Camping is so much fun and have developed a lot over the years from upgrades to beds and sleeping bags, to the tents themselves and even the added luxury of electric. But with the added luxury of electric comes the question of which are the best extension leads for camping.
To find the best extension lead for camping you need to look for good length in the cable, multiple sockets to use for all your appliances you require, waterproof cable and case along with safety protection with built-in circuit breaker.
In this article we are going to talk about what you should be looking for in an extension lead for camping, what you can use it for and which are the best on the market right now.
What Do I Need An Extension Lead For When Camping?
There are a huge number of different things that you might need an extension lead for when you’re camping.
Aside from the obvious things, like charging your phone, you’ll also need to power appliances that will do the job of items in your home that you may not normally need to consider plugging in. For example, a heater, or a fridge.
Taking a specialized extension lead with you to charge your phone is a wise choice indeed. As much as having a digital detox is a particularly popular choice at the moment, it would be foolish to purposely cut yourself off from people.
For example, if a member of your party gets injured, you may need to call for an ambulance – you’ll need your phone for that.
Using a heater when you go camping is also a wise choice, and using one that’s electrically powered is certainly wise. While gas or paraffin may, at first, seem like a wise choice, that may not be the case.
Consider how many of the materials that will be on your camping trip with you are made from synthetic fibers – those materials all pose a considerable fire risk. Therefore, it may be much wise to use an electric heater, where there’s much less chance of a fire starting.
For some campers, a fridge is an essential piece of equipment – it may be used to keep medicine that needs to be stored at a certain temperature, or, alternatively, it may simply be used to keep milk fresh.
Whatever you’re using a fridge for, it is an appliance that you’ll need to consider getting and bringing along.
At home, we keep our fridges on all day, every day, so you don’t need to consider switching them on or off, or even where they’re wired into the wall. This is not the case on a campsite. Taking an extension lead when camping will enable you to make sure that you’ll have access to a fridge – which is certainly an important factor for many people.
What to Look For in an Extension Lead for Camping
List the different attributes such as the number of plugs, different switches for each plug, or even reel in extension leads.
When buying a piece of electrical equipment, there are a lot of things that really ought to be considered. We’re going to run through a few of those things now, to ensure that you get the lead that’s right for you.
Number Of Plugs
Always make sure to consider the number of plugs that you’ll actually need. This may sound like a very obvious statement, but it’s definitely worth double-checking! For example, will you be taking tablets or e-readers that may need to be charged at the same time as each other, or can everything be charged in turn?
Furthermore, how many ‘always on’ appliances like fridges will you be taking, because you can consider that a permanent decrease in the number of sockets available to you on the camping trip.
While we know that this may be a boring bit of preparing for a camping trip, it’s really important, so make sure you set some time aside to dedicate to this.
It’s also worth considering all the small details of an extension lead too. For example, will you be needing an extension lead that features surge protection? Or even one which has small lights to indicate whether each, individual, socket is receiving power?
There is a lot of variation among different extension leads, and you can get particularly fancy ones.
On your camping trip, you may need to consider whether you’ll get a lead with individual switches for each plug, or whether you’d be happy to have all leads be consistently active whenever the outlet is turned on.
Also, do you know the distance away from the individual outlet that you’re planning to camp? We’re sure that the chances of you knowing that for sure are slim to none, but you may have a rough idea.
If you do know, then you might want to consider a reel-in extension lead. If you’re not familiar, a reel-in extension lead is, typically, a small hub of power sockets at the center of a reel of cable.
You plug the lead in at the outlet, and you can then walk away from the outlet, reeling out the cable as you go. These extension leads are great, as they can allow you an enormous amount of space away from the outlet if you so choose.
If you decide, instead, to camp closer to the socket, you can simply reel in the excess cable, and it will still work fine.
The above things that we have listed are, really, things that you may or may not want, and can put down to preference. These final two, however, are essential.
You must always make sure that an extension lead that you take camping with you is at least party waterproof. If any electrical appliance gets water in it at all, it should really be thrown away when it is safe to do so – otherwise, you run the risk of starting a fire. We know that sounds drastic, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The minimum water-proofing that we would recommend is IP44 on the IP scale. IP44 means that the given product is protected against both dust and wire ingress, as well as splashes from water.
This would be safe, provided the extension isn’t sitting out in the rain, for example. If you were planning to have your extension lead out in the open, you can find leads with higher waterproofing.
Built In Circuit Breaker
Finally, it is always worth making sure that the extension lead that you buy has a built-in circuit breaker. While the post at the campsite will likely have a circuit breaker on it regardless, we’d recommend still buying a lead with a circuit breaker – it’s better to be safe.
