You’ve reached the campsite – now what? We’re on hand with some top tips to make sure your on tour experience is enjoyable and stress-free!
1 If your 12V electrics start playing up, it’s always worth checking that your battery terminals are fitted tightly. Loose terminals have all sorts of strange effects.
2 Calculate which appliances you can use on your electric hook-up before you trip the post. Here’s how:
Watts (W) = Volts (V) x Amps (A)
The voltage is 230V, so if, for example, a small grill is 2000W, it will require 8.7A of current (2000/230). Meanwhile, a 30in domestic TV at 60W draws only about 0.25A.
Typically, UK campsites have a 16A feed, which will give you a total of 3680W to work with. Abroad, amperages can be much lower, say 10A, which gives you just 2300W in total.
3 Consider low-wattage appliances, such as kettles and toasters, if you know your site only offers low-amperage hook-up. For example, domestic kettles require 3kW, while 750W versions are also available.
4 Choose propane gas if you intend to tour in winter. Propane turns from liquid to gas in temperatures as low as minus 40°C, while butane stops ‘gassing’ at around minus 2°C, so might not work even in normal British winter conditions.
5 Take an outdoor Bluetooth speaker on tour, for tunes in the van, on the pitch or at the beach; one example is the Carbon Audio Zooka (£40 new on eBay) with a Bose SoundLink Mini (£170). Be sure to remain considerate to others when playing any music, however.
6 For accessing the internet on the move, consider buying or renting a MiFi dongle. These clever little devices use 3G, 4G and (soon) 5G to create a Wi-Fi hotspot that several of your phones, tablets or laptops can log in to.
In my experience, they’re effective in all but the most rural settings. Ask your campsite what the mobile reception is like when you book.
Alternatively, with good 3G or 4G phone reception, you can simply use your mobile hotspot as a Wi-Fi hub. Just type ‘Wi-Fi dongles’ into your search engine to check out the best current prices and deals.
7 Headtorches are really handy for caravan activities carried out in the dark, such as nocturnal toilet cassette emptying, or late arrivals on site, because they leave your hands free. Petzl (petzl.com) is one of the market leaders, with a range of great products from below £20.
8 If you use an awning, it’s best to take it down the night before you depart, so long as it is totally dry. Otherwise, early morning condensation, even in summer, will damage the fabric if it is packed away before it’s dry. After a hand with choosing the one for you? Then be sure to check out our best caravan awning round-up!
9 Never store gas cylinders on their side – there must be a gap between the LPG and the valve.
10 Powder-filled fire extinguishers should be given a good shake on a regular basis, to ensure that the contents are kept loose. A fire blanket should also be a part of your essential caravanning kit.
11 Apply silicone lubricating spray into the awning channel on your caravan. This will help you feed the awning cord into the rail, without staining the awning material.
Looking for more top tips for your next tour? Then be sure to head to our Back to Basics: On Tour category, where we’re providing you with all the information you could need to enjoy the ultimate adventure on the road.
Future Publishing Limited, the publisher of Practical Caravan, provides the information in this article in good faith and makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement in determining the appropriateness of the advice to their circumstances. Individuals should take appropriate safety precautions and be aware of the risk of electrocution when dealing with electrical products. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future nor its employees or agents shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information. You should check that any van warranty will not be affected before proceeding with DIY projects.
Looking for some great UK touring destination? Then be sure to look at our round-up of the best caravan parks – it’s full of our top choices to visit from across the country.
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