Van Life Essentials: Campervan driving along winding roads with bright blue lake and green pine trees in background

17 Useful Van Life Essentials You Actually Need + Free Printable Checklist

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Taking a road trip is such a cool way of exploring a country. Whether you’re travelling in a campervan, RV, car or caravan, you’ll need to buy the basics before you start your adventures. Have a read of our van life essentials list to make sure that you are fully prepared!

We spent 3 months touring Australia, first towing a caravan in our Nissan X-Trail (Noel + Edmond), then in a camper we hired from Travellers Autobarn.

The best thing about driving yourself around is that you literally become a little snail. Tie up your home, pray nothing smashes and away you go to your next destination. It’s so much fun to be able to spend a day hiking, diving, swimming or just exploring, and the come back to your cosy little home on wheels.

However, when you first buy a van, you need to make sure that you’re fully equipped for life on the road. There’s no point in scraping by without your van life essentials because it will make you miserable and you’ll regret not planning ahead!

17 Van Life Essentials To Survive Your Road Trip

Everything on this list is something that we either used, or mentioned at least 3 times to each other how handy it would be to have.

You might be lucky and buy a van that has plenty of important van life gadgets, or you might be planning to start from scratch and convert your own vehicle.

Either way, make sure you tick off everything on this list before you begin your trip. Luckily for you, I’ve included a FREE printable checklist so that you can physically cross items off as and when you buy them.

I haven’t included the real basics in this article, but I have left some blank spaces on the checklist so you don’t have to worry about forgetting ANYTHING when you’re shopping.



It's a good idea to be prepared with all of your tech before you hit the road. You don't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere and suddenly realise you could do with an extra charger!


Subscriptions are something you might not have factored into your budget but they're super useful. Try living without TV or music for months on end - it won't be a lot of fun!


Everyone needs bathroom bits + bobs - whether you decide to go the au natural route or need some pampering comforts. Click here to browse eco-friendly bathroom essentials.

Day To Day Living

You might have remembered to pack your passport (congrats) but what about these everyday items?


It's likely that this will be your first big road trip, so being prepared for driving disasters is so important. Learn basic roadside skills so that a) you can keep safe and b) you won't have to pay someone else an extortionate amount to do it!


Even though you'll be living inside the van, there are some essentials you'll need for outside too!

Living in a van full time can be hard. These items should make your day-to-day a little bit easier and more comfortable, especially if your trip is longer than a month. If you’re sick of the boring stuff you need to buy, you can check out our post on the unnecessary yet awesome items to buy to add a little pizazz to your adventures!

For other backpacking essentials, take click here for an up to date list of useful items!

Are you planning an #vanlife road trip? What else do you think is essential to live comfortably whilst on the road? Let us know in the comments below!

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