Last updated on 5 August, 2023
When embarking on a thrilling adventure across the vast landscapes of Australia, kitting out your caravan with the right accessories is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.
What to pack in a caravan for a trip around Australia? Our comprehensive packing list of essential caravan accessories, from levelling ramps to portable water bottles, will ensure all the items needed for a seamless and memorable trip around Australia.
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- What to Pack in a Caravan for a Trip Around Australia?
- Kitting Out Your Caravan | Must Have Caravan Accessories
- Electrical Caravan Accessories
- Caravan Appliances
- Caravan Interior Accessories
- Kitchen or Cooking Accessories
- Bathroom Accessories
- Bedroom or Sleep Accessories
- Caravan Safety Accessories
- Caravan Cleaning Accessories
- Caravan Exterior Accessories
- Caravan Water Accessories
- Caravan Car Accessories
- Electrical Equipment
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What to Pack in a Caravan for a Trip Around Australia?
There is a seemingly endless amount of products sold as vital to have. In our experience of six years travelling full time around Australia, some are needed and many are not. When weight is a paramount consideration is necessary to be wise about what to pack into a caravan.
In addition, to the weight considerations, the cost of buying all the “must have” items for a caravan will become excessive. Ways to save money when kitting out your caravan and car to travel Australia are:
- Leave home with only the absolutely essential items and buy what else is needed while travelling. It is surprising what is easy to live without.
- Buy affordable brands or second hand. Kmart sells some decent and affordable camping gear. Gumtree has plenty of used items at a fraction of the new prices. Be thrifty.
- If buying something cheap the first time fails, buy better quality for more money the next time. It will save money in the long run.
Related reads: Travel Savings and How to Save Money While Travelling Around Australia
Kitting Out Your Caravan | Must Have Caravan Accessories
Electrical Caravan Accessories
Caravan Solar Panels
Caravan solar panels are a source for producing power through sunlight so that you have the freedom to camp off the grid and be self sufficient. Daryl and I have a fixed solar panel as our primary source on the roof our pop top caravan.
Caravan Fixed Solar Panels
Fixed glass solar panels are wired and mounted permanently to the unused space on the roof of a caravan. Being up on the caravan roof means the solar panels are also in direct sunlight as much as possible, out of the way and do not have the hassle of being set up for each use.
Folding Solar Panels
Folding or portable solar panels for camping in Australia are easy to set up and work by unfolding to use as a larger surface area to catch the sun and can also be moved around to remain in the sunlight. These panels also need space to be transported.
Flexible Solar Panels
Lightweight, flexible solar panels are more versatile and thinner than their inflexible counterpart. The flexibility and bendability mean a flexible solar panel is suitable to fix to curved surfaces such as the roof of a car.
A folding solar blanket is lightweight, compact and super easy to take in your caravan on long camping trips. A popular option for campers, solar blankets are a must have caravan accessory.
A caravan inverter converts the power supplied by your solar panels or generator and makes it usable when you plug in your electronic devices such as phone chargers, laptops and kitchen appliances. It is one of the things to make caravanning easier, especially when off grid camping.
Caravan Batteries are a must have when kitting out your caravan for camping, the big lap or full time travel. Installing the best caravan battery setup for you will make camping and travelling much more enjoyable and give you the freedom to free camp.
The traditional range of batteries for caravans are AGM Deep Cycle Batteries and Gel Deep Cycle Batteries. More and more travellers are opting for lithium batteries for caravans as they are the latest technology in batteries, lighter and more efficient.
Caravan Battery Charger
A caravan battery charger keeps the battery in your caravan charged and reliably ready to use when you need power. The best caravan battery charger for you is the one that matches your caravan battery setup. The one we have needs mains power to charge our battery.
15A Extension Lead
A caravan 15amp extension lead is an orange, flexible cord used in caravan parks to run power from your site to your caravan. A heavy duty caravan 15a power cord is an essential caravan power and electrical accessory.
