When you’re kitting out a caravan, it can be hard to know what caravan essentials to take. After all, with so much great gear to choose from, it would be easy to find yourself overloaded with accessories. At the end of the day, you’ll want to make sure you’re loading your caravan with the right items, the ones that will make a real difference to your touring experience. That’s where this guide comes in, as we talk you through the essential caravan accessories to take on tour.
We’re featuring a range of products, with accessories from brands such as Milenco, Maypole, Omnia and Dometic all appearing. These will include items that will make a difference on the journey to the campsite, and also the ones that you’ll need – or wish you had – once you’ve arrived at your destination.
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Caravan essentials: our top picks
After you’ve pitched up at your chosen caravan park, you’ll no doubt spot fellow guests wheeling fresh-water containers over to the nearest tap.
Aquaroll is a popular brand in this sphere, and this 40 litre option is not only made from recycled plastic, but also includes a collapsible and removable handle, allowing you to easily transport it back to your tourer.
Investing in a really good gas spanner can make your life a lot easier when you’re on tour, saving you a lot of unnecessary effort when you’re dealing with gas canisters. This heavy-duty cast iron product from Calor is a reasonably priced option to consider and should make changing your gas bottles a much simpler process.
Perfectly complementing your fresh-water container will be a water hose.
A suitable hose will be needed that can connect to your tourer and also has a submersible pump, otherwise you’ll struggle to bring the water onboard. One option to consider is the Whale Water Master Pump and Plug – we like how it’s easy to fit, yet secure in position, and is also simple to wipe dry for storage when it’s not in use.
If you’re planning to take your caravan off-grid, you can ignore this one. However, if you’re not, you shouldn’t forget a hook-up cable, as you’ll need this essential caravan accessory to connect your van to the mains.
We think a 10m cable should do the job in most cases, but opting for a 25m one, like this Maypole option, will give you that bit of extra flexibility, and ensure you don’t find yourself caught out.
Waste water container
If you’re not going to be hooked up to mains water drainage, you’ll need to have something that you can empty your waste water into, so you can then wheel it away and empty it. There are various models available; one such option is this product from Wastemaster, which we think presents an effective way of disposing of your waste water.
Choosing the right caravan towing mirrors will be essential and a brand that is well known for producing good products is Milenco.
We particularly like the Milenco Grand Aero Platinum towing mirrors – they’re simple to set up, and we found that once they’re in place, they were stable, and had minimum vibration. They’re also supplied as ‘one size fits all’, and the clamps come with a flexible rubber grip around a stainless-steel spring pad.
The Omnia Stovetop Oven was our winner of the best caravan accessory at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023, and we think it adds some useful versatility to cooking on tour. It’s particularly useful for those who have either a small oven or no oven at all.
Instead, you can use this compact product to rustle up some tasty dishes. Apart from an induction hob, it will work on all heat sources, and it’s easy to set up, with no installation needed.
First aid kit
A first aid kit is one of those essential caravan accessories that you’ll hope you’ll never need to use, but it’s better to be prepared.
It’s worth checking that the expiry date of the contents hasn’t passed, before each tour, and if anything needs replacing, be sure to do so as soon as possible – it’s easy to forget and then be left short when you next need a plaster, bandage or antiseptic wipe.
This 90-piece option from Astroplast includes a wide selection of items, including a thermal blanket, bandages, gloves, ice packs and more.
A hitchlock will clamp and lock into position around your tourer’s hitch-head, preventing a towball from being inserted. Quick and simple to fit, this caravan essential – along with a wheel clamp (and see our best caravan wheel lock guide if you’re looking for one) – can act as a useful deterrent to potential thieves.
This hitchlock from Maypole is lightweight, coming in at only 1.7kg, and gives you the added versatility of being suitable to use either hitched or unhitched, as the situation dictates.
One thing you will definitely want to do when you’re on tour is keep your cassette toilet in tip-top condition. That’s where caravan toilet chemicals come in – these caravan essentials can prevent unpleasant odours and will ensure everything is working just as it should.
