The top 10 must-have accessories for your caravan
Buying a caravan is a lot like buying a house. It's a large space, fully furnished, but that doesn't mean it's immediately ready for use. Don't let the beds, baths and kitchen fool you - there's still a lot a caravan needs to make it feel like home.
That's why in this article we'll be running down the top ten accessories you'll need to get the most out of your caravan. Some are cheap, some costly, but they're all must-have accessories for any trip.
10. Fire kit
A dry powder fire extinguisher is an essential caravan accessory, allowing you to deal with category B and C fires, whether they're caused by petrol, gas, diesel or cooking fat. Some caravans will come with this essential piece of kit, but there's no telling the age or quality of second-hand fire prevention equipment, so it's a good idea to buy your own. Conscientious drivers will also invest in a fire blanket or fire bucket, both of which are good for stifling fires without distracting or inconveniencing the driver. A good fire kit might just save your vehicle or your life, so make it one of the first things you buy.
Awnings fit to the side of the van, extending the comfortable area outside a vehicle and adding living space which you'll be thankful for in the long run. There are two main sizes of awning: 'canopy' and 'porch', with the former covering more space and costing more money. One thing many people tend to forget is that awnings are generally intended to be used with a ground sheet. A simple one will do, but think of it as the bottom of a tent and you'll see its necessity pretty quickly.
8. Sleeping bags
The sleeping bag/duvet debate is a common one in caravan circles, but for our money sleeping bags are just more versatile. If you like, you can splash out on both, but only sleeping bags give you the option of sleeping away from your vehicle for fun or in an emergency. If you can stretch to waterproof sleeping bags then do - even if you have no intention of going outdoors, you never know what circumstance is around the corner.
A coolbox gives you a lot of freedom, but it can be time-consuming to create one using ice or by freezing the box before use. Happily for £80 you can grab an electronic, battery powered coolbox that'll pay for itself after the first few picnics.
It might seem frivolous, but having some easy entertainment on board can keep travellers in high spirits. A small television or e-reader can be purchased for under £100, and would be a sensible purchase for anyone planning long journeys. E-readers like the Kindle are particularly good for caravans, allowing you to carry a library of books at a feather-light, mileage-friendly weight.
5. Leisure battery
Of course, you'll need a battery to power that entertainment. A 70ah to 115ah battery will do the job, and costs from £60 to £90.
An essential but often overlooked caravan accessory, many is the traveller who has stocked up on food and then discovered mid-journey that they don't have a way to eat it. A simple melamine set of plates and cutlery should suffice, since they're hard to break and easy to clean.
A caravan is halfway between a house and a vehicle, but many people treat it as no more than a car. Caravans are generally very safe, but on busy sites or journeys where you'll be away for a while it helps to have some extra protection. Make sure you have the correct security devices.
Another important but commonly forgotten item, steps can slip your mind if you're reasonably fit. Just remember that it won't always be easy to jump down from or heave yourself up into a caravan, and the day you've twisted an ankle or you're carrying some shopping is the day you'll rue not investing in something sturdy to step on.
Containers are lifesavers on a caravan holiday, and will genuinely pay for themselves before long. Carrying excess weight will cost you in gas money, so be sure to transport water in a container to rake in the saving. Two roller containers will make life easier, allowing you to easily collect and dispose of water, no matter how far away it is from your pitch.