Caravan Inverter Generator
Really camp anywhere in Australia off grid with a quiet, portable inverter generator for your caravan. Portable, lightweight generators for caravans save the day when you do not get enough power in your caravan batteries or want to power an air conditioner. Love or hate them, backup power from a generator may be a caravan and camping accessory you need.
Caravan Air Conditioner
Caravan Rooftop Air Conditioner
A compact, lightweight reverse cycle, caravan rooftop air conditioner is a reliable cooling and heating system that will keep your caravan cool in summer and warm in winter. Suitable for all caravans, a roof mounted air conditioner is ideal as a pop top caravan air conditioner.
Caravan Underbunk Air Conditioner
A compact and lightweight deducted under bunk air conditioner is the other option for heating and cooling your caravan. Also, suitable for caravan air conditioning in a full size or pop top caravan, a deducted underbed air conditioning unit, out of sight, may be the best choice for you.
Caravan Diesel Heater
A caravan diesel heater is an option for heating a caravan without needing to plug it into electricity. A 12V portable diesel heater is fantastic for winter off grid camping and because diesel heaters create dry heat, there is no condensation associated with many other caravan heating options.
Caravan diesel heaters are small, compact and quieter these days than they used to be. Some sellers will supply and install or it is possible to buy and DIY a diesel heater.
Ours is a no name, cheap, Chinese made diesel heater that Daryl installed under our bed. We would not be without it.
Caravan Fridge Freezer
A caravan fridge freezer is necessary for travellers to keep food and beverages cool and fresh. Available in different sizes, there are two types primarily used in caravans. A 2-way fridge runs on 240 volts (electric) or LPG gas. A 3-way fridge also runs on 12 volts.
3-way fridge freezers are used on gas when camping off the grid, on electric when plugged into mains power and on 12 volts when towing.
Caravan Washing Machine
Not everyone (us included) has a portable camping washing machine, but everyone who does LOVE their caravan washing machine. The convenience of washing laundry while camping in your own washing machine appeals to many travellers.
Since there are front loader caravan washing machines that can be wall mounted, top loader caravan washing machines or portable caravan washing machines available, there is sure to be one that suits you and your set up.
Caravan Interior Accessories
The summer heat in Australia is what we love until it becomes unbearably hot. Installing powerful 12 volts fans can be advantageous, especially on those hot sticky nights where sleep seems impossible. To get the best out of a 12v cooling fan for caravans consider putting one above each bed.
Caravan 12V TV
An interior accessory necessary for many travellers is a 12v TV for the caravan. Today the popular pick is a durable 12v Smart TV for caravan 32 inch that allows a traveller to catch up on their favourite shows when it is convenient. There are also 12v TV DVD combos available.
Truthfully, we do not have a television in our caravan. Instead, we stream or watch downloaded movies, TV shows and videos on our laptop or mobile phones.
Caravan TV Antenna
A caravan must have if you have a caravan TV is an antenna. A caravan TV antenna will give you the best chance of getting TV reception in your caravan when you most want to watch your favourite TV show or sports team.
Kitchen or Cooking Accessories
Using lightweight durable dishware in a caravan is a practical choice for travellers to optimize space and reduce weight. Easy to store, transport and unlikely to break (although we have had a bowl crack) makes them an ideal choice for caravan dining.
Food Storage Containers
Utilizing food storage containers in a caravan is a great way to keep solution food organized and fresh during travels. These containers help maximize limited space and prevent spills.
My motto is you can never have too many food storage containers in a caravan.
Selected Cooking Utensils
There were four sizeable drawers in the kitchen of our house for storing utensils and cutlery. In our caravan, there is one small drawer. After a whole lot of culling (I cannot even remember now what we used to have) and years on the road, we have in our one caravan kitchen drawer:
- two serving spoons (one solid and one with slits to allow water to drain away),
- a masher,
- a wooden spoon,
- an egg flip,
- a small old fashion whisk (best whisk ever!),
- a spatula,
- four sets of cutlery,
- reusable plastic bag clips,
- a few sharp knives, and
- a can opener.
