more appealing, wireless systems can have unreliable signal strength that can be interfered with by any metal, water or person in its path. It prefers a clear line of sight and needs a strong enough signal to get from A to B.
Given this, many potential things in a caravan set-up, from the frame to interior luggage, water tanks, spare tyres and passengers, can get in the way. As a result, cabling systems are still more widely used.
If you do want a wireless system, above all else, make sure the range in the unit suits the distance and the environment that it’s set up for, and with enough power and signal output.
Reversing camera for caravan installation
A fit-for-purpose reversing camera for caravan towing safety should come with installation instructions; however, if you don't feel confident doing it yourself, it's a good idea to get an expert to install it for you. Look to see that it has a good warranty and also find out what installation provisions the manufactuerer or place of purchase can provide.
Reversing cameras can mount to your vehicle's numberplate and trailer if you're using two cameras, with enough cabling to hook up to a LCD monitor mounted on the dashboard. Screens can range from 5-9” and the larger the screen the better vision you’ll have. Make sure you mount your display screen firmly so it stays secure.
To DYI, check out this great video How to install a reverse camera on a caravan, which will walk you through the steps.
Two heads are better than one
If you’re towing a caravan the ideal scenario is to also have someone on-hand to guide you when reversing at all times. A person on the ground can give you more detailed feedback on everything that's happening around. This working hand-in-hand with a reversing camera is the ultimate combination, helping you cover all bases and giving you more confidence to travel to your favourite destinations. A worthwhile investment for more peace of mind and a life of caravanning adventures.
Want to become a more confident tower, from hitching to driving? Download our free ebook 10 steps to becoming a caravan towing pro.