Caravan accessories

Girl looking out of a touring caravanWhen you’re travelling in a touring caravan, the little details matter. In fact, some caravan accessories are essential as a legal requirement for getting your caravan on the road. While some accessories are important to keep you safe and sound when you’re towing your vehicle, other safety accessories are there to protect your vehicle when it’s not in use. 

On top of this there are some handy practical accessories you’ll need in order to enjoy your time in your caravan, such as steps, water carriers and curtains. With the following list of caravan accessories, you’ll be ready to get your touring caravan adventures in full swing.

Do I need to order caravan accessories separately from a caravan?

Some caravan deals, including first-hand or second-hand purchases, may already include some caravan accessories such as a leisure battery or a spare tyre. In most cases, however, you’ll need to buy the majority of your caravan accessories separately. You should always check exactly what is and isn’t included in your deal before ordering any additional accessories. 

Where can I buy caravan accessories?

Caravan accessories are stocked by major retailers, as well as camping and outdoor shops. Caravan retailers often have their own store too, so you might want to enquire about buying additional accessories as part of your deal.

Towing accessories

Towing mirrors

Driving your caravan without towing mirrors isn’t just unsafe, it’s also against the law in most countries. In the United Kingdom, driving with at least two towing mirrors is required if your caravan is wider than the rear of your towing vehicle. It only takes a few minutes to attach towing mirrors to your car’s existing wing mirrors, and it’ll help to eliminate blind spots and increase your safety.

Towing mirrors with clamps are more stable and secure than other models. Ideally, the clamps should be fitted as far apart as possible to add extra stability to the set-up and ensure that they stay in place whatever the speed and road conditions of your journey.

Caravan stabilisers

While you’re not legally required to use a caravan stabiliser, they are helpful for adding extra resistance when you’re towing your caravan. This protects against swaying and snaking during transit, especially in conditions such as cross winds or when you are travelling at high speeds.

There are three types of caravan stabilisers:

1. Blade-type stabiliser: The most affordable stabiliser model and easy to transfer from one caravan to another, these stabilisers must be refitted before every journey. A greased tow ball might be required.
2. Towball-mounted stabiliser (also called a hitch head stabiliser): These stabilisers are also easy to use and used with a dry towing ball. However, they are more expensive and considered to be less effective than a blade-type stabiliser. They also require a specialised hitch lock.
3. Active stability braking system: This is the most powerful stabiliser. It doesn’t require any maintenance, but it is the most expensive option and must be specially fitted to your caravan.

You should always check whether your caravan is compatible with your selected caravan stabiliser. Most modern caravans require a hitch head stabiliser. However, older caravans can work with all three types of stabilisers. In that case, the most effective option (and one that’s also budget friendly) is the blade-type stabiliser, which creates more stability than a towball-mounted stabiliser. 

If you’re not confident in your ability to maintain your stabiliser, you may want to opt for the active stability braking system instead. Although it is more expensive as an upfront cost, it requires little to no maintenance.

Noseweight gauges

The noseweight on your caravan exerts a downward force on your car’s towball, making sure that your caravan doesn’t tilt to one side when it is being towed. Your noseweight should be between 5 and 7% of your caravan’s maximum permissible laden weight, a  figure that you will find in your caravan’s handbook. 

This is where owning a noseweight gauge is essential. When your caravan is loaded, you’ll need to place a noseweight gauge underneath the caravan hitch to measure the load and ensure that it doesn’t exceed the recommended noseweight for your caravan.  

You should choose a noseweight gauge that has British standard markings, because these gauges are usually more accurate and long-lasting.

Breakaway cable

The breakaway cable is what keeps your caravan attached to your towing vehicle, so although it may be a small accessory, it’s mighty important to stop your caravan detaching on the road. It’s also a legal requirement for towing a caravan. 

There are two types of breakaway cable:

1. Standard spring clips: These clips use a loop to attach your caravan to the towing vehicle.
2. Carabiner: A carabiner directly attaches your caravan to a specific point and is suitable for heavy-duty towing.

