A Guide To The Electric Hook Up Cable

In this post we talk about one of the most essential bits of vanlife kit we’ve ever bought – the electric hook up cable. Speak to any seasoned vanlifer and they’ll be able to regale you for hours on the subject of a good quality electric hook-up cable, why it’s so important and things to watch out for. 

When we want to be on-grid, we’ll always book a site where we can use our all lengths caravan camping motorhome electric hook up cable. After all, the one thing you can never control is the weather, especially the predictable nature of it here in the UK. And weather on the road can have a much bigger effect than in bricks and mortar. Wind and driving rain will amplify the experience, especially when bad weather stays for days or weeks if you are unlucky. 

Why You Need An Electric Hook Up Cable In Your On-Grid Vanlife

There is a lot to learn when it comes to getting power to your campervan, but let’s keep it simple. Most camping and caravanning sites operate using a three-pin connector working off 16 amp and delivering 230v – the same as in your home. The challenge comes with not being able to just plug in endless electrical devices – you only have a limited power supply and a limited number of sockets. And European sites usually have a much lower capacity. Get out with the kids suggests some easy ways to calculate your usage to prevent this from happening.

The electric hook up cable we use covers all our needs in one simple and easy to use product:

image of all lengths caravan camping motorhome electric hook up cable


  • Thick orange outer sheath for maximum protection. Orange is the colour designated by most sites in the UK as it makes it highly visible, even at night.
  • Sheath/plastic which surrounds the cabling is solid and sturdy – it needs to be able to withstand rain and terrible weather whilst remaining safe and secure – this is probably its most important feature. We are very happy with this cable; it still feels very robust and likely to last a long time. It has even withstood being accidentally driven over a couple of times.
  • Waterproof – sometimes puddles emerge and standing water, but this is never in doubt and I wouldn’t hesitate with its use – even in a squall.
  • Exceptional length – the option we have is available to purchase in increments of 5m all the way up to 25m

Our electric hook up cable also comes with an integrated cable carrier/reel, which not sound like a deal-breaker. But there’s nothing worse than trying to prevent damage and getting the van dirty when you’re travelling. The carrier reel leaves you with minimal cable to store when you are not living the vanlife. 

Buy The Longest Electric Hook Up Cable Length You Can

Length is really important and many vanlifers will tell you to get the longest electric hook up cable you can. Although the EHU is usually located right on your pitch, this might not always be the case.

It’s always better to have much more than you need, and then you can accommodate any eventuality. I’m always surprised by just how easily even a 15m electric hook up cable will get used up.

A Warning About Your Electric Hook Up Cable

Overloading your extension lead is a fire hazard and definitely not something you want in the small, enclosed space of a campervan. Most site hook-ups have a built-in MCB (mini circuit breaker) to prevent this. If you do exceed capacity it will trip the MCB – safety first, but it’s still a bit embarrassing if you’re sharing with the neighbouring pitch who won’t take kindly to losing their own power if you have to reset it. Yes, best avoided on both counts!

Don’t stretch out your electric hook up cable, rest it on things or hang it in the air to fit

This will put stress on the connections and make accidents more likely if you forget its location on dark, stormy nights. Whilst it can be tempting to leave your unused cable on the reel unused, it’s actually a fire and safety hazard to use a coiled electric hook up cable, whether it be a campervan hook up cable, motorhome hook up cable or caravan hook up cable. The PVC insulating sheath on our electric hook up cable is designed to prevent such occurrences regarding the heat generated from the electrical current. But this effect is amplified when kept in a coil. The heat isn’t able to adequately dissipate and so the coil temperature can rise to dangerous levels. Potentially melting, shorting the power supply and worst-case scenario catching fire. 

Peace, Solitude And The Great Outdoors

The prospect of an imminent pandemic vaccine is great news and fingers crossed it comes sooner rather than later. We’ve all been impacted, but it has affected those living in tiny homes or big cities with less space. It’s made us long even more for the open road, where we control where we are, what we do and how we live. We yearn for it all to be over so we can head out without worrying about those at risk. Having said that, I try to practice gratitude in these moments and often say to Dave “at least we aren’t that poor couple bedding down in that submerged tent next door!” 

So stay safe, stay dry and stay well-insulated! What about you? How has the pandemic affected your vanlife? Will you change how you live vanlife in the future because of it? We’d love to know – please leave a comment below.

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