Non Plastic Saucepans and Fry Pan
When choosing a set of saucepans and a frying pan for your caravan, I highly recommend selecting ones that are all metal (no plastic knobs or handles). The reason being is all metal cookware is usable on your caravan stove top, in or on your BBQ or on an open fire because no parts will melt.
Plastic Mixing Bowl
A lightweight and durable plastic mixing bowl in a caravan is a practical item for cooking and baking on the go. We use ours regularly when cooking.
Multi Cooker / AirFryer
A multi cooker or air fryer in a caravan is a versatile and space-saving solution for preparing meals on the road. To use one, an appropriate inverter needs to be installed or like us, can only be used when plugged into mains power. Regardless, we love ours.
Compact Reusable Shopping Bags
Forget the reusable large shopping bags that are just too big to store in your caravan or car while travelling. The small pocket size bags sold at the major supermarkets are the way to go because they are super easy to store in a small space. We keep ours (and our reusable fresh produce bags) in the centre console of our car.
It is necessary to have somewhere to put rubbish in a caravan. There are in cupboard, outdoor and other bin options. We use a compost bin because it is compact and has an attached lid.
Micro Towels or Travel Towels
Bath towels are bulky. When space is limited, it is necessary to avoid bulky items. Micro or travel towels (sometimes sold as a gym towels) are brilliant. We bought ours from Kmart (under $10 each). They roll up super small, meaning the space they take up nearly no room in a cupboard.
A soap holder in a caravan is a handy accessory for keeping soap bars dry and mess-free. We keep our soap in a cupboard, so a container is practical.
Container for Bathroom Items
A container for bathroom items in a caravan is a convenient way to keep toiletries organised and accessible when space is limited and items need to be secured when travelling.
Our caravan does not have a bathroom or ensuite. We still have containers for storing our toiletries we keep in a cupboard.
Portable Chemical Toilet and Ensuite Tent
Not all caravans have an internal toilet and shower. Ours does not. So, it is handy to carry a portable chemical toilet (and shower) and an ensuite tent to set it up when used.
Bedroom or Sleep Accessories
Quality Mattress or Mattress Topper
Perhaps the more expensive and new a caravan is, the better the mattress it comes with, but ours was awful. The piece of foam hardly passed for anything worthy of a good night’s sleep. So we decided to cut our memory foam mattress down to fit (queen down to a double). Best decision ever! There are inexpensive memory foam mattresses for sale these days or buy one second hand. Alternatively, try a mattress topper.
Bedding is essential. We have found the following is sufficient for a couple travelling Australia in a caravan:
- A summer quilt
- 2 x sheet sets with pillow slips
- 2 x quilt covers with pillow slips
- 1 x heavy winter blanket
We can sleep comfortably in summer with our lightweight quilt and warmly in winter by adding our winter blanket.
Caravan Safety Accessories
A fire extinguisher is a caravan essential that you should have and hope you never have to use. Fire extinguishers for caravans are inexpensive, so there is no reason not to have one. We carry a second fire extinguisher in our car.
Cooking and electrical faults are likely the causes of fires in a caravan. If a fire were to start, it would take no time to spread, putting everyone at risk. A fire blanket is an item that should be kept in every caravan. We keep ours on an open shelf where we cook.
First Aid Kit
A well-stocked first aid kit in a caravan is vital in case of minor injuries or emergencies. It is also necessary to check your first aid kit for supplies and used by dates.
Our first aid kit is kept in our car because we use it to go sightseeing and get out and about. In addition, stored in our caravan is our medications (prescription and non prescription).
Caravan Cleaning Accessories
Caravan Vacuum Cleaner
A compact vacuum cleaner for the caravan is handy to have. Ours is a handheld rechargeable vacuum bought from a department store capable of picking up dog hair, sand and dirt. The other option is a space saving 12V portable cordless vacuum cleaner.
