Ah, thought that would get your attention! Allow me to introduce The Tug – a portable dolly designed to make manoeuvring a trailer or caravan easier. Reg, from The Tug Co recently got in touch through Twitter and offered to send us one for reviewing. Of course we said yes and was able to give it a thorough work out whilst on our Easter weekend break to the Caravan Club site at Crystal Palace.
Right, it’s supplied flat packed, but don’t let that put you off. An instruction sheet is provided but it’s really simple as you will see. First, you will see all the parts laid out. There are no tools in the picture because none are needed.
You can put it together a number of different ways. This was my second attempt and was quicker than the first.
First, the brackets are attached to the axle bar – 2 slot in blots and wing nuts on each, then the tow ball is added, again 2 bolts and wing nuts. The height is adjustable and we will see why later.
Next, the steering arm is attached using two quick release clips, then the handle is attached to the arm with a single clip:
And finally, the wheels, each using a clip release clip:
Position the tow ball under the hitch of your trailer or caravan, lower it on as if you are hitching up, raise the jockey wheel and away you go. Alternatively, depending on the height of your hitch and the tow ball on the dolly, position the Tug and then ease the ball in to the socket by lowering the arm on the Tug.
So, how did we get on with it? Well, first, let’s set the scene. Our caravan; Patsy 2 is no lightweight and weighs in at nearly 1.6 tonnes when fully laden – which she generally is. On the tarmac and level road manoeuvring her was easy – and I’m not exactly muscle bound as you can see. Here, getting the correct angle for you height helps – what is more comfortable for you is better for your back.
The height of the tow ball becomes crucial when steering the TUG – it needs to be high enough so the wheels of the tug don’t foul the A frame at acute angles. You will see also that the hitch–head stabiliser is not engaged – there’s no point making things difficult is there?
On the loose gravel it was a little more tricky – wear something with chunky soles – not cheapo imitation crocs like I was. Getting (and keeping) a grip will make life much easier, and, more suitably shod, I was able to still manoeuver her ladyship with out any help. The pitch sloped upwards towards the rear edge and it did need two of us to move her the last couple of feet.
Our neighbour for the weekend turned up just as we’d finished playing, and he was more than happy to let us use the Tug on his van too. His Eriba was quite a bit smaller than Patsy and clearly lighter as it was easier to move, even on the sloping gravel.
So, what do we reckon overall? Well a great bit of kit – British made too – and no, it didn’t fall to bits after five minutes. It can be put together and taken apart very easily, though you could of course just take the wheels and/or handle off depending on how you plan to store it. For the record, my first attempt took six minutes, the second time it was less than four.
It certainly makes manoeuvring a ‘van easier. At less than 10 kg it’s lighter than a motor mover, and considerably cheaper but obviously more effort is required. A motor mover will get your ‘van over gravel, through muddy grass, and up hills - to a point so clearly there are limitations. However, for quick and easy shunting of ‘vans around a dealers yard, or around a storage compound it’s perfect. It would be a useful bit of kit for campsite owners to have available for campers use too. It’s not limited to caravans, obviously. It will fit any trailer with a ball hitch so will find itself useful in a variety of situations – horseboxes, boats, builders yards and so on.
Two types of Tug are available – we tested the heavy duty one which comes with puncture proof wheels and roller bearings, and coming soon is the option of a erm, longer shaft. Oh, stop it! For more information, including some videos of the Tug in action, check out their website here. All in all, it’s a great product. Well thought out and British designed made too. Good on ‘em.