Basic camping gear for beginners – complete with checklists# Camping
Just bought a camper? Looking for everything you need to get started? Then you’ve come to the right place – we’re grizzled veterans and we know what it’s all about.
At the same time, we can put your mind at rest – we started small, too, and we know your to-do list is just as big as your desire to get out on the open road. This article is jam-packed with motorhome tips for beginners. It gives you the lowdown on everything you need to think about before you head out on your first trip. Bear in mind that some questions are more a matter of style than practicality, and you’re not in a hurry.
- Campervan must-haves
- Basic camping gear for extra safety and security
- Technology and navigation equipment
- Campervan basics for beginners – cooking
- Hygiene products
- Hiring out your camper – the basics
If you’re right at the beginning of your camping journey and haven’t bought your campervan yet, our VanPaul could be right for you: it’s designed by professionals to be easy to use, which is ideal for beginners and lending out your vehicle. When you’re ready to share your camper with others, you can hire it out – this can be an easy way to earn back the cost of the purchase. You’ll find some useful information on camper basics for beginners starting their lending journey at the end of this article.
The vehicle and where you park it: basic camping gear for beginners
Our basic camping gear for beginners includes starter equipment that’s essential for camping and the vehicle. Most items only need to be obtained once at the beginning. Then they’re a key part of your camping equipment. These include tools, cables and hoses.
Of course, gas bottles and fresh water additive will need to be replaced after a while – but by that time, you’ll be a camping professional and this list will be second nature to you. If you don’t want to go without power or water or just be stuck on the campsite, you should read this list carefully.
- EEC power cable
- Cable drum/extension
- Fresh water hose or new watering can (to fill the water tank)
- Draining hose
- Drainage tank or (collapsible) bin
- Fresh water additive
- Gas bottles and, if required, Truma LevelCheck (for checking gas levels)
- Ramp and brake wedge
- Toilet hygiene equipment depending on facilities
- Broom, dustpan and brush, snow shovel if required (for winter camping)
- Ladder or steps
- Washing lines and stands and pegs
- Awning (in winter, and don’t forget the pegs!)
- Duvets and pillows
- Collapsible table and camping chairs
- Washing basket (collapsible if necessary)
- Hammer and small general toolbox
- Storage boxes (for clothes, food or cleaning products)
- Duct tape and cable ties
Campervan safety and security
Basic camping gear for beginners ensures that your camper is sufficiently safe and secure. You usually only need to get this equipment once, before your first trip. However, the items on this list deserve particular attention, as they contribute to the safety and security of the camper – not having them is a risk, not merely an inconvenience.
For instance, you should have a warning triangle and safety vest in case of an accident. You should be prepared for unfortunate events like a fire in the motorhome – that goes without saying. Make sure fire extinguishers and blankets are to hand and not hidden away, so they’re easy to access in an emergency and not somehow devoured by the fire themselves.
Basic camping gear for beginners – safety and security:
- Warning triangle, warning vest, first aid kit and warning sign for the rear
- Fire extinguisher, fire blanket
- Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
- Spare wheel and tools (e.g. jack and wheel wrench)
- Tow rope and lug (also useful if others are in need)
Technology and navigation
There are lots of little gadgets to help with navigation, communication and even just staving off boredom on the trip. While some are key pieces of basic equipment for a campervan, the others are more a matter of taste and influenced by your day-to-day life when you aren’t on the road.
You’ll probably use a navigation system to get around – whether it’s built into the vehicle, as a separate device or on your smartphone. If you trust your own sense of direction, you can go analogue and use paper maps and streetfinders. There are a range of different options for going online in your campervan.
Basic camping gear for beginners – finding your way:
- Charging cable and power bank for devices
- Navigation system or paper maps/streetfinder
- Handy camping apps for your smartphone (camping site finder, navigation or petrol station apps)
- Internet access in your campervan
- Pen and paper
Basic camping gear for beginners: the kitchen
How many kitchen supplies you need for your campervan is largely up to you. You don’t have to follow every item on our list – you can literally equip your campervan to your taste. We’ve put together a list of all the utensils and equipment you need for cooking and eating. How many plates, pots and so on that you need depends on how many people plan to travel in the motorhome: four people will need more than two, of course.
