(Updated November 2017)
This essential packing list for campervan hire contains the little things that you don’t think about, but make your life a whole lot easier when on the road. We’ve just returned from yet another motorhome trip and so we got to “road-test” this equipment list again. Most have stayed the same, but we’ve added a few new ones to the list.
A great feature of hiring a campervan for your holiday is that most of the things that you will need during your trip have already been included by the hiring company.
These include such things as:
- Kitchen equipment including pots, pans, cutlery, crockery, glassware
- Road safety equipment – warning triangles, hi-vis vests, jacks etc
- Maps/GPS – if you have included this in your hire
- External campervan equipment – Water hose, electrical cable, and adaptor for hooking up to mains electricity and levelling blocks
- Gas bottles
- Cleaning equipment – dustpan brush, broom in some cases
Here are a few other items that are highly useful and should make any campervan equipment list. I know we couldn’t do without them.
These are great for wiping the condensation that forms on the inside of the windscreens. A chamois would be especially handy during winter when you have the heating going inside. Sometimes even just the heat of your bodies warm the place up. Instead of wasting paper towel or having to make towels wet, the chamois is the best idea. It’s easily transportable, doesn’t weigh much and is more economical than buying paper.
Packing cubes (**updated**)
This year, I finally got on board with the packing cubes trend. I’m now a massive fan. Having used them in suitcases before, I took them with me on my latest motorhome trip. What a breeze it made unpacking and keeping things organised in the motorhome.
Plastic bottle stoppers
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 stoppers always comes in handy.
Note: most campervans come with a corkscrew these days.
Re-usable shopping bags
Because we eat a lot of our meals on board, we are constantly at supermarkets and local markets stocking up on goodies. In Europe, plastic bags are not provided free of charge. Culturally, Europe is a long way ahead in terms of the use of re-usable shopping bags. We prefer to take our own bags as we can fit more in them (the wine and beer are usually heavy too!). They are incredibly useful for our first big shop where we stock up the campervan. We keep several in the campervan and I also have folding bags that I carry with me for when we go to the markets.
Anti-bacterial sanitiser and wet wipes
Whilst these might be a normal inclusion for general travel, they are a great item to have readily accessible in the campervan. I usually keep some sanitiser and wipes in the bathroom and also up the front in the cabin, as there’s always a need to touch stuff that might be a bit yucky. (emptying the chemical toilet, using the water hoses, using public facilities etc)
A first aid kit is always helpful when you are travelling on the road.
We always try to stay in reasonably quiet locations but it’s not always possible. Memories of being parked out the front of a bar in Cannes are still vivid, as is the night we spent in Liesel in The Netherlands with scooters zipping around us all night.
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.
Short, lightweight bathrobe
I highly recommend this item if you are going to be spending a lot of time in public campgrounds. It’s not something I 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. On some occasions, the facilities can be less than ideal. Getting undressed in your campervan and using a bathrobe means less hassle. I can’t recall the number of times my clothes have fallen onto a wet floor, or where the shower cubicle is so small, every part of it is wringing wet.
Hanging toiletry bag
For the same reason as above, it’s better to have something that hangs off a hook. We take bags 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.
Country specific electrical adaptors
My biggest tip is to take more than one! Sometimes electricity is not readily available, so having a number of these means we can charge multiple items at once, taking advantage of the available electricity. I actually have one adapter that holds two cables at the same time which is also super handy.
In a hired campervan there is often only one power outlet, so a power board is essential 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.
Chargers and extra USB cables
The more the merrier! USB connections on board are useful when driving.
When we are connected to mains power, sometimes the power board is full. In this instance, I use the USB cables to connect my iPad and iPhone. That way everything is charging and everyone is happy 🙂 Getting power when travelling becomes quite an obsession!
TIP 1: I keep all of the cables and chargers in a cable organiser. This way I always know where I can find a cable when I need it. It also helps keep the cabin free of clutter and safety hazards.
TIP 2: Make sure your charger has enough watts to charge tablets. Many chargers only have enough ampage to charge phones.
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 tv. In any case, if it did, it would be difficult to find English speaking channels. This is where our iPads and laptops prove their ultimate value.
Before I travel, I load up these devices and hard drives. I also download e-books and e-magazines. 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 from my local library provided I have wifi access.
Super glue – tape – scissors – bubble wrap
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 super glue has come to the rescue. We’ve needed scissors to open packaging where a knife hasn’t been able to. [Note – some hiring companies do include scissors], and sticky tape….well it’s a fix all for so many issues.
The bubble wrap might appear a bit strange, and maybe we are just a little weird, so this mightn’t really be necessary for most people. But, think about what you are planning on buying overseas and whether it will need protection.
We buy a lot of food when we travel 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. Now, we take it with us. It’s light and serves as general protection inside our luggage anyway.
We get a bit spoilt with our campervan hire company, who now provide a clothes line and pegs. Even so, 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.
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. The containers come in handy for leftovers and storing food and the plastic bags are great for keeping things fresh.
They are all easy to pack
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.