Do not underestimate how often you use a broom inside your caravan. Dirt, sand, leaves and dog hair (if, like us, you have a dog) constantly need to be swept. The best broom for a caravan is lightweight and has a telescopic handle making it compact for storage. We bought ours at a discount store.
I will be honest. We have a mop for use in our caravan. It is lightweight, has a telescopic handle and the mop head is easy to clean. Yet we hardly ever use it. Instead, because the floor area in our caravan is small, we use an old cloth to clean the floor with our feet in less than two minutes.
Reusable Cleaning Cloths
Reusable cleaning cloths in a caravan are practical, reusable and easily washed, making them (in my book) a better option than disposable alternatives.
We have about six reusable cleaning cloths and a reusable scourer. They get washed with our laundry.
Caravan Inside Cleaning Products
The cleaning products we have and use inside our caravan are all bought from supermarkets and usually what brand is on sale. Do not complicate things. Use the cleaning products you like, same as you would in a house, suitable for the cleaning task.
Laundry Basket or Bag
Dirty clothes when travelling, like in a home, needs somewhere to be put until they get washed. A basket or bag for dirty laundry, one that best fits in the space available, is a must.
Our laundry basket fits on a wheel arch inside our caravan. One full basket is one load in a washing machine.
A common myth about travelling extensively in a caravan is that there is no housework. Strictly speaking, there is less, but not none. Something that still needs to be done daily is the dishes. Having a few tea towels is necessary for the task.
Ours match our decor and colour scheme inside our caravan. Makes our caravan feel more homely.
Related read: Do A Budget Pop Top Caravan Makeover
Caravan Exterior Accessories
Caravan Leveling Ramps and Wheel Chocks
Caravan levelling ramps (come in pairs) provide a practical solution for levelling the caravan on uneven terrain. A level caravan is much more comfortable than one that is not. Plus, appliances (especially the fridge) and things like doors work as they should.
A pair of wheel chocks prevent the caravan wheels from rolling when it is unhitched from the towing vehicle.
A jockey wheel for a caravan is an essential accessory for easy maneuverability and stability when hitching and unhitching. The adjustable wheel, attached to the front of the caravan’s A-frame, allows it to be levelled, front to back, effortlessly.
A spirit level informs if a caravan is level and which way adjustments are needed to make it level on uneven ground. Ours is attached to the A frame of our caravan.
Portable gas bottles provide a reliable and essential way to power or run a fridge, stove and BBQ while camping offgrid. It is best to have two gas bottles kept on the A frame of the caravan, so if one runs out, there is the second one to use.
We use a Gas Finder App to help us find where refills and replacement gas bottles are available and the best price.
Caravan Fridge Vent Shade Cover
A caravan refrigerator will struggle to stay cool on hot days. A shade screen for caravan fridge vents that keeps the direct heat from the sun off the caravan wall will improve efficiency. Easy to install, a caravan fridge vent screen with sail track will shade the fridge, improving performance.
Related read: 10 Easy Ways to Keep Your Caravan Cool on Hot Days
A caravan awning is a valuable addition to any caravan, providing extra outdoor living space and some protection from the weather. The most convenient type is a rollout awning attached to the side of the caravan that pulls out to be used and rolls up for travelling.
Sometimes it is avoidable; it is necessary to camp near other people (I know, the horror). Privacy screens hung off a caravan awning create a private outdoor space and a sense of privacy and seclusion. Setting up privacy screens does help to lessen the feeling of being exposed to the watchful eyes of other campers.
Caravan Ground Mat
I cannot believe we started our travels without an outdoor caravan ground mat. Caravan annex floor mats are a groundsheet put down over dirt or sand directly under your awning ultimately giving you a more usable outdoor space. Essentially, a caravan camping mat doubled our caravan living space.
A compact BBQ, portable and space-saving, is a convenient way to prepare meals outdoors. I love that Daryl can cook his stinky bacon (ewww) outside and not make the inside of our caravan smelly.