A carabiner breakaway cable is the safest and securest option for towing a caravan. Although it is legal to use a spring clip in the UK, a carabiner attachment will engage the handbrake on your caravan if the cable is broken, stopping the vehicle.

Spare tyre

If a spare tyre isn’t already provided with your caravan, you should source your own to deal with punctures and other problems quickly and efficiently while on the road. You won’t be able to use a spare car tyre, because caravan wheels are generally smaller.

A number plate

Just like your car, your caravan needs its own number plate for the road. It must have the same number plate as the vehicle that is towing it and meet the usual requirements: a reflective yellow background with black writing. It’s easy to order new licence plates online from a registered supplier.

Caravan safety accessories

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

While modern caravans usually have a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide fitted as a standard, you should always check whether your caravan is missing either types of detectors. Both are essential gadgets so you can detect fires quickly and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

While combined carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are available, you should avoid these if possible, because once one alarm is set off, the other will be disabled. This means that the device won’t be able to detect carbon monoxide once smoke has been detected, and vice versa.

The most effective smoke detectors are optical smoke detectors and heat detectors. These shouldn’t be set off by things like deodorants or burnt toast.

Fire extinguishers and fire blankets

A fire extinguisher is another essential caravan safety feature. You should avoid water extinguishers and invest in a powder extinguisher, which is suitable for use on solids, liquids, flammable gas and electrical fires.

A fire blanket is also recommended for caravans, as it can be used to extinguish smaller flames or alternatively used as a protective body layer if you’re trapped. The larger the fire blanket, the more effective it will be at extinguishing a small fire.

Hitch lock

Protecting your caravan from thieves starts with a hitch lock. A hitch lock is used to protect the hitch of your caravan with a secure metal lock and prevent anyone from lifting the hitch handle to insert a tow ball. 

Often, caravan insurers require a certain model or brand of hitch lock, so you should check if there are any specific requirements. Otherwise, an SCM Approved or Sold Secure hitch lock will have passed industry test standards.

Alarms and tracker devices

Other key caravan safety features include alarm systems and tracker devices to alert you to intruders and track your vehicle in the event of it being stolen. A good alarm system will use infra-red or other types of internal motion detector technology to pick up movement in your caravan and activate the alarm when the ignition is turned on.

The best tracker devices can be linked to an alarm system, letting you track your caravan remotely when the alarm is activated. It should be suitable to operate on just your caravan’s leisure battery, but also have a rechargeable back-up battery option in case the battery dies.

Wheel clamp

A wheel clamp (also called a wheel lock) is another great caravan safety feature and a deterrent for thieves. The clamp should be SCM Approved or Sold Secure certified and compatible with your caravan.

Other practical caravan accessories

Levelling ramps

When the ground on your pitch is uneven, levelling ramps can be used to level your caravan.  Aluminium levelling ramps are the most durable option, but plastic levelling ramps are also effective. You should check whether the levelling ramps are suitable to support the laden weight of your caravan, a figure that can be found in your caravan’s handbook.

A man inspecting his caravan.

Caravan cover and hitch cover

When you’re putting your caravan into storage, you should use a caravan cover to prevent dirt and moisture from damaging your caravan and stop UV rays from affecting the paintwork. Using a caravan cover when you’re towing your caravan also helps to prevent debris from damaging the vehicle.

It’s important to find a caravan cover that correctly fits your caravan so that the cover doesn't scuff the paintwork during transit, as well as to reduce damp or mould when it’s in storage. While a tailormade or semi-tailormade cover will fit your caravan best, it's also possible to buy ready-made caravan covers in many different sizes too. 

You should check the size of the caravan cover against the length of your caravan and select a caravan cover that fits closely in order to prevent excess material from ripping in heavy wind or damaging your caravan.


If you want to use electricity in your caravan, you’ll first need a leisure battery. These are different from a car battery. It’s uncommon for a leisure battery to be supplied with new caravans. 

A leisure battery should be able to support the running of 12V appliances such as lights, televisions and small kitchen appliances over a prolonged period of time. 

