You can get a 10 amp fuse

Electricity at the campsite; how was that again?

July, 14 2020

You have just enjoyed a wonderful, home-cooked camping meal under the Italian evening sun. The dishes are done and it's time to let the food sink in peace. The digestive coffee runs slowly through the coffee machine and because it is still quite warm in the evening, turn on the fan. And then ... a bang! The electricity is gone!

Your power consumption has probably exceeded the limit of the campsite and the fuse has blown. With a little luck, the reception will still be open and the power connection can be restored, otherwise you will have to survive the rest of the evening and the coming morning without electricity. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's annoying and it doesn't make the campsite owners happy either. That is why you should keep a close eye on your electricity consumption at the campsite in order to avoid a mishap.

Amps, watts and volts

But what's the best way to do it? You are (probably) not an electrician, after all, and words like volts, watts, and amps trip around your head. It's time to brush up on your basics. The power connection at the campsite is often given in amps, for example 10 amps (10A). If you use more, the fuse will blow and you will be left without electricity. This also applies if the fuse in your caravan can withstand 16 amps (16A). The lowest value is crucial and we jump out first.

The stove is on and the light is on. Are you careful not to use too much electricity on the campsite?

Your devices use electricity, of course, and that is expressed in watts. Usually somewhere on or on the device you can find out how many watts it consumes. But how do you determine the ratio of amps to watts? Fortunately, there is a simple formula for doing this.

Calculate your electricity consumption

To apply the formula correctly, you also need to know the number of volts. Fortunately, this number is the same almost everywhere in Europe; we normally count on 230 volts here. If you are camping in Europe, this number is already ready for you. To know the maximum number of watts you can use at the same time, you have to multiply the number of amps by the number of volts. Calculate the formula so that you can better assess which devices can be used at the same time. In short, the formula is:

Amps x volts (230) = watts

For example: 10 amps x 230 volts = 2,300 watts

If your power connection on the campsite is 10 amps, then you can use a maximum of 2,300 watts (10 amps x 230 volts). The formula also works the other way around. If you know how many watts you are using at the same time, you can easily calculate how many amperes the power connection must have. The formula then becomes:

Watt / volt (230) = amps

For example: 2,500 watts / 230 volts = 10.87 amps

Don't you feel like doing math while on vacation? I have already calculated the watt consumption for the most common power connections (in amps):

  • 4 amps = 920 watts
  • 6 amps = 1,380 watts
  • 8 amps = 1,840 watts
  • 10 amps = 2,300 watts

To find out the maximum number of watts you can use at the same time, you need to multiply the number of amps and the number of volts.

How many watts do my devices use?

To know exactly which devices you can use at the same time, all you have to do is add up the number of watts. Then you can see which combinations are possible. The consumption in watts is usually stated on the devices, but to give you a first impression, I have selected the consumption of the most common devices for you:

  • Heating stove: 750 - 1,500 watts
  • Small coffee machine: 600 - 800 watts
  • Oven: 600 - 800 watts
  • Fridge: 70 - 80 watts
  • Lamps: 30 - 40 watts
  • (small) television: 30 - 40 watts

Danger: The devices listed above are special camping devices that consume less than common household devices.

Electricity at the campsite

When you book a pitch, it usually states how many amps the power connection has. On you can find the information in the filter area under facilities on the campsite or on the website of the campsite. To be on the safe side, you can of course also ask the campsite directly.

So it is best to think carefully about how much electricity you will be using before you go camping. If you are camping “back to basic” in nature, then you may not need a power connection or 3 or 4 amps are sufficient. If you want your refrigerator to run while you watch TV and then easily make a cup of coffee on the side, you need a power connection with more amps.

When booking your vacation, think carefully about how much electricity you will be using.

Even more tips

1. Do not forget the inrush current

The greatest danger when calculating the power consumption is not counting the inrush current. When you switch on a device, it briefly consumes (much) more electricity than the specified wattage. Sometimes even two or three times as much. So turn on the devices that use the most electricity first and turn them on one at a time.

2. Warm devices consume more

Don't know the wattage of one of your devices or do you doubt whether you should turn it on? Then the rule of thumb is that devices that get warm use a lot more electricity than others. Look again at the list of common devices. The heating stove, the oven and the coffee machine are at the top of consumption. So it is better to wait with the coffee until you have taken the rolls out of the oven and turn the oven off beforehand.

3. Current limiter

Despite all caution and arithmetic, you would not be the first camper to experience something wrong. Fortunately, there are current limiters to help you control and regulate your electricity consumption. However, current limiters have their advantages and disadvantages, so get good advice in the store or read the reviews carefully.

4. Safety first

For many people, electricity remains something intangible and if you don't use it carefully, it can become really dangerous. Use electricity safely and sensibly. For example, only use waterproof and secured CEE plugs. -Sockets and extension cables. Also, don't forget to roll out an extension cord or cable drum completely. In this way you can prevent the cable from overheating.

Do you still have tips and tricks for dealing with electricity on the campsite? Or did you have a fun or dangerous experience that you would like to share? Then please leave us a comment!

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  1. Pierre Durand April 16, 2021
  2. Martin Lobinger 6 May 2021