6 Essentials for Your Campervan Trip

The Covid lockdowns threw a massive spanner in the works for many of us, and for some, it greatly affected the way we travel and take holidays. Airport closures and border restrictions caused a lot of people to rethink their travel plans and look to rural Australia for holiday destinations. In a way, it helped set off a kind of resurgence of the classic intrepid Aussie camper traveller of yesteryear. Sometimes we have to make the best of a bad situation, and Australians are famously good at this. And hey, why not become more familiar with your own backyard before exploring the rest of the world?

Having said that, going off the beaten path towards remote areas needs a little bit of forethought and planning, so this blog is going to suggest six essential items that should be in every campervan, caravan or trailer.

1. Reserve fuel

This may involve installing additional storage capacity on your campervan like racks on the roof or the rear to hold a couple of full jerry cans. You’ll need them if you’re going to remote parts of the country. It’s not uncommon to go several hundred kilometres without seeing a service station, and depending on the range of the campervan, this may be a stretch for your fuel. The last thing you want is to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. Phone coverage is either poor or non-existent so you’re really relying on the kindness of passers-by—of which there aren’t many—to get you out of a serious bind.

Avoid this potentially dangerous situation by making sure you’re carrying plenty of reserve fuel (and a funnel) so you don’t find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere with the burning hot sun beaming down on you.

2. Water

It goes without saying really. As previously mentioned, some stretches between service stations are uncomfortably long, so don’t rely on them to keep you hydrated. Take plenty of H2O just in case!

3. Kitchen

Whether it’s installed in your camper van or it’s made up of several individual bits and pieces, kitchen facilities are absolutely essential. It’s easy to get in the habit of assuming that the caravan site will have kitchen facilities, but you might find yourself pulling up for the night in the middle of nowhere. Without some basic kitchen facilities, you might be having corn flakes for dinner. Some basic kitchen essentials include:

  • Gas stove top + plenty of gas
  • Lighter in case the stove top’s clicker is dodgy
  • 12V Portable refrigerator
  • Kettle
  • Small trestle table for food preparation
  • Hand pump water tap for cleaning
  • Frying pan, utensils, cutlery, detergent, bottle opener and other standard kitchen items

4. Power

You’ll to need to power your electrical appliances when you pull up for the day, and you might not always find yourself in a caravan park with a powered site. It’s therefore worth looking into a portable solar panel for your electrical source. Even if you have dual car batteries, it’s a good idea to take the load off them because you want to make sure that they’re both fully charged at all times. Using a solar panel to power your appliances during the day is the best way to do this if you’re not connected to a power grid.

They’re not overly expensive these days, and they are extremely effective. On a clear day, a single portable solar panel should be able to generate enough electricity to power your 12V fridge, CD player/radio, phone chargers, the kettle and pretty much whatever else you might want to plug into it.

5. Snacks

Let’s face it, a good snack can help take the edge off those long tedious road trips. And if you have kids in the car…well, you know how they tend to think with their stomachs. A well stocked arsenal of snacks is absolutely essential, and may include:

  • Muesli bars
  • Boiled sweets (boiled sweets are best because they keep the kids occupied for longer than other sweets)
  • Dried fruit (maybe stick to larger fruits like apricots and apples otherwise you’ll be finding dropped sultanas under the seats for months)
  • Dried meats such as beef jerky, beef biltong and droewors (healthy and delicious)
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix

6. Recovery gear

If you’re going off-road, you’ll need the appropriate recovery gear in case you find yourself in a spot of bother. While most people wouldn’t do any serious off-roading in a campervan, you could still find yourself on unsealed roads and dirt tracks where you may get stuck. In such a case, you’ll need some gear to help you get out and back on your way. This should include things like:

  • Recovery mats
  • Snatch straps and shackles
  • Winch rope
  • Air compressor for reinflating tyres after you’ve deflated them to help get out of a bog

It’s worth investing in at least a basic recovery kit before you set out. You never know when you might need it!

The best thing you can do before you hit the road is plan your trip and write down everything you need. We all have our creature comforts that we reckon we can’t live without, but when going bush, essentials like those listed above will prove to be invaluable. So get your gear together and we’ll see you on the open road!