What, and what not, to take on your next campervan adventure

VW Campers are compact, that’s part of their beauty. They fit under barriers, sneak into ‘normal’ car parking spaces and unlike motorhome owners, you won’t get dirty looks from locals if you park up in a quiet wooded spot somewhere.

The thing is, with limited space inside, you’ll have to make a few sacrifices when it comes to what you take otherwise you’ll run the risk of cluttering up your interior and tripping over yourself. Taking the kitchen sink just isn’t an option with a VW Transporter.

So what are the essentials – and what can you happily leave at home? Here’s a few pointers to ensure you’ve got all you need without having to tow a trailer for all the stuff you couldn’t find space for.

A two-ring stove is a must for cooking outside


Even if your Van’s got a built-in burner, a two-ring stove so you can cook outside is an absolute must as far as we’re concerned. We like the Cadac 2 Cook 2 Pro because it’s just so well made. Either way, make sure you take a spare gas bottle.

Take melamine plates and dishes – they don’t break!

You’ll also need some pots and pans and a few cooking utensils. Think about the kind of meals you’ll be making and buy accordingly.

When it comes to plates, go for melamine. Cool storage will be important on summer trips, so get hold of a coolbox. Ones that plug in are good (as long as they’ve got a cut-off so you don’t flatten your battery) but they don’t hold as much. Buy a conventional cooler and use the campsite’s freezer to re-chill your ice packs each day.

As for food, take only the essentials as you’ll probably need to visit a supermarket while you’re away in any case. And you might end up eating out. Prep a simple meal at home for the first night and buy just enough to conjure up something tasty for the second evening.

Don’t leave home without a mattress topper


Don’t skimp here, as having a decent night’s sleep is crucial while you’re away. Take your own pillows from home and maybe even your duvet. Try to pack the latter in a zip-up bag so it doesn’t take up too much space. Remember, it’s always better to be too hot than spend all night shivering.

We really wouldn’t contemplate leaving home without a mattress topper – the ones with expandable foam are best. Meanwhile, thermomats for your van’s windows will keep the warmth in and the cold out as well as make the inside of nice and dark.

Finally, try to make room for a hot water bottle just in case, and maybe some ear plugs.


Make sure everyone has a chair to sit on and take a folding table. Pick camping furniture with alloy frames because they’re lighter and won’t rust.

A wind-out canopy is good because it provides shade from the sun and stops everything getting soaked in dew overnight.

The jury’s out regarding awnings; for some they provide useful extra storage space while for others it’s just another thing to clutter up your interior.


❱ Flip-flops; keep them by the door so you don’t walk mud inside

❱ A decent rechargeable lamp

❱ Portaloo. Not for number two’s but great to avoid a nightime trip to the toilet block

❱ Binliners – for keeping the place tidy

❱ Washing powder, line/pegs

❱ Electric hookup cable with extension and adapter if necessary

❱ Washing up bowl, Fairy Liquid and scourer

❱ Artificial grass matt/foam floor tiles for outside to make if feel like home

❱ Dustpan and brush

❱ Charging bank so you can keep those phones charged!