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Last updated 4 December 2019
Motorhome supplies: a comprehensive equipment and packing list
When you hire a motorhome, usually all of the essentials are included. Crockery, cutlery, pots and pans and safety equipment, for example, are standard inclusions. There’s also the ability to add on extras like bicycles, tables and chairs, bedding and GPS. There’s also a secondary essential packing list for motorhome hire that will make travelling on the road a little easier.
However, when you own a motorhome, all of the responsibility for stocking up your vehicle inside and making sure you have all the relevant equipment for safety, emergencies, maintenance etc falls to the owners.
As owners of our own campervan in Australia and with our motorhome trips through Europe as our working experience, we’ve put together this motorhome packing list. Even as experienced motorhomers, if we don’t have an ongoing checklist, something is always likely to get forgotten.
This list is specifically written with setting up for motorhome travel in Europe in mind, but please note that there could be and will be variations to this in different countries. It should serve as a very thorough motorhome checklist, particularly for those who are beginners. It is however not meant to be an exhaustive checklist as people have different views on what they do (and don’t) like to pack. It is also written from the perspective of adults-only travelling.
Before you travel anywhere in Europe in a motorhome, head over to the AA Europe website. Here you will find all of the latest information relating to legal documents, essential motorhome equipment that must be carried on board, and advice by country. There’s always plenty of driving tips and advice there too.
Motorhome mandatory documents
As a minimum, you should have the following documents with you at all times.
- A full driver’s licence. Some driver’s licences will limit the weight of a vehicle that can driven eg max 3.5t. Be sure to check what your licence will cover you for.
- An International Driving Permit (IDP). There is honestly no definitive rule on whether you need to have an IDP or not. If you ask any vehicle association, in any country, they will tell you that you do. This is usually because they are the only ones who can issue them and so it is a revenue stream for them. If you don’t want to run the risk, simply purchase one from your automobile association. They are valid for 12 months.
- Original vehicle registration paperwork
- Vehicle Insurance paperwork. Always ensure that your insurance coverage is current and covers the countries you will be travelling in.
- Logbooks and vehicle manual
- Many European cities now operate low emission zones and congestion schemes. Check your specific countries of travel and ensure you have the relevant permits, vignettes etc. Failure to display the appropriate sticker could result in a fine. It is advisable to apply for the sticker or vignette as soon as you are able as long lead times can exist.
Note: For UK residents, the outcomes of Brexit could see some of the requirements for driving in Europe change.
Other travel documents
- Travel Insurance
- Country specific visas
- Important medical paperwork and relevant health care cards
- Roadside/breakdown cover and membership details
- Emergency contact details
- If away for long periods of time, any documents you might need to refer to like mobile phone and utilities. We always have scanned documents of anything that is important ready to access online if we need to.
- Any memberships for campsites eg France Passion network
- If travelling with an animal there are also a variety of specific requirements including a pet passport
Basically, the more details and documents you have at your fingertips, the better placed you will be if the authorities pull you over or if you need them in the event of an accident, breakdown etc.
Motorhome legal requirements
It is law in Europe to carry a safety kit containing the following.
- Warning triangle– Whilst not law to carry one it must be used in the event of a breakdown
- Reflective vests – It’s a good idea to have one for every permanent traveller
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Headlamp converters – May be required for UK registered vehicles
- Country of registration sticker (eg GB, D, DK)
- Snow chains are compulsory in some countries in winter
- In some countries, a signal board is required when carrying bicycles on a rear bicycle rack
These are basic requirements for any motorhome.
- Water hose – This is a frequent-use item so make the investment upfront and buy a good quality one. It’s also a good idea to get one that is a reasonable length as access to the water supply isn’t always close.
- Hose/tap connection
- Portable water container -Depending on your available space, a collapsible water container might be a better idea. This is required for those times when you may not be able to easily access the water point, the connection doesn’t fit, or if you have forgotten to bring your hose.
