Spending two weeks away from a power supply can simply be impractical when camping. Grabbing an electric hook up cable (EHU) and going to a campsite with electric hook up pitches is a really great way of adding a couple of luxuries to make camping life a little easier and more comfortable. It can be a little confusing knowing which cables are safe and affordable (there’s a few dodgy ones out there!) and knowing quickly about what appliances you can use without tripping out the whole campsite. Here’s a quick breakdown of all things Electric Hook Up.
How does Electric Hook Up Work?
There are lots of campsites and caravan sites that have pitches with safety tested electric power points. You simply need to purchase a safe, robust electric hook up cable (our picks are below) plug it into the point and run the cable into your tent. From there you’ll be able to plug in standard 3-pin plugs into it and use your appliances (or at least some of them). Electric hook ups are only able to power low-power consuming appliances.
You can understand a bit more about electricity here.
What appliances I can use on Electric Hook Up?
First things first, you won’t be able to just plug everything you own in and leave it all running. There simply isn’t enough current (amps) to do that and using more than the electrical point provides will see the supply trip out and stop.
Most campsites provide electricity from a 230v supply and rated at either 10 or 16 amps. Your appliances such as hair dryers, straighteners, heaters, fridges etc will all have a power requirement measured in Watts.
I wrote about what the best electric heaters are for camping. There are a few options and models so it’s worth having a read for my four favourites.
How do you know how many Watts can be used on your power supply?
It’s really simple. The maximum Watts from your power supply is simply the voltage, 230v, multiplied by the Amps, 10 for example. 230v x 10amps = 2300watts. A 10amp campsite electric hook up point will deliver 2300 watts and no more.
The electrical points are safety tested and fitted with an MCB, a miniature circuit breaker that will turn the supply off if it is overloaded. Most electric hook up points are shared between two pitches too, so if you go over your allowance then it will kill your neighbours supply as well. Not cool, especially when people use things like fridges and sterilisers. You can ask the campsite in advance as to what their supply provides.
Lets assume you’re on a 10A supply, that means you have 2300w to use.
I’ve got an electric heater here at home. Flip it over and check out the bottom to see it’s power usage. Mine is 2000w. The heater would work but you’re probably going to have to turn it off if you want to run anything else. This is why it’s a better idea to use low-watt appliances. Many appliances that are made for camping specifically, have a lesser power draw.
I’ve made a list of some of my favourites below.
What makes the Best Electric Hook Up Cable?
There are a few dodgy cables around that don’t have the right safety precautions.
It needs the following:
- IP44 Waterproofing (minimum)
- Built in RCD (Residual Current Device)
- Clip for keeping it off the floor
- 15m + Thick Cable
Household extension cables are not suitable for camping. They lack the RCD and waterproofing making them extremely hazardous to use outdoors. You could receive a fatal electric shock off one.
My personal recommendation is for this electric hook up cable (check it out on Amazon here) but I’ve selected 2 others you may want to consider in my article the 3 best electric hook up cables for camping and caravanning.
How to safely use an EHU whilst camping?
Besides getting a robust, safe EHU cable as detailed above there are a few other pointers for being safe with your electric hook up.
Keep your EHU unit off the ground. This will keep it away from water should you get waterlogged (it can happen without warning sometimes!) and avoid it becoming a trip hazard too.
Make sure the cable isn’t coiled or folded together. It will generate heat if it’s coiled around itself and can cause a fire hazard.
Don’t keep appliances on overnight if it doesn’t need to be. You should never really leave any appliance on unattended. If you need to make sure the appliance is secure, away from the tent wall and uncovered.
What are the best low power appliances to use when camping?
The Best Electric Camping Kettle
Russell Hobbs 23840 - Amazon
The Best Electric Camping Toaster
SunnCamp Low Watt - Amazon
The Best Camping Coolbox
Andes 25L DC/AC - Amazon
The Best Electric Stove
Russell Hobbs 2 Plate Hob - Amazon
The Best Caravan & Camping TV
Unispectra 22" 12v/230v - Amazon
Using alternatives to free up your Electric Hook Up
You are limited in what you can run on EHU simultaneously so it’s worth trying to use alternatives. The main item that’s easily replaced is your cooking stove. We cook on a single ring burner such as this Camping Gaz stove from Amazon for most weekend camps. If we’re staying a bit longer then I’ll pack this double ring and grill gas stove (also on Amazon). It’s super fast and boils a kettle quickly. Just this will cut out the need for separate electric kettle, stove and toaster.
I wrote an article last week about the best rechargeable camping lights too, we use the Luminoodles (Amazon) in the tent to light it up. The only thing we tend to run is the camping heater (I did a totally cut down of the all those out there and picked my 4 favs here), USB chargers for power packs and a camping coolbox.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’ve tried to answer as many frequently asked questions about Electric Hook Up below. If you have any more don’t hesitate to contact me in the comments below or
What is EHU for tents?
EHU is an abbreviation of Electric Hook Up. It’s the ability to have a working power outlet in your tent whilst your pitched on a campsite that provides electric power points. Grab a cable, plug it in the power post and run it into your tent. Voila! Read our guide above for all the safety details and downlow on how to use it effectively.
Do you need electric hook up for Motorhomes?
Using EHU for caravans and motorhomes is much the same as in tents. You will need a slightly different cable though. This one connects the external power directly to your caravan supply (Amazon). Hook the cable up to your motorhome or caravan first and then run it out to the electric point. Most points are just a case of pushing the cable into the point but sometimes you have to twist it to lock it in place.
What is the best electric hook up (EHU) cable?
I’ve picked out the three best electric hook up cables for camping in this article here. Checkout the table of my favourite three.
Are there any Electric Hook Up cables with USB?
Yes! There are electric hook up cables with USB ports like this Maypole one on Amazon. These cables with extra USB ports are useful as they free up the 3 pin plugs for your main appliances. There is always the option of adding a multi-USB plug for adding USB ports to a Electric Hook Up cable.
How do people survive without electric hook ups?
Ha, really easily! There are lots of different ways to cook, entertain and keep foods cool without the need for an electricity supply. Why not come and join our facebook group “No EHU, No problem!” and get tips and swap ideas with other campers.