Great gadgets for your caravan

Gadgets and accessories for your caravan – can you ever have enough of them! Building up your collection of the really useful and the practically whimsical is part of the fun of caravanning.

The winter months which stretch ahead at this time of the year see a traditional lull in the caravanning calendar. You might usefully compare caravan insurance – it needs to be done if you want to make sure you are still getting a competitive deal – but there’s also time to put aside the serious business and browse through this year’s catalogue of gadgets and accessories.

Sturdy camping chairs

Have you ever faced the embarrassment of a camping chair collapsing when taking the weight of a fellow camper – or worse still, you? It’s hardly surprising, given how flimsy some of them are (the camping chairs, that is).

In that case, you might welcome Practical Caravan magazine’s top tips on a selection of selected, heavy-duty chairs, which all pass a 120kg weight test.

Portable chargers

It might not be you who needs one, but if there are children or teenagers in your caravanning party, your life is likely to be hell unless you come up with a charging solution for their smartphone, tablet or Kindle.

Most are relatively affordable and new to the market this year is something called the Powerchimp 4A, which doubles up as both a charging device in its own right and a portable charger for 2 AA or AAA rechargeable batteries.

Portable freezers

The fridge in your caravan is likely to be a three-way type of device. There’s a 12-volt battery-driven phase, which keeps everything cool when you are on the move; a mains mode, when you have an onsite electric hookup; and gas operation from your main cylinders when the battery is down, or you are off-grid.

It might have a freezer compartment, but this is likely to be tiny.

A fourth option is a portable freezer, or so-called compressor box – based on the same compressor technology used by your fridge/freezer at home and connected either to your 12 or 24v battery supply or the mains.

The Waeco CoolFreeze says it offers sterling performance at a competitive price – for what is a technologically sophisticated product.

Camping cookers

Your caravan already has one fitted, of course, but there are times when you might want to step away from a quite cramped galley inside and do your cooking in the fresh air – it’s what camping’s all about after all.

There is a huge range available and, this summer, the Independent newspaper reviewed a number of different models, including larger stoves which do a lot more than just boil a kettle of water. The Jumbu stove, for example, has a gas ring, grill and wind-shielding side panels for all your alfresco cooking needs.

Underfloor heating

Are you keeping your caravan locked up and unused during the cold winter months? Might an underfloor central heating system help to change your mind and encourage trips away even when there’s snow on the ground.

The lap of luxury it might sound, but some caravan manufacturers are developing the idea – including a system installed in a Buccaneer Caravel and described in Caravan Talk.