Setting up an RV or caravan (whether it’s second-hand or brand new) can be expensive —and sometimes a little overwhelming— particularly if you’re starting from scratch. Discount stores can be an excellent place to start your search for those must-have items for your new home on wheels. Here are some of our favourite money-saving camper accessories you can’t afford to be without.
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Camp Smarter, Save Money
You’ve bought a new caravan or recreational vehicle (RV) but need to know what camper accessories you need.
Many times, people will overload their new motorhome with unnecessary items. Although stocking a new camper is similar to furnishing a new home, there are some essential things to remember.
Avoid Heavy Items
Of course, paper products will lessen your load. However, it is not a green alternative.
Instead of suitcases, opt for lightweight plastic bins or packing cubes for clothes and shoes. Large zipper plastic bags can help you stay organised in smaller travel trailers. Even if you’re camping solo, you may need more space.
How Can You Save Money on Camper Accessories?
There are several ways to stock up your caravan without breaking the bank. Consider these options:
- Discount Stores (B&M, The Range)
- Charity Shops (Oxfam, Salvation Army)
- Aldi’s Middle Aisle (Aldi often has brilliant camping and homeware bargains)
- Go Outdoors
- Online Stores (Amazon)
- Shop Your Own Home
Shopping your own home for camper accessories is the perfect way to save money.
We all have extra linens stuffed in closets, such as towels, sheets, and bedding.
When you gather things from your primary residence for your motorhome or caravan, not only are you furnishing your camping vehicle, you will be decluttering in the process. It’s a win/win situation!
Towels, Linens, and Soft Furnishings
- Kitchen Towels
- Dish Cloths
- Bath Towels
- Hand Towels
- Bath Mat
- Throw Rugs
- Scatter Cushions
While stocking your camper with linens, follow a theme or colour scheme. This theme can carry over from your living space to your bedroom.
Many of these items are available at the discount options mentioned above. If you’re not on a tight budget, department stores will have everything you need.
If you’re looking for camping-themed RV accessories, browse your nearby Camping World, they have everything you need and want.
- Air Fryer
- Electric Hob
- Hot Plate
- Coffee Maker
- Hair Dryer
- Cordless Vacuum Cleaner
An air fryer will do many cooking tasks for you. Cooking outdoors can be fun while providing more room inside the camper. (See more about outdoor living below.)
Because kitchen storage may be challenging, many people will set up an entire kitchen under their caravan awning to save room indoors.
You may already have an outdoor kitchen on your motorhome or travel trailer. These usually come with a microwave, sink, and a small refrigerator.
What RV Supplies Do You Need in Your Tool Kit?
Yes, tools are a necessity for your motorhome. Again, shopping at discount tool stores such as Toolstation will save you time and money. Expensive power tools are optional. Don’t forget, if a cheapo screwdriver can drive a screw, it’s the tool for the job!
Recommended Hand Tools
- Drill or Impact Driver
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Pliers, Regular and Needlenose
- Socket Set
Random Camper Accessories
- Duct Tape
- Fuses in common sizes
Under the ‘don’t leave home without it’ category, you may find yourself wishing you had these simple items:
- Office Supplies
- Sandwich Bags
- Bin Bags
Because much of your time camping will be spent outdoors, these items will make you more comfortable. Cooking outside is a favourite pastime for many outdoor enthusiasts. Look for compact and lighter options than you would use for your home.
- Tongs, Spatula, Grill Brush
- Matches, Lighters
- Fire Starters
- Side Tables
Must-Have Motorhome/Caravan Spares
- Grey Waste Hose
- Water Hose
- Cheap Hose Dedicated for Flushing Tanks
- RV Surge Protector
- New Mattress
- Water Container (Aquaroll or similar)
If you buy from new, it’s likely that the dealership will supply only a few items when you purchase a new camper, RV, campervan or caravan. One of the first items you need on your list is a hose to empty your holding tanks. Generally, the one included with your purchase will be unusually short and not reach your hookup. The water container (Aquaroll) will only be used if you do not have full hookups at your site.
