RV Books

RV Books provides powerful, proven & unbiased information on caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers choosing, buying, using and building

Instant, powerful, unbiased & accurate information & advice on caravans, motorhomes, camper trailers and fifth-wheel caravans.

RV Books helps current and future caravan, motor home, camper trailer and fifth-wheel caravan owners understand, buy, maintain and enjoy all types of RV. Here are general & technical RV articles, videos and influential RV blog. Plus our own proven digital and printed RV Books written by Collyn Rivers. It also features long-proven work of other RV authors.

RV Books sells eBooks directly. If you would like to buy a print version, please see here.

Please note: Almost all articles have now (November 2019) been updated - and will continue to be as needed. 

Both caravan and home solar is also covered our companion site solarbooks.com


All books are in eBook (pdf) format

The Caravan and Motorhome Book

by Collyn Rivers

(eBook A$29.95)

A detailed analysis for buyers and owners of caravans and motorhomes

Why Caravans Roll Over

by Collyn Rivers

(eBook A$29.95)

Explains in detail every aspect of tow vehicle and caravan stability.

Caravan and Motorhome Electrics

by Collyn Rivers

(eBook A$29.95)

A technical but accessible guide to all aspects of RV electrics.

The Camper Trailer Book

        by Collyn Rivers

(eBook A$29.95)

Essential yet simple and proven reading for buyers, builder & owners of camper trailers.

Solar That Really Works!

by Collyn Rivers

(eBook A$29.95)

This factual, simple & long proven book explains all you need to make solar first time for you.

The RV Handbook

by Collyn Rivers

Publication scheduled for late 2019


The first ever fully comprehensive guide to RV purchase and ownership. 

General articles on a range of important topics relating to RVs.

Technical articles to assist RV owners, manufacturers and legislators.

Visit our online bookshop to buy all our books in print or eBook format.

Featured Article

Why Caravans Roll Over - updated November 2019

Why Caravans Roll Over

Updated November 2019

Why and how caravans roll over or jackknife is now totally  understood. The cause is basic and readily avoided. It is substantially  associated with the towing vehicle. This constantly updated article you
are reading here is a brief precis of what happens, why and how to limit or prevent it happening.

Our full (plain English) book Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent it explains all.

(This book includes a simple Question and Answer section  enabling you assess the probable stability of your own rig - and how to  improve that - as reader feedback

Caravan Roll Over Videos

In these caravan rollover videos, each caravan has become unstable with catastrophic results. They are unlikely to have occurred at a lower towing speed, but once they began to sway, they could not be recovered by driver correction (no matter how skilled or experienced).

Causes outside the driver's control include road conditions, wind resistance and gusting side winds (including those from trucks passing - or being passed).   

Factors within the driver's control include speed (particularly), weight of the caravan relative to the tow vehicle, distribution of weight in the caravan, tow ball mass - and tyre pressures of the towing vehicle. The use of a Weight Distribution Hitch too is involved.

That vitally required however is knowing how and why rollovers (or jack-knifing) occur.

Both videos show the accidents happened whilst towing on a flat road in a straight line. No bends, hills or obvious cambers. This is quite common but a particular risk is descending a steep windy hill at excess speed, and overtaking (or being overtaken by) a semi-trailer at high speed.

For the very first time, a full plain-English (plus a full technical explanation) is in our all-new book 'Why Caravans Rollover - and how to prevent it'.

The not-for-profit Caravan Council of Australia describes its as 'Essential reading for all caravanners!'

Caravan Roll Over Factors

A caravan roll over is rarely the result of one issue. There are usually several involved. The ultimate cause - of the tow vehicle losing control - is outlined here.

A snaking caravan imposing side forces on the tow vehicle's rear tyres that can build up and cause them to lose all grip. This may happen if the rig is travelling at or above a critical speed (unique to each rig and its loading). These side yaw forces can trigger a violently escalating snaking that typically ends in a jack-knife. This typically results in the caravan overturning - and often also the tow vehicle.

Excess speed (for that particular rig) is almost always involved. The tow vehicle and trailer is usually travelling at high speed when a roll over happens, often when overtaking another vehicle, or being overtaken. The forces involved increase with speed. A rollover at 110 km/h involves forces over four times higher than at 50 km/h. It is unlikely that the accident would have occurred at less speed. Regardless of speed limits never exceed 100 km/h when towing - especially when overtaking.

Critical Speed

There is a critical speed (unique to each rig and its loading) above which a tow vehicle and trailer is impossible for the driver to correct if subjected to a strong disturbing force. There is little or no warning. Yaw (sway) builds up within a few seconds, the rig almost always jack-knifes and is likely to roll over.

Be aware that a tow vehicle that pulls a trailer that is unevenly loaded - or worse - rear-end heavy (and/or has too low tow ball mass) is likely to have critical speeds well below the towing speed limit.

