James Stanbury

See other accessory reviews written by James Stanbury

After all the tests, Practical Caravan's expert picks the £11.99 Kampa AC0290 as the best clothes airer for caravan holidays in the UK today

Overview

We love the fact that caravans make great bases for walking holidays, relaxing, beach holidays, sightseeing, festivals, events and all sorts of outdoor activities. We'd also like to believe that the sun will shine each and every time we take the caravan out, but in Britain it's always wise to prepare for the other kind of weather. This year, don't let soggy clothing put a damper on your caravan holidays – get yourself a clothes airer! We think the right airer should be an essential part of everyone's caravan holiday gear.

Even with all the mod cons that most caravans offer, drying towels and clothes indoors is still not the easiest thing to achieve. It's not just the mid-holiday washing that we mean, but also the damp coats and jeans after a walk, even just a little walk to the wash block.

Plenty of camping accessory manufacturers have had a go at making equipment to help us. So we've been testing a good range of clothes airers costing from under a fiver to almost £77.

So, what have we been looking for, during our group test of the very best airers for caravan holidays? Well, we have given top marks to those with as much laundry capacity as possible (usually given in metres of line space or kilos of wet washing), while being compact, light and easy to use. Ideally, we'd like them to be stable enough to use outdoors, even in windy weather. 

As with all accessory tests, we have awarded extra points to compact airers that are light to carry, easy to store and use.

To find the best value for money with airers we've compared the purchase price and running costs with the capacity of damp clothing that can be dried. We've also looked at how well the wet washing dried, and the general design of the product.

Among the clothes airers we tested are the JML DriBuddi, which is essentially a folding tumble-dryer for £59.99, and another powered item, the Lakeland Dry:Soon 2-tier heated airer, costing £76.99. At the other end of the spectrum, we also tested the SunnCamp 4m Window Clothes Dryer FN9600, a cheap and effective £4.25 airer. Then we looked at the Outwell Drying Rack, a freestanding airer costing £24.99. 

The Kampa AC0290 is an airer that addresses most of the needs of most caravanners. Once it is opened, you get no fewer than 30 sturdy pegs that hang down to take dishcloths, tea towels and socks in their stride, as well as heavier garments such as rain-soaked trousers and jumpers. The two outermost members double as conventional airer rails, too, once a couple of spring clips are flicked out of the way.

The whole assembly folds in half to just 40cm x 29cm x 5cm, making it easy to stash away neatly in a drawer or cupboard. To position it for use, you simply find a secure overhead point to which you attach the single sturdy clamp. Then get pegging!

Technical specs

Capacity30 pegs
Size40cm x 29cm x 5cm

Verdict

The Kampa AC0290 may be a surprise test winner, but when it comes to caravan holidays, we think that this beats far more sophisticated products hands down.

It is compact, tough, easy to use and a snip at just over a tenner.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Compact
  • Effective
  • Cheap
  • Fits into a caravan drawer

Cons

  • Not ideal for sheets
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