Last Updated 3 July 2024

Your Ultimate Campervan Essential Packing List Checklist

by Geoff K.

Campervan Essential Packing List: Your Complete Checklist


What are the essential items to pack for a campervan trip?

Essential items to pack for a campervan trip include bedding, cooking equipment, toiletries, clothing, first aid kit, camping chairs, navigation tools, and entertainment. It's important to prioritize items that will make your trip comfortable and convenient while considering the limited space in a campervan.

Are you ready to hit the road and embark on your first campervan adventure? As exciting as it may sound, packing for your trip can be overwhelming, especially if you're a first-time vanlifer. But don't worry – we've got you covered! In this blog post, we'll provide you with a comprehensive checklist of everything you need to pack for your campervan trip, including our top tips for staying organized in your campervan. From sleeping essentials to kitchen equipment and outdoor gear to personal items, we've got it all covered. We'll also share some must-have safety items for your campervan, electronic devices and entertainment items to keep you entertained on the road. So sit back, relax and read on – it's time to start packing for the adventure of a lifetime!


What to pack for your first campervan trip?

We're going on an adventure?!Ensure a comfortable sleep with essential bedding and sleeping bags. Equip your campervan kitchen with cooking equipment, cutlery, and camping utensils. Don't forget toilet and bathroom essentials, including portable toilets and toiletries. Pack weather-appropriate clothing and gear for your campervan trip. Remember to bring navigation tools, phone chargers, and other gadgets for convenience.


Sleeping essentials

Get a good night's sleep in your campervan by prioritizing comfortable bedding. Invest in quality sleeping bags designed for camping to stay warm and cosy. Consider adding a mattress topper or cushion for extra comfort during sleep. Don't forget to pack extra blankets or a duvet for colder nights on your campervan adventure. And, of course, bring pillows that suit your sleeping preferences. By ensuring a comfortable and cozy sleeping environment, you'll wake up refreshed and ready to enjoy your vanlife journey to the fullest.


Kitchen and cooking equipmentCamping gear laid on a blanket

When it comes to your campervan kitchen, it's important to be well-equipped. Make sure you have a compact gas stove and suitable cookware for your cooking needs. Don't forget to pack essential kitchen utensils such as a frying pan and boiling pot. Keep your kitchen clean with tea towels and other cleaning supplies. If you enjoy outdoor cooking, consider bringing a portable grill or barbecue. And of course, don't forget food storage containers and ziplock bags for leftovers. With these kitchen essentials, including a gas stove, you'll be able to prepare delicious meals on your campervan adventures.


Toilet and bathroom essentials

When it comes to campervan travel, having the right toilet and bathroom essentials is crucial. One option is to bring a portable toilet for convenience, or you can use campsite facilities if available. Organize your toiletries and personal care items in a compact bag or organizer, making them easily accessible. Don't forget to pack enough toilet paper and wet wipes for hygiene purposes. Additionally, bring towels and a shower bag if necessary. Lastly, consider bringing a first aid kit for any emergencies that may arise during your motorhome trip. Your solution depends on the size of your van, how much space you’re willing to give up for the luxury, and on personal preference. But what campervan bathroom accessories do you need to pack?


Outdoor gear and tools

When preparing for your campervan adventure, it's essential to pack the right outdoor gear and tools. Make sure you have comfortable sleeping essentials like sleeping bags, pillows, and air mattresses for a good night's rest. Don't forget cooking supplies such as a portable stove, cookware, and utensils to whip up delicious meals on the road. Additionally, bring lighting options like flashlights and lanterns to illuminate your campsite at night. Outdoor gear like chairs, tables, and hammocks will enhance your camping experience. And don't forget to include essential tools like a first aid kitmulti-tool, and rope for any unexpected situations. Finally, pack season-appropriate clothing, rain gear, and sturdy hiking boots for outdoor adventures. With the right outdoor gear and tools, you'll be well-equipped for a memorable campervan journey.


Clothing and personal items

When preparing for your campervan adventure, it's important to pack clothing that is versatile and can be layered to accommodate different weather conditions. Don't forget to bring comfortable shoes for hiking and exploring. Remember to pack essential toiletries such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and sunscreen. It's also crucial to bring any necessary medications and a well-stocked first aid kit for emergencies. Finally, consider bringing a laundry line to hang out your washing if you do laundry at a campsite or a local laundromat, as well as to hang your wet towels, coats, and other waterproof clothing if you get caught in the rain. Stay prepared and enjoy your vanlife journey to the fullest!

