Caravan Accessories Guide
Caravan accessories are hard to keep up with. Like cars, new and improved technology seems to come out with each model – and becomes old, fast. Don’t miss out on the latest safety and comfort that the industry has conceived.
In this article, we list some new caravan accessories and go over what to consider when buying.
Fridges are essential on any list of caravan accessories, especially at mealtimes. The best fridges provide noise-less cooling power for minimal electricity consumption while being able to take a pounding on rough roads. This can be a tough choice as there are two options with different benefits:
2-way fridges: These use a traditional compressor and can operate on 12/24-volt sources or 240-volt power from a powered caravan site.
Pros – durable on uneven terrain, easy to install and maintain.
Cons – can be noisy, have a shorter lifespan, require electricity.
Ideal for – staying at powered caravan sites and off-roading / unsealed roads.
3-way fridges: These can run on LPG gas as well as 12/24-volt and 240-volt power. They use a gas-flow heat exchange system to remove heat rather than create coldness.
Pros – can run efficiently on LPG gas (up to 3 weeks on 9kg), long lifespan, no or minimal noise.
Cons – require professional installation, need level ground.
Ideal for – sealed roads, long camping trips without a power source.
Greener, cheaper and off-the-grid freedom – solar power systems have become pretty popular caravan accessories over recent years. Most people prefer to use a solar power system as a backup for their primary batteries and as power for lighting. Often, caravan solar panels are roof-mounted and therefore need to be lightweight as a top-heavy caravan can be dangerous on the road. Consider the main uses for solar systems in caravans:
Trickle Charging – this supplies a constant small source of electricity to your batteries to keep them charged. It’s ideal for caravans left unused for long periods of time and is a simple install.
Primary Generator – this means powering everything in your caravan. Hot water systems, pumps, a/c, etc. A tall order for a solar setup and therefore require a larger and more powerful system. Monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive but offer higher efficiency in low light.
Electronic Stability Control
More so in the safety and peace-of-mind caravan accessories category. ESC is becoming more standard in modern caravans. In a nutshell, ESC systems use a series of sensors designed to provide constant data on the movement of caravans. They monitor sudden movements, small and large, and counter them with correct braking engagement. An example might be when a driver swerves or encounters a strong gust of wind. The result is a significantly safer caravan on the road.
As the technology in caravans is relatively new, older caravans can be fitted with off-the-shelf devices.
Note that ESC should be disconnected when going off-road as bumps and tilting of the caravan can cause the unit to apply brakes unintentionally.
Depending on where and when you plan to travel, the necessity and use of an a/c unit can vary. Australia’s temperature swings are pretty intense. The hottest temperature ever recorded was a blistering 50.7 ℃ at Oodnadatta in SA in 1960, the coldest – a frigid -23 ℃ in the Snowy Mountains in 1994. Fortunately, there are many caravan accessories to help.
A reverse-cycle unit is usually the best option. Mountings and fittings need to be matched to your driving locations in order to absorb some of the bumps. There are two main types of a/c units for caravans…
Roof-mounted a/c units
These are, or at least should be, streamlined, light and low. This is to avoid creating too much wind resistance and vibrations, especially at high speed, and too much weight and added height.
Built-in a/c units
These are usually mounted in a cupboard or under a bed or bench. They are lower than roof options, so the weight distribution is more manageable. They can generally cool a caravan faster but take up more space as roof-mounted a/cs are outside the caravan.
There’s always a chance of a rainy day on a holiday. Kids need entertainment – as do their parents. Entertainment systems are quite broad and cover a few areas. Note that most people upgrade their security as well – TV monitors, speakers and game consoles are attractive to thieves.
Usually the first option in caravan accessories in regards to entertainment. These can be used for parties and sports events too. Make sure you install or request the correct type of speakers and wiring as outdoor use is different from indoor. There are many waterproof options available.
Ideally in a caravan, you’ll want a wall-mounted flat screen. When space (and sometimes electricity) are premiums, a durable LED/OLED screen with Bluetooth capabilities is the way to go. A fold-out bracket will allow you to maneuver and angle the screen.
WiFi options for caravans are readily available with signal boosters and software designed for camping/mobility. All connect to Australia’s major service providers. Antennas for internet and TV signals need to be selected as per your holiday locations. Remember, going ‘out bush’ may limit your connection. Fortunately, most caravan parks offer WiFi. As many caravanners comment, it’s nice to get away from it all.
Will these caravan accessories add to your holiday experience? Need a caravan to put them in? We’ve got you covered – check out our caravan loan calculator to get started.