Touring caravan at the ready, it’s time to head off for a well-deserved break. Whether you’re off for a short weekend away with a friend, a two-week holiday with the family, or a six-month tour of the British Isles with your better half, you still have the unenviable task of packing prior to your departure.
So, what exactly does the discerning caravan enthusiast need to take along on a trip away? With so many accessories available on the market, and space at a premium, you want to make sure you only select items that will prove useful, or enhance your break.
With that in mind we’ve put together a helpful packing list for you, it includes all of those essential items that we think you might find handy! There are links to the items we like, and we’ve even collated a printable version of the checklist for you too, so next time you plan on going away you can get organised well in advance!
The Practical Stuff:
There are certain caravan essentials that you need in order to enjoy a successful caravan holiday. They might not be the most glamorous or exciting of objects, but without them you may struggle:
Hungry caravanners have got to eat, so you will need a gas bottle to power your hob, cooker, and possibly BBQ. As the British weather is so unpredictable you may also require gas to get your heating going and keep out the chill.
Gas bottle regulator
Sorted your gas bottle? Then you will need a gas bottle regulator to go with it, be sure to get the right size to fit your gas bottle.
Large water container and water hose
Clean, fresh water is a must for day-to-day caravan living, opt for a large water container that’s easy to fill and manoeuvre. Get the water from the container to your caravan via a water hose.
Large waste water container and waste hose
Where will your waste water go? Into a large waste container of course. Make sure yours is easy to shift and empty. Get your waste water from your caravan to your container via a waste hose.
Spirit level / levelling aid indicator
The last thing you want to do is spend your holiday in a tilting caravan (that steaming cup of coffee looks dangerously close to sliding off the table)! Not all caravan sites are completely flat, but you can check your positioning with the help of a handy spirit level or levelling aid indicator. If you’re worried that you might find yourself on an uneven site you could invest in levelling blocks, or alternatively go for the cheap and cheerful option – have a nosy about for a few spare bricks on arrival!
Extension lead and caravan mains convertor lead
If you want to plug in your numerous electrical items you will need to pack an extension lead. If you need to plug into an electrical socket in a house, then you will require a convertor lead.
Mains polarity tester
Insert a polarity tester into one of the pin sockets to check all the connections are wired correctly.
Large caravan battery
If you are planning to stay out in the wilds, or on a site that doesn’t provide electricity, then you will need to bring along a large caravan battery. This is also useful if you want to use your motor mover (a handy gadget that engages the tyres and enables you to move the caravan).
Corner steady pads
Big caravans are nice and roomy, but they are also weighty, and could sink into the earth. Add corner steady pads to prevent that sinking feeling and keep your caravan stable.
A winder adapter is a useful tool for winding caravan legs up and down with ease along with some jack pads.
Unless you fancy leaping in and out of your caravan door you will need a caravan step to climb safely up and down.
Awning / pop up gazebo
Extra space? Yes please. You will appreciate an additional place to put your bits and bobs, and an area for your dining table and chairs. Why not invite your neighbours from the caravan next door and enjoy a social able get together?
Stay Safe and Secure:
Safety and security should be a top priority at all times, so when you plan your trip you should think about taking the following items:
Driving with a caravan hitched to the back can be hairy – what with busy motorways and narrow country lanes to negotiate. Make your job easier by adding towing mirrors to your car. These will provide you with much needed visibility so you can feel a little safer on the road.
Spare tyre and foot pump
Don’t get caught out if a tyre blows out! Get a spare just in case and don’t forget the foot pump too.
You don’t want to spend your holiday doing DIY but you do want to be prepared in case an emergency fix is required – take along a tool kit, complete with screwdriver etc.
Spare bulbs, fuses and batteries
Don’t end up left in the dark, take along a few spare bulbs and fuses. Batteries are always useful, so carry a few extra in case you need replacements for your torch etc.
First aid kit
No one wants to fall ill or get injured on their holidays, but however safety conscious you are, accidents do happen. Make sure you have a basic first aid kit available including items such as plasters and med wipes. Upset tums and bad hangovers won’t enhance your holiday either – so make sure you pack painkillers, indigestion tablets etc. and don’t forget any regular medication you require, such as prescribed tablets, creams, inhalers and epi-pens.
Insect repellent and sun protection
Insects can be pesky at certain times of the year, so you might also want to keep repellent to hand and light a citronella candle. Pop a tube of bite cream into your first aid kit, to relieve irritating insect bites and stings. Sun lotion and after sun will also be needed during the hot summer months.
Fire blanket and extinguisher
Take a look at your insurance policy, chances are it will ask that you have a fire blanket and extinguisher readily available in your caravan. It’s wise to have both to hand to ensure you can react quickly in an emergency.
Torch, solar lights, lighter and matches
There might be outdoor lighting in place (depending on where you choose to park up). However, solar lights will come in handy to illuminate your pitch. A torch can also prove useful, especially if you are staying somewhere remote, or if you want to safely make your way to the shower block at midnight! Matches and a lighter can be versatile items too, so include them just in case.