Campsites will have all of your amenities included in your camping fee. If you prefer a more rustic experience, you can try wild camping.
You can get many drinking water hoses, but your best bet is a lightweight hose rated for drinking.
Should you plan to plug in your RV at home, you may need to buy an extra 50 or 30-amp power cord to get the required length. These extension cords come with a regular 110 plug. Ideally, if you plan to run the air conditioner while parked at home, you will need a dedicated breaker for your camper.
Most modern caravans and motorhomes come with a ‘premium’ mattress. Although, don’t let the term ‘premium fool you for a minute. There are no box springs, so your comfort depends on the quality of this so-called premium mattress! Equally, if you’re buying a secondhand caravan to modernise, the mattress will have probably seen better days.
I highly recommend investing in a Duvalay for adults and a Dinky Duvalay for children. These must-have mattress toppers come complete with integral bedding and will give you the best night’s sleep in your caravan or RV. They’re one of the most important camper accessories!
Outdoor RV Accessories
- Pet Accessories
- Fire Pit
- Event Shelter/Gazebo
If you like a cosy environment, rugs or mats will add colour to your space. Solar lights are generally lightweight and won’t need extension cords which can be a hassle and safety hazard.
Caravan decor is definitely up to interpretation. If you walk around any campground, you will get so many ideas when you check out the ‘set up’ of your neighbours.
Another way to add colour to your campsite is with tablecloths for your picnic table – or pretty bunting.
Pet accessories range from beds, bowls, fencing, and more.
An event shelter or gazebo will offer shade when no trees are nearby. In some cases, you can even buy fly screens for the sides, which will enable you to watch beautiful sunsets without fighting off mosquitoes! And if your event shelter is large enough to place over your picnic table, you will enjoy comfortable meals.
RV’s have limited storage inside and out. You will need to use this space to your advantage strategically.
The outdoor storage, sometimes called ‘the garage’ or ‘basement’ may go the entire width of your van. If this is the case, consider under-bed storage containers. These containers are shallow and long, acting like a big drawer you can pull out to access. Items to store in a container like this would be outdoor accessories, like awnings and firepits.
Large plastic storage boxes may hold tools and such. You could use a similar storage box to keep your water hoses, power, or extension cords.
Mesh laundry bags with drawstrings will help round up kids’ toys and more. Small plastic shoe boxes work great for solar lights.
Under-bed storage will be better organised by using plastic boxes with or without lids. Using individual storage for sheets, towels, and dirty laundry will ensure everything stays in place as you travel down the road.
After the first season, consider reevaluating your storage options when you see what is and isn’t working.
- Kitchen Sink
- Dinette to Daybed
- TV Upgrade
- Air Conditioner
- Adding Shelving
- Painting the Interior
- Painting the exterior
An RV accessory list would only be complete with a discussion of camper modifications. Your home away from home needs to reflect your style and comfort.
Camper manufacturers try to keep costs down to make your adventures more affordable. Consider these ideas whether you do modifications early on or down the road.
Replacing the standard kitchen sink and faucet will make the struggle of washing dishes more pleasant.
If your recreational vehicle doesn’t have a sofa, consider lowering the dinette table permanently to have a makeshift daybed for lounging.
Although you may not have room for larger TVs, you may want to upgrade to a smart TV if you have internet access and prefer to stream your favourite channels.
Often, storage can be a challenge in the bedroom. Adding temporary, no-drill shelving in one or both of the wardrobe areas will give you more room for tops, bottoms, pyjamas, etc.
If your van has too many wood tones, grab some paint and a paintbrush to update a few walls or paint the caravan cupboards.
Ultimately, your live-in vehicle should be comfortable and make you want to spend time in it and go camping! Investing in these must-have camper accessories will go a long way in helping that!
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself! Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. Gail will guide you step by step with each tutorial as she hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.