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So, the last post was all about what to look for and pitfalls to avoid when buying a used motorhome. But what about after you’ve bought one, What the hell do you put in it? If you’re new to motorhoming and don’t really know what you need to pack you’re in the right place. Here’s our ultimate motorhome packing list for rookies….
Just to set the scene. You’ve done countless hours of research, you’ve viewed dozens of motorhomes and now you’re the proud new owner of a home on wheels.
While it probably has all the vital equipment you need to survive, does it have everything you need to not have a disaster at every turn on your first road trip?
For a seasoned motorhome veteran, knowing what to take on a road trip is second nature, almost instinctive. For a motorhome rookie on the other hand, it’s not so easy.
Not everyone’s motorhome packing list will be the same but use this one as a starter and you won’t go far wrong. To make it easier, I’ve split the list into 4 separate categories:
- Keeping the wheels turning.
- Setting up at the campsite.
- Daily living.
- On the open road.
So, without any more jibber jabber let’s get into the ultimate motorhome packing list for rookies:
Keeping the wheels turning –
Part 1 of the ultimate motorhome packing list is called “keeping the wheels turning”. In this category will be everything you need to pack to keep the motorhome in good health.
An air compressor is always handy, whether that be to add a little air to your motorhome/bicycle tyres or pump up inflatable boats if you’re into a bit of rafting etc.
Details of breakdown cover:
If the worst comes to the worst and you end up stranded at the side of the A35 near Bournemouth with a slipping clutch then you’ll want the details of your breakdown cover to hand.
Keeping an eye on your oil level is imperative to keeping you engine in one piece. Carrying a spare litre of engine oil is always wise. Just remember to check the vehicle handbook to make sure you buy the correct type.
Having a few basic tools and even a small battery drill is always a good idea. Especially if like us you’re pride and joy is not far off three decades old.
You’re not driving around in a car you’re effectively driving a house and there’s many things that can need a little repairing now and again.
If you don’t have a solar panel and get caught out with a flat battery then all you need is a jump start. It’s much easier to flag down any vehicle to help you if they don’t need to supply the jump leads as well.
And of course you also have the capability to help other people with a flat battery.
Water ingress is without a doubt, a motorhome’s kryptonite. Leaks need to be stopped ASAP and having a tube of good quality sealant on board means you can stop them as soon as you notice them.
Obviously me and Agne spend a lot of time in our motorhome so it was a complete surprise when a couple of weeks ago we were awaken by a slow drip of water coming from the roof window above the over-cab bed.
We’d seen worse rain than this numerous times but this was the first time it was leaking in. First job the next morning was to unscrew the lid from the roof window and while sat on the bed, sealed the living hell out of the roof window. No more leaks!!
Getting a flat is never a good situation. Getting a flat on a motorhome at the side of a busy A road when it’s raining is a terrible situation.
So do you A) Call the RAC and get wet at the side of the road while they take 2 hours to come? OR B) Do you spray in a can of tyreweld and be on your way in 5 minutes to the nearest tyre shop?
Is that even a question?
Setting up at the campsite –
In this category you’ll find everything you need for setting up at the campsite. Some of it is obvious and some of it not, but this is what you will NEED:
No one likes being “wonky”. The fridge doesn’t work, fried eggs all congregate at one side of the frying pan, shower tray doesn’t drain and walking around your motorhome is as if you’ve had 4 pints of Stella.
Bottom line is you need some levelling ramps. We have these Fiamma ones, they seem decent:
2 way level:
With how sensitive 3 way fridges can be, getting level is of upmost importance. Now I’ve spent years of my life as an electrician and I pride myself on being able to tell when something is “pissed”, my fridge can tell better….
Get one of these cheap 2 way levels and mount it somewhere you can see it from the drivers seat and never have a surprisingly warm beer again. Be sure you mount it on something that is at the same level as your fridge.
Washing up box:
Something we didn’t have when we first set out. It wasn’t long before we invested in one. One of these foldable ones are not too bad and they save space when not in use.
