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Camping info/Advice & camping essentials

Find information and FAQ's not related to the parks, like Health & Safety, 4x4 etc.
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Camping info/Advice & camping essentials

Unread post by Jeffrey52 » Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:28 pm

I'm just getting 'into' camping and ask the following - is there somewhere, perhaps already posted on these fora, where I can get a Camping Essentials list, such that I can minimise the "Oh damn, I forgot this or that"? I'm not talking caravanning, just tent camping.

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Blue plug

Unread post by Jeffrey52 » Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:43 pm

Someone mentioned "The blue plug adaptor for camping". We're going to camp at Marakele - is this plug necessary?

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Unread post by restio » Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:15 pm

Jeffrey, from reading the forum I gather the "blue plug" is used for caravanning. If you have electrical appliances, or wish to charge your phone/camera, then a blue plug adapter can be very useful.

For general advice on camping at Marakele, have a look here.
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Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:15 am

Just an explanation of why the blue plug is needed. Courtesy

[Mods, is this the correct way to quote from an external website? If not, feel free to change it]

Electricity at Caravan Sites: (Information supplied by Mark Lowe.)

Most caravan park owners or managers are not aware of the regulations surrounding the supply of electricity at caravan/camping sites, tabled to protect the user.

In layman's terms therefore, listed below are the most pertinent aspects of the regulations as contained in the Code of Practice for the Wiring of Premises (SABS 0142-1) as amended 1 November 2001.

1) Socket outlets (plug points) shall be 230V single phase alternating current 2) Socket outlets shall comply with SABS 1239 and have a six o'clock earthing position (this applies to the round blue plug, not a normal three-point plug) 3) Only one site may be served by each individual socket outlet. 4) No more than six socket outlets (plugs) may be grouped together (this is done to prevent nuisance tripping.) 5) Each group of socket outlets shall be accommodated in a distribution housing with a degree of protection of minimum IP44 (splash proof from all directions. In other words, a waterproof box must be used) and protection may not be reduced when a plug is inserted. 6) Each socket outlet must be protected by it's own circuit breaker (usually 10A or 15A) 7) Each group of socket outlets must be additionally protected by an earth leakage protection device with a sensitivity not exceeding 30mA (the same as you have in your home) 8) The socket outlet at each site must be within 25m of the caravan it is intended to supply and shall be securely mounted at least 1m above the ground. 9) The regulations state furthermore that the voltage at the point of consumption (i.e. where you plug in your lead) may not be more than 5% below the nominal voltage supplied to the park by the local authority / supplier. In other words, if the normal supply is 230 Volts, the minimum voltage at your site under its designed load (10 or 15A) should not be below 218,5V (230V -11.5V)

This regulation is designed to protect equipment from damage due to low voltage, such as fridge compressors, TV's, computers etc.

There are of course numerous other regulations pertaining to the installation of electricity in general, with the above representing the most obvious and visible to all caravanners/campers.

Any electrical installation must be compliant with SABS 0142, Part 1 for installations up to 1000V a.c. or Part 2 for installations above 1000V but not exceeding 33kV.

Due to the change in the Act (Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993) in October 1992, it became a statutory requirement that every user or lessor (referring to owner or tenant) of an electrical installation shall have a valid Certificate of Compliance (C.O.C) for every such installation.

In the past the responsibility for compliance to regulations of any electrical installation rested with the supplier of electricity to the client concerned, for example Eskom or the local municipality. After October 1992, the onus shifted with the formulation of the new Certificate of Compliance to the user or lessor, in this case the Park Owner to ensure that his installation complied with the regulations.

The loophole is this.... electrical installations installed before October 1992 were exempt from having to comply with the new regulations (unless unsafe conditions existed) until such time as the installation changed ownership, was modified, altered or extended in any way where after it would have to be subjected to the Certificate of Compliance inspection and non-compliant aspects rectified in line with the new regulations, as amended.

In addition to this, the wiring in the electricity outlet box must be screened or covered to prevent accidental contact.

The box must be waterproof and the door or hinged lid must be able to be securely closed with provision made so that the electrical cords to the camper's facilities do not prevent the closure of the box.

Fit for purpose sites or parks with specific tenting sites, bush camps and parks that specifically do not provide electricity, may be excluded from this requirement.

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Unread post by Senyetse » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:13 am

The blue plug is basically a different type of plug. The normal household plug in SA is the 15 amp plug. Some caravan parks in SA have this type of power outlet, some SANParks campsites have these. Then you also get the blue type plug used in caravans, not sure what the technical term for it is, but it also has three prongs, but they are much closer together than the nomal plug. The Kruger campsites all have power boxes for the blue plug. The normal 15 amp plug will not fit.

