As more and more people are choosing to hit the road, exploring with an RV, camping in the great outdoors, or travelling by caravan, one of the really great benefits is the wide variety of caravan accessories available to customise for maximum comfort.
That makes it a simple manner to outfit your RV or van with the latest technology you need to ensure that your travels are always as safe and comfortable as possible. No matter your age or physical condition, you can literally live the type of life that most people can only wish to experience.
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing – designing your perfect caravan, renovating an old van, or adding new custom details to a new one – the fact is that the right pre-planning and strategizing can help to get every detail right. That can ultimately help you to create a more comfortable adventure, and that comfort simply cannot help but equate to greater enjoyment!
If this is your first caravan experience, it’s always wise to seek out whatever advice and guidance you can find. The fact is that all those little secret tips that caravanners share with one another are the perfect things to elevate your comfort level. Even better, if you listen to those who’ve done this before, you’re sure to find ways to save money as well! Best advice: find an online caravan community and strike up a few conversations. They’ll help you get your first adventure underway!
The Real Golden Rule: A Happy Wife Means A Happy Life!
If you’re travelling with a wife or partner, the best thing you can do is learn this one simple rule! There are few things more miserable than travelling with an unhappy companion, so make plans to ensure that the creature comforts you equip your caravan with are things that will please your partner as well. In fact, get your companion involved on at least some level. Whatever you do, do not neglect each other’s comforts – no matter what it takes. Sure, you might end up looking as though you just threw wheels on your house by the time you get done, but that’s better than an unsuccessful trip!
And if that sounds unrealistic, just wait until you see all the accessories you can put inside your RV or van. It’s closer to reality than you might think!
When talking caravan fridges, there are 3 main options. A 3 way fridge which can operate on gas, 12v and 240V, a 2 way compressor fridge and a portable fridge which is a great option if you have limited space for a caravan fridge. A 3-way fridge is a great option if you plan on free-camping. However, not everyone will want to carry gas on board, in which case a compressor fridge will be more suitable. When it comes to portable fridges, you have the added benefit of less power consumption, a variety of accessories including fridge slides and stands for easy access and use, plus you have the option to use in conjunction with portable solar panels, which can also give you much added freedoms when it comes to choosing your destination.
If you are in the market for a new caravan fridge, we can help you to make sense of the differences between brands such as Dometic, Thetford, Bushman and Vitrifrigo and find you a model that will match your setup and needs.
Air conditioning is, as you might imagine, among the more popular luxury items for caravans. Be aware, however, that air conditioning can be something that can either make your trip more comfortable than you’ve ever imagined it could be, or turn it into a nightmare. Be sure to find the right air conditioning unit for your needs.
When it comes to evaluating your caravan air conditioning choices, you need to consider:
· Capacity – You need the unit to have enough capacity to provide cooling for your interior area.
· Ambient Temperature – It’s also important to ensure that your air conditioning unit can handle the variety of outside temperatures you may experience. Some units are susceptible to freezing, while there are others that are only able to marginally reduce those outside temps when it is excessively hot outside. In either instance, your air conditioner would be useless.
· Roof mounted or underbunk – Learn which units work best with which vans. In general, roof-mounted units work best with caravans that have a fixed roof, since that can save space and increase their efficiency. If you have a pop top or camper, however, you may choose to opt for an underbunk air conditioner. You can, of course, use a roof top unit with campers and pop tops, but there may be additional modifications needed to support the added weight on the roof.
When it comes to brands of caravan air conditioners, we carry Dometic and Truma, as they are made to withstand the stresses that being on the road can have, which increases their longevity and saves you money in the long run, however there are other models available.
Adding additional heating for when the temperature really drops, is essential for those who feel the cold. But do you go diesel or gas? As to which is the best option, really depends on your setup and your needs as you travel. We can discuss the pros and cons of both the Dometic Eberspacher or Autoterm diesel heater or the Truma gas heater range for your needs and setup.
Any time you’re parked in a caravan park, power is usually not a problem. That setup allows you to use every convenience you’ve installed in your caravan, and can have you enjoying all the comforts of home with no energy worries at all.
You can save money by camping at free sites, but then you have to ensure that you have a strategy in place to provide the power you need for your appliances. Modern setups for free camping and off grid living can include the following:
· Solar panels
· AGM Batteries
· Lithium battery upgrades
· Appliances – Depending on what you need to power, everything from a refrigerator unit and freezer to a TV, stereo, lights, phone charger, internet, washing machine, hot water heater, microwave, coffee machine air conditioner and fans.
Hot water heaters are not a necessity for some, while for others, the idea of hot shower and hot water for dishes without the need to boil the kettle every time, is a must. There are primarily two types of caravan hot water heaters available. There is the instantaneous heating including Truma AquaGo and Camec or the more traditional hot water heaters such as Suburban, Truma and Swift. Traditional water heaters require a separate tank. You need to turn your unit on and give it time to heat the water before you can use it, which can be 20-40 minutes. As instantaneous would suggest, you have hot water pretty much at the flick of the tap, and not all units require a separate holding tank. Instantaneous systems though come with a much higher price tag and are more involved to install which again adds to the overall cost. Keep in mind, that all hot water heaters do require continuous maintenance which can vary depending on the model chosen. Whichever you decide to go with, ensure that you are aware of which parts need to be replaced, how much this will cost and how regularly it is required to do so as this can affect function of the product itself along with the warranty of the unit.
Your water supply is absolutely invaluable, so don’t neglect it when you’re setting up your caravan. And remember: the farther away you get from any town’s supply of water, the more important your own will become.
Water tanks are available in a number of sizes, but bigger is not always better. You need to consider your weight of not only the tank, but its weight when it is full and whether you can legally tow this.
