Campervan Essential checklist

Our Campervan Essential Checklist

We’ve had five weekends away now (one attempt away was aborted due to a poorly child!) so we’re getting a pretty good idea of what we need in the camper when we go away. I’m guessing that as we come into spring and summer our essentials will change again, especially on the food/cooking front, sitting outside with a bbq in our camping chairs!

Space is tight in the camper so light and careful packing is a must. However, the freedom the camper gives is soooo brilliant that even I have cut down on clothing and non-essentials. Now just to work on the husband and children.

I’ve compiled a checklist of what we find is essential on our trips away in the camper van, bearing in mind we’ve only been away for weekends too. I’m sure there’ll be other items we need for longer stays away.

Campervan Essential checklist

Essentials always in the van

These are always stored in the camper van so they are not cluttering up our house and if we decided on a last-minute escape they are ready to go. It does mean that it’s worthwhile making sure they are clean etc from the last weekend away – you don’t want to have to clean them at the last-minute when you’re trying to get out the door.

Plates, bowls, mugs, glasses

Cutlery inc cork screw, potato peeler, sharp knife

Pots and pans

Electric kettle

Serving spoons

Chopping board

Cling film/tin foil and sandwich bags



Children’s games, playing cards

Bin (normally full before we’ve even got to destination!)

Sleeping necessities

I get really cold so I wear as much as possible at night with as many covers on as possible. Even though the heater in the van is brilliant there is a slight chill upstairs on the colder evenings, though the children have only ever slept in their pyjamas with just duvets or throws over them.

Wish I had their thermostats!

We started off with sleeping bags but none of us have found them that comfortable so we’ve now got two double duvets. My husband found some great bags that they fit into and we put them in the wardrobe in the van when not in use.

We also bought the mattress protectors which came into their own when we attempted to stay away but my daughter threw up just after midnight (mostly onto the sheet but fortunately the mattress was protected!)

Sleeping bags/duvets/throws



Pyjamas/onesies (suitable for going out to toilet in night/early morning)

Thermals and a hat (in really cold weather)



Cleaning stuff

We’ve found it’s really handy to have lots of tea towels around. Not only to be used for drying crockery but for putting in the cupboards to make sure items don’t move around too much when driving.

A decent size washing up bowl has been really useful too for carrying everything to the washing up room – doubles up for wet play for the children when the weather is nice (Bodhi loves washing his cars).

Wet wipes are always handy to have around too, if they are put somewhere that’s easy to get to. I could have really done with them when my daughter was poorly. I knew I’d packed a full lot but we couldn’t find them anywhere (obviously they were in a wash bag at the bottom of another bag!) and there was no way my husband would stand a remote chance of finding them there! Next time I will definitely put them in an easy to find place.

Washing up liquid

Tea towels

Washing up bowl to carry dirty crockery to washing up room


Dustpan and brush

Hand gel



Apart from breakfast we’ve tended to eat out when we are away but hopefully when the evenings are lighter and warmer we’ll be more comfortable cooking outside and then we will look into buying a bbq etc.

One tip I have seen from a seasoned camper for children’s breakfast (or adults) is to get the small variety box of cereals, open up plastic bag inside box and pour the milk in! I’d never have thought of this but it saves on washing and I’m sure the children will love it. Of course, it will be a right mess……..hmmmm think they’ll have to eat them outside.

I’d love to get into the habit of taking homemade cake with me when we go away. Not managed it yet but think it would be a lovely way to have memories of mummy’s  burnt offerings when we go away!

Teabags/coffee/hot chocolate



Tins of beans



Cake (not essential but very nice)

Other general necessities

It’s useful to have lots of various size bags and carriers. I pack our undies into little bags so they are easy to find in a bigger bag. When we’re away for a weekend we normally wear the same clothes over the weekend, so we have clean underwear just yesterdays other clothes! I put all our dirty laundry into a bag so I can just chuck it into the laundry basket when we get home.

This makes unpacking a lot quicker, and time is something we’re all short on.

I’ve got a wash bag just for use in the camper van so this also makes it easier to pack/unpack. I just check it’s got everything we (me and the children – hubby has to do his own!!) need shortly before I go away

Carrier bags to put dirty clothing in/wet towels

Wash bag


Make-up (a big necessity for me!)

Change of clothing but I try to limit how much

Easy to get on shoes for mid-night toilet runs

Travel potty

iPhone, iPod, iPad chargers and cables etc

iPhone, iPad, iPod, tablets





I want to keep packing and unpacking as simple as possible for the camper van so it doesn’t become a chore to go away. I want to spend the least amount of time as possible packing but be sure I’ve got all the essentials.

I’m sure this list will keep changing over the coming months as we get more used to the camper van.

Let me know your essentials in the comments below!

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27 thoughts on “Our Campervan Essential Checklist”

  1. Seems that you have it all sorted out! Apparently Aldi is selling a full size portable loo, wonder if that would be helpful? It will be lovely when the weather is good and you can sit out and BBQ.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks so exciting! As an avid RV person myself, I know you are going to love it so much. The first few days are a bit stressful as you realize there are things you forgot, but it’s so easy to make do. #DreamTeam

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am very big on the idea of camping for there is sooooo much to see and do in the UK. I will keep this list handy for when we eventually invest please god. Thank you for sharing with the #KCACOLS community.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We were/trying to be again keen campers and had a similar list (need to amend it for the kiddies now too!) We have a camping box that has all our essentials in and a list on top of what we need to add to it (it used to be milk, weetabix and tea bags!) but life is no where near as simple these days! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I finally learn to drive I would love to get a campervan. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    Liked by 1 person

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