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Caravanning essentials and top tips for a newbie!?

(21 Posts)
llynnnn Sun 24-Feb-13 21:13:32

We bought our very first caravan last October and have just booked our very first trip away in it at Easter grin

Has anyone got any essential items that we must NOT forget? Or top tips for our first outing/touring experience? Also,( if I'm not already asking too much! blush) what are your favourite meals to cook, dh hates pasta!!


llynnnn Mon 25-Feb-13 16:34:46

Anyone? smile

DrGoogleWillSeeYouNow Mon 25-Feb-13 20:16:39

We bought our first caravan last year and had two outings in it.

The first time in it we stayed at a very basic and cheap local site about 20 mins from home for two nights so we could test it out and pop home for anything we desperately needed and had forgotten. As it happened we didn't need to go home for anything but I did end up with a list of bits and pieces that would have made our stay more comfortable.

Second time out we went further afield to a lovely but expensive site for 4 nights, with excellent washroom facilities, a pool, restaurant, play areas and mini golf course on site.

Food - breakfast tended to be bacon or sausage sandwiches or boiled eggs and toast or cereal (the joys of having a fridge - fresh milk!). I also took frozen stuff in the cool box - soup, chilli & rice, we did burgers one night on a portable BBQ, did pizza in the caravan oven and ate out the other nights.

You'll have a great time, I can't wait for our first trip this year at Easter grin

millimat Mon 25-Feb-13 20:36:51

I love our caravan and could never go back to a tent again! Our essentails stay in the caravan so that if the weekend looks good, we just need to put in food and clothes and we're off.
Essentials for us include spare fuses (once the fuse on the toilet went!), can opener, board games (if you have children), quilts and pillows rather than sleeping bags, levelling ramps and a mini spirit level (bit OCD about having a level caravan!).
Meals do tend to be pasta based a lot. Sometimes I make a cottage pie beforehand and put it in the freezer if we're away a few days. We've taken pizzas and chinese / indian takeaway meals from Asda as the oven makes it so easy. I do find that things take longer to cook than in the oven at home. Fish fingers are always in the freezer too!

serin Mon 25-Feb-13 20:44:41

I would take a carbon monoxide detector and a good quality fire extinguiser then I can sleep easier! Goes without saying that you should also have a smoke detector.

We also take spare fuses after the fusebox went late at night in the middle of the Highlands once and we didnt have a replacement.

Check with the site to see if you need levelling blocks, nothing worse than trying to live in a space that slopes! but they are heavy to transport if you dont need them.

Bin bags
Shoes (we once went to Cornwall without taking the kids shoes)
Good Book

We tend to eat the same sort of food as at home as have a fridge and hob/oven.

headlesslambrini Mon 25-Feb-13 20:59:12

tins of chunky soup are good and take no time to heat up with some fresh crusty bread - yum. I usually cook something at home for the first night and take it with us. boil in the bag rice, bacon, sausage, salad, bread and pate etc. we usually buy a box of lolly ices and put them in the freezer bit as it's cheaper than the DC's going to the shop for them. when shopping just take note of how long things take to cook as it's using the gas up.

Furball Tue 26-Feb-13 07:38:15

Thin towels - not thick fluffy ones that will take an age to dry. Those microfibre ones are good.

Suction hooks to hang them on. - though they are easier stuck to shiney plastic or mirror

Use the block to shower in, no point having to fill your fresh water barrel and then having to empty it.

Crocs/flip flops all round for using the shower block

Line the oven base with foil to save splashs and things.

Buy a splatter guard lid for you frying pan

get a drainer like this that can hold alot in a little space.

You don't need as many clothes as you think

Don't forget to shut your hot water tank before you connect the water barrel blush

and get a special hose to fill your aquaroll. for some reason all the taps are all the splashiest without.

I put my coffee, tea etc in these which I got in sainsburys/morrisons

Get a folding crate to chuck all the shoes in

I use a big laundry basket to put the clothes we are taking in to carry to the van, then hang up what can be hung and leave the rest in the basket at the bottom of the wardrobe. As long as your dh dosen't ransack it you are careful about rifling through it works well.

Everyone gets a top locker for their own use and thats also where I keep each persons clean undies and pj's.

We have on board all time, tennis rackets, badminton rackets, table tennis bats and boules - all cheapo from argos but fine for what we need. Quite often a site will have the relevant facility for us to use.