Of course a blue plug will not fit into a 15 amp power outlet.
I always take a normal extension cord with the normal plug. I also have a small extension with the "male" blue plug fitted to the one end and a "female" 15 amp outlet fitted to the other. This adaptor is useful at camps with the blue plug, you just plug the normal end of the long extension into the female 15 amp box and the blue male into the power outlet.

This way you're always prepared regardless of the plug type provided for at the camp. :)
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Unread post by Mgoddard » Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:58 pm

WTM thanks for the link to the very comprehensive list...really a good one to have..

I have a question. As Im starting to look for a good 2nd hand caravan, what should I look for?

My SO believes that I should at least buy a 4 bed and I agree, although its only me it will give me the space to move around seeing that its going to be my home for a year.
I thought of having a full tent, but SO thinks it will be too much for me to erect. We went camping in a caravan twice and it took almost the whole day (4 men) to set it up :redface: :D . That was 12 yrs ago...
Any advice/suggestions/ideas is greatly appreciated..

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Re: Blue plug

Unread post by RichardS » Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:41 am

Jeffrey52 wrote:Someone mentioned "The blue plug adaptor for camping". We're going to camp at Marakele - is this plug necessary?

Nope... Stock standard 3 pin worked for me!!!!

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Unread post by wingman » Sun Mar 16, 2008 1:20 pm

Hi the blue plug issue is an interesting one as caravanner we find these are needed in +/- 75% of places we stay including the camping sites if in doubt best to take one they are available at all camping and caravan shops.

MG re the caravan a good 4 berth would probably be best I suggest you contact a reputable dealer try pm me your address and i will courier you some mags so you can get an idea of sizes types etc.
Although a full tent not be neccessary there are times you may want it for extra space and cooler winter months, most of the time a rally awning will do for the extra shade.

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Camp bed or blow up matress?

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:07 pm

I bought a top of the range blow up matress a couple of years ago.
I used it a few times, mainly for my children's visitor's. Much to my disappointment, I see that it has "sprung a leak" at one of the seams.
I would not say that it was abused, or ill treated and I would have expected a much longer life from this particular purchase.
Anyone who has met me will also know that I am not the size of person capable of putting much pressure on the matress.

I did find it extremely comfortable, but I cannot afford to replace this kind of item too often.

In terms of camp bedding, what do the experienced campers usually use and why?
I have looked at the alternative of buying a camp bed, but once I have bought all the bits, they are also pricey.
What do other folk find comfortable?

I am leaving for an extended camping stay in a couple of weeks and I do need some advice here.
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Unread post by DuQues » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:14 pm

I've grown up on campbeds, the kind with two bars on the side and 3 or 4 (?) W-shaped legs underneath. Very comfortable, and they have a nice side effect; you learn not to turn in your sleep or the bed will be sleeping on you!

Not expensive at all, folded they are small and fairly light, and they'll last you a lifetime with proper care.

But: they are strictly 1 (one) person beds....
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Unread post by Goggo EJ » Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:52 pm

MM I found a blow-up mattress uncomfortable as I could not find the right inflation point - either hit the ground or rolled off!

Have also tried various camp-beds. The old style stretcher bed is fine but a bit narrow. There is a recliner style one which is really comfortable and even has legs which are adjustable so you can level it if needed. It was relatively expensive though and is longer than many others, and has the disadvantage of many recliner types of upending you if you move too close to one end! I also have one of the spider types (similar mechanism to the chairs) which is OK but does not give much support.

If I needed one again I would go for the recliner type. Comfort, support and width are great and outweigh the occasional 'on my head' episode! (Actually putting a box or similar under the head end reduces the problem a lot!)
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Unread post by Jen » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:07 pm


I love our blow up mattress. Have a queen size one and is perfectly comfortable for 2 x adults. So quick & easy to use and takes almost no space when folded.

Inflatable mattress definitely gets my vote.
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Unread post by Imberbe » Fri Apr 25, 2008 2:05 am

We regularly use an inflatable, and it works just fine! It is important to have them properly inflated. For this you will need a pump of some description, but they are really not expensive. My yellow machine cost approx. R 60. We have found it necessary to "top up" every two days. If the bed loses pressure, it becomes really uncomfortable!

We have never had any problems with punctures ... but do not sleep on a thorn! We have had ours for approx. three years now.
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Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:54 am

I have a fairly good foot/hand pump, the best I could find at the time. It works pretty well and does not take that long at all. I tell myself that it's calories in the bank. :wink:
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Unread post by JenB » Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:19 am

For me, blow up is the way to go. I insist on a proper camping bed 'cause I hate sleeping on the floor. The famework is a bit heavy and bulky to transport but a tizz to set up. Within 10 seconds the frameworks up and the "yellow machine" can do it's job. It also dubbles up as an emergency guest bed at home.
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