If you’re new to caravanning then walking into a leisure shop showroom (or browsing their website) can be daunting. You’ll see an array of camping and caravanning equipment laid out in front of you. But what are caravan essentials and what’s nice to have or just plain unnecessary caravan equipment? Below you’ll find our recommended caravan packing list.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to buy new. There’s plenty of secondhand caravan equipment on reselling sites. So keep your eyes peeled for bargains.
I hope this post will help you decide what are your caravan must haves and what to pack for a caravan holiday.
Keep reading for a printable caravan packing list you can download and use.
If you are packing for a static caravan holiday or a glamping or camping trip then you might like to check out my other packing lists at the bottom of this post.
*This post contains affiliate links*
Caravan holiday packing list: what you really need
We went caravanning as a family for more than five years, spending weekends and longer breaks in our touring caravans.
However, we’ve recently had a bit of a caravanning drought as Mr Tin Box has been working away more and we bought a camper van to tide us over. Do not fear, we will return to caravanning one day!
Ahead of our last season in our caravan we cleared it out and then restocked it with the essential caravan equipment we needed for a summer caravan holiday.
Here’s what made it onto our caravan holiday packing list based on our experience of caravanning as a family:
Contents - jump to what you'd like to know
Caravan equipment checklist: homeware essentials
These are the things that I focussed on when we first bought our caravan. Call me a stereotypical woman but home comforts interested me a lot more than the practical stuff that Mr Tin Box was in charge of gathering.
I loved making our caravan our own little home away from home with soft furnishings and kitchen essentials.
You might also want to add pictures and other decorations like bunting and extra lighting. A lot of this can be introduced over time and even as you visit places and buy souvenirs.
Here’s what you need on your caravan checklist for comfort and cooking to get you started:
- Bedding – either fitted sheets and a duvet, or single or double sleeping bags, bearing in mind the layout of the caravan you have bought
- Bath towels and bath mat
- Crockery – you may want to opt for a melamine set* which is robust but more attractive than plastic
- Cooking utensils – don’t forget barbecue tools
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Measuring jug
- Kitchen scissors
- Oven gloves
- Tea towels
- Glasswear – or you can get some attractive plastic glasses* which are always more practical with kids
- Pots and pans*
- Cutting board and knives
- Gas kettle* – this is essential if you plan to go off electric hook-up (EHU).
Read more tips for caravanning with kids.
Caravan holiday checklist: utilities
OK, these are probably the most essential items for your touring holidays. They are what separates caravanning from camping, giving you flip of a switch water, gas and electricity as well as on board bathroom facilities.
There’s no point in having a caravan if you don’t get these things working!
So, don’t miss these off your caravan packing list:
Cooking and heating essentials
- Barbecue – embarrassingly we have a bit of a BBQ habit with grills ranging from a charcoal Lotus Grill* that is compact and light, to a CampingGaz Party Grill 600*, which is very versatile, and our huge Weber barbecue* that we only take away for longer holidays. It’s a beast but a great cooker.
- Caravan leisure battery*
- Gas and regulator – gas bottles come in an array of different sizes and weights. Check what space you have to store gas in your gas locker and be aware of weight distribution. We use Propane as it can be used in cold temperatures. Refillable bottles and tanks are also becoming more common place, especially in motorhomes
Water and washing essentials
- Water containers – we can recommend Aquarolls* as they are very easy to roll over uneven surfaces if you are camping in a field
- Water pump – we have a Whale AquaSmart pump that filters the water between our Aquaroll and caravan taps
- Mains water hose* – if you plan to use caravan sites with fully serviced pitches then this will save you lots of trips to the water tap
- Waste water container – we have a Wastemaster* as it’s very flat so slides under the caravan easily and is on wheels, making it no trouble to roll over to the hedge or waster water point
- Portable washing line*/clothes airer – we use ours to air dry a few pieces of washing and towels during longer holidays
- Toilet liquids – for cleaning and helping to break down the mucky stuff.
Caravan essentials list: outdoor equipment
Even though a tin box gives you protection from the elements we always spend a lot of time enjoying the outside when we area away in a caravan.
These are optional on your caravan check list, especially when you area starting out, but we’d recommend buying them as your caravan life develops:
- Awning – we find the extra space essential when caravanning with kids both for playing and giving us somewhere to have a quiet drink in the evenings when they’ve gone to bed
- Awning organiser* – handy for tidying away shoes and toys at the end of the day
- Folding chairs – we rate Lafuma recliners* and director chairs but these are at the expensive end of the scale. You can get camping chairs* in all price brackets
- Lightweight folding table* – useful for having in your awning
- Ground sheet – a breathable groundsheet* will save the grass underneath and ensure your awning doesn’t smell like a rotting compost heap after a few days
- Caravan step* – it’s worth spending some money on a decent one as it’s going to get plenty of use
- Windbreak* – handy for keeping your barbecue area and awning door draft free
- An outdoor rug – this a a bit of a luxury but making your awning or outdoor space homely with a rug like those from Green Decore is a nice extra. We were sent one to try this summer:
Caravan equipment: security and safety
Towing a caravan and touring holidays call for some special accessories for the road and for when you pitch. In fact some of them are a legal requirement.
Others will protect your valuable asset from thieves.
There’s no question that these are caravanning essentials:
- Wing mirrors – we have mirrors made by Milenco*
- Hitch lock – we have an Al-Ko hitch lock*. Having something like this can also lower the cost of your caravan insurance
- Wheel lock – again, we have an wheel lock*. This can also help with caravan insurance quotes
- Power drill* and adaptor – when you’ve wound down all four corner steadies a few dozen times you’ll understand why this is must-have caravan equipment!
Caravan essentials: entertainment
Caravan holidays are a great way to spend time reconnecting with your loved ones away from wifi and the telly box.
But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss bringing entertainment altogether. Rainy days are going to happen after all.
These are some suggested items to add to your caravan packing list to keep everyone happy:
- Blue tooth speaker – we have this for streaming music and charging our iPhones and Kindles
- USB adaptors for 12 volts – another handy gadget if you want your tech to stay charged and connected
- Camping games – bringing a few games when caravanning with kids is a must
- Books and pencils
Are you a new caravanner or an old hand? What would you add to this list of things to take on a caravan holiday?
If you are interested in what consumable items you should pack for a caravan holiday then take a look at my self-catering holiday packing list.
And if you’re looking for easy meals to cook while caravanning I’ve got some camping food inspiration for you too.
Printable caravan packing list – get yours here!
I like making things easier for my fellow touring fans, so I’ve created a caravan packing list you can download and print.
More camping and caravanning lists and tips
Here’s some more blog posts about caravan essentials and camping that you might enjoy:
- The full guide to caravanning with kids
- What to pack for camping with kids
- Caravan beds for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers
- What to pack for caravan holidays with babies
- Essentials for caravanning with a toddler
- Camping games
- What to pack in your camper van
- A glamping packing list
- What’s the difference between a caravan and camper van
- Why get a camping trailer
- Top tips for buying a camper van
- What to pack for a camper van holiday
- Packing list for a mobile home holiday
*Disclosure: this post contains Amazon affiliate links which means I may earn some advertising fees if you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase. You will not be charged extra for this.
Wondering what to add to your caravan packing list? Why not Use Pinterest to save this caravan equipment checklist for reference.