There are four main types of leisure batteries:

1. Lead acid batteries
A lead acid battery is the most reliable and common type of leisure battery, as well as the most affordable. They’re easy to maintain, as long as they’re kept upright to stop any acid leaking.
2. Gel batteries
Gel batteries don’t have any risk of spillage. However, they are more expensive and require a special charger to ensure that they are not overcharged.
3. Absorbent Glass Mat batteries
These are another expensive option but they are also the safest and most environmentally friendly choice. You should be careful not to overcharge them or the battery will fail.
4. Enhanced Flooded Battery
This battery is designed for caravans with stop-start systems because it can withstand the cyclic nature of the vehicle.

Unless you have a caravan that operates on a stop-start system, the most reliable battery for a caravan is a lead acid battery. However, you should also consider whether you need Category A, Category B or Category C. 

Category A batteries are a wise choice if you often stay at pitches without an electrical hook-up and use high-powered devices like motor movers.

Category B batteries are great for caravan owners who usually stay on electric hook-up pitches but use devices that require a fair amount of power.

Category C batteries should only be used if you spend very short stretches of time on pitches without an electric hook-up, because the battery will be smaller. 

You will also need a leisure battery charger that has an output of at least 10% of the battery’s capacity.

Water carriers

Unless you are staying on a caravan pitch with fresh and waste water connections, you will need portable waste water and fresh water carriers to dispose of wastewater and carry fresh water to your caravan.

Water carriers with wheels are the easiest to transport, but it’s also possible to roll barrel-shaped carriers to and from fresh water and wastewater points if you’re strong enough. A capacity of at least 35-50 litres is advisable; you may require a greater capacity if you’ll be showering often or if you prefer to empty your wastewater at less regular intervals.

Waste and water system

Of course, an effective waste and water system is also important, as you'll learn in our guide to caravan waste water

Most caravans are already fitted with flexible corrugated water pipes from the bathroom and kitchen to aid your waste and water system. However, it’s possible to buy additional water pipes that increase the space for wastewater to travel out of your caravan. This might come in handy if you want to use the kitchen sink and a bathroom shower at the same time. 

You might also want to replace your flexible corrugated pipes with smoothbore flexible pipes, which trap less grease and debris (a common cause of blockages).

Caravan toilet

You will also need to choose a caravan toilet. Typically, cassette caravan toilets are the most hygienic and pleasant option for a caravan toilet, and these are often provided with modern caravan models.

Mats and carpets

Caravan mats and carpets add extra comfort and insulation to your caravan. They can also make your set-up feel more homely. Removable caravan carpets are a flexible way to insulate your floor and make your caravan feel more cosy. 

Many providers will fit carpets for you, but if you don’t want the trouble of measuring your caravan or having someone come out to do it, large mats can also act as a good alternative. The main role of a mat, however, is to keep dirt outside of your caravan and allow you to wipe your shoes before entering the caravan. Remember that darker colours won’t show up stains as easily.


Curtains add privacy to your caravan, as well as protecting your belongings from others’ eyes and deterring thieves. Blackout shades or curtains are particularly helpful if you’re prone to getting woken up by the sunrise.


Caravans sit higher off the ground than other vehicles, so you’ll need a sturdy set of stairs to access your caravan when it is stationary. They can be as basic or as elaborate as you like. However, steps with handrails or ramps may be helpful for older people, children and those with accessibility needs. 

Steps that have a wide surface area are also less likely to sink on boggy land. Materials such as steel are typically sturdier and more durable than plastic.

Electric hook-up lead

An electric hook-up lead is only essential if you’re staying on a pitch with an electric hook-up. Unfortunately, you can’t use any old electrical cable to connect your caravan to the pitch’s electric supply. You’ll need to order a special electric hook-up lead, which are usually 25 metres long and sold by major retailers or camping and outdoor stores. An electric hook-up lead that is wound around a wheel will be easier to store and use.

With all your essential caravan accessories sorted, you may also want to look into caravan awnings to make your caravan feel like home. Our caravan checklist also covers all the additional bits you’ll need for a splendid stay in a caravan. 

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