It has never been easier for a road trip newbie to find the perfect rental campervan whether you’re in Europe, the USA, New Zealand or Australia. We reveal the absolute MUST HAVE list of what to take with you on your first campervan road trip
Hitting the road in a campervan is one of the best ways to really explore a country. Whether you fondly remember childhood holidays packed into a family campervan or have been seduced by the ever more intoxicating Instagram feeds of van lifers, the draw of a campervan road trip is greater than ever before.
Thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of road trip holidays, the services supporting trips in your trusty camper, from fantastic caravan parks to superb campervan rental sites, are booming. It has never been easier for a road trip newbie to find the perfect rental campervan whether you’re in Europe, Canada, the USA, New Zealand, or Australia.
Finding the perfect campervan is easy, nowadays, you can choose everything from the size to fuel economy, the berth and even added luxuries! However, there’s no denying that campervan holidays are a heck of an adjustment, and that’s what they’re meant to be, a great big adventure where you never know what might happen next!
But it’s important that you have the right tools for the occasion. So, to help you make the most out of your first campervan adventure, we’ve put together a hit list of campervan trip essentials. Make sure you pack them for your campervan adventure and get ready to hit the road!
Source: Joe Gallagher Flickr
Often Satellite Navigation devices (SatNav’s) are either automatically included in the rental or can be added for a minimal fee. If your rental does not come with a Sat Nav bringing your own is always recommended.
As a backup, make sure that you have an offline version of google maps for your journey added to your phone and consider purchasing a map. Buying a map, even if you don’t use it that much, can be great as a memento of your trip, particularly if you mark off places you visit along the way.
While some basic cooking equipment is usually provided, it’s always a good idea to take a few kitchen essentials with you when you rent a campervan. Pack your favourite mugs, some Ziploc bags, at least one big and versatile pot (you can use it for stir fry’s, stews, soups and more), and a picnic set with plates, cutlery, plastic cups etc.
If you’re wanting to cut down on waste, buy things that you’ll use again at home. Bamboo plates and cups are definitely our favourites as they’re super lightweight, easy to clean - and last for a long time.
Speaking of easy to clean, it’s important to think of your water consumption when deciding on what kitchen equipment to bring along for the ride. Because while your colander or cheese grater might make your mac n cheese easier to make - you might waste half of your water tank cleaning up after it!
Cooking in your rented campervan is a road trip rite of passage. In fact, you’ll probably end up preferring the creative campervan dishes you concoct to food from your kitchen at home!
However, while cooking in the campervan is fun, you don’t always want to be eating in there. While the dining area of a campervan is ideal for rainy days, part of the joy of hiring a campervan is getting to explore all kinds of different landscapes, environments and views.
So make sure that you pack foldable camping chairs and a foldaway camping table so that you can sit outside and enjoy an evening meal watching the sunset wherever you pitch up.
Another must-have purchase to go with your outdoor dining gear - toasting forks. Pop marshmallows, bread, hot dogs - you name it and you can probably toast it. While I wouldn’t recommend these tasty treats every day, you’re on holiday; so go ahead and enjoy yourself!
Whether you’re using your rented campervan to explore the Australian outback or the fairytale landscape of New Zealand, you’ll find no shortage of activities and experiences to fill your road trip with memories. However, even the most riveting of adventures is bound to have the odd rainy day and, let’s face it, sometimes you just want to spend some time chilling out.
To keep yourself entertained on the slow days, make sure you pack a few things to keep you entertained. Consider packing a couple of good books, some face masks, a yoga mat, and maybe a scrapbook to fill in for your trip!
On the sunny days when you’re looking for something fun to do that won’t break the bank - how about investing in an inflatable paddle and surfboard?
We don’t travel anywhere without ours, and by golly does that provide us with some rip-roaring fun pretty much everywhere we go. Whether we’re by the beach and we fancy a day of surfing or parked up at the side of a serene lake. While it’s not the lightest thing to carry around, it actually takes up hardly any space.
Connect to Comfort:
Ok so campervan trips are an adventure, and you’re expecting to rough it a bit. But the point of a campervan is that you still get some of your home comforts, without compromising on the experience, so you need to make the most of it.
Depending on the time of year, investing in a fan or electric heater is well worth it for the additional comfort. No one wants to be caught in New Zealand’s winters without a heater! You’ll also be wanting to take electrical devices like phones, SatNav’s, Laptops etc with you so packing a power board is essential if you want to keep all of your gadgets charged up.
Gear and Gizmos
Bringing the right gear for yourself can make the difference between a good holiday and a great one. Planning on hiking? Make sure to pack not only waterproof boots, but waterproof trousers and a rain jacket too.
Are you the kind of person that easily gets cold? Why not bring a hot water bottle for those chilly nights to make for a cosy camper experience?
And last but not least - pack light. Everyone tends to overpack, but my tip is to plan out your days before you even touch that wardrobe. Knowing that you’ll be away for seven days, you can pack for each day's activities - with some spares, just in case.
But, ladies, packing light doesn’t mean that you can’t look good too. Go ahead and pack a few dresses or rompers and a pair of boots. If you happen to stumble upon a cute little eatery, you’ll be glad you did, and have an even better time if you feel the part!
With the comfortable beds, the semi-solid walls and the option of an electric heater, you’ll enjoy plenty of peaceful sleep in a campervan (better than in a tent anyway!). However, campsites and caravan parks can be noisy places while even if you pitch up in the middle of nowhere the open road can be full of sounds at night.
To make sure you still get top quality snooze time even in the heart of a buzzing campsite, pack some good quality earplugs to keep out the noise, and eye masks to block out any streetlights or the light from the stars. Sweet dreams!
However luxurious your rented campervan, with life on the road, space is something of a premium. Opting to pack fewer items, keeping the campervan clean and tidy, and being economical with your possessions are important steps towards maximising the space you have.
A couple of essential items to help you rock the minimalist lifestyle include packing cubes, ideally ones which compress items like clothing, which help you to organise and easily store away all your basic items. Another essential combination of items is a clothesline and eco-friendly washing powder or liquid, and a collapsible bucket.
If you can do your own washing, in campsites, by streams, or using the good old fashioned bucket method, you need far fewer clothes and can save even more space in your campervan. A bucket, preferably of the collapsible type for easy storage, is basically an essential bit of kit anyway, it comes in handy on all sorts of situations!
And lastly, Safety First:
There are a few essential bits of kit you should take on any holiday and campervan road trips are no exception. Make sure you’ve packed a well-stocked First Aid Kit, suncream, aftersun and some kind of insect repellent (citronella candles, mosquito coils and bug spray are all good options).
There’s a strong chance you won’t need any of it (unless you’re road tripping Australia in summer, in which case - suncream is ESSENTIAL) but it’s better to have it and not need it than the alternative. One piece of kit you will definitely need and is invaluable as a safety tool is a torch. There is no end of potential situations where a torch is your number one tool, so make sure you invest in a good quality torch with plenty of power and battery life.