Our essential packing list for motorhome and campervan hire has got you covered for all those times you get into a road trip and realise you’re missing something important. Or have you wished you had a few little extras to make your life easier?
While we think we have a very comprehensive list, each time we go on a motorhome road trip, we usually find some extras to add to it. These packing tips make packing a camper super easy.
This guide assumes that everyone knows how to pack their clothes for their destination. It is also necessary to note that this is not a packing list intended for those who own their campervan or motorhome. Of course, you could still use this list if you were kitting out your vehicle for the first time as an owner as there are some helpful tips here, but we’ve also got a great motorhome equipment list here for those of you lucky enough to own a motorhome yourself.
As an owner, however, you would need to include much more to get your road trip underway. e.g. crockery, cutlery, pots and pans and bedding. There’s also no end to the number of options you can add to a motorhome when it is your own. This is simply a “useful extras guide” for what to pack for your motorhome holiday that will make your life much easier.
This is a unique packing list for campervan hire. Many others found on the internet give you the same things. Read on!
A great feature of hiring a campervan for your holiday is that the hiring company has already included most of the things you will need during your trip. But hiring companies are not all built the same, so it’s best to check before you arrive to ensure the basics are provided and, most importantly, included in your total cost.
Suggested reading >> If you’ve never hired a motorhome in Europe before, we recommend that you read our comprehensive guide The ultimate guide to campervan hire in Europe: the questions you must ask before you make the hiring decision
We keep adding to this list whenever we travel in a motorhome or campervan. Even with all of these things on board, we always find more ways to make life easier on the road.
Basic motorhome essentials
These are all the items that should be included in your motorhome when hiring. We use and recommend Anywhere Campers for motorhome hire in Europe. They are also one-way hire specialists. We know that they have all of these items in their motorhomes.
- Kitchen equipment including pots, pans, cutlery, crockery, glassware, sharp knives, basic utensils like egg flips and large spoons and a colander
- Road safety equipment – warning triangles, hi-visibility vests, jacks etc
- GPS – check you have included this in your hire.
- External campervan equipment – Water hose and connector, electrical cable, adaptor for hooking up to mains electricity and levelling blocks
- Gas bottles
- Cleaning equipment – dustpan brush, broom in some cases, cleaning wipes, disposable gloves for handling portable toilet cassette
- Bedding – if you are hiring, you need bedding included in your hire or you will have to bring it yourself
- In the summertime, outdoor chairs and tables are a must to be included for your hire
- Bicycles are also a great idea and provide enormous flexibility.
More reading >> New to motorhome hire? Read our guide on what’s inside a campervan for hire.
Following are more items that are highly useful and should make any campervan equipment list. I know we couldn’t do without them.
Note: this is a list for travellers who are a long way from home and don’t have the luggage space or travel capacity to bring huge amounts of equipment to Europe.
Basic packing list for motorhome hire
*Most of these products are available via Amazon and can be accessed by clicking on the links below*
If you are travelling with your own motorhome then you will have this problem well and truly sorted. Many private motorhomes are built with good internal insulation within the walls of the vehicle itself and removable insulation like blinds, stick-on pads and covers for the inside, keeping them cool and warm when needed. They are also great for privacy at night. On the outside, many have other covers that help with insulation and the dreaded windscreen condensation.
When you hire a motorhome or campervan, however, it is unlikely that these will be included. Normally, they only have blinds which offer little insulation.
Each morning, especially in winter, where it is cold outside and warm inside, the windscreen is usually dripping with condensation. Years ago we used to use kitchen towel to dry it off every morning, but we would go through so much.
The other alternative was using a towel but these just get wet and are a pain to dry if you are travelling all day.
Now, we use a chamois and it’s so simple. It’s easily transportable, doesn’t weigh much and is more economical and environmentally friendly than buying paper towel.
We are packing cubes converts. Having used them in suitcases before, we now always use them in motorhome as well, even when we travel in our own at home. What a breeze it makes unpacking and keeping things organised in the motorhome. The cubes can be kept up in the storage space above our bed, making them easy to access. We would highly recommend them for long motorhome trips as it is seriously annoying to have to keep diving around bags and suitcases every day.
