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. Whether you absolutely, desperately need them or not, there seems to be something endlessly fascinating about gadgets. They might be clever, imaginative, resourceful – or a complete waste of time – but the gadget stall always seems to grab its fair share of attention at any caravan show or rally.
As the Spring turns into Summer, you’ll be keener than ever to hitch up your ‘van and take to the road. 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.
So, what are some of the gadgets currently on offer as the caravanning season gets into full swing?
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 the Clever Hiker’s guide to the 10 best camping chairs in 2022 – including its selection of heavy-duty chairs, which all pass a 120kg weight test.
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 in 2022 is the selection of portable chargers and power banks recommended by TechRadar – whether you’re looking for slim-line or lightweight versions, high capacity models, or even those that charge wirelessly or use solar power.
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 hook-up; 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.
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, on the 22nd of March 2022, 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 Campingaz camping chef folding stove CV – launched early in 2022, for example – has a gas ring, grill and wind-shielding side panels for all your alfresco cooking needs.
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 systems developed by Alde for both caravans and motorhomes.
One of the last things you might want after a long drive, the family waiting impatiently to get settled into the caravan, and the sun blazing down on your back, is the heavy labour of manoeuvring your caravan – just so – into a tight space.
The motor or powered mover is designed to take away the back-breaking work out of that fine positioning and the latest breed – from Rhyno Movers, say – of this perennial favourite features a remote control, so that you can stand in the very best position to get everything just right, without so much as breaking into a sweat.
Some gadgets need to be treated with far more respect than any passing gimmick, of course, and these include the many familiar devices which make your caravan outings altogether safer experiences.
Putting safety first might be a question of installing smoke and CO2 detectors, for example, or fire extinguishers, fire blankets and even intruder alarms.
Beloved of boy scouts, caravanners and anyone with a yen for the outdoor life, hanging larders have been around for such a long time they might hardly qualify as a gadget.
Yet every season reveals new variations on the old theme. And 2022 proved no exception – as a trip to CaravanStuff4U handily illustrated.
Scrubba Wash Bag
So much for the potentially useful and onto the gadgets that may be no more than gimmicks.
The Scrubba Wash Bag probably qualifies because it is no more than a plastic bag which you fill with water, put in some dirty clothes, and pummel in the hope of getting them clean.
Of course, a sink in your caravan site’s wash block is likely to serve just as well – and if it houses coin-operated washing machines, so much the better.
Of similarly dubious use – given the overcast skies that often accompany any caravan holiday in the British Isles – is your own, portable 100W solar panel, made by Sun Seeker and sold by Next Day Solar.
No-spill dog bowl
You’d need to have your own boisterous dog, of course, to even begin to appreciate the value of this portable water bowl, which claims to be impervious to spills.
Even more enticingly, distributors Road Refresher, also claim that it “reduces slobber by up to 90%” – how’s that for an advertising tag line?
The gadget round-up
Love them or loathe them, it’s difficult to avoid a sneaking interest in the latest gadgets to come onto the market and you may be sure that at least some of the novelties may be appearing in a caravan next to yours sooner or later.