Motorhome Basics – Electric Hook-Up

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If you’re a seasoned camper then you’ll be well versed on the electric hook-up cable, but if you’re new to caravanning, motorhoming or indeed camping, then it’s an essential piece of kit.

When you go out and about and stay on campsites most, but not all, will provide an electricity supply (check before you book with a site).  This is usually provided from one of a number of electricity supply posts sited around the campsite.  Your hook-up cable will then run from the post to your van.  One end has a 3-pin plug (male), which you plug into the electricity supply on the site, and the other has a 3-pin coupler socket (female) which you plug into the hook-up point on the side of your van.

Top Tip – get in the habit of plugging the hook-up cable into your van first and then plugging the other end in, as this way you’re not plugging the cable into your van with the power already on.

Once your hook-up cable is plugged in your appliances will be running off the 230v supply, either directly, or via your 12v power supply from  your leisure battery.

Speaking from experience, it is quite easy to trip the electricity if you have too many things plugged in at once.  If you’re boiling a kettle, which is quite power hungry,  it might be wise not to have anything else plugged in at the same time.  I’m not an expert on electricity but I have also learned that the lower the amp supply, the easier it is to trip the electricity too.  Power supply can vary quite a bit, especially in Europe, and can range from about 6amps to 16amps.  If you do trip the supply you will have to speak to the site manager for them to re-set the supply.  So it’s best not to do it in the middle of the night as you’ll be without power until the morning.

Hook-up cables tend to come in standard lengths with the most common being 10m and 25m.  My recommendation would be the 25m cable as it can sometimes be quite a distance from a pitch to an electricity post.

There are a number of additional hook-up plugs that might be useful, depending on where you’re planning on travelling to.


A hook-up cable with a standard UK plug on the end can be useful if you park your van at home or near a domestic electricity supply.  This plug enables you to plug into your van and then into a standard electricity cable which can then be plugged in to a domestic socket.

Travelling to Europe?   Yep, you’ve guessed it, you will need an adaptor as lots of Europe operates on a 2-pin plug socket.


Electric hook-up cables can be bought from most Caravan accessory shops and are also available on Amazon.


You should ensure that your hook-up cable complies with British Safety Standard BS EN 60309-2.  The lead must be PVC/PVC flexible cable with three cores, each being 2.5mm.  You should also ensure that you have your electricity supply system in your van checked at regular intervals.


Information correct November 2013 and any information should be verified.

November 13, 2013 |

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