Grey water container:
This is not something that you MUST have. It depends on how long you want to stay on one campsite and if you have a “once you’re there you’re there” kind of attitude.
What I mean by this is that most motorhomes have a grey water tank bolted to the bottom of them. Normally 70-100 litres. You can choose to fill that up and empty it when you leave or if you’re staying longer then every 2-3 days you must strap everything down and drive to the disposal point.
Another problem is that 50 litres of festering grey water kicks of a right pong on a hot day. Bad smells in your motorhome, not so romantic.
So, the other option you have is to buy one of two things –
- One of those 30l grey water tanks with wheels. These are not the cheapest and are pretty awkward to store when you’re travelling. OR
- like us use a bucket. We have one of those 30L flexible rubber builders buckets. Very cheap, can wash it out and fill it with things when travelling.
I’ve just been talking about grey water stinking, that’s nothing compared to the black water if you don’t use chemicals. Unless you love the eye watering smell of your own excrement you’ll need some chemicals.
Ideally buy the green over the blue as it’s better for the environment and pink if you have the facility to use it.
Hook up lead:
A good quality hook up lead is a necessity if you’ll spend a lot of time on campsites and want to pull you’re motorhome in.
Some sites recommend that you bring a 25m lead and I recommend that you buy one that is made from 2.5mm copper cable. Always remember to uncoil it before use or they can over heat and catch fire. Especially the cheaper 1.5mm ones.
Fresh water containers:
A means of collecting fresh water is always going to be needed. Some people drive to the tap and use a hosepipe.
We prefer to collect water and pour it in the motorhome’s tank. Some people use a watering can but we prefer to use 10 litre plastic bags/bottles. The reason being, a watering can is bulky and these bags fold up and can be stored anywhere.
Getting water from the bottle to the motorhomes tank without a funnel will only leave you with wet feet and severe bout of tourettes.
Spare gas bottle:
Cooking, heating, fridge and hot water all depend on a full gas bottle. Take a spare just in case.
I guess one of the essential items that is overlooked by many a rookie motorhomer. An adjustable spanner or as I prefer a pair of grips is an absolute must have tool if you want to change a gas bottle. Just leave them in the gas locker and jobs a gudden…..
Table and chairs:
Going camping to a campsite without a table and chairs is like going skydiving without a parachute. It’s just not cricket!
Double the size of your motorhome for a few hundred quid. Having a drive away awning is awesome if you like to pitch up at a campsite, unload the table, chairs, BBQ etc and hit the road again to explore the local area.
If you’re staying at a campsite for more than a few days then it’s worth setting up the awning. Saves bringing muddy boots and wet clothes into your motorhome.
Not something that we really bother with as Agne is a vegetarian and I am not but carrying a disposable BBQ is not a bad idea.
Fire extinguisher and fire blanket:
In all honesty not something that I thought about at first but I think you’ll agree two absolute must haves when cooking in a wooden box full of flammable materials.
According to Caravan guard the best type of fire extinguisher to use in a motorhome is one rated as A,B and C. Normally not the most stylish things in the world are fire extinguishers but we found this funky yellow, wine bottle type one.
Unfortunately, they don’t sell these anymore so crappy red one it is….
Low wattage oven and kettle:
A low wattage kettle is a must have when spending plenty of time on campsites. In the UK campsite hookups are rated at either 10 or 16 amps.
That means if you’re using a campsite hookup and plug in your 2500w standard household kettle you’ll be pulling just over 10 amps. Add to this your fridge, TV and battery charger and you’ll be tripping the electric constantly.
We have a small 1000w kettle, big enough for 2 mugs and boils faster than my mothers 2500w kettle (I have tested this). In conjunction with our low wattage kettle we also have a tiny low wattage oven.
At only 800w we can use the oven and kettle at the same time without ever tripping the hookup 🙂
Daily living –
This section is all about what you will need for day to day life no matter if you’re on a campsite or being adventurous and doing a spot of wild camping.
