Test­bench: Toolk­its

Few car­a­van­ning trips are com­pletely hic­cup-free, mak­ing a com­pact and com­pre­hen­sive tour­ing tool­kit an ab­so­lute must-have. James Stan­bury tests out 10

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

A good tool­kit is vi­tal for car­a­van­ners. James Stan­bury tests some of the best

Many peo­ple who’ve never ac­tu­ally set foot in a tent, car­a­van or mo­torhome might baulk at the idea of tak­ing a long drive to get to your des­ti­na­tion, and then hav­ing to spend time set­ting up your hol­i­day home when you get there. And if you asked them, they would prob­a­bly think that the idea of car­ry­ing out run­ning re­pairs – while sup­pos­edly be­ing on hol­i­day – is sheer mad­ness. But deal­ing with oc­ca­sional mi­nor kit mal­adies is all part of tour­ing. The em­pha­sis for man­u­fac­tur­ers of car­a­vans and ac­ces­sories is on items be­ing light­weight, of­ten fold­able, and as com­pact as pos­si­ble. Fac­tor in that most of the kit spends much of its life be­ing moved, and it’s no sur­prise that bolts and screws work loose, wires be­come strained and break away, and things gen­er­ally just wear out. And that’s why, this month, we’re look­ing at that tour­ing es­sen­tial – a good tool­kit. Un­for­tu­nately, few com­pa­nies make a ded­i­cated camp­ing/tour­ing kit, so we’ve checked what the main­stream tool firms of­fer and ap­plied our own cri­te­ria. Some would ar­gue that the best ap­proach is sim­ply to buy a box or case and pur­chase your own tools to fill it. There’s def­i­nitely merit to this idea. But one of the big ben­e­fits of ready-made kits is that you get far more equip­ment for your money than buy­ing ev­ery­thing sep­a­rately. Of­ten, these kits are well pre­sented in cus­tom cases, too, mak­ing them much more com­pact and eas­ier to use than a home-made ver­sion would be. And that’s where we start our judg­ing. Like all ac­ces­sories, a tool­kit should be as com­pact and light­weight as pos­si­ble; al­though ob­vi­ously, this has to be weighed up against easy ac­cess to the tools in­side, and the com­pre­hen­sive­ness of the kit.

Find­ing the right kit

Speak­ing of which, our ideal kit should cover plumb­ing, electrics, ba­sic dis­man­tling and retight­en­ing, and – ide­ally – slightly heav­ier jobs. Wheel­nut levers, sup­plied with cars and car­a­vans, are no­to­ri­ously poor, so it’s handy if the tool­kit ex­tends to jobs of that na­ture, too. Qual­ity is an­other im­por­tant as­pect. Yes, these sets tend to be cheaper than buy­ing all of the items sep­a­rately, but that should be due to buy­ing in bulk, rather than the con­tents be­ing of ques­tion­able qual­ity. Un­for­tu­nately, in the past, sets of the lat­ter type have been widely avail­able. As al­ways, test re­sults and checks are fac­tored against price – mak­ing sure you’re not pay­ing over the odds for the best kit.

The ideal tool­kit for car­a­van­ners should cover the plumb­ing, the electrics, and ba­sic dis­man­tling and retight­en­ing

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