Faced with such a wonderful range of whites, reds and champagnes/sparkling in Europe, we’ve always got a bottle or two open. And, because most European wines have not succumbed to the screw top lid ( I can hear the French especially gasping at the thought of this!), taking our own wine stoppers always comes in handy. One thing we have also noticed too is that the French champagne bottles sometimes won’t take the smaller plastic stoppers. We also carry a champagne stopper with us too
Note: most campervans come with a corkscrew these days, but it might still pay to check with your hire company first.
Reusable shopping bags
Because we eat a lot of our meals in the motorhome, we are constantly at supermarkets and local markets stocking up on goodies. In Europe, plastic bags are not provided when you shop so we make sure we have plenty of our own reusable bags on hand.
We keep several in the motorhome and I also have folding bags that I carry with me for when we go to the markets.
Anti-bacterial sanitiser and wet wipes
Long before the world had heard of Covid-19 we used to carry with us and use sanitiser. There’s many things that occur around motorhomes, like emptying toilet waste, touching waste hoses or visiting public facilities, that makes products like these a good idea to have on hand. Wet wipes are great for those sticky fingers you get after eating French pastries in some beautiful French location.
First aid kit
This one doesn’t need much explanation; a first aid kit is always helpful when you are travelling on the road.
Ear plugs and eye masks
Most of the locations we stay overnight in are usually very quiet, but it’s not always possible. Memories of being parked out the front of a bar in Cannes – a long time ago – are still vivid, as is the night we spent in Liesel in The Netherlands with scooters zipping around us all night. Earplugs would have been a welcome addition on those occasions. Now we carry them with us everywhere we go.
Light is never an issue for us in motorhomes as the windows have blinds and curtains. However, if you are a light sleeper and can’t handle even the smallest bit of light peeking in from the edges of the blinds, it might be a good idea to also pack an eye mask.
Pro tip: If noise is an issue, try stopping at a France Passion site. They are usually on farms or in really quiet locations, ensuring you have a great sleep. Read our article on motorhome stopovers in France.
Short, lightweight bathrobe
We highly recommend this item if you are going to be spending a lot of time in public campgrounds. It’s not something we would normally consider packing, but when you are in a campervan, it makes a lot of sense. Getting changed in public bathrooms can be a little tricky at times. Sometimes there is limited hanging space for your clothes/toiletries, and there’s nothing worse than getting your clothes and belongings wet.
Hanging toiletry bag
For the same reason as above, it’s better to have something that hangs off a hook. We take a waterproof hanging toiletry bag just large enough to fit in the basics (soap, shampoo/conditioner, razor) for this purpose. The rest of your toiletries remain in the bathroom onboard.
Microfibre travel towels
Even if you are hiring a motorhome that includes towels we still highly recommend having a microfibre towel at the ready. They are small, easy to pack and carry with you and suit many purposes. They are also useful then for taking to the beach or public pools, without the bulk of having to carry large towels.
Universal travel adaptor
You simply can’t live without these. We recommend having a universal travel adaptor that takes more than a few cables all at once. Sometimes electricity is not readily available, so having a universal travel adaptor means we can charge multiple items at once to charge everything as quickly as possible.
We won’t ever leave home without one, regardless of where we travel to. Ours have a main power plug, four USB connectors and a USB-C connector (which I use for my Macbook).
In a hired campervan there aren’t many power outlets, so a powerboard/powerstrip is also helpful for charging multiple items at once. Most people these days travel with a lot of power-hungry equipment. Unless you are planning on being in an official campground every night, it could be days before you get access to electricity.
Sometimes you can only access electricity through service areas for a short period of time. A power board allows you to charge up everything you have in a short time frame. these days, the best powerboards also have multiple USB2.0 and USB-C ports.
Chargers and extra USB cables
The more the merrier! We always carry a 12-volt car charger for charging our phones and tablets when we are driving, making use of available engine power. Once again, we use one that has the ability to charge USB2.0 and USB-C devices at the same time.
