Camper Essentials: Important Items to Pack Before Travelling

There is one moment that every traveller can relate to. That moment when you walk out of your door, wondering if you have forgotten to pack something for your trip. And the majority of the time, you have! Fortunately, most of the commonly forgotten things can easily be bought along the way, but what a hassle it is when you come to needing that item and realize that you don’t have it on board.


Which Items Do You Need for Travelling in a Campervan?


Here, we’ve made a foolproof packing guide of the camper essentials to take while travelling so that you will never need to experience this again.


The next time you are about to walk through the door, pull up this guide to make sure that you can leave with confidence!


Download our FREE Camper Travel Essential Checklist!



Some things in this packing list may be irrelevant to you, though don’t be too quick to skip them. If you are travelling with a family or friend then you may be able to save them from the same situation at the door. Consider each option thoroughly before moving on to the next so that you can be prepared for every situation along the road.




This one is definitely at the top of the list. Your documents are one thing that generally can not be bought along the way. It is super important that you carry these with you on your adventure.


Documents are the most important items on the camper essentials list.


If you are hiring a camper to travel in, there are some things that you’ll need to ask for. Check with this list before driving away in case they have forgotten some essentials.


  • Passport
  • Driving licence
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Camper documents
  • Registration certificates
  • Spare keys


Now your documents are always important, especially if you are crossing international borders. Some countries don’t require travel and health insurance though we would always recommend taking a policy. Of course, we hope that you never need to use it. Most of the time this doesn’t cost much at all and could save you hundreds and ensure you receive the treatment needed if you did find yourself in the hospital.


Important Contacts

It is also important to have a list of emergency contacts with you at all times. If you do find yourself in need, you want to be able to contact these people immediately.


  • Insurance support
  • Camper rental if applicable
  • Roadside assistance
  • Personal emergency contacts


Of course, most of these can be found online but what if you are without phone reception or in a situation where the time spent searching could keep you in danger?



It is a big reality that nothing comes for free, of course travelling on a budget is possible though you will inevitably need to pay for things along the way. Nowadays, you can manage with just a bank card, or even your phone, for most expenses, though we recommend having some secondary options and planning some of your costs.


  • Debit card
  • Credit card
  • Cash
  • Toll badges (Europe)


Depending on where you go, it can be very handy to have a bit of cash close. Some regions or smaller shops may not have other payment options or may add an extra fee if you decide not to pay with cash.


Often you can find yourself saving a lot on your trip if you book campsites in advance. You may be able to score a few promotional discounts through Agoda or avoid last-minute fees when you book in advance with which often provides free cancellation.



Toll badges will often save you time, and possibly money. Toll badges are another good option to look into before your travel as it may be necessary to use toll roads while crossing some countries. Instead of waiting in line to pay for the toll, especially in high season, you can continue through the electronic scanner and be billed off a pre-paid account.


Be sure to check the conditions before subscribing for a toll badge. If time is not of the essence, then you may be fine without it. Some toll badges do provide discounts while others have added or ongoing fees, depending on how long you intend to use it.



Camper Essentials


Some things are required to have onboard while travelling. If you are renting a camper most will be provided, otherwise, you need to be sure that you are sufficiently packed. Be sure to check the requirements of your destination as it can vary a lot between countries.


Stanley Toolbox with basic hand tools


Not everything on this list is required, some just make sense to have packed on an in-case basis.



If you do find yourself in a first-response situation, some of these items could even be lifesaving. We tend to store our safety items in the front of the camper where they can be easily accessed if the time came. The rest get stored continently in a toolbox in the rear so that we never get caught out while travelling on the road.


Campsite Essentials


Being prepared when you arrive at a campsite is crucial to enjoying your trip. Whether you will be staying at one campsite for a longer period, or driving from one to another every other day, campsites will act as your temporary home base on your travels.


PRESSA clothes hanging dryer from Ikea


Some campsites provided all the necessary facilities while others have limited services. In any case, some of these things will make your daily chores quicker and easier leaving you with more time to enjoy your free time.



Travelling isn’t only relaxing and having fun, inevitably you will need to do some chores along the way. Some of these items are necessary and others are optional extras. You want to leave yourself as much time as possible to explore the areas or meet other travellers while enjoying the outdoors. That is why we include some of these comfort features in our packing list for a perfect trip.




A lot of gadgets have become a necessity in our lives, and sometimes a trip away can be a reprieve from our screens. Though some of these gadgets have improved our travelling experiences so much that they have earned a place on our packing guide.


Iphone, battery bank, and charging cables for the camper essentials packing list


Not all electronics are a necessity, many can help to create and save our memories along the way. Others have made our travels feel seamless or even saved us from getting caught out along the way.



Our mobile phones are so important these days. They allow us to keep in touch, navigate, and keep up to date with a quick google search. That’s not all though, they are also a great safety feature for us. To have instant contact in emergencies and keep track of our belongings with Bluetooth.