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Must-have safety items for your campervan

When it comes to campervan travel, safety should be a top priority. Here are some essential safety items you should have on board. Firstly, a well-stocked first aid kit is a must-have, including bandages, gauze, and antiseptic wipes to ensure you are prepared for any injuries that may occur during your trip. Additionally, invest in a small fire extinguisher for quick flame extinguishing, especially if you haven't moved your van in a long time and need to check its safety features. An emergency kit with flashlights, extra batteries, a whistle, and a multi-tool is crucial for unexpected situations that may arise during your journey. Don't forget to pack a tyre repair kit in case of flat tires, especially if you haven't used your van for a long time and need to ensure its roadworthiness. Lastly, bring navigation tools like maps or a GPS device to ensure you never get lost on your campervan adventures, even if it's been a long time since you last travelled in your van.FIrst aid and emergency supplies should be high on your list


First aid kit

Having a well-stocked first aid kit is crucial when you're on the road. It's essential to include important medical supplies such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, and gauze. Organizing and packing your first aid kit efficiently is key, ensuring everything is easily accessible in case of an emergency. Remember to replenish your first aid kit when supplies run low so you never find yourself without necessary medical items. Additionally, consider other safety measures while camping or travelling in a campervan. Your health and well-being should always be a top priority.


Fire extinguisher

Having a fire extinguisher in your campervan is essential for your safety. When it comes to choosing the right type of fire extinguisher, opt for one that is suitable for extinguishing different types of fires, such as Class A (wood, paper), Class B (flammable liquids), and Class C (electrical). Ensure that your fire extinguisher is properly stored and easily accessible in case of emergency. Regularly check and maintain your fire extinguisher to ensure it is in good working condition. In addition to having a fire extinguisher, take other safety measures like installing smoke detectors and practising proper fire prevention techniques. Remember to include a fire extinguisher in your overall campervan packing checklist.


Emergency blanket and poncho

In addition to packing essentials like bedding, cooking utensils, and toiletries, a good campervan packing checklist should include emergency items such as an emergency blanket and poncho. These items are crucial for unpredictable weather conditions or unexpected emergencies during your vanlife adventure. While it's important to have fun and entertainment options like books and board games, safety should always be a priority. So, make sure you pack these essential emergency items, including those required in each country. For example, France has additional rules for what must be on board compared to other European destinations. Whether you're venturing into the mountains or heading to the beach, always consider the type of adventure you're planning and pack accordingly.


Electronic devices and entertainment items for your campervan

Stay connected while on your campervan adventure by bringing along a mobile phone and charger. Capture the beautiful memories of your trip with a camera and charger. To enhance your experience, don't forget to pack a portable speaker for enjoying music on the go. During downtime, relax with books and magazines to unwind and immerse yourself in a good story. These electronic devices and entertainment items, including a tablet, are must-haves for an enjoyable and memorable campervan journey.


Mobile phone and chargerGetting ready for a campervan trip

Staying connected while on a campervan adventure is essential for several reasons. Firstly, having a mobile phone and charger allows you to keep in touch with your loved ones and emergency services in case of any unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, navigation apps on your phone can make travel planning much easier, ensuring that you reach your destinations hassle-free. Furthermore, having a mobile phone also provides entertainment on the road, whether it's playing games or watching videos. Lastly, don't forget that your phone can capture stunning photos of your campervan journey, preserving memories for a lifetime.


Camera and charger

Capture the breathtaking landscapes and preserve the beautiful moments of your vanlife trip with a reliable camera and charger. From unique experiences to wildlife sightings, you can document it all and create lasting memories. Share your adventures on social media and let others be inspired by your vanlife journey. Don't miss out on any amazing photo opportunities - make sure to pack your camera and charger as must-have campervan essentials. Get ready to capture the magic and relive your unforgettable moments on the road.


Portable speaker

Enhance your campervan experience with a portable speaker that lets you enjoy your favourite tunes while driving or at the campsite. It creates a festive atmosphere during outdoor gatherings and adds a touch of fun to your camping trips. Whether you want to dance in your campervan or relax with some soothing music, a portable speaker is a must-have accessory for vanlife. Take your camping experience to the next level by immersing yourself in music and podcasts wherever you go. Let the rhythm of the road trip be accompanied by your favourite beats.


Books and magazines

Escape into different worlds during your campervan trip. Unwind with a good book under the stars and expand your knowledge with informative magazines. These literary companions offer the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of vanlife. Immerse yourself in captivating stories and find inspiration for your next camping or travel destination. Whether you prefer fiction, non-fiction, or travel guides, make sure to pack a few books and magazines to keep you entertained on those long nights or rainy days. Let your imagination soar as you discover new worlds while on the road.


Campsite essentials for your vanlife trip

When embarking on your vanlife trip, it's important to have the necessary campsite essentials to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Set up a cosy outdoor living space with a tent or awning, providing you with additional shelter and privacy. Relax and socialize with camping chairs and a table, creating a welcoming atmosphere for gatherings with fellow campers. Don't forget to navigate in the dark with a reliable flashlight or lantern and protect your skin from the sun with insect repellent and sunscreen. These campsite essentials will enhance your vanlife adventure and make it truly unforgettable.


Tent or awning

Having a tent or awning for your campervan is essential, especially in warm weather. It creates extra living space outside your van, allowing you to fully enjoy the great outdoors. Not only does it provide shade and protection from the elements, but it also gives you the perfect spot for outdoor meals and gatherings. With a tent or awning, you can extend your camping area, making it ideal for larger groups. So, don't forget to include this must-have accessory on your campervan packing list to enhance your vanlife experience.