I’m sure I don’t need to explain this one…..
Once again, pretty self explanatory…. Sleeping in the over cab bed is bad enough without forgetting you blanket and pillows.
First aid kit:
Always good to have a little first aid kit. Ideally you never need to use it but nice to have just in case as well as to lend other campers.
If you’re going away in your motorhome for any longer than a couple of days then it will need a bit of a tidy up.
I’m not saying you need everything that you have at home but some kitchen spray, cloths and dustpan and brush will do.
Now you can buy special toilet paper that is designed for chemical toilets but it ain’t cheap. Instead we just buy cheap toilet paper, dissolves just as well as the “special toilet paper” but costs 90% less.
If you like to pamper yourself and buy expensive, good quality triple ply household toilet paper then you’re going to have a messy blockage on your hands. You’ll need, well, a shitty stick to empty the toilet cassette.
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!
I’m sure it comes as no surprise that night time can be dark. Even on some campsites, without a clear sky and full moon finding your way through the sea of tents and awnings can be quite a task.
The last thing you need with a bladder full of wine is to trip over a guy line and end up in someone’s tent… £5 for a head torch, well worth it.
We are human, everywhere we go we create rubbish. A bag to put it in is useful.
Easy to forget, nightmare without! No beans with the full English if you don’t have a tin opener.
Food storage boxes:
Sometimes it’s easier to cook twice the amount and store some in the fridge for the day after. Saves washing up twice, so saves water. Good if you’re wild camping.
We have 1 small and 1 big saucepan, plus one frying pan. As well as all the usual cooking utensils and cutlery.
The amount of food you pack depends on how long and where you’re going to. For example, if you plan on going to a campsite that has a well stocked shop for a couple of nights then you won’t need too much.
On the other hand, you’re planning a 2 week long wild camping adventure into the asshole of nowhere then get them cupboards full!
You need to shower, you need to get dry. Simples.
All your usual stuff, tooth brush and tooth paste, shower gel, shampoo, deodorant etc…
Chargers for phone, wireless internet dongle, camera, drone, laptops and whatever other electrical devices you may need to charge.
On the open road –
Now for some thing to make any road trip run a little smoother and be a lot more memorable:
A good road map:
Although these days we have satnavs, google maps and clever apps, it’s just not the same as getting the “big map” out while having a coffee break to ponder your next move.
A solid playlist:
The sun is shining, the road empty and the scenery spectacular. There’s only one thing destroying your road trip and that’s the horrific sound of white noise coming from the radio when you loose signal every ten minutes and have to re-tune.
Don’t let white noise ruin your road trip. Download an awesome playlist before you leave home.
I hate wearing sunglasses or anything on my head for that matter but after driving for an extended time on a sunny day I am prone to get a headache.
Sunglasses can stop this so don’t forget yours.
You’re not going to get far without plenty of cash so fill the wallet before leaving. Joking aside, have in £10 in £1 coins is a good idea just in case you need to pay a road toll or for pay and display.
The park4night app:
One of many useful apps for the avid road-tripper. The park4night app is packed with wild camping, free parking and overnight parking spots so you’ll never be too for from somewhere to pull up for the night.
Fill the tanks:
So you’ve followed this motorhome packing list to the T, the sun is shining and the tunes are on.
“Right let’s go find somewhere that sells propane gas bottles on the way to the petrol station to fill up with diesel and on the way back we’ll swing by the cemetery to fill up with water”.
Not what you want to be saying at very start of your road trip!
That’s it, the ultimate motorhome packing list for rookies!
As I said earlier, everyone’s list will be different as we are all looking for different things out of our home on wheels. But as a starting point, this motorhome packing list is one that you begin with and over time you will naturally accumulate everything else that you like to travel with.
So that’s it, our ultimate motorhome packing list. If you have anything that you think would benefit fellow motorhomers then don’t hold back. FILL THAT COMMENTS BOX 🙂