I've put together a list of items that I could not live withoutwhilst living on the road in our VW Campervan. I had previously backpacked for a number of years before deciding to live life on the road and full-time in the van. The only worry I had back then was packing minimal clothes, toiletries, passports/documents and deciding on which hostels or beach house I was rocking up to next.Vanlife is completely different in so many ways and has so many positives aspects. Having the freedom to move and travel to pretty almost anywhere is a great feeling. Not having to worry about costly accommodation fees, or being forced out for a 9 am checkout by hotel staff, its like a dream come true. But it helps to be well prepared for the journey ahead in a campervan, especially when you are going off the beaten track and you may not be in reach of key items you need, in the new country your exploring. It can also be very easy to get carried away by buying unwanted items and you will then soon notice that the storage space starts to fills up pretty quickly. We already have a few items that we don't use at all but it's all about trial and error and finding out what works and what doesn't work for you while on the road
This is why I have put together my Top 15 items which I have found to have made our vanlife journey a whole lot better and hopefully it can help you too.
1 )- This was one of our first purchases we made and I'm so glad we did as we have such a good night sleep with this materess topper. Its made from Hydro Foam and cooling gel and is naturally hypoallergenic so perfect for people with allergies. The cover is also removable and easy to wash and drys very quickly. Having a comfortable sleeping surface is really important to being happy and healthy while living in a van
2 ) Bottle Jack - We had to change our tyres during our first month of travelling as they were quite old and had not been changed by the previous owner. We noticed a crack and Josh immediately change it, as this could have exploded on the motorway. With this car jack at hand, Josh was able to easily change this and it meant it didn't disrupt our journey. (Make sure to check your weight capacity and load before purchasing this.)
3 ) Portable Universal Powerbank- Ensuring you have enough charge for your phones and devices is important, especially when we use them to navigate our way using offline maps whilst hiking or to google search for that perfect camping spot. There's nothing worse than running out of power on the road, but this power bank ables us to charge our phones 7 times over and has x 2 ports so we can both charge simultaneously. It even has a flashlight built-in. Bonus!
4) Download Apps like Campercontact & Park 4 Night they are great for finding paid and un-paid campsites and you can customize your preferences to suit your needs. Whether it be showers, Wifi, laundry service etc. We haven't paid for a single campsite since we've been on the road and we have even found ones with free electricity on park 4 night.
5 ) 250W Solar Panels - This has been a godsend and not sure what we would have done without it. We have a the Photonic Universe 250W Semi-flexible solar panel which charges to 100% in 5 Hours. We were lucky in the fact that our campervan had x6 electric points and by adding a inverter, this made it possible for us convert our power to correct wattage and utilize all of the sockets points. If you're going on a mini break or short getaway in your campervan, then you can probably could do without it. If you are or are planning on living in the van full-time, its great idea to invest in solar panels to be able to drive off-grid, have electricity supply and be totally self-sufficient.
6 ) Reusable Bees wax wraps - This is the perfect way to store our fruit and baguettes when we go hiking and cover over leftover melon or curries in our fridge. They are made out of harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin and they totally biodegrade and compostable. They are much better than using cling film or foil and your also doing your bit for the planet as you will be reducing your carbon footprint. To clean them you simply wash with cool water and soap and that its. There ready to be used again. They last over 1 year.
7 ) 8 Piece Thermo Mat Set - We were actually recommended these by a garage in the U.K to keep insulated in the cold months and keep out the heat in summer. We store these under a throw while driving and as soon we arrive at our campspot, we pop these up in less than 5 minutes. It also doubles up as a privacy screen and extra security for the van. These ones are designed to perfectly fit a VW T25, but you can choose ones to fit the exact the model of your vehicle.
8 ) Storage baskets - Great way to organise and keep everything neat and tidy. We store our tinned food, spices, nuts/seeds and we use another to store all of our toileteres such as naturals oils, rosehip oil, rose water and coconut oil. We even have a bohemian style basket which we store our fruit and vegtables in and can be easily stored out the way.
9 ) Keep it cool with a Gimble Fan. We have tried different fans to keep us cool in our non air-conditioned vehicle, but nothing seemed to be strong enough to keep the air circulating. Through word of mouth and reading the postivite reviews online, we new we had to invest in this 12V gimble fan. Its has a 350 Degree Swival and has 3 speed settings to suit your preference during a hot summer days. We absoulutley love it and have no regrets.
10 ) Solar Shower - Sometimes it can be tricky finding places to shower, so having this solar shower on hand is great. It has a built-in electric pump which gives more pressure than those regular solar showers, which entirely rely on gravity. You simply charge the device via the USB and your ready to go. Your need a foldable bucket for the pump to sit in to draw the water from. We brought this foldable bucket from amazon. Click here for details.
Tip for the ladies - It also doubles up as a pedicure bowl. All you need to do is warm up some water on the gas burner, transfer safely into the bowl and add you favorite essential oils. You can thank me later.
11 ) WIFI 4G BOX - Staying connected on the road is very important for us as we both work on diferent projects and create content for different social media platforms. We decided to invest in the Huawei black with 4G and 3000mAh as the device is fully unlocked to all networks, so its perfect for travellers who are constantly on the move into different countries. We've used this product for 4 months now and we have had no issues with connection or startup. Would definetly recommend.
12 ) Pocket Tool Roll - Josh loves keeping his tools organised inthis pocket roll. It's great as it fits in a back drawer just above our engine bay and vertically take up no space. Its great for limited storage in any sort of scenerio.
13 ) Tefal Non stick 5 piece set. We purchased these durable and non-sticking coating pans to make life easier when cooking. They also have a removable handle which fits onto each pan and pot, making it easier to stack the items in the storage cupboard and thus saving more space.
14 ) Laundry Bags - Joshua and I have x2 100% cotton laundry bags which we use to separate our white and dark washing. It makes it so much easier to transport to and from the launderette and they can be easily stored away when we are not using them.
15 ) Dr Bronners - is Castile liquid soap made from organic ingredients and is a multi-use product. It's so perfect for vanlife as it has many uses such as washing your face & body, washing dishes, brushing teeth, Laundry Soap, washing windows and mopping floors. Thats just to name a few, as the possibilities are endless. This also means you can cut down on buying single-use products and save money and space in the long run.
So that is all of our personal essentials for vanlife.
Although these will vary depending on your specific needs hopefully they can give you some sort of a guideline of what items to expect to add to your campervan or wishlist. Let me know if you have any questions or comments down below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Will update you all soon in the next post.
Bye for now. Love K x