- Funnel– This helps to get the water from the portable container easily. We had to use a drink bottle to fill up once and it was a laborious process.
- Bucket (multi-functional) – Collapsible buckets are also a good idea and you can then allocate them to particular tasks to avoid possible contamination.
- Electricity cable – This is vital to be able to get the electricity from the supply source to the motorhome. Like the water hose, buy as long a cable as you have room to store. Sometimes the power boxes are not close to your motorhome site.
- Adaptor for electricity cable– Some campsites and many of the Aires in France and other municipal service points in Europe don’t take the European plug.
- Levelling chocks – It’s rare to find a perfectly flat site to park your motorhome. Having good quality levelling chocks make the difference between your wine sliding off the dining table and feeling like you are standing on your head when you are in bed.
- Tow rope
- Emergency hammer
- Universal bulb kit
- Spare fuses
- GPS – GPS devices are so inexpensive these days and offer peace of mind for many drivers and their navigators.
- Maps – If you would prefer the paper variety there are some great road atlases available to cover road travel all over Europe.
- Fire blanket
- Spare gas bottles- if the system does not operate on refillable bottles.
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detector
- A second house battery. Also called a leisure battery, having one in a motorhome is simply not enough, even with solar panels fitted.
- External 12-volt access points (custom-fitted)
- Security system – Can DIY or have custom-installed.
- Spirit level– Small bubble levellers can be permanently fixed in an easy to see location
- Custom-made blockout curtains or blinds with thermal backing. These are essential for protecting the inside of your motorhome, privacy and keeping you warm in the cold months and cooler in the hot. Blockout curtains also keep the light out when you are trying to sleep.
- Window thermal screens – There are a variety of these. The most common are padded screens that are applied to the windows by suction cups. There are also external screens that drape over the front windscreen with the doors keeping them in place. The more insulation the better. Shutters and thermal protection can also be custom fitted to motorhomes, eliminating the need to attach every day.
- Full motorhome cover (if being stored for long periods of time)
- Gas adaptors for refillable gas bottles (If your motorhome has a refillable gas bottle system). If not, spare gas bottles are essential.
Tip: If you can convert your gas system to a permanent refillable system, it will make life on the road much easier, especially when it comes to getting your bottles refilled. To be honest, finding bottles to swap over can be an absolute pain.
Motorhome maintenance equipment
The older the vehicle, the more important it is to have these items readily accessible, but ongoing maintenance and servicing is also required for new motorhomes too.
- Engine oil
- Battery charger
- Solar battery charger
- Adjustable spanner
- Socket and ratchet set
- Wire cutters
- Jack – manufacturers recommendation
- Axle stand
- Type pressure gauge – Don’t forget to test your spare tyre too!
- 12-volt air compressor
- Tyre removal kit
- Spare fuses
- Cable ties
- Circuit and electronics moisture repellent
- Epoxy glue
- Duct tape
- Electrical tape
- Universal clamps
- Stanley knife
- Tape measure
- Plumbing thread tape
Motorhome outdoor equipment
Let’s face it, as much as we love being inside a motorhome, when the weather is great, it’s even better to be outside. During the summer months in Europe, the days are long, meaning you can relax, cook, eat and drink outside long into the night. To be able to do this comfortably, there are some basic motorhome essentials for outdoor living.
- Outdoor table – large and small
- Outdoor chair with cup/bottle holders
- Outdoor cooking device – We use marine stoves that run on methylated spirits and small gas burners also. There are also many BBQ options available.
- BBQ utensils
- Outdoor matting
- Interlocking foam matting
- Insect repellent
- Citronella candles
- Bug zapper
- Outdoor LED lights
- Bicycles – I can’t recommend these enough, even if you would not normally use them at home. Driving a motorhome in Europe means that sometimes you can’t take the big vehicles into some cities. Having bikes creates a simple way of commuting. They are also great for taking a quick ride to the local village, without having to move the vehicle.