For extra peace of mind consider fitting a padlock to the caravan door, if you head out for the day you can add an extra layer of security.
Hitch lock and cover
We’re always looking for ways to save money when it comes to caravan insurance, and you could lower those premiums by investing in a hitch lock. We suggest you protect it from the hash weather with a cover.
Fitting a wheel clamp on your caravan will deter thieves, and as result you could save money on your caravan insurance too! Insurance companies often specify that twin axle caravans need to be fitted with two-wheel clamps, so do check that small-print.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry:
One of the most important part of any holiday involves tucking into yummy food, treating yourself to few cheeky snacks and partaking in a tipple or eight! Make the most of eating, drinking and merrymaking by packing the following:
Mugs, cups, glasses and beakers
You can’t beat a nice cuppa, invest in a couple of decent travel mugs that keep your drinks hot and have handy lids to reduce spillages / keep nasty insects out. Plastic beakers are useful for kiddies, and whilst a plastic glass may not be the most glamourous vessel for your pinot grigio, it will save you from having to deal with a shattered wine glass.
Plastic plates, bowls, & cutlery
Minimise breakages by opting for plastic dinnerware – plastic plates and bowls are robust and easy to clean.
Outdoor table and chairs
An integral part of a caravan holiday involves lots of lounging around outside (even if the weather isn’t on your side you can still get some fresh air under your awning). Set up an outdoor table and chairs and make the most of the great outdoors.
Food bags and boxes, foil and cling film
Keep your grub fresh and tasty, and bug free, by keeping it covered. Invest in compact Tupperware, and keep a roll of useful cling film and foil tucked away in a drawer.
Cooler and ice trays
“I just love a glass of tepid chardonnay, and a luke-warm beer,” said no caravanner ever! Keep your drinks cool by adding ice (you will need an ice tray, obviously) and a mini cooler to stick your beer and vino in.
Invest in a gas BBQ, chuck on the sausages and burgers and get grilling. If you don’t want the hassle of cleaning a BBQ or lugging it home with you, go for a disposable one instead.
You won’t be able to take along every kitchen gadget and gizmo, so we’re thinking more of the essentials here, such as a kettle and toaster. Due to lack of space you might have to forgo your huge mixer, waffle maker, bread maker, and popcorn machine! However, if there’s something you really enjoy (perhaps you are a coffee aficionado, or can’t possibly think of starting the day without your green detox smoothie), then make room for a coffee machine or juicer. Just err on the small side – go for compact appliances that can be neatly stored.
Cooking & kitchen utensils
Unless you are planning to eat out every day you will need to do a bit of cooking. Channel your inner Gordon Ramsey or Nigella out and knock up a feast! You will need pots and pans, plus all the usual utensils – we’re thinking wooden spoon, spatula etc Don’t forget those essential items such as an oven glove, chopping board, tin opener, kitchen scissors, and (most importantly) a corkscrew and bottle opener!
Food and drink
Compile a simple shopping list prior to each trip, what do you plan on eating / drinking? You will have to shop for fresh items such as bread and milk every time you go away, but you can keep a few essentials such as condiments, tins, goodies such as biscuits and crisps, and drinks stored in cupboards.
Make Yourself at Home
Home is where the heart is, or in this case – your caravan is where your heart is! Make your place as welcoming as possible by adding creature comforts, practical extras and a few nice touches.
Windbreaker / sun canopy
Make your outdoor space as user friendly as possible by setting up a windbreaker / sun canopy to guard against the elements.
Make your tourer more welcoming by popping a door mat down – a place to wipe your feet and leave your slippers ready for a bout of relaxing.
Get a good night’s sleep – invest in quality bedding such as a comfy duvet and pillows. You will also need duvet covers and pillowcases. Take along a couple of snug throws and blankets too – great for snuggling up under on a chilly evening.
You will need a couple of hand towels and bath towels for drying off. If you are planning on swimming or visiting the beach pack beach towels too.
Dry your clothes, air your towels, hang up your sandy swimming costume! A clothes line will enable you to wash through garments and dry items off – don’t forget clothes pegs (unless you don’t mind retrieving wind-swept knickers and socks from around the site)!
You probably have a caravan bin in the kitchen already, but you might find it useful to keep another in the bathroom or awning (if space allows). Pack plenty of bin liners, or you will be scrabbling around for carrier bags to haphazardly tuck inside instead.
Wet weather gear
Ok, so you might strike lucky and enjoy glorious sunshine, but you’re just as likely to strike out and get a shower or two! Cover all bases and take along waterproofs, wellies and an umbrella.
Pack a toiletry bag to leave in your tourer, then you don’t have to remember to pack all of those essential toiletries every time you go away. Include soap, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, razors and shaving gel, toothbrushes and paste, hair products such as hairspray, perfume / aftershave and sanitary items.
Wipes, tissues, and loo roll
Don’t forget to take toilet rolls, you don’t want to get caught short! Tissues are needed for snotty noses and wet wipes are also very handy – great for sticky fingers and cleaning off mucky kids!
