By William Coleman
The cold season is well and truly on the way and it is time to break out those winter warmers to keep toasty on holiday. We caught up with SK Camping and Leisure to talk all things touring as we head into a frostier time of year.
Having the right kit in your caravan really can make a world of difference to your trip. I’m sure there has been a time when you’ve pitched up only to realise you’ve forgotten that one key item. We know we have, more times than we would like to admit.
To avoid such mishaps it’s always worth popping to a well-stocked accessories shop to get some inspiration for what you need to take away with you and to find those essential items you might not have.
Just before the lockdown hit, CaravanTimes popped into SK Camping to pick up some bits for the Bailey Sahara trip. While we were there we could not help but notice just how much SK has in stock. It really is a one-stop-shop for all things outdoor living.
For those keen caravanners and motorhomers out there, you will find absolutely everything you need from aqua rolls all the way to top-end awnings and clothing.
Following our first visit way back in March, we decided to pop in once more and speak with the company’s managing director, Steve Norris, to find out more about this treasure chest of goodies.
CT- So, how long has SK Camping been serving the touring world?
Steve- We will have been trading nearly 30 years as of March 2021 and have catered for the camper from the start and then moved into the motorhome and caravan market. We started selling awnings and toilet chemicals and then grew this up to the present day.
CT- You have a huge product range, you don’t just do camping accessories, right?
Steve- We sell a huge product range and at the last stock take have 8,000 products in stock.
From swimming pool chemicals, pools, garden games, canopies, furniture, barbeques, boots, clothing, ski wear, backpacking equipment, food, gas, trailers (in the past), toys and fibreglass figures that we used to import.
CT- Did you see a boom through the “off-season” that COVID presented and how are things now that sites are back open?
Steve- We did see a boom and upturn during the summer. The lockdown and weather got customers thinking of staycations.
Customers we found were out buying new and second-hand caravans and motorhomes in their droves and many forecourts across the country [were] empty due to the staycation.
The awnings to go with these have sold very well, however, there has been a shortfall of stock as factories in the far east have been closed, low production and lead times being an issue.
CT- It is clear that winter touring will be very popular, are there any essentials you’d suggest?
Steve- Essentials for winter is anything to keep warm as the nights can get very damp and cold especially in an awning set up.
In terms of any extra heating, we would only recommend oil heaters for safety and you would see an increase in condensation within the awning.
CT- There are a lot of new, and younger, people joining the caravan world. What does the perfect starter kit for newcomers look like?
Steve- There isn’t a starter as such, for motorhome and caravan customers, however, a set of level ramps, toilet chemicals, water and waste rollers [are useful]. A lot of what is needed is pretty much within their vans.
For the humble camper, then yes and we would always recommend spare mixed pegs for all ground conditions, guy lines and tape. If a tent is well fixed it will perform very well.
In terms of kit, it’s important to have as good a sleeping bag and bed as possible; don’t skimp on comfort here, if you wake up tired and cold you end up an unhappy camper. Nice comfortable furniture, a good stove and cooker stand, the rest will follow as kit goes as you see and experience the wonderful world of camping.