- Bicycle racks
- Bicycle locks – We lock our bikes to the bike rack for added security and they are also useful for when you leave unattended in villages, cities etc.
- Bicycle helmets – Whilst these are not a legal requirement in Europe, in Australia, they are, so we are personally used to wearing them. The choice is yours.
- Bicycle basket – If you have bikes, having a basket on the front is a great idea. It’s perfect for putting small items, including anything you might buy at your destination.
- Bicycle carrier
- Bicycle tyre pump and repair kit
- Fishing equipment
- Boules set -Whether it’s boules, bocce or petanque, having a set of outdoor balls is a great addition to a motorhome.
- Traction mats
- Folding shovel
- Folding ladder
If you own your own motorhome, getting custom security equipment is usually high on the list of things to do. If you want to dfo it yourself, or are looking for some less expensive options, there are some very good offerings around.
For those travellers who love staying connected, technology is an important aspect of getting their motorhome travel-ready.
- Mobile phones – There are too many plan options to mention them here. All of them will depend on what you want to use it for, for how long and where. Plans are usually divided into several broad categories: talk, text, data. Data is usually what most people will covet. Make sure you understand what the plans are, what they will give you for what price, and whether you are locked into a contract or not. Personally, unless you are planning on becoming a resident, I wouldn’t sign up to any sim contract.
In foreign countries, it’s usually easier and cheaper to buy local sims. We have used a sim from company Travel Wifi, based in France, which works in all European countries. In terms of the actual phone, it makes the best sense to have a smartphone. The amazing array of apps, maps and information that can be accessed now via a smartphone makes life so much easier for travellers.
Tip: Make sure your phone is unlocked and that you have the tool necessary to remove the sim from the phone.
Read reviews of portable wifi hotspots and sim cards for travel
- Portable wifi hotspots – As mentioned above, we have used these extensively throughout Europe and we love them. Whilst operating exactly the same in terms of connectivity to a sim card, the portable wifi hotspot allows for the tethering of more than one device. So, for example, if there were two adults travelling with children, the adults could have sim cards in their mobile phones, but the children could tether any devices they have to the wifi device.
A note just to be mindful of data allowances and consumption. Portable wifi devices also mean you can use them anywhere, not having to worry about finding public wifi. You can buy your own portable wifi hotspots outright. In this case, you would need to buy a sim for it to operate. Alternatively, you can hire from companies like Travel Wifi, Hippcoket Wifi and Skyroam. Here it is delivered to you, or picked up, ready to be used. At the end of your term, you return it in the mail. Note, this would be a more expensive approach for longer-term travel.
- Wifi booster aerial – In a motorhome, it’s also highly recommended to get an aerial to boost your signal. It’s one thing to have a wifi connection, but if it’s poor all the time, it will drive you insane.
- Camera – We use a range of camera equipment: Panasonic DSLR Mirrorless, GoPro, Mavic Pro drone plus our smartphones of course.
- Tripods – We use a small Gorilla pod as well as a large tripod.
- Ipads/tablets/laptops and the necessary cables that all of these require to operate.
- External hard drive – We wouldn’t leave home without one. Essential for downloading all your photos you take along the way, plus backups of your important documents, downloaded movies etc.
- Cloud storage – We also back up our photos to icloud which costs peanuts per month for 200GB of storage. There are other providers like Backblaze and Zoolz that do a similar job.
- USB car chargers for charging devices whilst driving.
- USB camera battery charger – to charge camera batteries whilst driving.
- Power inverter – allows an electrical cable plus USB cables to be plugged into 12v to charge whilst driving. For more grunt we recommend this 220 volt, 1500 watt inverter that allows for the use of many appliances at once,
- Noise-cancelling headphones – we used these on the plane but they are also excellent in the motorhome too.
- Bluetooth speaker
- Apps – there is a myriad of apps that are useful for road trips in France.
- Park4Nite, Camperstop and Camperconnect. They also have a paid version to allow for offline use. These have both places to park a motorhome overnight but also parking spaces too.