Comfy slip-on shoes / slippers
You don’t want to have to put on a pair of trainers every time you want to nip outside, but going bare foot isn’t advisable either. Keep your feet cosy by taking along some comfy slip-on shoes or a pair of slippers.
Ear plugs / eye mask
Caravan walls are quite thin, and you might find yourselves parked quite close to your neighbours. If you fancy some decent shut-eye (without being disturbed by the late-night antics of the revellers next door or the early morning racket from the young family across the way), make sure you take a long ear plugs and an eye mask.
Don’t scrabble around for your mobile phone to find out if it’s wine o’clock yet! Put a clock in your caravan so you can check the time whenever you wish.
Mini electric heater
It’s always good to have a backup plan, and a mini-electric heater could be just the thing should you experience a problem with your gas bottle etc.
Clothes and Shoes
Caravanning tends to be a relaxed affair, so leave your tux and cocktail address in the wardrobe for another occasion! Take along hangers for your wardrobe so you can hang items that are liable to crease (ironing is not a pastime you should partake in on any holiday)! Evenings can be chilly, so we recommend a warm fleece and decent jacket.
Let Me Entertain You:
Forget the sweeping and dusting, say goodbye to the paperwork, and lock the lawn-mower in the shed. You’re off to have fun in your touring caravan. Take a few items for entertainment purposes and enjoy:
Check if there are any restrictions on ball games, if not set up a fun game of football of cricket. Other ideas include a friendly game of swing ball, chucking a frisbee to one another and flying a kite. You could take along a bike and enjoy the local area, and if you are planning on visiting the beach don’t forget your bucket and spade!
You have more time on your hands than normal, so now’s the time for that family game of Monopoly you’ve been hankering after. If you don’t want to clutter your caravan or awning with large, boxed board games, go for travel sized ones. Take along dominoes and playing cards too. Little ones will still want to play with their favourite toys, so pack a few of their dolls or cars, along with colouring books and playdough (and don’t forget their beloved teddy)!
TV & DVD
We know that the essence of a caravan holiday involves reconnecting with your other half, family and friends. So, we are not suggesting that you spend all of your time huddled around the goggle-box, watching rubbish! However, a TV can prove useful if the weather is poor, or if you just fancy a chilled-out afternoon watching a classic movie.
Plug your phone or tablet into speakers and enjoy singing along to your fave tunes, or have an impromptu dance in your awning! It’s good form to be considerate to your neighbours, just because you enjoy rocking to Iron Maiden at full blast, it doesn’t mean that Ken and Deirdre next door like it too!
Books and magazines
There’s no better time to catch up on your reading. Take a healthy stock of books and magazines and peruse until your heart’s content.
Keep It Clean and Tidy:
Keep your little home from home neat, tidy and dirt-free by taking along a few key essentials:
Required to keep your loo fresh and clean – ideally steer clear of strong-smelling stuff that will pollute your nostrils. We have a great list of chemicals on our caravan toilet page.
Take a bowl for the sink, plus washing up liquid and a cloth / sponge, and don’t forget gloves if you like to be kind to your hands! You will need tea towels to dry up with (unless you prefer to chill out and let everything drip dry of course)!
Take along antibacterial spray to keep surfaces clean, and kitchen paper will be invaluable to mop up spills etc. A bucket and cloth or sponge will also come in handy to wipe down outdoor furniture etc.
Mini vacuum / dustpan and brush
Keep your caravan clean and crumb-free! A little mini vacuum can be your best friend, especially if you take your four-legged friend with you on your trips away (if you own a canine, then you will be well aware that dog hair gets everywhere)!
Someone has to clean out the chemical loo, and if that’s you make the job less toxic by wearing gloves to protect your hands.
Don’t forget Fido
If you’re taking your four-legged friend you will need to pack his doggy bed, lead, poo bags, water and food bowls, dog food and of course a selection of squeaky toys!
Other Essential Bits and Bobs:
There are always going to be those items you just can’t live without, don’t forget these (unless you fancy making a U-Turn after you’ve left for your hols)!
It’s nice to go off grid, to put down your laptop for a few days and disconnect from reality. However, if you find it too tricky, or just prefer to stay in touch with the world, you will probably want to pack your tech. If so, make room for your mobile phone, tablet, speaker, headphones and chargers. Those who like to look back and recall their travels may want to take a camera too (sometimes a mobile phone camera just doesn’t do the view justice)!
Caravan keys are pretty useful, unless you are planning to sleep in the car or break in through the sun-roof! We suggest you check that you have them before you depart!
Pen and paper
You might want to make notes, leave a note, jot down a place name, or get your ideas down for a novel! Whatever you need it for, the humble pen and paper comes in extremely handy on occasion.
Are you one of those people who never bothers to read the instructions?
That’s fine if you know what you are doing, but if you get into difficulty, those instruction booklets and sheets could be invaluable. Store them in a plastic wallet and chuck them in a drawer to be on the safe side.
Got All That?
Phew, who knew you needed to take so much with you? Whilst, it seems like there are lots of items on this list once you have them you can use many of them again and again. It’s worth getting organised and kitting your touring caravan correctly if you want to make the most of your trip.