Organise your caravan
While caravanning and camping remains a quintessential Australian holiday, one of the biggest issues for holiday makers is organisation and utilising their limited space to its maximum capacity.
To tackle the problem head on, Howards Expert Organiser, Cathy Player, teamed up with Martin Rose from The Sydney RV Group to do a storage case study in a new caravan (New Age Manta Ray 18), with a range of Howards organising essentials.
This is the New Age Manta Ray 18; it's one of the Sydney RV Group's biggest sellers, a perfect touring van for couples. It is ideal for the couple going off on a big trip and has all the luxuries the holiday makers expect.
Martin says, "When it comes to what needs to be considered in a caravan, the most important thing is to prevent movement for items like glasses, eggs, plates; you need a place for everything and everything in its place. Organisation and accessibility is also really important; when you haven't got endless storage you need to be able to use and access everything you've got."
Cathy explains, "From a storage point of view, I always recommend putting your things in well organised, labelled groups. The strategy in a small space is to make the most of every single space opportunity."
Cathy continues, “When you’re dealing with deep drawers it’s easy to lose things at the back of them, so I had to look for solutions that were very contained, that wouldn’t rattle around when you’re travelling and that could be easily pulled out so you can get to items at the back, that way you’re using all your available space. I placed glasses in one of the drawers and to prevent them from knocking over easily my solution was a Non Slip Mat and Fifi Drawer Dividers.”
“Some of the other key organisers used within the kitchen are the Mimi Separators Wide and Narrow because they’re very high, light and narrow. The Aamina Organisers are also excellent because they’ve got lids; they’re food safe and stackable. By using clever organisers, we’ve used every square centimeter.”
Using the full depth of the shelf can be an even greater challenge on lower shelves. Cathy found a great quality solution usually specified in higher end kitchens – but also ideal for the caravan. It’s the simplehuman Pull Out Organiser and it’s available in 3 different sizes. They are constructed from stainless steel and have ball bearing runners that can be fixed to the shelf. Cathy says “These are a joy to use and remarkably space efficient. They are also very simple to install with the supplied screws”.
“Marie Fridge Baskets were the perfect choice for the fridge, keeping everything nicely contained. We also used a selection of VacSeal food containers that will keep food fresh longer.”
The cupboards above the fridge are really deep, so I chose to make that the pantry and used good quality Oxo Pop Containers. They have a square design so they stack, are made of acrylic so they’re not going to break like glass, have really good capacity and are an efficient container for using your space well.
“One range of products I was really impressed with when we were doing this makeover in the caravan were the i-hooks,” says Cathy.
“They’re a new generation of suction storage and have a unique patented nano suction system that binds to any smooth sealed surface. They are heat, water, sun and cold resistant and can be re-positioned hundreds of times.”
“There are lots of variations in the range so there’s lots of choice; and it’s the whole idea of being able to move it around so you’re not fixed with a solution. Throughout the van we’ve used the i-hooks in various places; in the bathroom, over the sink. I created a charger station and used an i-hook rack in the living room for things you use most like insect repellent and sunscreen; there’s also a broom hook at the front door to keep things nice and tidy.”
“i-hooks are perfect for caravans as you don’t need to drill through the walls of your van so they won’t compromise the finish.”
“In the bedroom area I maximised the storage under the bed by including some stacking under-bed boxes. Plus I’ve even been able to fit a Tabletop Ironing Board in there as it folds flat. We’ve used Flocked Hangers in the wardrobe for storing clothes because they’re space saving and non-slip.”
The tunnel boot
One last area within the caravan that’s essential for happy travels is somewhere to put all the boxes, ropes, fishing gear, your laundry needs and your airer.
We used the Capri Airer because it is lightweight and narrow. The Jaclyn Collapsible Box is really handy together with the Cesto Basket which can be used for laundry, shopping or the beach. Other essentials for a relaxing holiday is the Pop Up Hamper which folds flat, and the Portable Clothes Dryer which is perfect for hanging over the arm of your awning to dry small items!
How to solve your caravan storage dilemma
To get these results, the fastest way is to take some photos and dimensions of your space. Have a look online or visit our instore experts (with measurements in hand!). Once you know roughly the space you’re dealing with you’re on your way to creating a really great solution.
When it comes to the “do’s and dont’s” of caravanning Martin says, “Don’t over fill your van and be conscious of your weight limits. People often look at what they’ve got at home and think they’ve got to take it all. You need to be quite vigilant when you’re looking at something to take; ask yourself: “am I definitely going to use it,” and if you’re not 100% sure, don’t take it because the chances are you won’t need it. Don’t over complicate things with taking too much stuff would be the biggest “don’t”. He continues, “DO remember that you’re there to have fun and enjoy yourself; and being well organised can really help.”
So when you’re ready to go on your big trip, what essential items are required on any caravanning adventure? Martin says, “I’m tempted to say a corkscrew but wine is mostly screw top these days! Don’t forget to have everything safely contained and organised and you’ll be set for a great holiday.
Special thanks must go to The Sydney RV Group for collaborating with Howards on this exciting feature; as well as Martin Rose for his assistance and sound advice throughout this case study.
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