- Searchforsites app is available for a trial and thereafter requires a small one-off payment.
- Google Maps, Maps.me
- Guide books
- All the Aires is produced in France but it’s not the most user-friendly book. Aires can be found online also, but again, the website leaves a lot to be desired.
- France Passion is a brilliant network of obligation-free overnight parking locations that are safe and secure. Join as a member and receive the book and access to the online portal.
- Bordatlas Guide – German locations for motorhome stopovers
Motorhome kitchen equipment
This list could be never-ending, especially if you like cooking in a motorhome as we do. However, these are some of the basic cooking utensils and equipment that would be a good starting point for your motorhome.
- Full set of crockery – This is where personal choice definitely comes in. I personally prefer eating off proper crockery, especially when in a motorhome for a long period of time. It’s obviously heavier, more subject to breakage and will rattle a bit if not properly stored. There are simple ways of stopping this, however. By placing layers of bubble wrap or kitchen matting in between it will both stop the rattles and reduce the possibility of breakage. Alternatively, they can be positioned in specially cut out pieces of foam, where every plate and saucer has its own place. If you want something more durable and with less fuss, purchase melamine plates. We always have a stash of paper plates on hand too for times when we just want a quick bite to eat and no washing up.
- Full set of cutlery – Along similar lines as above, you can choose to have stainless steel cutlery or choose from many other options available: melamine, plastic even bamboo. There are plenty of environmentally friendly cutlery options now.
- Glasses and cups– Here’s where I would opt for plastic cups and glasses. It makes for easier storage.
- Wine glasses– A must for us with all that wonderful wine in Europe. We always buy wine glasses that aren’t necessarily the most attractive but have thick stems. It just means we break less. You can now also buy stemless metal wine glasses. Sounds perfect for outside.
- Egg flip
- Potato masher
- Vegetable peeler
- Wooden spoons
- Sharp knives – Buy at least one large and one small
- Bread knife – Europe is full of amazing bread. Having a dedicated bread knife makes cutting bread much easier.
- Cutting boards– We have one solid cutting board and then four thin plastic ones that are colour codedfor fish, poultry, red meat and vegetables.
- Measuring jug
- Measuring spoons
- Electric Kettle or jug – Can be used when electricity is available.
- Kettle – We use a silicone, collapsible kettle which works perfectly on the gas or methylated spirits stove.
- Coffee plunger / French press
- Moka Espresso maker – These are used all over Italy but we have a camping one too. It can be used directly on the fire or on gas stovetops.
- Large, medium and small pots with lids
- Cooking splatter guard – In a small kitchen area this is your best friend
- Toaster or folding toaster
- Plastic containers– Necessary for leftovers and the general storing of food.
- Gaslighter and matches
- Food clips
- Bottle opener
- Bottle stoppers
- Ice cube trays
- Drying rackor drying mat
- Oven mitts
- Heatproof cooking dishes
- Omnia Oven – these things are amazing if you don’t have a full-size oven on board
Motorhome kitchen supplies
- Cling film
- Aluminium foil
- Baking paper
- Cooking oil
- Cooking spray
- Paper towel
- Freezer bags
- Clip lock bags
- Brown paper bags – Great for storing cheese!
- Kitchen non-slip matting – We put this in all the cupboards and drawers to protect them and to stop the contents moving around.
- Air freshener or chef’s spray – Always a good idea to freshen up your small living space.
Motorhome bathroom supplies
- Beach towels
- Microfibre towels – perfect for when you need a quick-dry towel
- Toilet paper – Note if there is a preferred kind for your onboard toilet.
- Hooks – Motorhomes never have enough hooks. If additional hooks aren’t permanently added, try suction hooks.
- Hanging toiletry bag– Perfect for taking to campsite bathrooms
- Bathrobes – makes going to public campsite bathrooms easier. If you go in your robe, there are fewer items to try and find a dry space for.
