We spent six weeks on the road with a baby. You need a lot of kit – here’s what we took.
1 Our Bongo van is unconverted, so we needed a stove. We bought a Cadac safari chef from Go Outdoors and a gas bottle and regulator from our local gas supplier. All in all, one of the best pieces of kit we took. Cost over £100 for the lot. The Cadac is versatile; use it as a griddle, a toaster, for frying, as a barbecue and so on. Score: 8/10
2 If you like your beer cold and for your milk to last more than a day, you will need a decent fridge. We pushed the boat out, paying £295 on eBay for a brand new Waeco 25 litre fridge. It runs off a leisure battery which cost us £95 quid and further £100 for a battery tray and split charge relay (Willington kit), also from eBay. Yes, a lot of money, but it’s worth it for cold beer in a hot country. It also kept baby food chilled and safe to eat. 9/10
3 Ring Can Inverter with USB – a handy bit of kit that allows you to recharge batteries for cameras, iPods, mobile phones, etc. We also ran a small fan, a godsend in Slovenia when the temp gauge hit 42C. Cost around £36 from Go Outdoors.
4 Storage boxes. Don’t laugh! We had eight plastic storage boxes which we bought from Poundstretcher. They cost around £10 each, cheaper if you buy in pairs. Used for storing non-perishable food, baby gear, clothes, cooking utensils and so on. Helped keep our kit organised and easier to find. They doubled up as a baby bath for the little one. And we washed clothes in one of the deeper ones. 10/10
5 If you take masses of kit – as we did – you might need a little tent for storage when stopping at sites for a few days. We took a Coleman Sundome UV Beach Shelter. It served us well for six weeks, withstanding some heavy rain and mostly keeping our kit dry. A few days before we came home the elastic in one of the poles packed up. Probably fixable but we have yet to try. Light, easy to put up and you can use it on the beach to shade baby. 8/10
And some items we thought were not so good….
1 Collapsible water carrier from Aldi. Cost about £5 and lasted only a week before it split along one of the seams. We repaired it with tape but it split again, spilling a couple of litres of water over the van carpets. A poor piece of kit, in my opinion. We believe this may be a common problem with this type of water carrier; too weak, too quick to rip apart. A fellow campervanner suggested a cheaper option – simply re-use a 5-litre plastic water bottle, purchased from any supermarket. They are tough and durable and unlikely to split easily.
2 Sun canopy from Just Kampers (who no longer stock the model we had). It fell apart the second time we put it up. A weld failed and two hinged pins ended up bent out of shape. Complained to JK and got a full refund, so fair play to them.