We also always carry a portable powerbank with us as you never know when your phone is going to need a boost. Getting power when travelling becomes quite an obsession!
Pro tip #1: We keep all of the cables and chargers in a travel cable organiser. This way we always know where we can find a cable or a charger when we need it. It also helps keep the cabin free of clutter and safety hazards.
Pro tip #2: : Make sure your charger has enough watts/amps to charge tablets and the later model smartphones. Many chargers only have enough amperage to charge phones/earlier model phones; for example, iphones like the iphone 12 onwards use 20 watt chargers.
If you are planning on staying off the grid quite a bit and have a lot of equipment (especially laptops, camera batteries, drone batteries and ebike batteries) consider taking an inverter with you. In our motorhome at home, we use a 2600 watt inverter, but when we travel it’s more like a 300-400 watt as that’s all the weight we can really afford to take with us.
Be sure if you are coming from the USA your inverter will convert the watts appropriately.
If you don’t want to disturb your fellow passengers in the night, consider taking a small travel flashlight with you. It’s also handy if you need to go outside your motorhome at night or to use the public facilities.
Travel laundry sheets
Sure, you can buy laundry products wherever you travel but we love using laundry detergent sheets and have travelled with different iterations of it for years. It’s compact so it doesn’t take up much room in the vehicle but its real power is that it is super-concentrated and it’s environmentally friendly and better for our skin as well.
Shampoo and conditioner bars
We also use shampoo and conditioner bars, as a way of cutting down on our luggage and having less on board when we are in smaller vehicles. They are great space savers.
Our days are usually busy and tiring, so at night time, we look to kick back with a nice meal, a few glasses of wine and some tv to watch. But, in the campervans we hire, we don’t have a television. In any case, if it did, it would be difficult to find English speaking channels. This is where smartphones, tablets and laptops are useful.
Before we travel, we load up these devices with downloadable content like movies, tv shoes and reading material. This is one of the reasons I love technology. We get access to so much and it doesn’t take up any room. I can even borrow library books online on the road from my local library provided I have wifi access – which I always do. We used and recommend Maya Mobile eSims.
We also have our Bose noise cancelling headphones – never leave home without them -so my husband and I can watch different content whenever we want. Whatever headphones or buds you use, be sure to pack them.
When you’re on the road, items like these always come in handy. I’ve had soles come loose on my favourite pair of shoes, where shoe glue or super glue has come to the rescue. We’ve needed scissors to open packaging where a knife hasn’t been able to and a roll of tape has been useful on many occasions.
We also take bubble wrap with us all the time. While this might appear a bit strange it comes in handy all the time when we buy things to take back home.
We buy a lot of food when we travel, especially in Europe, and much of it comes in bottles. Finding bubble wrap can be really difficult. We’ve walked the streets of Paris looking for it, and stopped at nearly every supermarket, house shop and hardware store looking for it, to no avail. It’s light and serves as general protection inside our luggage anyway.
The good thing is that it is reusable, so we just store it after a trip and bring it out in time for the next one.
We’ve become accustomed to taking our pegless line with us. It’s great for using inside to hang up tea towels, and other lightweight items of clothing as well.
Plastic containers, bags and clips
Whether you buy these on your first shop or take them with you, they are a handy item to have on board. Because we buy a lot of food along the way from local markets and shops, we’ve always got a fridge full of goodies.
We love these collapsible food containers for our leftovers and storing food that has been opened in general. Silicone food covers are also another good idea and can save having the plastic containers too.
Plastic bag clips are also must-haves for us, and we will always sneak at least a few into our bags to take with us.
Everything on this motorhome packing list is easy to take with you.
This campervan packing list covers many small and often easy to miss items that can make your trip much smoother. Your trip won’t be ruined if you don’t have them, but it’s sometimes the little things that count. We always make sure we have these packed with us for any campervan trip.
More motorhome resources
You might also like to read these motorhome guides.
Motorhome rental in Europe – Anywhere Campers are also one-way hire specialists