Do you travel in a mobile home, live in a van, or pull a caravan around the world? Every home on wheels needs its equipment, which will make the travels an even better experience. These hacks will also enhance your safety and comfort. Our family’s travels began a long ago and we are minimalists.
We do not bring anything unnecessary along, but we cannot go without some useful equipment. I will narrow it down for you to the most essential equipment, which proved itself extremely helpful while travelling ten thousands of kilometres and visiting places as varied as Morocco and Turkey.
The most important is to buy high quality caravan or mobile home. Most built in equipment that comes with the vehicle is cheaper than any refurbishment or add-ons that you would do yourself after the purchase. We recently purchased reasonably equipped caravan Bessacar from England, which already came with plenty of equipment and appliances. It was our second caravan from Burimex and we already knew what we were looking for. Even after few years we are still satisfied with it.
The Absolute Essentials
For our long travels, the most essential functions of equipment we look for are saving money, saving time, and allowing us to function in a campsite and even outside in the wild. Our caravan is currently equipped in a way that we can do boondocking the same way as we would do with a mobilehome or a van (caravan usually is less ready for this). These are the most essential gadgets:
- Built-in Water Tank – maybe the most important piece of equipment. You can find water on a side of the road, at a gas station or in camps. We always have 40 liters of water under the bed and often another 40 liters in a barrel. If you have another canister brand than Aqua Roll, a short hose with a flexible head for easy refill of water will be handy.
- Electric Heating Plate – it saves us gas and money in camps.
- Built-in Deep Cycle 12V Battery – we have already had Platinum 110 Ah battery for five years and it is still as good as new.
- Propane Tanks – we have two 10kg exchangeable ones and they last us for a three-month trip in the spring, one month in the wild, or two months in a camp. Switching between tanks when the first one runs out does not bother me, but Duo Control is a more comfortable option.
- Barrel for waste water Wastemaster – also one of the equipment that allows for maximal flexibility on our travels.
You of course also need high-quality electrical cabling and reduction for CEE outlets, which are much more common in Europe. On top of that we have one 25 meters long cable and one normal extension cord.
The multifunctional knife Leathermann is useful for repairs of all kinds. We also always travel with 12V compressor which we use for adding air to the car the tires, caravan tires, balls and bicycle tires. And of course some tools are necessary.
If you only take one trip in a year, you will not need any extra comfort, but if you are serious about traveling, some extra tricks will come in handy. After years of traveling, we tried out multiple entrance step ladders, but the only one that lasted long-term was a two-step step ladder Brunner.
- Solar Kit – we have one from Burimex and a 140W panel is more than enough for us. The longest we lasted working on two computers was during three clouded days in Portugal. Then we had to go to a camp for power.
- Truma Heater (Gas/220V) – saves gas when we are in a camp.
- Vacuum Cleaner – we first tried a hand held one, but now we travel with a small regular one, which has the much needed power. We vacuum only in a camp, but it is enough.
- Water hose – it helps us fill the built-in tank and barrel easily.
- Solid Camping Chairs – we have chairs from FrontRunner, which are probably the best small camping chairs on the market.
- Travel washing machine already saved us many times.
We also considered built-in voltage converter, which makes 220V out of traction battery, but because the price of high-quality converters did not reflect their effectiveness, we charge our important appliances through USB or through a cigarette lighter 12V outlet. Another option can be a quiet generator from Honda.
If you only sleep in camps in Europe, you probably will not need any of the following. However, I recommend to lock your door at night even in a camp. If you sleep in the wild, I definitely recommend to purchase a latch for your door.
- Wheel boot Venus helps us secure detached caravan and I also use it while sleeping in the wild, so nobody can drive us away at night 🙂
- Door latch increases the feeling of safety – the regular plastic locks in a caravan are no good.
- Safe for computers and valuables – we have it attached to the floor, but recently I do not find it important. Much more important is to prevent risks, close curtains, and keep expensive things out of sight.
A refrigerator with a separate freezer (12V, 220V, and gas) is a perfect for storage of food and it is necessary for long trips and even for lazy days in a camp. We also have folding dishes of all kinds, juicer, which becomes useful in Spain for oranges, and for any kind of older fruits or vegetables. If you cannot live without coffee like us, I recommend manual coffee maker AeroPress and manual coffee grinder. Even without power you will be able to enjoy a cup of coffee. We also bring along Nespresso, which has the best flavour, and Dolce Gusto, which you can buy anywhere in Europe or elsewhere.
Internet and Work
Because we work while traveling, we perfected many tricks, which maximize efficiency. Among the most important tricks is staying at the camps StayFree and Park4Night. You can measure the speed of Internet with Speedtest and find free Wi-Fi (with passwords) with the app WiFi Map Pro. Antenna Power WiFi with router can nearer a hotel WiFi from hundreds of meters away. If you buy ACSI card, most off-season trips will be nearly a half price. More work hacks can be find in the article With Caravan Across Europe.