I'm sure you'll have loads of fun with it. It's good quality family time. smile

llynnnn Tue 26-Feb-13 13:59:46

Thank you for all your replies and good tips. I would never have thought of fuses!! I will have a good look through the link and make a list later smile

Our caravan doesn't have an oven, but it has a job, microwave and grill and I'm hoping the weather will e good enough for a BBQ or two grin

We don't have an awning yet and we dont have a caravan battery? Are these essential? We have booked electric hook up

Thanks again!

timetosmile Tue 26-Feb-13 14:02:35

More blankets than you think you'll need.
Toys which do not include those fiddly tiny bits of lego...

scurryfunge Tue 26-Feb-13 14:12:47

I would recommend a clothes airer/ clothes horse type thing.
A plastic crate or tub for your clothes when showering(shower cubicles are usually wet, muddy).
Basic tool box is handy.
Outdoor light if you will braving the evenings outside at Easter!
Several mats to keep the inside cleaner and definitely a door mat.
If you are thinking of getting an awning then a small porch awning is a good starter- quick and easy to put up and you can keep the damp clothes and shoes out there.
We've got a paella burner and we cook some great meals on that.
Have fun.

llynnnn Tue 26-Feb-13 20:36:22

Good idea about the box for the showers. Dh has been looking at porch awnings today, think we are going to go for it.

Excited about having time away in it, but very nervous about towing!! Dh is having a lesson before we go, any tips??

DewDr0p Tue 26-Feb-13 21:00:37

Plastic bag for clothes while showering, flip flops for your feet.

Wellies for the kids - easy to pull on and off when they go in and out.

zumo Wed 27-Feb-13 06:43:36

Practice the towing, do a dummy run even if its one the drive.
Some extras I carried.
Role of duct tape Ideal for any leaks or repairs
Tube of silicon sealant as above.
Washing line and pegs.
Electric fan heater just incase your gas runs out
Pack of cards
Books and coloured pencils incase it rains.
You must have a fire extinguisher and it is sometimes written in the insurance small print, I had a blanket aswell
Torch, the head torches from the £1 shop are ideal for the kids
Wellies are a must, once you get a porch awning its much easier as any wet stuff can be hung to dry.
Our local £1 shop sells a small shallow tray about 12" x20" ideal for standing wet or muddy shoes on
Oh and remember not all sites have TV reception, we had a cheap satelite system £50 from Aldi it was a god send for the kids on wet nights.
The main thing is try it and have fun

Goneshopping Wed 27-Feb-13 20:43:53

A little hand vac!

llynnnn Sat 02-Mar-13 07:29:38

I've been thinking of getting a tv for that reason zumo, but part of me wants the escape from the dd's gawping at the tv! Sure I'll regret that tho on rainy days!!

ChippyMinton Sat 02-Mar-13 07:52:00

Take DVDs and microwave popcorn, and have movie night on the double dinette bed!
Loo roll for taking to the shower block.
A lidded bucket for overnight wees (just don't knock it over!)

colleysmill Sat 02-Mar-13 07:54:46

If not a hand vacuum then definately dustpan and brush!

I'd add tin foil to the list - makes cleaning the grill much easier and you will definately need a corkscrew and bottle opener as well as a tin opener.

DistantShip Sat 02-Mar-13 07:59:33

Just picked up that you don't have a battery, check that your electrics will work without it - some systems need it in place wink

Foodwise, I love those spice packs with bags, just throw together and shove in the oven for a meal that cooks itself.


We also have crocs and showerproof jackets that live in the van for all of us to save carting back and forth.

Microfibre towels are a must, and a jumbo roll of kitchen paper.

DH and I also have lightweight towelling dressing gowns for to-ing and fro-ing from our morning shower. I have "dipped" my clothes in a shower room puddle too many times. I now get dressed back at the van .....

More wine.

Take swimming kit, as its a good activity to keep on standby for a rainy day.

Download something from iPlayer to our laptop for when DS is asleep and you have pitched at a site with no Internet access. We only take a laptop and dongle as decided not to fuel DH weekend sports addiction have a TV.

llynnnn Sun 03-Mar-13 23:06:35

Will have to have a look at microfibre towels and don't worry distantship, wine and corkscrew are on the top of my list wink

CaveyLovesPendleton Tue 05-Mar-13 18:45:30

I leave a stash of clean tea towels & pillowcases in ours. Also a pack of j-cloths to use as dish cloths. We use sleeping bags for ease and speed of taking the beds down. I found coffee in individual sachets and got a well sealed enamel tin for tea, so that I can leave those in the caravan between trips.

arie5119 Sun 17-Mar-13 12:13:33

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