Kit & Caboodle Gear Reviews: Accessories New Year 2018
Kick-start your caravanning year with various practical accessories for easier touring
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Mountain Warehouse Reflective Jacket
Mountain Warehouse has developed a reflective clothing range to get cyclists and runners through the dark evenings this winter.
We love the lightweight, showerproof and windproof silver 360 jacket. When illuminated at night, it makes you look like a cool alien!
These breathable jackets are lightweight and pack up extremely small, so are perfect for caravan or daypack storage.
PRICE £29.99 (currently half price) available at mountainwarehouse.com
HIS & HERS Microfibre towels
One of caravanners' biggest moans is drying damp towels.
Traditional towels can be impossible to dry in the van, making them unpleasant to use, and, eventually, unpleasant to smell, too!
Meanwhile, microfibre and mf/cotton-mix towels, come in various guises with various qualities and characteristics that make them perfect for caravanners:
- They're lighter and thinner than traditional towels, so they take up less space.
- They're four times more absorbent than traditional towels.
- The best ones are soft and fluffy, and feel like good cotton towels.
- They dry out twice as quickly as traditional towels.
Giso's soft bath towels measure 150x75cm and come in a range of colours. We tested one over last summer (10 wash cycles) and it's still soft and fluffy.
Price £25 at gisomicrofibre.com
Classic Caravan books
Andy Jenkinson, the world's leading authority on classic British caravans, has compiled two great books exploring the history of a couple of legendary brands: Eccles and Caravans International.
The Eccles brand celebrates its 100th birthday next year and Andy's tome offers an insightful look at the social history of the brand.
CI ended production 1991, but was a key player in the caravan world throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Both books are accessible with great images and copy delivered in bite-sized chunks. Long-time caravanners will certainly appreciate the memories that these books revive.
Both publications are available in print from Amazon, and on Kindle and iBooks.
We all reach that time in life when convenience is king, and lugging a big spectacles case everywhere, containing expensive glasses, is just a necessary chore. This is where ThinOPTICS come in.
These durable and lightweight specs slip into a tiny, credit-card-sized carry case (95x50x5mm) which in turn can be stuck to the back of a mobile phone, or just popped into a pocket.
The specs come in +1, +1.5, +2 and +2.5 strengths and feature Optical-grade polycarbonate lenses (the same as high-end prescription glasses).
What they don't have are hinges and temples (arms), so they just pinch onto the bridge of the nose. That said, they are comfortable and perfect for occasional and emergency use, though you might not want to wear them for extended periods.
PRICE £21.99 at bailey-parts.co.uk
Didriksons Girl's Parka
Here at Caravan, we're big fans of Swedish brand, Didriksons (for both its ethos and its clothes), thanks to its high-quality materials, time-tested designs and Eco-friendly outlook.
The Zoe Girl's Parka is a case in point.
It oozes quality and combines style, warmth and versatility in a windproof and waterproof winter coat, perfect for everyday wear and activities like snowball fights!
Zoe features a detachable hood with faux fur trim and a high collar to protect against the elements. It has a two-way front zip with a protective storm flap, plus two roomy front pockets, a smaller zip pocket and one inside pocket.
The waist, hem, cuffs and hood are all adjustable, and it comes in white, blue, yellow and pink and heights from 130 cm to 170 cm.
PRICE from £70 at didriksons.com
SmarTfold is a clever, folding tricycle-cum-buggy that's perfect for little caravanning kids, aged from six months to three years.
This 7-in-1 folding trike is simple to stow and transport, delivering go-anywhere durability and high street style in a lightweight and compact package.
SmarTfold features a padded reclining seat, 'Touch Steering Technology' for smooth riding, a patented shock absorber system and SmarTrike's 'magic button' for speedy transition between parent-controlled and independent-child modes. It also incorporates a useful mini accessory organiser, a discreet storage bag and a stylish sun cover.
SmarTfold is super-versatile and comes in a variety of colours that are for boys and girls. See the excellent video on the link below.
PRICE £99.99 from Argos
The Dry Bag
This full-length, zip-up bag is perfect for those who use wetsuits for surfing or general seaside shenanigans (neoprene is highly recommended from September to July in UK waters).
The Dry Bag is designed for storing your wet gear in the car on the journey back to the campsite, and in the caravan or awning, once there. Its clever design speeds up the drying process and keeps water and sand out of your car.
It's lightweight, strong and portable, and protects wetsuits from UV damage, while collecting excess water in a reservoir.
PRICE £60 at thedrybag.co.uk
Pure DAB/Bluetooth adapter
Turn your car's FM radio into a full-on digital unit and Bluetooth-compatible device with this neat accessory.
Pure's Highway 400 is easy to install and control, and offers a range of excellent services, including crystal-clear DAB radio, Bluetooth music streaming, smartphone voice assist and music ID.
The 400 connects to your current head unit either wirelessly or using a supplied aux cable. The unit's design is state-of-the-art, and Pure is recognised as an audio industry leader.
Henchman is a premium British ladder and platform manufacturer with a focus on safety and a diversity of innovative aluminium products to suit caravanners.
The Platform Tripod Ladder is super-stable (thanks to its three-leg design – one is height-adjustable) and is perfect for those that need to get up high to clean their caravan (roof), paint or hedge trim. While it is extremely safe and sturdy, it's also surprisingly lightweight and even the largest size can be carried with one hand.
Cleverly, these ladders are height and angle adjustable, and they've also added a 'bracing support rung', which you lean into or hold onto for extra stability and safety when working at height. This is British design at its simple best and takes stepladder tech to a new level. No pun intended!
PRICE 6 feet £220, 8 feet £279, 10 feet £332, 12 feet £380 from henchman.co.uk