Furthermore, you may find buying a lead in this format protects you from the potential fallout from doubled-up hookups or any surprise charges for resetting the supply.
Some campsites, admittedly not all, will double up on the electrical posts that are used to supply power to your spot. If you have a piece of faulty electrical equipment that trips the system, then you would also trip the power for your neighbour, provided the power post was doubled-up.
That certainly wouldn’t make you the most popular member of the campsite.
This is quite a rare scenario, but it’s still one that’s worth considering – some campsites may require a caretaker to reset the power supply. Typically, this is done for insurance reasons, so that the campsite will not get fined if the supply is wrongfully turned back on.
In this case, you may find that you’re without power if you’ve tripped the system out of hours.
You may also find that you’re charged an additional fee for the caretaker’s time in this situation, which isn’t ideal. Having your own circuit breaker decreases the risk of this, and allows you to reset your own power after removing the faulty or overloading appliance.
Top 5 Extension Leads For Camping
Now we have worked out what we need from a extension lead for camping, you might want to check out some of the leading ones on the market.
1. Maypole MP3766 Mobile Mains Power Unit with USB
This truly is the all-bells-and-whistles version of this item. This mobile power unit allows you to hook up to the power at your campsite, and then run the cable up to fifteen meters away.
The unit also includes a circuit breaker, ideal for resetting your own power in the case of an overloading appliance. That will surely help you to avoid any additional charges for the resetting of a power post at your campsite.
Additionally, this unit has IP44 water and dust resistance, making sure that it’s very safe for you and anyone that you’re traveling with. IP44 is resistant to splashes of water, so while this unit shouldn’t be submerged, it could withstand a light drizzle.
2. Aerials 5 meters 16 A Ceeform Plug to 13 A Double Socket Arctic Caravan/Camping Mains Hook Up Cable – Orange
This is a great, safe option for anyone. The cable is brightly colored to ensure that you’ll be able to find it again when you’re packing up to leave – plus the five-meter length is great for any number of campers out there.
This is, perhaps, best for campers that are traveling on their own or just with a partner – the cable only has two three-pin sockets, making it less than ideal for a larger party.
As we say, though, if you’re just hoping to travel on your own or with a partner, then you’ll have enough sockets to charge a couple of phones.
3. Pro Elec PEL00792 Extension Lead, 4 Gang to 16A Plug, 10m
This is another option that may be ideal for people who are a little more budget-conscious. This socket set will adapt from the 16A campsite plug to four three-pin sockets ideal for charging any of your devices.
The number of outlets within this extension makes it ideal for a small family who is all traveling together – there’s room for a couple of always-on appliances like fridges or heaters, as well as space to plug in any temporary chargers too.
The only thing that we don’t like too much about this extension lead is that it doesn’t have anything in the way of waterproofing. While, in theory, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, it may be in practice.
As the unit has no waterproofing, we’d recommend hanging it from the ceiling of the tent or caravan so that you can be sure to water will come into contact with the inside.
4. BITS4REASONS MAYPOLE NEW MODEL MP374B 230V 16A UK HOOK-UP LEAD 3 PIN / 230V MAINS ADAPTOR
This is certainly a little different than the other things that we’ve had on this list. While all the other units that we’ve showcased have been ideal for converting from the 16A hookup to a standard three-pin plug that might be used for appliances, this is geared towards people who may already have part of a pre-existing solution.
Whether you have a caravan, or simply already have a mains unit that will take charge, you may be in need of a hook-up lead to link the electricity pole to your system.
In that case, this would be ideal! We’d recommend this unit in particular as it’s great value for money, and has a huge amount of positive reviews, which certainly sounds ideal!
5. Crusader V893 3676
This is, perhaps, the fanciest mains power unit that we have on our list. To be perfectly honest, we’d really recommend this unit no matter what it cost – it’s just really good!
This unit has a very long cable to connect to the electricity pole – it clocks in at fifteen meters (about fifty feet)! This is, of course, impressive, and the cable also reels back to be completely housed within the unit, allowing you to easily carry and store the unit wherever is most convenient for you.
The unit also comes with a circuit breaker, which is ideal for safety and avoiding any embarrassment at having to ask after a caretaker to sort your power out.
Furthermore, the unit has three 3-pin mains plugs, as well as three USB plugs. This allows you to charge three devices all at once, while simultaneously having a number of always-on appliances too.
This appliance also includes a reset button for when the circuit may have been tripped and even has a small torch! This is ideal for using the unit at night when you might need to illuminate things that are in front of you. We’re really impressed by this product, it’s certainly our number one out of this top five!