Camping chairs and table

Relax and unwind in comfortable seating while enjoying the great outdoors. Create a social gathering space at the campsite where you can bond with fellow campers over meals and drinks. It's also a convenient place to work or play games, making your camping experience even more enjoyable. Whether you're embarking on a road trip across Europe or renting a camper van for the first time, having camping chairs and a table as part of your campervan essentials is a must-have. So, make sure to pack them and set up the right place to make lasting memories.


Flashlight or lantern

Having a reliable flashlight or lantern is essential for any campervan adventure. Not only does it illuminate your surroundings during nighttime activities, but it also helps you navigate safely in the dark. Whether you need to find items inside your campervan at night or create a cosy ambience inside and outside your van, a flashlight or lantern is a must-have. Make sure to pack one that is durable, lightweight, and has a long battery life to ensure you're always prepared, no matter where your campervan journey takes you.


Insect repellent and sunscreen

When embarking on a campervan adventure, it's essential to pack insect repellent and sunscreen. These items will not only protect you from mosquito bites and other insects but also prevent sunburn and skin damage. By using insect repellent, you can enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about bugs and stay comfortable during your trip. Sunscreen is equally important to safeguard your skin from harmful UV rays. With these must-have campervan essentials, you can fully embrace the joys of vanlife while staying safe and protected.


Kitchen storage and organization tips for your campervan

When it comes to maximizing space in your campervan kitchen, there are several storage and organization tips that can make your life on the road much easier. Utilizing collapsible containers and bags is a great way to efficiently store your food and cooking utensils. A magnetic spice rack is perfect for keeping your spices organized and easily accessible. Consider using a hanging fruit basket to save counter space. Stackable storage solutions can help optimize your kitchen storage. And don't forget about multi-purpose items like a cutting board that doubles as a colander. These tips will help you stay organized and make the most of your campervan kitchen.


Collapsible containers and bags

When it comes to saving space and staying organized in your campervan, collapsible containers and bags are a must-have. These versatile storage solutions make it easy to pack and store your food efficiently. With collapsible containers, you can easily store and organize your meals, and they are also great for leftovers. Collapsible bags are perfect for storing other items like clothes or camping gear, helping you reduce clutter and make the most of the limited space in your campervan. So, consider investing in these handy collapsible storage options to make your vanlife journey even more enjoyable. Additionally, you can also opt for a portable barbecue that weighs very little and occupies very little space, making it a convenient choice for outdoor cooking during your camping trips.


Magnetic spice rackMagnetic spice rack

Keep your campervan kitchen organized and your spices easily accessible with a magnetic spice rack. This space-efficient solution allows you to efficiently utilize the limited space in your campervan while adding a touch of style to your kitchen. Label your spices on the magnetic rack to stay organized and avoid the hassle of rummaging through cabinets. With a magnetic spice rack, you can have all your favourite flavours at your fingertips, making meal preparation a breeze during your vanlife adventures. Enhance your cooking experience and create delicious meals on the road.


Hanging fruit basketHanging fruit basket

Utilize vertical space in your campervan kitchen by adding a hanging fruit basket. Not only will it save counter space, but it will also keep your fruits fresh and easily accessible. With a decorative touch, the hanging fruit basket adds a touch of style to your campervan. Enjoy the convenience of having fresh fruits readily available during your vanlife journey. Optimize storage and make the most of your small campervan by incorporating this must-have campervan accessory. Enhance your cooking experience and add a pop of colour to your kitchen with a hanging fruit basket.


Tips for staying organized on your vanlife journey

Staying organized is essential for a smooth and enjoyable vanlife journey. Use packing cubes and compression bags to maximize space and keep your belongings neat. Create designated storage areas for different items in your campervan, making it easy to find what you need. Regularly declutter and reorganize to maintain cleanliness. Make use of storage hooks and racks to hang items and free up valuable space. Develop a daily cleaning routine to ensure your campervan stays organized and tidy throughout your trip. Stay organized, and your vanlife adventure will be a breeze.



Having a well-packed campervan is essential for a smooth and enjoyable vanlife journey. Remember to pack all the essentials, from sleeping gear to kitchen equipment, and don't forget about safety items like a first aid kit and fire extinguisher. Stay entertained with electronic devices and bring along some camping essentials like a tent, chairs, and a flashlight. To keep your kitchen organized, consider using collapsible containers and a magnetic spice rack. And finally, stay organized throughout your trip with packing cubes and compression bags. Share this campervan packing checklist with fellow vanlifers on social media to help them prepare for their own adventures. Happy travels!

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Image of Geoff K.
Geoff K.

Co-founder of Destiny River, with over forty years of experience camping throughout Europe, I'm happier sleeping under canvas than sleeping under a roof! I hope to inspire others to appreciate and protect the remarkable landscapes that our planet has to offer.

More posts by Geoff K.

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