Having spent the past 18 months months living in a camper van, we have gone through many trials and tribulations trying to perfect it and now want to give you a head start. This article will include all the pieces of kit which we recommend you use/have or carry with you so hopefully you can avoid some of pitfalls that we fell into. It is the follow-up article to how to live in a campervan which has a detailed description of how we manage to live in our motorhome in the UK.
A tool kit
A set of basic tools so that you can fix stuff when it breaks. I don’t mean in the event of a breakdown, that’s what the AA are for. I mean for all the unpredictable things that snap, break or crack along the way. For example, one morning we were in bed doing some vigorous exercises, when we heard a loud crack and found ourselves on the floor. What had happened was the table, which also doubles as the second half of the bed had given up the ghost and was now in two pieces. This was rather a large problem as without it we only had a very small single bed, what made the problem far bigger was that we were in Scotland, maybe 100 miles away from anywhere that would sell the materials to fix it. Quite unbelievably, we found the perfect piece of wood at the side of the road (!!!!), and we had the basic tools to bodge it together until we could fix it properly.
At a minimum we recommend a hammer, various screwdrivers, a small saw, stanley knife, bradawl, allen keys, pliers, cable ties, various size screws, duct tape, epoxy resin, strong string and super-glue. You wont believe how much super-glue we go through.
We have two, used for washing all sorts of stuff. Clothes, boots, fossils, dishes, bikes, anything that needs washing. Since living in our camper van, we have also both had a stomach bug. Great for being sick into. Sorry, but you have to think about these things.
Eh, duh we are going to the beach! Although essential kit for the beach they also have many other uses, for example when your on a camp site and, well who wants to get fungal infection from using the shower!?! also useful for collecting water from lochs and streams, or if all your other shoes are too wet to wear.
Although it sounds like an unnecessary luxury you wont believe how cold the floor can get, especially in the colder months.
Your camper van will have a leisure battery which will power the basic electrics such as kitchen lights, extractor fan and water pump but if you buy an inverter you will be able to run your TV and charge phones/tablet/laptops with it too. Very simple to set up but a lifesaver on a wet, cold evening.
If you manage to flatten your leisure battery by watching too many box-sets, then instead of relying on a hook up at a camp site to recharge it, you can do so with an inverter generator. We have a Wolf Power Genie Inverter Generator which on one tank of fuel (£2 of petrol) will recharge our battery, run the fridge, TV and xbox for approximately 6-7hrs, a lot cheaper than a camp-site.
First aid kit
A basic first aid kit is recommended anywhere you go, we would recommend purchasing a lifesystems first aid kit as they produce high quality equipment at very reasonable prices. Once you have the basics add in whatever might be more appropriate for your own use, i.e.- antihistamines, paracetamol/ibuprofen, etc.
To get your own Lifesystems first aid kit from amazon click here
Berkey water filter (Click here for Big Berkey water filter review)
We would highly recommend a berkey for anyone and everyone despite whether they live in a camper van or a house. The Berkey tablet top water filter allows us to filter fresh water from rivers, streams and lochs and the subsequent water will be of a higher standard than you will ever get from any taps at home.
Head torch (Click here for Petzl reactik review)
Although a torch will do, we would recommend a good head torch over a standard torch. There are many times where you don’t have a spare hand to hold a torch and I can assure you, having it sat nicely on top of your head makes a job a dam site easier than holding it between your teeth!
Lifeventure washing line
Two lines of twisted elasticated cordage, very compact and very effective with no pegs required! Can be strung around the van without getting in the way, or quickly and easily moved outside and hung using its hooked ends off whatever is to hand (e.g. bike rack to fence).
To get your own Lifeventure washing line from amazon click here
With all the amazing views to be had, a camera is a 100% must have. We have seen sooooo many places in the past year alone without our photos to remind us we would end up forgetting about half of the places we have been.
We are very anti chemical, so for the past 4 years we have been using our own home made natural alternative which we have found highly effective in tropical environments and against the toughest Scottish midge! Please click here for our recipe.
Please now read our how to live in a campervan article.