A camera or drone can be an excellent tool to keep track of all of the memories we make. And of course, the earphones to have some alone time, especially if you travel with others. Remember, you don’t have your room to retreat. All of these devices are great, and can quickly become useless if they run out of power so don’t forget your charging cables and a good power bank so you never run out!


Personal Care


Travelling in a camper does not mean you must lack hygiene. You are on holiday! Make sure that you can stay clean and feel good about yourself while you are away. Everyone has forgotten something on this list at least once. Of course, they can be bought along the way, though this list is to help avoid the hassle.


Hanging toiletries bag for travelling


Don’t forget to pack your toiletries bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant while you check through the list.


  • Shower gel
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Suncream (and afterburn)
  • Bug spray
  • Medicine
  • Paracetamol
  • Nail clippers/ scissors
  • Razor or beard trimmer
  • Lip balm
  • Glasses or contact lenses
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet wipes
  • Towels


Most of these items are small enough to fit in a spare toiletries bag for convenience, though be sure to put them back so that you don’t lose them along the way.


Hygiene is one thing that will not be limited when you make sure to check your packing list.




This one will depend a little on your plans if you intend to indulge at restaurants or make use of campsite facilities, then you may not need much here.


Plastic cups and bamboo bowls for travelling in a campervan


If you prefer to be a little more self-sufficient then some kitchen supplies will be needed. Some campers, like ours, have kitchen facilities built in, while others may not meaning some more packing is required.



It is a good idea to pack a little extra when it comes to kitchen wear, if your space allows, to invite some new travel friends over for a meal.




Packing your clothing can be a little tricky, space is often limited in a camper so you’ll need to pack smart. The clothes that you will take will be heavily dependent on the climate you are going towards so we will split them into two categories, warm and cold climates.


DIY camper closet full with clothes


Warm Climates

If you are travelling to warmer climates then you can generally pack more. Warm-weather clothing is often shorter and thinner, taking up less space and giving your more freedom of options. Warmer climates provide more appealing activities, such as hiking, rafter, surfing or swimming so you’ll need more variety of clothing.


  • Swimwear
  • Sportswear
  • Thin T-shirts or singlets
  • Short pants
  • Long pants
  • Jacket
  • Sneakers
  • Flip flops


Although you are going towards warmer climates, you still need to prepare for colder evenings or bad weather. Check the cold climates list before you move on.


Cold Climates

Travelling to colder climates can be tricky as warmer clothing generally takes up more space. We recommend working with layers so that you can mix and match depending on how extreme the weather gets.


Winter sports are big and there are still lots of activities to do in colder climates so don’t forget to pack accordingly.


  • Thermal underwear
  • T-shirts or singlets
  • Jackets
  • Waterproof/insulating jacket
  • Thick socks
  • Winter sports gear
  • Winter boots


Of course, some of these items overlap with warmer climate gear, we try to add layers to combat the colder weather. This reduces the amount of thick clothing needed and takes up less space.


Prepare for the Weather

No matter the climate you travel to, you need to be prepared for the weather. We recommend doing some research to see the weather productions of the areas that you will travel to. Don’t forget to pack a wind and rainproof jacket so that you don’t get caught out, as well as some weatherproof shoes to keep you dry.


Consider taking some clothing for both climates in case the weather changes, or your plans. Zip-off pants can be a good idea in case the weather fluctuates throughout the day. An awning or gazebo can be a good investment, to provide shelter from the heat or rain. Lastly, make sure to include a heater or ventilator to keep you comfortable inside the camper.




Now that you are packed for every scenario, it is important to include some fun!


Rummy game


We recommend looking for mini versions of your favourite games and multiple-use card games. Books can also be good entertainment, whether you’re into reading, puzzles or drawing/colouring.



You may also want to include bigger entertainment. For example, a bike, volleyball net, or portable projector can be lovely for outdoor entertainment if your space allows it.


Now we know that this is an extensive packing list and not everything will apply to you. You now have an overview of all of the possibilities and are welcome to pick and choose what you wish.


Some, like us, prefer to take their travel as it comes through planning some details and ensuring a good packing list is necessary to avoid some disappointment. Consider your destination and which activities you intend to partake in so that you can pack accordingly.


Free Download: Camper Essentials Checklist


To ensure that you pack the essentials with you while travelling we made an easy checklist that you can download for free:  Camper Travel Essential Checklist. No printing is needed, the checklist is digital so you can check your essentials on the way. Good luck!







If you enjoyed reading this post, then you may be interested in checking our blog pages. We have covered a range of topics about Van Life, Van Build, Van Travel, and our Van Buddies, where we share our experiences from living in a campervan for the past two years. You can follow us on Instagram or Facebook to stay up to date with our latest posts and to take a closer look into our daily lives.


We are Bai (Aussie) and Den (Dutch), living in a van for over two years.

 Together we have lived in two self-built campervans over the past two years. Through this experience, we have gained many storiestips and tricks.

We have kept track along the way to share everything Van Life with you.

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