When we leave home with our caravan, RV or tent we are moving into a different environment than we experience in our day to day routine.  If you want to do simple tasks at home it is usually easy enough to put your hands on the tools that you need.  When we travel the nature of many of the routine tasks that we do change so it is essential to have a stock of handy tools for caravan owners.

The following are some that I use regularly and have found in some case to be invaluable to the relaxed and slimmed down lifestyle associated with camping and caravanning.

Multitools

A photograph of a Leatheman Multi-tool with most of the tools deployed seen beside its leather holster

This is by far one of the most useful tools that I carry with me on caravan trips. I use the Leatherman Wave model which does everything I ask of it, and importantly is stable to use.  After many years of use is showing little or no sign of wear and tear.  It lives on my belt in its leather sheath and has provided me with solutions to all all kinds of problems while I’m on the move.

The Leatherman comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes and the range includes heavy duty, full-size tools, pocket tools and tools that you can hang on a key-chain.  Their pink programme tools are indeed pink and part of the purchase price goes to support Breast Cancer Awareness.  Variations on the full range include knives for specific purposes, military versions, and add on tools including replacements for bits that may get lost like tweezers.  With an excellent warranty and repair service Leatherman are in my experience the best manufacturer of multitools that I know.

Two handheld super-bright torches

Superbright Torch

At home we tend to move around from room to room and in and out of doors without any thought as to whether it is night or day.  when we go outdoors we have our yards and porches equipped with lamps that come on automatically as soon as we or our visitors show up.  Campsites, while always well lighted, are often not as well served as our home when it comes to finding our way around in the dark.  There are often small jobs to be done around the van at night-time or perhaps a short trip to me made off site to he local shop or pub.  A torch therefore is an essential piece of caravan kit.

These days a super-bright torch is something of a must-have.  When we started camping our torches were very often somewhat dim pieces of equipment, and even with fresh new batteries on board they were often less than efficient.



The famous Maglite was about the only option available to us at the time if wanted to improve on the standard flashlight technology.  The Maglite is still very much alive and well and it benefits, as do other manufacturers, from LED technology. It continues to provide a really excellent product.

Goalzero produce a number of flashlights and torches which are bright enough for any conceivable purpose, and they are re-chargeable.  I particularly like their Solo Flashlight which has a built in solar charging unit to allow you to charge it during the day and use it at night time.

Head Light

When venturing outdoors on the campsite during the hours of darkness it if often useful and sometimes essential, depending on the job that needs to be done, to have your hands free to work.  An efficient head light is the answer which will leave you free to carry out essential tasks like emptying the grey-water, changing the toilet or topping up the water tank.

These light are worn on a headband and being small are easy to store or to hang near a doorway or other access point where the can be reached when needed.  Using LED technology the Silva range provides efficient head lights for any number of purposes including sport, outdoor and professional use.

A man in darkness illuminated by a lantern which he is holding

Lanterns

Lanterns will give you some added versatility versatility over other kinds of torches or flashlights.  They will give you a different kind of light pattern and will light up a space or a work area an a different way, flooding it with light in order to leave you free to work.   To flood a space with light is of course a relative term and most of the lanterns that you find will be adequate to light up an awning, a tent or a barbecue area.  Staying with LED technology the Coleman Duo 6 Lantern is recommended by camping organisations and comes as a handy hanging unit or in classic lantern shape which will stand on any handy available surface.

Two Way Radio

A single Motorola two way radio tuned to channel 1

Often if your campsite is large and people are in different places, for instance on a nearby beach or at he pool area it can often be useful to keep in touch using two way radio sets.  These are low power units that enable you to communicate over over distances of a half mile to several miles.  These can save on the cost using mobile phones and as a well as being practical can be fun, for children of all ages, to use.  When buying look for something slightly better than the basic low power units available.  Chose something that will deliver about a half a watt in power which will generally ensure trouble free communications over reasonable local distances.

While these units are generally license free regulations with regard to use of frequencies can change from one country to another.  You can discuss wit your retailer where you intend to use the units and he or she will guide you.

These useful two way radios generally come with belt clips, re-chargable batteries and settings that will allow a certain level of privacy on your chosen channel.



Cordless Drill

You caravan comes equipped with a manual tool to allow you to set and adjust the steadies at each corner of your unit.  When you get to the site one of the jobs to be done is

This is a detail photo of a caravan steady deployed and placed on a tarmacadam surface

to level your unit which can do by choosing a level surface, I use the floor just inside the door, a placing a simple spirit level on there.  Once it’s level front to back and side to

side simply deploy the steadies manually or using a cordless drill.  You will need to an adapter to fit to the drill & do make sure that you simply wind each steady down until it is placed firmly on the surface of the pitch.  Never use the caravan steadies to jack or to level the caravan.

If you have come across some useful tools or if you rely on something specific to do a particular job while caravanning or camping, perhaps you might let me know & I’ll share it with others.  I will not share your contact details.



Super-bright torches by: Creative Tools
Man with lantern by: Martin Thomas
Two way radio by: Brett Neilson