Campervan essential gadgets
Campervan essential gadgets
Less is more when it comes to kitting out your campervan. Just a small selection of essential items can go a long way
Our campervan experts guide you through all the essential gadgets for your campervan, including levelling blocks, electric hook-up leads, gas cylinders, and fun and games for all the family.
- Campervan set-up basics
- Campervan essential safety kit
- Campervan fun and games
- About Campervan magazine
Campervan set-up basics
© Photos courtesy of Campingaz; Fiamma; Maypole
Make a checklist
Make a checklist of everything you need. You can refer to this every time you go camping so you don’t forget any essentials, and you can update it over time as you discover other things you need. Exactly what you take with you will depend on several factors, such as the time of year, where you’re going and what you’re going to do when you get there, but there are few basic essentials that every camper should carry.
Levelling blocks and electric hook-up
Levelling blocks, an electric hook-up (EHU) lead, a water container and gas are the first things you’ll need when you arrive at a campsite.
Buy a pair of levelling blocks that come in a bag – this keeps mud at bay in your campervan after you’ve packed them up at the end of your stay. Similarly, opt for an EHU lead on a reel, as it keeps things tidy in the campervan.
Water tanks and containers
If you have an on-board fresh water tank, it’s better to fill this up on site rather than before leaving home, as the extra weight makes all the difference to your fuel consumption. Carry a small water container with a funnel or attachable hose, and you’ll be able to fill up easily, wherever you are.
Gas cylinders and LPG tanks
When it comes to gas, campervans are either fitted with an underslung LPG tank or use refillable cylinders – typically, Campingaz (blue) or Calor Gas (orange). Gas cylinders need to be exchanged when empty. Many petrol stations and campsites sell refills, but they are not necessarily readily available everywhere, so always check how much gas you have before setting off.
Campervan essential safety kit
© Photos courtesy of AA
Pack a torchSafety is essential when campervanning. Always carry a couple of torches as a minimum and keep them to hand, in case you arrive at your campsite after nightfall or break down on a country lane.
Emergency breakdown kitsIf you’re heading to Europe, you will need some sort of emergency breakdown kit, too. Contents depend on the country you’re visiting, but all kits generally contain a warning triangle, a high-vis jacket and a torch. Whilst this isn’t compulsory in the UK, it’s still good practice to carry such a kit.
Take a mapLikewise, it’s always handy to have a paper road map in your campervan – internet can be sketchy and sat-navs are notoriously unreliable once you get off the beaten track, so don’t rely on Google!
Pack some powerPower to recharge gadgets is useful, too. Campervans tend to have inbuilt sockets (12V, 230V and USB) so you can charge things up. However, that’s not much use if your phone or torch dies while you’re out, so get a portable power bank or two. Solar panels are also a sensible investment if you’re planning on camping in places without electric hook-up. Solar panels can be fitted to the roof of a campervan, and free-standing portable units are also available.
Campervan fun and games
© Photos courtesy of David Moffat; Kitvision; Marvellous Maps
Guidebooks and maps
Let’s not forget campervan entertainment, as you’ll no doubt spend a lot of time lolling around relaxing. It’s a great opportunity to research and plan days out, so pack guidebooks and maps, as well as a good novel, puzzle books, etc.
The local radio
Local radio is also a good source of information for what’s going on nearby as well as for getting the weather forecast, so buy a portable radio – fancier ones have Bluetooth so you can stream your own favourite tunes.
Fun and games
Games are fun when camping, too, so you might like to take things like a kite, a football and a frisbee for outside, and a pack of cards or your favourite board game for evening entertainment.
Everyday essential campervan kit
© Photos courtesy of Henrietta's Kitchen; Lakeland; Dometic
Washing up and laundry
Finally, there's a handful of more mundane miscellaneous items you also won’t want to set off without. For washing up, don’t forget a washing-up bowl and liquid, a scourer and sponge, and a tea towel.
For laundry, or even just for drying towels, get a pegless washing line.
Coolers and heaters
If you don’t have much room in your fridge, consider a coolbox for keeping drinks in.
If you don’t have heating in your campervan or often sit out in an awning, an oscillating fan heater is useful.
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