A new way to sleep

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Tips and Tricks for beginners

You’ll pack and unpack your campervan/motorhome before and after trips, but there are some things that can live permanently in your van. That way, you’ll never find yourself searching for the little essential things you might just forget to pack.

Let’s start with the things that can live in there permanently…

For the Kitchen:

  • Plates, bowls, mugs, and glasses.
  • Knives, forks, and spoons (especially a bread knife). Kitchen utensils.
  • Tin opener, bottle opener, tin foil, cling film, bin liners.
  • Pots and pans, a couple of plastic tubs with lids, a fold-down colander, and a small bread/chopping board.
  • A camping kettle for the times you don’t use hook up, and a conventional plug-in camping electric kettle for when you do.
  • Tea towels, washing up liquid, and clothes wash powder.


  • Hand wash, sun cream, baby wipes, scissors, nail file.
  • Basic first aid kit: plasters, paracetamol, rehydration sachets, insect repellent, etc.

Extra Essentials (space depending):

  • Hook up lead
  • Chocks for the wheels
  • Pump for tyres.
  • Puncture repair foam.
  • Jump leads.
  • Bungees.
  • Torch.
  • Phone charger.
  • Dustpan and brush.
  • Hot water bottle – just in case it gets chilly.
  • Small electric fan (you’ll thank yourself in the height of summer).
  • Small electric blow heater, ideal for chilly mornings.
  • Local map (pick one up at the campsite or local tourist information, it is always good to have a close-up view of the area).
  • Fold up picnic blanket for days at the beach.

Now you are well equipped it’s time to plan your trip.

Pick your times wisely:

If you have a choice, then try to plan your trip so that you will miss the rush hour when people are hurrying to or from work, or on the school run.

If you are using motorways, it is also good to bear in mind that if you do the majority of your distance driving on Sunday there are fewer lorries (with their restricted speed) on the road.

Know your vehicle:

Write down, or commit to memory the width, height, and length of your vehicle. Then if you are faced with a barrier in a car park or supermarket, you won’t have any ‘will it, or won’t it’, moments.

Think ahead:

Before you relax for the evening, make sure that you fill up with fresh water and empty your waste water containers. When you wake up in the morning you’ll have plenty of everything and won’t have to rush around getting water before you can have a cup of tea.

The same goes for the toilet. Make sure that that has been emptied if it needs it, so in the morning you will (literally) be good to go.

Take some quick and easy food with you:

After a long drive, the last thing you are going to feel like doing is preparing a meal. There’s always the option of a takeaway, but if you are miles from anywhere and just pulled up on your pitch, you are not going to be wanting to go out again to track down something to fill your growling tummy.

The key is to take something really easy, you won’t be cooking like you do at home, try to rustle up things that only use one pan or throw some burgers on the bbq. 

Claim your pitch:

If you are going to be out and about for the day in the van it’s a good idea to leave a windbreak (unless you have a drive away awning) or a little sign to let people know that the pitch is in use.

Be prepared for the weather:

  • Take clothes that can be worn in layers if it’s chilly, and removed if it is warm. (Roll clothes rather than folding for more space and less creasing.)
  • Work around the weather. Check the forecast (BBC Weather has hourly updates) then you can pick pockets of fine weather to do all the things you need good weather for. 
  • Make sure to take a good waterproof jacket, you can get ones that pack up really small – trousers too.
  • Use microfibre towels for drying off. They don’t take up much space and they also dry really easily.

Get a good night’s sleep:

Not surprisingly we have a blog on that too.

Treat yourself kindly and invest in a good mattress topper and high-quality bedding for your campervan. I know in the current climate penny pinching is a must and budgets are tight but, this is one area where you shouldn’t scrimp. A great mattress topper, comfy pillows, and bedding will guarantee you’ll be excited about going to bed with an extra level of comfort and that will facilitate quality sleep.  

We know for some of you seasoned campers these will seem obvious, and there maybe things you would add to our list, but for the beginners just setting out, we hope this guide makes things a little easier for you.

Just get out there and enjoy it, you will add your own comforts along the way.

Have you tried?

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