Because you can escape far and wide in your campervan you can end up taking a lot of stuff with you! What to pack in your campervan comes down to where you will be going, who with and what time of year you are catering for, but if you get organised you can start to streamline the process so that you can up and go on a whim without forgetting the essentials and prevent ending up with too much clutter that is not needed.
First of all think about packing efficiently, sorting out the basics first and utilising multifunctional objects to save you space and weight, before moving on to all the little gizmos and luxuries.
You need to cater for the campervan itself, as, on top of your regular maintenance schedule you need to ensure that you have the necessities to keep on driving, so we are talking a basic tool kit, spare tyre, manual and any insurance documentation you may require en route. Also think about your own documentation, your passports, any contact information (remember…things can happen to your smart phone and you may not know numbers off by heart these days!) or medical information for longer travels. Don’t forget any hook up cables required or hoses and storage containers for water.
Think about the most effective way of storing all of the items that you are packing. Pack items where you will be using them, so it is handy to have your first aid kit and routes and general information in the front glove compartment for example. You want waterproof bags to pack muddy footwear or waterproofs/wetsuits in whilst on the move. Stacking plastic storage boxes are great as they can be put inside one another whilst everything is in use, and then lidded when in storage or whilst travelling.
Clothing and Personal Equipment
Obviously you need to pack the relevant clothing and personal essentials for each of you who are travelling (this can go wild if you have children in tow, so try to pack the essentials first – waterproof suits!) including wash kits, creams etc. In the summer you need your swimwear and extra towels (don’t forget suntan lotion and aftersun and insect repellent) and for cold and winter gloves, hats scarves and plenty of waterproof coats.
Duvets, pillows and sheets can take up room but will definitely help in the comfort stakes and getting a good night of sleep has numerous benefits! If you are camping, remember the actual awning and tents or you may find yourself very cramped inside with all the family!
Cooking Equipment and Food.
Make a rough plan of the meals you will be cooking so that you can pack accordingly. Some people plan this meticulously, whilst others buy and cook as they go. Make the most of foodstuffs that can be stored for a long time and that are easy and quick to cook in just one pan. BBQ and firelighters, matches or lighter, a gas burner in a case are handy if you want to roam away from your campervan for a beach or country tea. A griddle has countless uses. Stock cubes, lazy chopped garlic in a jar, coconut oil, mixed herbs, salt and pepper, mean that you can rustle up something tasty quickly and take up very little space.
Collapsible chairs or mats that you can put out onto the ground to sit on and a windbreak for privacy, and a wind/sun tent for children that pack down very small. Solar lamps and torches and citronella candles (for light and to repel mosquitoes), collapsible water buckets and storage containers, nesting pans and pots, melamine plates and bowls, cutlery and cooking utensils, and cleaning essentials such as j-cloths and scrubbers/scourers/washing up liquid. Think about how to store food for packed lunches in stacking boxes or with zip bags, cling film and foil. If you plan to wash your clothes by hand as you go, don’t forget your pegs and clothes line. Do you also have a ‘repairs’ box with items that you may need to make emergency camping repairs?
A really important aspect of your packing unless you are truly wanting to escape from all technology are; portable DVD players, ipods, music speakers and kindles and so on will keep you and the family occupied on dreary days or longer stretches of travelling. A good idea is to have storage on the back of the seats to house these items, but make sure that they are out of sight when you are parked up in busy areas. Remember the chargers for goodness sakes, and plenty of batteries to prevent a tantrum outbreak. Books are great, especially if you are happy to leave them en route if you pop into a charity shop to swap and recycle. Do not underestimate the wonder of a guide book and map (and compass) to go exploring and some good old board games for family time.
Some of the best trips away are with the smallest amount of equipment, but by carefully packing away your items you can cater for every eventuality and really enjoy your travels.