These two eco-friendly and formaldehyde free caravan essentials from Pro-Kleen will keep on top of any waste, preventing gas build up and eradicating nasty smells.
It can be useful to have a torch that you can put down to provide light when you find yourself needing to adjust the gas bottle or empty a locker in the dark.
This LED option is recharged through a USB cable and, handily, can also be used to charge your phone. It has a number of settings depending on your needs. As a conventional torch, it has two different modes, which reach either 300 lumen or 500 lumen. The side light offers a further three, with one reaching 320 lumen and the other two providing a steady or flashing red light. The IPX4 water-resistant torch only weighs 0.4kg too.
If you’re looking for a way to enhance the space you have when you’re on tour, an awning is the way to go. If, however, you already have a big caravan and aren’t looking for a full-sized awning, the Portico from Dometic could be for you – it provides a rigid canopy to the entrance of your tourer, providing a place to shelter if it’s wet outside, for instance.
You can also take a look at our best caravan awning guide to see our pick of the other standout options on the market.
A tin opener is one of those caravan essentials that you only fully appreciate the merits of when you realise you don’t have one with you.
Make sure you’ve packed one in a drawer in your caravan’s kitchen so this doesn’t happen to you. Simple and comfortable to operate, this model from Culinare will make light work of any cans that need opening, so your on tour feasts can go ahead as planned.
When you’re choosing the caravan essentials to kit your van out with, you’ll want to make sure you get the crockery right – after all, you don’t want to be picking up a smashed plate or bowl in the confines of a tourer. That’s where melamine crockery comes in.
This rather eye-catching set from Flamefield made it onto our best caravan crockery round up and provides caravanners with four plates, four bowls and four side plates, making it ideal for couples who may have the occasional guest stay or for families on tour. As it’s melamine, you have that reassurance that if you do accidentally drop it, it should remain intact.
As caravan essentials go, a kettle is one that we think is important for helping to create a homely vibe when you’re on tour, providing access to a refreshing cup of tea, as soon as we’ve pitched up.
One example to consider is this handy kettle from Outwell. We like how it’s collapsible, allowing you to save valuable space when it’s not in use, and it can then be popped back into shape when it’s time for another cuppa. It also comes in a variety of colours and sizes, so you can pick the option that best suits your needs.
The product – that also features in our best caravan kettle guide – can be placed onto direct heat, and, of course, makes a cracking cup of tea. Then, when you’ve returned from your tour, you can pop it into the dishwasher to give it a thorough clean.
This is one of those caravan essentials that you’ll only really notice the benefits of after you’ve pitched up at your campsite and can enjoy sitting back in comfort.
We think these Sunmer camping chairs are a great option to consider. These chairs are a lightweight choice, only weighing 3.3kg each, and thanks to the padding, they provide a comfortable way of soaking up the warm weather and taking in the sights and sounds of your touring destination.
Plus, they come with a handy holder, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally knocking your drink over.
A high-vis jacket is a caravan essential if you’re touring abroad, and you should have one for each occupant of the vehicle. You should also ensure that it’s kept close to you when you’re driving to the site – don’t stow it at the back of a locker in your tourer, as you’ll need to be able to retrieve it quickly in an emergency.
An essential in most countries if you’re touring abroad, you should carry a good-quality warning triangle at all times, and be sure to use it if you break down, to alert other drivers to the hazard. Keep it somewhere within easy reach.
Winter tyres or snow chains
A legal requirement in some countries, you should double check whether you will require winter tyres or snow chains before you set off. You’ll need to know the exact size of your wheels in order to buy correctly, but depending on the time of year you’re touring, these will be a must.
Spare headlight bulbs
If your headlight bulb blows while you’re on tour abroad, you could end up with a fine – it’s wise (and a legal requirement in some countries) to carry spares. A universal fit set, such as this AA example, is a good idea, but before buying do double check that the bulbs contained within will suit your tow car – and that you know how to change them.
Another useful accessory to take on tour will be a set of steps – check out our best caravan steps guide if you’re looking for some.
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