Water Filtration Systems come in a variety of types, and that means that there is some wide variation in prices as well. Filters are typically provided with the capability to remove everything from sediment and insects to bacteria. Other disinfecting methods are sometimes recommended if viruses and other similar things need to be eliminated. In many travel destination locations, the right water filtration setup can make the difference between maintaining good health and being forced to continually drive to get new water supplies.
Non-toxic hoses and water tanks that are specially-designed for these systems are a must. They can help you to ensure that foul odours and even fouler tastes are eliminated from your filtered water. Keep in mind that the standard hoses you might use in the yard are simply not suitable for this purpose. There is no guarantee that they are non-toxic, and most will ruin the taste of your water. Instead, you will need to opt for a decent food grade caravan hose to ensure your water is safe for consumption.
Towing mirrors are essential for ensuring that you have the widest possible range of vision, while also allowing you to see the entire length of your vehicle. Caravan towing mirrors will help to eliminate those blind spots that cause so many problems for so many people. Given the added safety they provide, this is one investment well worth the minor additional cost. When it comes to mirrors, you do get what you pay for, so cheaper is not always better.
Weight Distribution Hitches are designed simply to improve safety while towing. It is an easy addition for peace of mind for the driver, as it aids to improve stability, control and reduce sway. See in store for Hayman Reese and Pro Series, weight distribution hitches for your caravan, camper or trailer.
Reversing Cameras offer the ability to see everything behind you without having a human spotter doing the job. Most modern cars come equipped with one, so why wouldn’t you add one to your caravan? This is ideal for self-parking and those times when you have to maneuver without assistance.
Since children in caravan parks commonly run wild throughout the area – playing, riding bikes, and running around without any awareness of their surroundings – this accessory is invaluable. As a parent, just having the reversing camera gives me so much peace of mind that I view it as a necessity for any caravanner.
Enjoy extended living space with a Dometic or Fiamma awning. The benefits to adding an RV awning is to increase your living space, provide protection from the elements as well as offering you with a cool and shady area to relax, enjoy the scenery and give a friendly hello to any passers-by. A caravan awning is easy to setup, making it suitable for use for even short stays. An annex offers an enclosed expansion of your living area, and basically doubles the amount of interior space available to you. Though they take more time to prepare for use, that time is well-spent if you’re planning on staying in one place for any length of time.
Caravan Roof Hatches offer the most basic lighting and cooling for your van. This simple window for the roof allows heat to escape, while also allowing light from the sun to come in. With a fan installed in the hatch, you can even create cool air movement that can help improve the efficiency of your caravan’s air conditioner, or in some instances, allow you to forgo the need for an air conditioner.
With a large range to choose from including, Camec, Dometic, Elixir, Seitz and Ventline we are sure to find a hatch that will suit.
Make sure the hatch and windows are closed while you’re travelling to keep rain and dust from coming in through the openings. That simple action can also help to keep out winds that can reach 100 km/h.
Within the caravan industry, the LED light remains a popular choice. LED lights tend to be smaller in size, brighter in illumination, give off less heat and simply more efficient than incandescent, fluorescent, or halogen bulbs.
Battling it out for the caravan laundry washing machines or dryers is not exactly at the top of anyone’s fun list. Having your own onboard machines to keep you out of trouble can be lifesaving, especially when you are travelling with kids, or find yourself being followed by a rain cloud. The Camec 2.5kg top load washing machine is a best seller due to its size, weight and practicality. There are larger units available including the larger Dometic washing machines and dryers or you can go to the smaller end of the scale with the Sphere EcoSpin washer, which is a manual washing machine option for those who are short on weight and space.
There is often the great debate as to whether to have a bathroom in the van or not. Things to consider include water tanks, hot water heater, separate shower/toilet or combination shower toilet and even folding vanity such as the Cleo modular caravan bathroom. If you don’t want a bathroom inside or you don’t think you have the space, there is always the option for an external shower or the use of toilet tents if you still want to carry a portable toilet.
With a variety of portable toilets and cassette toilets available including Thetford, Porta Potti, Dometic, Fiamma, and Camec we are sure to find an option to suit your needs.
Food is one of the essentials that can’t be ignored. It is not just cooking appliances you need to consider such as a Dometic or Thetford oven, Dometic stove top burner or a Camec microwave. You also need to have storage space for your food as well as available space to prep and cook such as folding picnic tables, BBQ slides and if space inside is an issue, you may want to consider a sliding kitchen to maximise space.
As great as all these caravan accessories are, there is always security to consider. When you’re travelling, the last thing you need is to have items stolen or even worse your entire van. Of course, it’s up to you to provide that security for your personal belongings.
Ninety percent of the anti-theft battle comes down to reducing a thief’s temptation. That makes inexpensive security devices such as locked screens and doors, locked compartments, tow accessory locks, and secured jerry can holders indispensable. Each can provide enough deterrence to cause all but the most committed thieves to move on to easier pickings. If you need something even more secure, you can also buy high-tech alarms, trackers, and immobilizing devices as well such as WiTi .
Travelling with bikes is a great way to get some additional fitness in whilst you travel. Bikes allow you access to some great sites and lets you cover more ground in a shorter time than simply walking. The problem arises though when it comes to transporting your bikes, and ensuring no one in the family misses out. Fiamma and Thule are popular caravan bike rack brands, which offer a range of options. However, you do need to consider restrictions such as weight, size, location of mounting, accessibility and visibility before you get your heart set on a particular bike rack model. These are not always so straight forward to install either and often require additional mounting brackets which are not supplied.
There is a huge range of caravan accessories available, as well as brands to help make your life on the road more comfortable and enjoyable. Selecting a feasible option, often comes down to weight restrictions and space. Speak with your local caravan repairer to ensure you make the most of your space to maximise what you can include in your camper, caravan or motorhome for the ultimate setup.