Caravanning for beginners: essential caravan equipment checklist
If you’re new to caravanning then walking into a leisure shop showroom and seeing an array of camping and caravanning equipment laid out in front of you can been daunting. What are caravan essentials and what’s nice to have or just plain unnecessary caravan equipment?
Don’t forget that you don’t have to buy new either. 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 essentials and what to pack for a caravan holiday.
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Caravan packing list: what you really need
We’ve been 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.
Ahead of this abstinence we cleared out our caravan and then restocked it with the essential caravan equipment we needed for a summer caravan holiday.
Here’s what made it onto our caravan essentials list based on our experience of caravanning as a family:
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.
Scroll down for those bits and bobs.
Here’s what you need on your caravan checklist for comfort and cooking:
- Bedding – either fitted sheets and duvets or 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 and kitchen scissors
- Oven gloves and 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 equipment list: utilities
Don’t miss these off your caravan packing list:
- 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*
- 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
- Gas – 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
- 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
These are optional on your caravan check list but we always find them really handy:
- 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
- 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:
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Caravan equipment: security and safety
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 Al-Ko 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
More optional items for your caravan packing list, but they do make things more homely and fun:
- 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.
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.
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.
Getting ready for a caravan adventure? Why not pin this caravan equipment checklist for reference.