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Everything you need to know to accessorise your motorhome
Words and Images by: KEA

There is a great deal of excitement and interest over the purchase of a motorhome, be it new or used, but sometimes all the little extras that are needed are forgotten until necessary. So we’ve taken the hard work out for those about to buy, or new members who may now be looking at what accesories they need to make life on the road that much easier.

THE BASICS

Starting with a few essentials, for those who stay in caravan parks, a power cord is an essential item. Legally it has to be rated for 15 amps, the distinguishing feature from a normal domestic plug and socket being the 15A variety a larger than usual earth pin. Some manufacturers will supply a standard power lead but as any good CMCA member who has been to a rally or two will know, an extra length power lead is almost mandatory. Note at CMCA rallies, it is not permitted to connect two power leads together.

Hoses are an essential item too. Both for filling fresh water tanks and draining  grey and black water tanks – note for newbies, they are not the same thing. Like power leads, some manufacturers will supply these and it’s something to keep in mind. Also great to have is an assortment of hose fittings and connections. I’ve been at a CMCA rally where about three hose lengths were needed to fill a water tank. Hose connectors were a vital item.

On the subject of water tanks, there are consumables needed here too. The toilet cassette or black tank certainly needs treatment every time it’s emptied and even the grey tanks can be treated from time to time too, mostly around the time when they start to smell a bit.

Tools are not at the top of everyone’s list, particularly for those who are mechanically challenged, but a selection of screwdrivers, pliers, adjustable wrenches, Allen keys and multi grips are almost essential. If nothing else, the theory is that even if you cannot fix a problem, another camper may well be able to assist, especially if you  have the relevant tools. Note well here that anything that has odd sized or dedicated fittings should definitely have an accompanying tool. For those of us who wear glasses, have small devices or appliances then a set of jewellers screwdrivers is definitely handy.

Happy Hour is definitely a feature of RV travel that is fixed in time (circa 4 – 5pm) and space. The space bit being anywhere you happen to be, but an essential requirement here is a couple of camping chairs and a small table. Note well here, a little tip before chair purchase is to test them out for seating comfort and also ease of carrying. In this case, you often get what you pay for so resist the temptation to skimp.

GOOD TO HAVE

A set of wheel ramps, particularly for a motorhome, are definitely on the high priority list. Getting a motorhome level is often a bit of a trick and without hydraulic jacks, wheel ramps are the next best thing. A few wooden blocks are also handy to carry for the same reason.

Most motorhomes, indeed any RV that comes with an awning these days, is a very handy feature. If you like the great outdoors lifestyle, sand flies and mozzies, then a set of walls can be a handy addition. These come in various configurations from full walls to just insect screens, so the choice is yours.

Do remember the weight factor.

It might be less that 300mm high but a portable step is often a great investment. Even if it’s nothing more than for a door entry step, but there are times when it’s good for getting to an awning clip that is just out of reach. There are two varieties, the fixed plastic type or one with folding legs that is easier to store.

A little problem that arises from time to time is plugging into a household power point with a 15A plug. Some folk carry around a specialty made short length power lead, but a better solution  and one which is fully weather proof and quite legal with a built in circuit breaker is an Ampfibian.

A torch or two should really be on the essential list. A great variation on these is a headlamp. Most at least come with an elastic strap and LED lamp and are great for doing tasks in the dark that require two hands. You know, something like an emergency empty of the toilet cassette!

Portable BBQs are often fitted as a standard item but where not, then something like a small Weber can be a very useful item. Not only for BBQs, but also as I have discovered, very good as an outside oven for cooking a roast.

With the advent of 12V and 5V USB charger outlets, there is less reliance on 240V mains supply but for some devices like laptop computers, an inverter is a useful item. Note these do come in various ratings, the higher levels requiring a good battery capacity.

This might sound a funny item and it’s not always available at your local RV accessories shop - a stationery supplier like Officeworks or your local hardware shop is a good starting point. A key ring holder, the type that comes with a writable tag is a great organisational feature. It’s useful because many a motorhome seems to come with a large bunch of keys, like one for every locker, and having a key tag holder is a good organisational tool.

THE CARAVAN BRIGADE

For caravan owners there are a few additional items to consider. Towing  mirrors that give a good clear view down both sides of the caravan are essential. My tip here is don’t skimp. Some clip on external mirrors are nicely priced, but either constantly fall off or cause the tow vehicle external mirror to fold in every time a truck goes by.

Not everybody likes them but weight distribution hitches are a great idea for keeping a tow vehicle combination level and making sure that the front wheels in particular have their full level of steering and braking.

Recent developments in the towing scene have been sway control systems. Al-KO for instance has developed their  ESC system. What it does is detect excessive lateral movement and applies the brakes to whichever wheel needs it. For the most part sway control does nothing but it will kick in when you most need it. A great safety investment.

ANYTHING ELSE?

There certainly are other little ‘essentials’ that long term travellers will tell you they use, but the above list should get you started and heading down the road. Doing a little bit of internet research, like at the RV Sales Centre website will give a few clues, along with prices.

Portabe BBQs are often fitted as a standard item, but if not, something like a Weber can be a useful item

Tags: Motorhome Campervan Caravan RV Decor Decorating Accessorise Amps Step Door Hoses Water Tanks Solar Power Cooking Oven
Category: Features
Written: Sun 01 Apr 2018
Printed: April, 2018
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