Hey there campers! Are you psyched about taking that campervan out of the garage and hitting the road? Of course, you are. Why else would you have bought one in the first place? Your dream campervan vacation is within reach, but, before getting there, you’ll need to consider a couple of things. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the things you should do or not do before and during your campervan trip, presenting you with 17 campervan hacks that will upgrade your travel game.
What is campervanning?
You’ve probably heard about camping – you know, pitch a tent, light a bonfire, sharing ghost stories with your best friends, romancing the girl of your dreams under the moonlight. Well, campervanning is the more comfortable alternative to camping.
Campervanning has gain traction in recent years, probably because of televised series like Extreme RVs or Big Time RVs which showcase how comfortable life on the road can become if you have the right campervan.
Instead of carrying all that gear with a backpack (e.g., sleeping bags, cooking pots, gas stove), you can just stuff it inside this house on wheels and pitch camp wherever you darn well, please.
There are many advantages to owning a campervan, the most obvious of them being storage. However, you should keep in mind that although these jewels on wheels are spacy, you should refrain from taking half of the house with you.
Of course, the biggest turn-off of any campervanning newbie is the price. Even a used campervan can cost you up to $25,000 depending on stuff like mileage, facilities, accessories, engine power, and fuel consumption.
It still beats having to carry your stuff to the location using a cumbersome backpack. Now, if you’re sure about that summer/fall campervanning vacation, then let us help you get set up. Here’s some advice on how to make the trip more enjoyable.
1. Pack only the essentials
Whether you are traveling or living in a mobile home, optimize the use of space by reducing the number of utensils, kitchenware, and textiles you bring along. For example, use lightweight and easy-to-dry clothes and towels to save space and weight. Additionally, consider using foldable buckets and strainers, stackable pots, and other multifunctional gadgets that save space.
Remember that it’s a campervan, not a storage facility. Take only the things you’ll going to need on your trip. Your checklist should contain the following stuff:
For obvious reasons, you’re going to need some extra clothes. Don’t forget to pack socks, underwear, T-shirts, pants, maybe one or two hoodies. Now, even though it’s still summer, it would be a good idea to pack some fleece jackets. The nights can get chilly, especially if you plan on hiking and it’s kind of wasteful to keep the engine running through the night just because you forget to bring a warm jacket. In this article, there is a comprehensive and throughout packing list for a campervan trip you can check.
Bring along some baby wipes, a bottle of shampoo, one bar of soap, toothbrushes, and deodorant. Make sure they are as biodegradable and eco-friendly as possible.
Pack things you can cook over an open fire/gas stove, like sweet corn, bell peppers, beetroot, and potatoes. If your campervan has a minifridge or cooler, you could also bring along some lean meat to make a couple of steaks. Don’t overcomplicate things by bringing a rice cooker or a professional grill. In the wild, beauty lies in simplicity.
Bring along a phone charger, universal adapter, a foldable telescope (if you have one), flashlights, bug repellant, sunscreen, matches, and a couple of additional towels.
2. Chose where to camp carefully
In some ways, campervanning is a deceitful activity. What we wanted to say was that we often have the drive to stop, park, and set camp anywhere. Spontaneity might be the thing that makes a trip great, but it doesn’t hurt to do some planning. Look for spots designed for campervanning. Be sure you have access to water and a flat parking space (you don’t want the blanket to fall off the bed at night).
3. Check and double-check everything before leaving
Remember to check your campervan before setting sail. The last thing you’ll need on your trip will be for your car to have a mental break down in the middle of nowhere. It would be a good idea to take your campervan to a car service for a professional assessment.
4. Bring along some pleasant company
If you’re flying solo (no SO), you should consider bringing along your best friend. However, before taking this step, be sure to inform your pal of what he/she is getting into (bed-sharing, going into the forest when Nature calls, cooking morsels over a small gas stove/campfire).
5. How to bear necessities
While some campervans have their toilets, most of them don’t. So, once you set up camp, you should figure out where’s the designated toilet. Our advice is to make the toilet as far from the van as you can and, preferably, upwind.
6. Remember to water refill
If you have one of those fancy campervans with running water and a toilet, remember to refill the water tanks and empty the waste when you’re at the gas station.
