One of the great things about touring in the summer or in warmer climates is that laundry ceases to be an issue. After washing up, drenched tea towels go on the line and they’re bone dry within an hour. On extended breaks, when you can’t bag up used clothes to launder when you get home, it’s the same story for any washing you hang out.

Going away in the autumn, winter, or early spring, however, is a different story. Opportunities to dry anything outside are rare and, when they do arise, you’ll have several days’ worth of stuff to get dry. So those six feet of line strung between your awning and the car’s roof bars won’t suffice. 

Worse still, the UK’s regular downpours guarantee that you’ll have coats, trousers, and shoes that need to be dried off, too. 

That’s why an airer or drying rack is essential kit for winter caravan holidays, as well as being useful during the warmer months. 

Models that can be used inside – making the most of the heat in your caravan – have an advantage, whether they’re freestanding, hung over a door or suspended from a point above. Airers that actively dry using their own heat source are potentially even better. 

To take advantage of fleeting periods of decent outdoor conditions, a good airer will have as much laundry capacity as possible (usually expressed in metres of line space) and it’ll be stable, allowing use even in fairly gusty conditions.

As with all accessories we test, extra points go to compact products that are easy to store and use in a caravan. Value for money is always factored in – in this case, by comparing price against total laundry capacity and overall performance. 

We gathered a selection of airers to suit all budgets and put them to the test. We tried out the Lakeland Dry:Soon 2-tier heated airer at £76.99, the JML DriBUDDi airer at £59.99, the Kampa AC0290 airer costing just £11.99, the SunnCamp 4m Window Clothes Dryer FN9600 costing only £4.25 and the Outwell Drying Rack at £24.99. You can read our caravan clothes airer reviews here.

First of all, let’s take a closer look at the JML DriBUDDi airer. 

This very natty idea is effectively a fold-away tumble dryer that packs down into a 56cm x 30cm x 30cm box. As with a tumbler, it will take just an hour or so to dry whatever’s inside. And there’s even a built-in timer. Better still, because the garments inside are hung on hangers, DriBUDDi will safely dry vulnerable clothes that should not be put in a normal tumbler. With a bit of luck the creases will fall out and no ironing will be necessary, if you’ve chosen your fabrics with care.

While the concept is great, there are a few drawbacks. First, the JML DriBUDDi isn’t tall enough to take trousers unless they’re folded. And if you do fold them it means the surfaces that are folded together won’t dry properly. Moreover, for the size of the product, just 6m of hanging space — spread over 18 hangers — is disappointing. The 1200W consumption also rules out use on sites with 4A hook-up.