7 Campervan essentials to pack for your next trip

Have you got the vanlife bug? Discover the essentials that you should be packing for your next campervan holiday.

A young woman holds a cup of coffee as she looks out of the front window of a yellow campervan

In association with Comfort Insurance

Campervans have become incredibly popular in the last few years. They offer a relaxed and cost-effective way to travel around, with the freedom to park up almost anywhere. It’s a great way to discover new places and a really relaxed way to holiday in the UK and overseas.

There are many different types of campervan so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste and budget. You could buy a classic campervan like the VW, pay a professional company to convert a van or even do the conversion yourself. And once you have your campervan, you can just throw a few things in the back, choose your campervan pitch and head off for a holiday at a moment’s notice.

Of course, there are a few essentials that you will need to have on hand. You’ll need basic kitchen essentials unless you plan to eat out every day, and it’s a good idea to have something to keep you occupied during bad weather. But there are also some other essentials that will make your campervan holiday more comfortable. 

Here is our pick of campervan essentials for your next holiday – you should be able to buy all of these items online or from outdoor and camping stores. Larger supermarkets may also stock them during the summer months.

Levelling ramps

Anyone who has slept in a campervan or motorhome that’s parked on an angle will know how uncomfortable and annoying it can be. And it can also make your drainage, sinks and fridge stop working. 

A set of levelling ramps is the best way to get round the problem of uneven ground on campsites. You can buy small ramps if you mainly plan to stay at club campsites, as these tend to be fairly level. But if you’re planning to go free camping, a larger set of ramps will make sure that you’re able to handle more uneven surfaces. 

You also need to consider whether you will be parking your campervan on concrete or grass, as this can affect the suitability of your ramps.

Essential campervan paperwork

It may not feel like an exciting addition to the list, but your paperwork is one of the most important things to pack for your holiday. You should make sure that you have your driver’s licence, roadside assistance membership details and your campervan insurance paperwork.

Your campervan is your home on the road so it’s important to ensure that your van is covered properly. You can get specialist policies for classic campervans, professional campervan conversions and self-build campervans. Campervan insurance is available to cover everything from your personal belongings to gas bottles and awnings, and you can even get cover for the windows and windscreen.  

Portable outdoor shower

Travelling in your campervan can give you a lot of freedom and flexibility, but unlike a caravan or motorhome, campervans don’t usually have showers. You may be able to book a campervan pitch which has access to shower facilities included in the booking cost, or which provides access for an additional fee. But if you’re aiming for a more off-grid holiday, it’s a good idea to take along a portable shower. 

These are a great option if you don’t have access to washing facilities, because all you need is a place to hang the shower system. They’re also really useful if you plan to visit the beach, making it easy to rinse off the sand before you get back on the road. You can even get solar powered or 12v portable showers, so you won’t have to have a cold shower in the morning!

A view of the kitchen inside a campervan, with a beautiful lake and mountains in the background.

Portable lighting

Lighting can also be an issue on campervan holidays, especially if you go free camping or stay on sites without an electricity hookup. Your campervan may well have good lighting inside, but you will still need external lighting if you want to outside in the evening or in case you need to do late night repairs. 

Battery powered LED lamps are economical and easy to use, and they come in a range of styles to suit all budgets. You might also want to pack a torch or headlamp for late night trips to the loo.

A fold-up picnic set and barbeque

Campervans are certainly compact and you might find that they feel too cramped to spend a long time inside. If you’re planning to travel through the Spring and Summer months, fold up picnic furniture won’t take too much room to store and will allow you to relax and eat outside your van. 

And as many campervans don’t have great cooking facilities, a portable barbecue is a great way to expand your holiday menu. But be sure to check the rules at your campsite or pitch before you light your BBQ. 

A man and woman are smiling and drinking mugs of coffee as they sit in the doorway of a yellow campervan

Pocket WiFi booster

Unless you’re intending to go entirely off-grid during your campervan holiday, you’ll probably want to check your emails, post on social media or book your next pitch. You might even want to stream a film if the British Summer weather lives up to its reputation!

Many campsites now offer WiFi but the signal can be unreliable, depending on how far you are parked from the router. So a pocket WiFI router or a WiFi signal booster is a good investment for your campervan. 

Thermal blinds

Many campervans have a certain level of insulation but it isn’t always very effective. You may find that your van is boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold in winter. 

Thermal blinds generally attach with suction cups to your windscreen and front windows and are a really useful way to regulate the temperature inside your camper van. They reduce heat loss in the winter and help to reflect sunlight in the summer to keep the temperature down. And because they also slow the build up of condensation inside your campervan, they also reduce the risk of mould and damp.

Are you planning your first campervan holiday this year? Let us know what you’ll be packing in the comments below.

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