That critical speed does not imply that an accident will happen if that critical speed is exceeded. It means that if travelling at our above that speed, if hit by a strong disturbing force (often a side wind gust or emergency swerve) a jack-knife may likely result.

The following are factors that increase your risk:  

Incorrect Trailer Weight Distribution

Heavy loads at the top and (especially) at the extreme rear of a long caravan make it potentially unstable. Keep all heavy items as close to the axle/s as possible. If possible, carry rear mounted spare wheels in the tow vehicle - not on the rear wall of the caravan. (That some makers inexplicably do this does not change the basic laws of physics).

Tow Ball Mass

Inadequate tow ball mass decreases the rig's critical speed at which jack-knifing is likely. With many locally-made caravans over about 5.5 metres with tow ball mass below about 7.5%, that critical speed is very likely to be as low as 70-80 km/h.  

Excess Tow Hitch Overhang

Excess tow hitch overhang increases both download and side forces on the tow vehicle's rear tyres. Excess hitch overhang is virtually a recipe for swaying. Choose a tow hitch with the shortest possible overhang, not a longer one that may be marginally easier to couple and uncouple.  

External Factors

These are factors over which a driver has no control. Most are harmless for passenger cars, but when towing, can be dangerous. These include:

a wind gust, which can be natural or caused by a vehicle coming in the opposite direction a wind gust (or increased or decreased (side) air pressure) as a result of overtaking or being overtaken steep road camber, which may ease a trailer off to the side of the road. Over-compensating for this can send a tow vehicle and trailer sharply towards the middle of the road adverse weather and road conditions.

The issue is not how a rig feels and acts in normal driving. It is how it behaves in abnormal driving. This may include swerving at speed to avoid a head-on crash, or a strong-enough side force on a bend and/or being passed (or passing) closely at speed by a semi-trailer.

Many owners of fundamentally unstable rigs have not experienced this simply because they have not been subject to such issues. But (increasingly)many are - over 300 rigs jack-knifed in 2018 alone. Many of those also rolled over.

Police and rescue staff commonly report the driver as saying 'it always felt so stable until then .....'.

Our book Why Caravans Rollover - and how to prevent it explains (in plain English) exactly how and why caravan rollovers happen. A invaluable section enables owners to estimate their own rig's stability - and suggests how to improve this. It also has a separate fully technical explanation - and many references.

The book is based on truly extensive research and (author) Collyn Rivers' having spent much of his life studying and working in this area. Collyn is an ex Vauxhall/Bedford motor industry research engineer.

Why Caravans Rollover - and how to prevent it is downloadable from this website. Do it now!

Avoiding Caravan Roll Overs

'Why Caravans Rollover - and how to prevent it'  explains all

Major issues include:

never exceed 100 km/h with any rig where the laden caravan weighs more than the laden tow vehicle (especially when overtaking). 
do not overload your caravan (particularly at the rear)
make sure your tow ball mass is between 8-10%.
avoid having a laden tow vehicle that is lighter than the laden trailer. If it is, keep speed lower accordingly. 

Click HERE to purchase Why Caravans Roll Over
Why Caravans Roll Over is also available in a Kindle version available from Amazon.com.
For the Kindle version click HERE

Our influential blog on all things RV.

Battery Breakthrough - New technology may replace lithium-ion. Read about it here first!

Solar battery breakthrough

Battery storage has long been the major cost of home, business and even caravan solar. Most new systems are now lithium-ion and costs about $1 per watt/hour (most home systems need 12,000-15,000 watt/hours).

This may well be slashed by a new Australian-developed battery (called Gelion) that uses zinc-bromide: a (claimed) much cheaper and safer technology than the lithium-ion batteries used now.

The zinc-bromide chemistry used by Gelion operates without the need for active cooling and enables 100% of the battery’s capacity to be used (most batteries are damaged or wrecked by that).

The Gelion company is based on work by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, winner of the 2018 Eureka Prize for Leadership in Innovation and Science. The so called the Gelion Endure system is inexpensive, robust, safe, fully recyclable and scalable.

The company plans to launch the system into the $70 billion global energy storage market. It states that ‘the global battery market is currently valued at $60 billion to $70 billion and yet, if we were to take all current batteries produced in one year, they would only have the capability to store around to store around 11 minutes of annual electrical power use. Gelion has set out to fill the overwhelming market need with an inexpensive, robust, safe, fully recyclable and scalable battery – the Gelion Endure system.”The zinc-bromide chemistry used by Gelion operates without the need for active cooling and uses 100% of the battery’s capacity.

Its electrode surfaces can be rejuvenated remotely using battery management systems, making it suitable for stationary energy storage applications in remote sites.

See also Collyn's companion website: solarbooks.com. It has many caravan and motorhome plus home and property solar articles.


why buy a book?

We feature RV content from authors recognised in the Australian and New Zealand RV industries for their in-depth knowledge and independence. All books are free of advertising, and authors accept no payment to mention brands in their books. By purchasing a book, you are not only educating yourself but also supporting the work of independent RV writers.

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