7. Avoid wasting electricity
Before you go to sleep, don’t forget to turn off the engine and the light. We know that listening to a soothing tune before bedtime is tempting but remember that the car’s battery has only so much power. And it’s not like there’s an auto shop around the corner if your battery goes MIA.
8. Keep that flashlight handy
Even though your car is more than capable of lighting your way, for power conservation purposes, it would be a good idea to use a flashlight. If you want to go to the bathroom in the dead of night, use of flashlight instead of firing up the engine. That way, you won’t wake up everyone. Go for a frontal headlight that will keep your hands free.
9. Don’t forget about pillows and clean bedsheets
Although we might be stating the obvious, some campers do tend to forget to bring along a bedsheet and some pillows. If you’re planning on spending several days near a mountain retreat, remember to pack a thick blanket because, at night, it can get nippy.
10. Lock your campervan
If you want to go hiking or visit some of the local attractions, don’t forget to lock and secure your van. You never know who’s prowling around that area.
11. Air your van
Avoid parking your car in the sun and always remember to keep those doors open as much as you can. Ventilation is pretty essential, especially when it’s time for bed. You wouldn’t want to sleep in an oven.
If you experience high humidity inside your camper van and you cannot ventilate as much as you’d like to, consider using a dehumidifier to prevent mold from forming.
You can also make the most of your heating system by directing the air outlet towards a place where you can air-dry things like shoes or ski boots, which can cause bad smells.
Read also: 5 tips for a good night’s sleep on the road
12. Camping vs. stopping wherever you feel like it
In theory, having a campervan means that you can pitch up camp like anywhere. Well, in reality, things are a bit different. For instance, some camping spots offer various facilities like access to a bedroom, shower, and even a place to eat.
However, these types of camping spots are rather expensive and do tend to take a toll on your patience. It’s one thing to pitch camp in the middle of nowhere, having only to deal with mosquitos and the sun, and an entirely different thing to tolerate soused campers and loud music.
Still, if you want to try out a paid camping spot, we advise you to park as far away as you can from the rest of the campers.
To maintain personal hygiene if you don’t have a shower on your campervan or you want to save water, search for municipal swimming pools along your route for affordable bathing opportunities.
13. Stock up on snacks and booze
What’s a camping trip without a cold beer and some snacks? So, before setting out, be sure to do some shopping. If your campervan comes equipped with a minifridge, then you should have no trouble cooling that beer.
14. Keep your eye on that fuel gauge
It’s easy to overlook the campervan’s fuel gauge when you’re out there, on the road, cracking some jokes with your friend or significant other. Still, do keep in mind that gas stations don’t grow in trees. Plan your trip and estimate your fuel consumption so that you’ll know exactly when and where to stop.
15. Tell a family member where you’re going
Because life on the road can be unpredictable, you would do well to tell a family member where you’re heading to in case something goes wrong. Moreover, you always make sure your smartphone is fully charged. Keep the emergency number on the quick dial.
16. Be a smart builder
When building your mobile home, keep in mind that there is a significant thermal difference between the ceiling and the floor of your van. Therefore, if possible, place your refrigerator on the floor to make it more energy-efficient.
Furthermore, use battery power when driving and connect your appliances to the power supply during daylight hours, especially on sunny days if you have solar panels.
On the other hand, to make your van feel more spacious use light-colored textiles, vinyl wrap your furniture, and place mirrors strategically.
17. Embrace cooking!
Cooking will not only save you loads of money when traveling in a campervan, but it should also make your meals healthier. If you’re cooking inside your van, use a skylight with an integrated fan to extract odors, vapors, and suspended grease.
Heading out in a campervan doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a comfortable person. Far from it. Campervans are very cool because they allow you to set camp basically anywhere. Before hitting the road don’t forget about the most basic stuff: gas for the van, food for your belly, enough water and drinks, and anything in between. As a bonus tip, we strongly advise you to take the campervan out for a spin before embarking on your journey.
Sure, the campervan’s just like any other car, but it takes getting used to it, especially if you’re driving a car with automatic transmission. Careful around those corners because the campervan is a lot heavier than a regular car.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to have fun, take tons of pictures, and share your fantastic experience with your friends and family members.
Did we forget any campervan hacks you’d like to add to this list? We are just an email away! Get in touch.