Motorhome bedroom supplies
Motorhome cleaning supplies
- Dustpan and brush
- Clothesline – peglessor folding frame with pegs
- Internal over door air dryers
- Laundry bag
- Bucketsfor general cleaning use
- Rectangular bucket – These are useful if you decide you want to wash up outside your motorhome or at a campsite sink area. They are great for carrying your dishes to the campsite sink. Collapsible bucketsare the best for storage.
- Plug – Often campsites don’t have plugs. Buy a universal one that will fit all sizes.
- Tea towels
- Hand towels
- Dishwashing liquid
- Dishwashing cloths
- Microfibre cloths
- Toilet wipes – Perfect for keeping your . toilet clean as you go. Just don’t flush them!
- General-purpose cleaner for cleaning benches, bathrooms etc.
- Window cleaner
- Shower cleaner
- Freshwater tank cleaner and purifier
- Greywater tank cleaner and deodoriser
- Laundry powder or travel laundry liquid
- Outdoor mat. A simple idea to keep as much dirt outside as possible.
- Rubbish bins and bags. We use a larger bin for rubbish and recycling and a smaller food waste bin to recycle where possible.
- Ironand ironing board
- Collapsible dish-drying rack
Motorhome general supplies
Many of these items could sit in a number of the areas noted above. They are universal items, covering a range of functions.
- Umbrellas – If space permits consider having small, foldable umbrellas that you can take with you when you leave the motorhome and large golf umbrellas for times when you are at campsites for example.
- Hand sanitiser – Buy small bottles for your personal use when you travel and large pump packs for onboard the motorhome, Hand sanitiser is particularly useful when managing grey waste at dump stations and general maintenance functions.
- Hand wipes – Like hand sanitiser, there are a hundred and one uses for wipes for general travel and for living in a motorhome.
- Disposable gloves
- Chamois – these are perfect for wiping condensation from internal windows as well as the more obvious use externally.
- Small portable heater – When it is cold and you have access to electricity, using an electric heater will save your gas.
- Fan (if you don’t have airconditioning)
- Sewing kit
- Pens and notepads
- Extension power cable
- Powerboards – Useful when there are lots of devices to charge quickly or at once.
- Universal adaptors – If travelling in Europe, the plugs are all the same but will be different in the UK. If you are seasoned travellers, having a universal adaptor or two makes using power very easy.
- Hanging organiser
- Large plastic tubs for underneath storage
- Personal water bottles to use when away from the motorhome
- Clear tape
- Masking tape
- Portable Gas Inverter Power Generator
Motorhome food supplies
Not everyone loves food as much as we do. Pantry sizes in motorhomes will vary as will the way in which owners would like them stocked. This is a basic dry food store list.
- Loose tea
- Instant coffee
- Coffee for French press and Moka espresso
- Jam, peanut butter (and for Aussies) Vegemite
- Popcorn kernels
- Tins of soup
- Noodles and pasta
- Salt and pepper
- Various herbs and spices
- Small tinned tuna
- Lentils, rice, couscous
- Vinegar, balsamic vinegar
- Salad dressing
- Cooking oil
- Gravy mix
- UHT milk
- Bottled water
Motorhome clothing guide
Everyone packs differently so writing a list of what to pack to suit everyone’s needs is nigh on impossible. I am also a notoriously heavy packer, so many would take half or a third of what I take. This is a non-gender-specific, high-level list of the types of clothing you might like to consider.
- Long pants
- Quick-drying pants(perhaps those that convert to shorts)
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Short-sleeved shirts
- Polo shirts
- Rainproof jackets
- Hiking boots
- Sports shoes
- Flip flops
- Winter jackets including polar fleece
- Beanie or warm hat
- Thermal clothes
- Woollen socks -hiking, water sports
- Sun hat
- Bed socks
- General socks – sports, walking etc
- Evening wear
- Workwear (for vehicle maintenance days)
- Fishing clothes
If you are an Australian looking to buy items at home, check out what Amazon have online here: Australian Motorhome Supplies