To get a feel for what RV accessories are readily available these days, I spent some time perusing the accessories shops at the Windsor branch of Parravans Caravan World and Ballina Campervan and Motorhome Centre, NSW. So, having done the legwork myself, I can now save you some time.
And don't forget to check out Part 1 of our 11 essential caravanning accessories feature!
Some RVs come fully-supplied with fresh water hoses and grey water hoses and some don’t. If not, then you will certainly need the former. The latter you will need only if you have a grey water tank. A particularly useful item to have is a short length of fresh water hose with a click fitting at one end only, to ensure it will easily fit into the water filler.
2. INSECT SCREENING
While vans mostly have screened doors and windows, campervans and large van conversions, particularly those with sliding doors and rear tailgates, often do not. We all want fresh air and it’s great to have all the doors open in hot weather, but not if mozzies and flies arrive in large numbers!
A purpose-built insect screen with zippered doors can solve this issue by keeping out the bugs but still providing easy access in and out of the doors.
3. PORTABLE STEPS
Portable steps are a great idea for anyone who has a tall step up into their van or who has trouble getting up the steps. As a bonus, they can be used anywhere things are difficult to reach, such as high cupboards in side.
4. POWER CORDS
Power cords are, of course, essential and are usually supplied with new RVs, sized for 15A duty. Something to keep in mind with power cords is that the longer the cords get, the larger diameter the conductors must be.
But a problem can arise when you want to plug your RV into your home powerpoints, which are only rated for 10A. The safest way to solve this is to purchase something like an Ampfibian power adaptor.
5. SOLAR PANELS
Anyone considering remote travel should give solar panels some serious consideration. It’s all well and good having adequate battery capacity, but when you’re away from 240V power, you need to ensure you have a reliable way to charge them! The great thing about solar power is, of course, that once the panels are installed, the power is free and plentiful.
Just because you’re on holiday, doesn’t mean you don’t want to keep up-to-date with your favourite programs or the news. Having a TV onboard can be useful, especially for long-term travellers and particularly when the weather turns bad. Flatscreen TVs are usually supplied in modern RVs but, if not, there are plenty available in all sizes and price ranges.
7. TOILET CHEMICALS
While most RVs with a toilet come with a preliminary supply of toilet chemicals, sooner or later, you’re going to have to buy your own. There are a number of makes available, some more environmentally-friendly than others. And if obnoxious smells are a problem, you can also fit an SOG system that vents the toilet cassette.
8. TOWING MIRRORS
Extended external mirrors are essential for safe towing. There are a number of manufacturers which make the clip-on variety, which come in various forms, but there are also those made by companies such as Clearview, which actually replace your vehicle mirrors and can be extended very easily.
9. WASHING MACHINES
Washing machines are becoming more common in RVs and are often fitted as standard. However, while convenient, they do take up space and use precious water.
When deciding if a washing machine is a good option for you, consider your travel style, where you plan on staying, how readily accessible water will be, and what other options might be available to you.
10. WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION HITCHES
Weight distribution hitches are designed to balance the weight across all axles of the vehicle and trailer. This not only makes the towing combination more level but it also improves the vehicle’s steering and braking. Some travellers don’t use them, some vehicle manufacturers don’t recommend them, and they don’t suit all setups but, for getting a balanced rig, they can work well.
11. WHEEL CHOCKS
Lightweight, purpose-built wheel chocks are available from any caravan accessory supplier and are great when you’re parked on sloping ground. They are also useful for levelling a rig. If you want to save cash, home-made alternatives are easy to make from pieces of timber.