Van Camping Check List - Keeping Things In Order

The van camping check list is usually far too long when you take your first steps in the world of camper vans. Travel light and you'll be just fine. Well the old saying among camper van enthusiasts goes like this:

Take all that you think you'll need and stack it up in your living room. Take half of what you have stacked up away and you'll still end up with more than a half of things in front of you that you'll probably never need!"

Now this is a smart way to start with your camping check list if you ask me!

The truth is, that sometimes we get carried away and try to take with us all those things that presumably make us feel comfortable and safe back home. But van camping is all about the minimums and you will soon find out that you can perfectly enjoy your life without all the material possessions that kind of keep you happy at home.

On the other side, it's very annoying when you find out that you forgot something essential for your adventure while on the road. It's not the end of the world of course, but just in case, make the use of your camping check list a habit.

Van Camping Check List - The Essentials

I always keep some of the essential camping gear in my camper van. This way I have one thing less to worry about when I start packing and they all do come handy on special occasions, so here is my practical version of the camping check list.

The essentials that are always ready to go in my camper van:

  • Toilet paper, paper towels and paper napkins
  • Dish washing liquid and liquid soap
  • A camping water purifier
  • Campa Potti portable camp toilet with a bottle of biodegradable waste dissolving liquid
  • A simple cutlery set
  • Plates, cups and glasses
  • A couple of pots and pans
  • Sleeping bag, a blanket and a couple of small pillows... (you never know when you'll need those!)
  • A hanging line for clothes and towels and a set of clothespins
  • Candles and a lighter
  • Camping Gaz propane camping light with a set of propane cartridges and membranes...(when all the batteries run out these always work!)
  • Roll of indispensable silver tape
  • A multi-tool such as the Gerber or The Swiss knife with can and bottle openers
  • Flashlight and a pair of sturdy gloves
  • Fiamma or other camper levelers and anti-skid pads to level your camper van and get it out of the sand or gravel when you get stuck.
  • Camping shovel and a small axe
  • Tow rope if you need somebody to pull you out of a sticky situation
  • 50 meters of electrical cable and Euro adapters if you travel in Europe
  • A full bottle of propane gas

This may seem like a long camping equipment check list. Don't worry about it. A thing goes here and another over there...there is more then enough storage room for everything. Eventually, everything will find it's own place.

Books, Maps And Documents

All these paper publications are a very important part of your adventure. Stay in your country or travel half way around the world, it's always a good idea to have your ID card and driving license with you. And don't forget your vehicle documents.

  • Personal and vehicle insurance is something that covers me all year round. It doesn't cost much and can be a life saver in any kind of medical treatment, specially if you travel in foreign countries.
  • Now I'm not all that thrilled about modern day technology, although I use a GPS device occasionally. It's a good back up system, but a good road map or a road atlas will always be able to show you a broader picture.
  • Travel and guide books are a must if you're visiting new places. Without them you'll be simply lost most of the time.
  • Instead of watching the "dumb me down" TV screen or play video games on my laptop I read books. Call me old-fashioned, but a really good book can keep me busy for hours.

Personal Hygiene And Medication

Next on my camping check list are indispensables that get packed up before any trip. I kind of start with small things such as my personal hygiene needs and then move along to larger items.

  • Pack up your wash bag with everything you need.
  • Take care of you medicine department. Supplemental vitamins, digestion problems and your health situation if you have one are to consider.
  • Towels and bath robe if you wish.

Clothing, Shoes and Bedding

Clothing is usually the part where I draw the line. If I go away for a week or a month, the amount of clothes I pack up in my camper van is more or less the same. Why? Because I always take a weeks change of clothes with me and on longer travels I just wash it all up occasionally.

Of course, all that depends on the season and the actual travel destination. But wherever you go, keep in mind that the weather can always surprise you even in the middle of summer heat, so...

A set of warm clothing is always a must! Don't underestimate the weather forecast and the season when you travel. Mother nature has it's own way of expressing herself and can sometimes be full of surprises.

Don't leave home without a wind-stopper jacket, a warm sweater and cozy underwear to go with. And don't forget about warm shoes either (light hiking shoes will do just fine).

Bedding for your beds and pillows. Unless you only use a sleeping bag, these make a nice cozy touch for the time you rest and sleep.

And throw in a couple of warm blankets...sometimes it can get very cold at nights.

The trick here is to be prepared for anything that might happen and not overdoing it when completing your camping check list.

Food And Beverages

I enjoy cooking out in the open and  try to stay away from supermarket processed food as much as I can, but a few things are sometimes indispensable. Long lasting food is usually what I get at the store and then I buy fruits and vegetables and other foods on my way. Some of the practical food types to take on the road are;

  • Cofee and tea
  • Bottled water
  • Sugar, salt, pepper and other spices (Mediterranean herb mix for example)
  • All kinds of pasta and rice
  • Tomato sauce
  • Canned beans, corn or peas
  • Canned tuna or other fish
  • Nuts and dry fruit
  • Dried toast bread or wholewheat crackers
  • As for the rest of your favorite beverages, well you know what you enjoy...
  • Do you have a pet? Don't forget to take care of them because they depend on you!

I eat meat only on rare occasions, so I have something less to worry about. But I do eat everything that comes out of the sea or rivers and I buy these at local vendors or markets that I find on the road. And I don't have to add it on my camping check list, it's just one of those essentials that my stomach always reminds me about...

Camper Accessories

And at last some of the camper accessories that usually travel with me and are in general common equipment for traveling and camping.

  • Camping chairs
  • Camping table
  • Portable camping propane grill
  • Solar camping shower
  • Camper awning

I hope this camping check list comes in handy before you take off to your next adventure. I understand that no two people are the same and that you might have different needs, so just take this list as a general guide.

So before you go away, take your time and pack up with ease. But I'll bet you'll probably forget something anyway...It's called Murphys's law!

But keep on smiling and have fun anyway...

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