Camp Chairs and Table
Outdoor tables and chairs are a must to make the most of a caravan’s outdoor living space. There are lots of different types and styles to choose from. The best are ones are comfortable, lightweight and easy to transport (fold up).
Our camp table folds up and fits in the back of our car. We recently purchased lightweight hiking chairs with comfortable high backs and fold up super small, so they are convenient to transport and carry.
Caravan Water Accessories
Portable 20L Water Bottles
Portable 20L water bottles are useful when access to water to fill up the caravan water tanks impractical or when travelling to places where it is essential to bring all your water and need more than the onboard tanks will hold.
We carry 2 x 20L water bottles.
Food Grade Hose
Anyone who drank water out of a garden hose knows the water does not usually taste good. For this reason, it is necessary to have a drinking water hose for your caravan to refill on board caravan water tanks. Also commonly known as a food grade hose is best kept in a caravan hose carrier.
Caravan Salvage Hose
A caravan grey water hose is a must have caravan accessory to have. Even if with a grey water tank on board, a salvage hose gives the option to run the wastewater into the drain provided at caravan parks or where allowed onto the ground away from your caravan at campgrounds.
Caravan Car Accessories
Towing mirrors are a legal requirement in Australia. The mirrors enhance visibility by enabling the driver to have a clear line of sight down the sides of the caravan and by reducing blind spots. There are three main types of towing mirrors available:
- Mirror Mounted
- Door Mounted
Initially, we had mirror mounted towing mirrors because they were cheap and required no modifications to our vehicle. Overall, we were not impressed with them. Visibility was not good, with the mounting straps often needing to be adjusted. When one fell off while driving, the glass smashed, so we got extendable mirrors. We purchased no name ones off eBay; Daryl fitted them. Best thing ever! Visibility is great. They are simple to use by pulling them out.
LED Driving Lights
We religiously avoid driving at night when towing our caravan, even with the LED driving lights on our car. The LED driving lights have been an important safety upgrade for enhancing visibility when do drive at night, especially on country roads.
Incidents happen when doing a lap of Australia. A car jack is an essential bit of kit for roadside repairs and maintenance. We carry both a Bottle Jack and a Low Profile Trolley Jack.
Tyres inflated or deflated to the correct PSI for the road or track conditions is vital. An air compressor is a portable device that ensures tyre pressures can be monitored and adjusted. This is one item that definitely should be packed for a lap of Australia.
Storage in a car and caravan is essential when travelling Australia. Car storage drawers have been an invaluable storage addition to our 4WD. They keep the back of our vehicle tidy. We can conveniently store and retrieve items we need.
Tie Down Straps
Tie down straps in a car and caravan is a practical solution for securing and transporting bulky or heavy items during travels. We mostly use ours to secure our kayak to the roof rack on our car.
Related read: Complete Guide to Kayaking with Dogs in Australia
Ground pegs, when camping in a caravan, are essential for securing awnings, tents, and other outdoor equipment. We have learned from experience that it is worth buying higher quality pegs because the cheaper ones are no match for the ground in most campgrounds around Australia.
A set of tools in a car and caravan are necessary for doing basic repairs on the go. We have saved significant money with Daryl doing most of the maintenance and repairs to our car and caravan. He can do this because we carry a variety of tools.
Tools have been one of the things we have bought and replaced as we have travelled.
A trip around Australia is once in a lifetime opportunity for many. A camera is a fantastic way to record the memories.
Camera options for photographs and videos to take on a caravanning journey:
- Compact digital camera
- DSLR camera
- Action camera
- Underwater camera
- Phone camera
It is easy to spend an excessive amount of money on camera gear. Whether it is money well spent will depend on how often the gear is used after being purchased.
Torches are handy to have when camping. We have a small hand held waterproof torch and a head torch. Both are rechargeable.
In the small space of a caravan, headphones allow everyone to listen to their favourite music, podcasts or movies without disturbing others or being disturbed by external noise. Headphones are also a way to tune out from each other when there is no other option.