What equipment do you need for a caravan? Buying Your First Caravan 06

Caravan accessoriesHere we are at post number 6 of the “Buying Your First Caravan” series. When you buy a caravan you will need a few extra bits and pieces before you can go away on your first trip, and that’s what we’re going to cover in today’s post.

Ready? Good.

What is the must have caravan equipment?

There a certain items of equipment that you will need to go with your caravan for it to be fully functional. This is what I refer to as the basic equipment or the must have’s, without it you would be pretty stuck. You may be lucky enough to get the equipment thrown in when you buy a caravan, but it’s still worth knowing what you need. The best way for me to approach this is to list them out detailing what they are, what they’re for and roughly how much they cost:

Fresh water carrier

The fresh water carrier is used to store your fresh water and lives outside of your caravan. Typically, the rolling fresh water containers (as pictured) hold 40 litres of water. Your water pump will connect to the outside of your caravan and dangle into the water carrier and draw water as required. This water feeds your taps and shower.

Approximate cost = £40.00 - £50.00

Buy one here >>
Waste water carrier

The waste water carrier is used to store your waste water (or grey water as it is sometimes known), this is the waste water collected from your sinks and shower (not toilet). Most waste carriers share the same flat design enabling them to be stored underneath the caravan while in use. As pictured, they are on wheels which makes life a lot easier when the waste water dump point is a 5 minute walk from your pitch! The average storage capacity of wheeled waste carriers is 45-50 litres.

Approximate cost = £40.00 – £50.00

Buy one here >>
12 VLeisure Battery

The leisure battery in a caravan is used to power various different things, its main job is to power the fridge (while in 12V mode) and the 12V lighting. It is important to understand that a leisure battery is different from a car battery. Using a battery that hasn’t been designed specifically for use on a caravan could potentially damage your 12V system. Leisure batteries for caravans typically come in two sizes; 85ah and 110ah. People would normally opt for the larger battery if; they have a large caravan, they go away for long periods of time or they have a caravan mover fitted.

Approximate cost = £60.00 – 120.00

Buy one here >>
Caravan Gas Bottle
Gas bottle

In most caravans you will in fact have enough space to carry 2 gas bottles. The gas gives power to several of the main functions of a caravan; fridge (when in gas mode), heating system (when in gas mode), hob, oven and grill. Also make sure that you have the correct fittings for your bottle (most caravans are complete with these but be sure to check the gas type; propane or butane).
Mains lead

The mains lead connects to the mains point on site and plugs into your caravan through the mains connection socket (usually located in the battery locker), this is what is know as being “hooked up”. This provides your caravan with 240V mains electric. Inside your caravan there may be some 240V sockets that you can plug appliances into, besides these, you can you use mains to run your heating system.

Approximate cost = £30.00

Buy one here >>

The entrance to a caravan can be quite a way up which for most people would prove a challenge without some kind of step.

Approximate cost = £15.00 – £30.00

Buy one here >>
Hitch lock / Wheel lock

Security is imperative (as we discovered in yesterday’s post about caravan insurance) and so you will need either a hitch lock or a wheel lock or both. A hitch lock is a device that is locked onto the hitch head of a caravan to prevent anyone else from hitching it up, and a wheel lock in its many forms, locks the wheel into place which also prevents the caravan from being towed away. When buying a hitch lock, be sure to buy the one that fits your particular hitch head, there are different types. When buying a wheel lock make sure you buy a wheel lock that is suitable for either alloy or steel wheels and is the right size for the dimensions of your wheels.

Approximate cost of hitch lock = £70 – £100
Approximate cost of wheel lock = £80 – £120

Buy a hitch lock here >>

Buy a wheel lock here >>
Corner steady jack

The corner steady jack is used to raise and lower the corner steady legs.

Approximate cost = £10.00

Buy one here >>
Water pump

The water pump plugs into the side of your caravan and dangles into the fresh water container to supply the caravan with fresh water to the taps and shower. Most caravans should come with pumps as there are 10′s of different ones depending on the age and make of the caravan. Seek advice from your local dealer before buying one of these.

Approximate cost £40.00 – £60.00

Buy one here >
Toilet chemicals

The cassette toilet in a caravan uses 2 types of chemical in its operation. The bring chemical is diluted and used to flush the toilet and the blue chemical is used the in the holding cassette and is designed to break down waste and to help eliminate odours.

Approximate cost = £20.00

Buy them here >>

So that’s it for the “must have’s”. Now what other equipment should you consider with a new caravan that is not necessary but is very handy?

Caravan bedding

Believe it or not you can actually buy fitted sheets, shaped duvets and memory foam mattress topper specially designed for caravan beds.

Approximate cost = £20 - £50

Buy it here >>
Melamine dinner set

Keeping the weight down in a caravan can be a frustrating task, but nevertheless is a very important one. Saving weight on your essentials such as dining sets all helps. These melamine dinner sets are perfect for caravanning as they weigh next to nothing and if they fall out your cupboards while you travel they are not going to break and much less likely to put a hole in your work surface like a china one would inevitably do.

Estimated cost = £15.00 – £50.00

Buy a set here >>
Noseweight gauge

Tow cars have a recommended nose weight that you should or exceed. Therefore you need to be able to accurately measure the nose weight of a caravan, a noseweight gauge will help you make sure that you are within the limits.

Estimated cost = £30.00 – £50.00 (digital nose weight gauges can cost considerably more)

Buy one here >>
Spirit level

A small but important accessory, I probably should have listed this in the list of “must have’s”. You may have seen attached to a-frames of touring caravans in the past. It is important to ensure a caravan is level, firstly because the fridge won’t operate correctly on gas and secondly it’s surprising how uncomfortable it can be sleeping ‘on the wonk’.

Estimated cost = £2.00 – £5.00

Buy one here >>


This is by no means a complete list of caravanning accessories but it should certainly be enough to get you started. Let me know in the comments below if you have anything to add or have any questions about any of the equipment listed in this article.

Don’t forget to come back to the blog tomorrow for the post on caravanning clubs and organisations.

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Comments (13)
  1. Alya Al Zaabi April 9, 2013
    • Josh Garrod April 9, 2013
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    • Josh Garrod September 5, 2013
    • Les May 10, 2016
  4. Glennis September 25, 2013
    • Josh Garrod September 27, 2013
  5. Lynda and Rob March 26, 2014
    • Josh Garrod March 26, 2014
  6. Alan May 13, 2014
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