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Beginners’ guide to caravanning
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Now that you’ve bought your first caravan, the big decision is done! Now it’s time for some smaller ones! Getting your caravan kitted out is an exciting time as you make sure you have everything you need for your first trip away.
Do you go for sleeping bags or duvets? Real glasses or plastic cups? These are choices that will make a difference to your caravanning experience, but there are some bits of kit you shouldn’t do without...
15 must-have caravan items
You don’t want to be struggling in and out of your lovely new caravan as that will soon become pretty frustrating and could even pose an injury risk. Invest in a set of caravan steps to enable you to get in and out with ease! It’ll also increase your daily step count too!
Hook-up extension cable
A hook-up cable is vital for trips to sites where electrical hook-up is available. Parking next to a socket and having the cable to hand will mean you can make use of all your electrical creature comforts to your heart’s content!
These are essential to making your caravanning life a little bit easier. Water is heavy so you don’t want to be towing water around in tanks while your caravan is on the move. If you have handy containers, you can drain the tanks before transit and then easily refill them using your separate fresh water and waste water containers when you arrive at your destination!
You don’t want to risk breaking your best china, or indeed your everyday crockery! Things will inevitably move around when you’re travelling so it’s a good idea to invest in a nice set of melamine crockery for use in your caravan. Good quality plastic glasses are a good idea too, but you may want to keep your trusty ceramic mug for your morning cuppa - just keep it well protected!
Always make sure you have a basic toolkit on board for any DIY emergencies. Include the essentials - mallet, oil, screwdriver, fuses and bulbs, petroleum jelly, penknife, sandpaper, duct tape and cable ties to make any little jobs easy peasy.
First aid kit
You never know when an accident will happen, so for minor ones, make sure you have a first aid kit to hand. Remember the basics - plasters, bandages, antiseptic cream and wipes, paracetamol and ibuprofen - and of course the child-friendly versions if travelling with little ones!
These are ideal for sites without electric hook-up. Designed to power 12V appliances by providing a steady level of power over a prolonged period of time, these batteries will power your lights, TV, kettle, oven and similar appliances. Let there be light!
A fire extinguisher is a must-have in a caravan. It could make all the difference if the worst happens - but of course, only use it if the fire is small and it is safe to do so - don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk.
In today’s world, it’s all about the gadgets! Whether it’s a phone, tablet or laptop, most of us have a device we cannot do without - and being slightly off the grid in a caravan doesn’t change that! A 4G WiFi router could make life easier by providing a simple solution for internet access wherever there is 4G coverage. Very easy to set-up, a 4G router can provide internet access for up to 10 wireless devices.
Humans can be messy - fact. Simply having a doormat at the entrance will encourage everyone to wipe their feet, and if you insist, even take their shoes off to preserve your lovely carpets. Small things like this are what keep caravans looking their best!
Dustpan and brush / mini vacuum
As above! Having a handheld vacuum on board will save your sanity! Any stray bits of the outdoors or food crumbs can be whizzed up in just a few moments to keep everything looking neat and tidy and to prevent bits from getting trodden into the carpets. If you don’t have a vacuum, a good old fashioned dustpan and brush can work wonders as well!
Investing in an awning to attach to your caravan could double your living space - a luxury for couples and surely a must-have families! It will create extra dining space, somewhere to hang your washing or a place for the little ones to play - whatever you need extra space for, it’ll bring it in spades. Make sure you look into the options and get the one that’s the best fit for your make and model of caravan.
There are a huge selection of compact, portable BBQs on the market, some of which are made especially for campers and caravanners. It will certainly make dinnertime easy as a wide range of food can be cooked on a BBQ and it will be done al fresco, freeing up space inside. Pass the ketchup!
Windbreaks are fantastic as they provide privacy for you and your family in the area surrounding your caravan. These are particularly useful on sites that are ‘cosy’ where your neighbours may not be far away and can be easily erected in a few minutes.
Although you’ll have your comfy caravan seating inside, on those warm summer days, you’ll want to be outside enjoying it! Invest in a set of quality outdoor chairs - enough for your whole party to avoid arguments! Also consider a folding table or two for those al fresco dining occasions and of course the BBQ prep!
A bit of tlc
Right from day one, make sure you look after your caravan so it can look after you. You’ve made this significant purchase so take care of your investment! Be sure to give your caravan a good interior clean every time you use it and wash and polish the exterior regularly too. Make sure it is stored well when not in use - consider a cover for the winter months - and ensure it is well ventilated to avoid condensation.
Servicing and repairs
Book your caravan in for its annual service without fail and ahead of time. Maintaining your caravan well will pay off as any little issues will be rectified before they turn into something bigger which could cost you money. If you notice that something does need attention or repair, get it done as soon as you can to avoid follow-on problems and to keep your caravan in tip top condition.
Lean on us
Although this may all be new to you, at Winchester Caravans we have years of experience in the caravanning world, so why not call on us to help you! We can guide you through the most suitable accessories for your needs and you can make use of our exceptional NCC-approved workshop for all your service and repair needs.
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