Purchasing a caravan is only the beginning. All owners know keeping a caravan in top-notch condition requires regular maintenance and equipment replacement. Therefore, it is important to be aware of options available when repairing or upgrading a caravan. After a few seasons of use, caravans need to have certain equipment replaced. Like any home, the interior and exterior of the caravan can be redecorated and upgraded.
Owners can install new furniture, appliances, and lights to enhance their inside living space. Awnings, doors, and windows can be replaced to modify the exterior. Caravanning in colder temperatures requires the right heating equipment and insulation. In addition to aesthetics, appliances, and fixtures, towing mechanisms may need to be replaced or upgraded over time. When on the go, all caravans should have road and personal safety equipment on hand for emergency situations. Buyers should research caravan accessories before shopping at local retailers, through classifieds, and online websites such as eBay.
Exterior Parts and Accessories for a Mobile Caravan
A few improvements to a caravan can increase its functionality. Although some caravan owners enjoy upgrading their caravan, inevitably after several seasons of use, the exterior of the caravan may need some enhancements. It is the responsibility of the owner to choose beneficial accessories.
Awnings are a great addition for caravanners who want to enjoy the outdoors in the shade. Doors and windows can be upgraded for better insulation. Racks can be attached to the roof or back of the caravan to increase hauling capacity. The sections below contain information about popular exterior accessories for caravans.
A caravan awning is a popular aftermarket accessory with a primary purpose to provide shade. The simplest designs consist of a retractable screen and folding poles. High-end models are fully encompassing, similar to a screened in porch. Many models are both wind and rainproof, and awnings should be properly ventilated to promote good airflow. Awnings are an easy and efficient way to increase the caravan's living space. When shopping for an awning, buyers should measure the length of the caravan to buy the correct size.
Caravans are exposed to the elements rain or shine. They are too large to park in a garage, yet they still need to be protected. Caravan covers are an excellent solution to keep the caravan in top shape. Buyers should look for a cover made from water resistant, breathable fabric. Moreover, top quality fabrics offer UV protection, which prevents the exterior from fading and extreme temperatures. The bottom of the cover should be designed to fit snugly. Elastic or and cinch straps are two popular methods for securing the bottom of the cover. Buyers must have the dimensions of the caravan on hand when picking out a caravan cover.
Doors and Windows
Doors and windows are not typical caravan replacements, but owners can at least rest assured they can find these parts when they need them. Most caravans manufactured in the last three decades are equipped with acrylic paned windows well-suited for trapping in heat. Screen doors are welcomed additions for promoting air circulation and keeping out pesky insects during warm weather trips. When shopping for windows and doors, caravan owners should have the make and model ready to select one that fits.
While caravans are large enough to live in, sometimes travellers need some additional cargo space for items they bring along. Many caravanners attach a bicycle rack to the back; both serious mountain bikers and casual riders can benefit from installing on of these. Roof racks are another great way to bring along more stuff. Before purchasing roof racks, owners should measure the width of the caravan to buy the appropriate size. In addition to the racks, caravanners need tie downs to secure their goods.
Interior Parts and Accessories for a Mobile Caravan
The interior of the caravan should be treated like any living space; it should be kept tidy and in excellent working condition. Just as one renovates the home, caravanners should repair and upgrade the inside of their caravan at least every few seasons. Appliances may short out after prolonged use. Furniture, such as tables, beds, and seats, need replacing. Lighting is an essential feature for any interior space, and making upgrades to more energy efficient technology is a worthwhile investment. The following sections offer tips for choosing caravan interior fixtures.
Like a home, appliances may need to be replaced after years of use. Aftermarket kitchen appliances, such as sink units, refrigerators, microwaves, and oven units, are available for upgrade. Water heaters, sinks, and other bathroom fixtures can be installed when renovating. Caravan owners should have the dimensions of the old appliance to match the size. If purchasing a used appliance, buyers should confirm the condition with the seller before.
Furniture and Décor
The right furniture and décor in a caravan can make the interior comfy. Beds are a popular piece of furniture to upgrade. Tables and seating can be replaced if damaged when travelling. Storage space is limited, and cabinetry is an aftermarket addition that helps organise the interior. Curtains and drapes add a level to aesthetic appeal, but they have functional qualities too. Lined curtains can help retain heat by covering thin-paned windows.
Interior lighting is one accessory caravan owners do not need to overlook. Often, the simple way to fix a burned out light is to replace the bulb; however, customers can opt for an entire fixture upgrade that can save money in the long run. Fluorescent lighting has been used in caravans for ages, but LED options are becoming increasingly popular. The chart below lists popular styles of lighting and the characteristics of each.
Traditional caravan lighting option; inexpensive
Variation of incandescent bulb; most often used to light awnings
Non-filament, energy efficient option; yields more light and less heat
Fluorescent bulbs and fixtures are easier to come by and a fraction of the price when compared to other lights; caravan owners are encouraged to upgrade from these lights. LED lights are more expensive that the other two options, but the upfront investment saves money and energy in the long run. Before buying any bulbs, the size of the fixture must be measured.
Towing Mechanisms and Accessories
Towing a caravan with a vehicle down the road can be challenging at first. Seasoned caravanners know having the right towing accessories are needed to create a safe environment. Since caravans cover the tail lights of the car, it is important for the rear of the caravan to have lights in tune with the driving vehicle. Caravan owners must be able to signal to other drivers when they are braking, changing lanes, or turning. Moreover, it is important for caravan towers to modify side view mirrors to account for the space behind them; extendable mirrors help alleviate blind spots. The caravan must also be secured to the car with locking ball and hitch mechanism.
Safety Accessories for a Mobile Caravan
Caravan owners who take pre-emptive safety measures before an emergency strikes are better equipped to handle the situation. Travellers should be prepared to handle both road and first aid issues. An emergency roadside kit should contain a safety triangle or traffic cone to warn other drivers when they are stopped. LED hazard beacons are also effective. All caravanners should have a fire extinguisher handy just in case. The first aid kit should at least have antiseptic sprays, a variety of bandages, gauzes, aspirin, and medical tape, and there are also more advanced kits available.
Buying Mobile Caravan Parts and Accessories on eBay
Finding caravan parts and accessories on eBay gives you an overview of items available. Instead of being limited to local supply, expand your search. Moreover, keywords allow shoppers to specify exactly what they are looking for. For example "caravan awnings" yields many results, and by including the brand "Isabella caravan awnings", options become more limited. For more helpful hints, look at eBay's search tips page.
eBay has four payment methods, and it is up to the seller's discretion to choose which one she or he uses. PayPal is the most efficient and simple way to conduct transactions; it is both safe and trackable. Many other vendors accept debit and credit cards, but verify with them before committing to an item. The third option is typically reserved for expensive items, like a caravan, and high-dollar purchases may be held in escrow. Finally, a handful of vendors accept personal cheques, post orders, and direct wire transfers.
Many of these caravan installations can be completed with the help of a few household tools, although more complicated projects may be better off in the hands of professionals. Nevertheless, caravan owners should be aware of which parts are needed to complete the task. Whether adding an awning to maximise living space or picking out new furniture, caravan owners should have a list of features and expectations for their new accessories. Taking measurements beforehand ensures buyers are purchasing a part that fits.
Some accessories, such as exterior lighting, only require the make and model of the caravan to find the right piece. Towing equipment should be regularly inspected to check for tears or breakage. Emergency kits, whether first aid or road side, are two pieces of equipment caravanner should never hope to use, but they should always be prepared and have both. While some caravan parts and accessories are universal, others are model specific; shoppers should do their research beforehand to choose the right equipment for their mobile caravan.