If your cupboards and drawers aren’t fully stocked before your first big trip, don’t worry about it. Often you don’t need everything to achieve your desired result, and necessity is the mother of invention – an amusing phrase worth remembering.
Finally, if there’s anything you don’t want moving around in the cupboards, they need to be fixed securely in place – particularly when it comes to glass and china. Plastic is a good way to avoid taking breakables with you.
In our second list, we’ve included dried foods that make very handy basics for your campervan and can also be kept in the motorhome for a long time with peace of mind because of their long shelf life.
Basic camping gear for beginners – the kitchen:
- Bowls (small and large salad bowl)
- Glasses (for wine, beer, spirits, etc.)
- Chopping boards (large and small)
- Cutlery: forks, knives, spoons (teaspoons and tablespoons)
- Chopping knives (bread knife, cheese knife, etc.)
- Scissors, tin opener, bottle opener, corkscrew
- Vegetable peelers, graters
- Pots and pans (with lids)
- Spatula, ladle, salad server, barbecue tongs
- Bread and storage containers
- Freezer bags, clingfilm, tinfoil, baking paper
- Bin bags
- Kitchen roll
- Sponges, cloths, washing-up liquid
- Collapsible draining board
- Tea towels
- Kettle, espresso machine
- Flask (for keeping warm and on the go)
- (Gas) barbecue
- Dried stock-cupboard staples: rice, pasta, couscous, etc.
- Tea, coffee, cocoa
- Flour and sugar
- Oil and vinegar
- Salt, pepper, dried herbs, spices, cinnamon
- Tinned and preserved goods (olives, pineapple, sweetcorn, etc.)
- Tinned ready meals and soup sachets
Basic camping gear for beginners: the bathroom
Although people’s approach to personal hygiene can vary, some items, such as toilet paper and soap, are essential for any camper. Even if yours doesn’t have any toilet facilities, it’s a good idea to have toilet paper: you’re sure to find toilet facilities that aren’t exactly as desired.
You should also have a travel first aid kit in your camper that contains medication for general use as well as specific medication for the health conditions and allergies of those travelling. Whether or not you need a hairdryer is, of course, up to you.
Campervan basics for beginners – hygiene:
- Toilet paper and paper towels
- Soap (you may wish to install a fixed dispenser/holder)
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Cosmetics (shampoo, shower gel, creams, etc.)
- Travel items (plasters, bug repellent, sunscreen, over-the-counter medication)
- Travel detergent
- Towels for showers and the beach
- Flip-flops (good for toilet facilities at campsites)
- Big water-tight bag (for towels and fresh clothing in washing facilities)
- Sanitary products (such as tampons) and baby products (such as nappies)
Basic camping gear for new lenders
Everything you need, your renters will too. While they will rely on you to provide some essentials – for instance, water and power supply – they’ll also bring some of their own things.
Please note that it’s part of the PaulCamper promise to provide renters with essential basics, from gas supply to a saucepan. You should ideally supply a guide with everything they need to know, such as information on water, power, gas and toilets, as well as your contact details in case of an emergency. Remember that your renters may use any food you leave in the motorhome.
Camper basics for new lenders:
- Camper guide with information on water, power, gas, toilets and contact details
- Fresh bedding and towels if required
- Soap and toilet paper refill
- Salt and pepper refill
- Check everything works (technology, water, gas, etc.)
- Leave a guest book if you like so renters can commemorate their stay
Basic camping gear for beginners made easy
If you’ve got all this camping equipment with you when you first set off, nothing can go wrong. To make sure you’re perfectly prepared for your camping trip, you can also download our packing list for camping.
Don’t feel stressed – a motorhome is like your own home: it grows and flourishes over time. Over the years, you’ll put your own stamp on your campervan and buy things that aren’t necessarily essential but do make your trips much more fun. Our motorhome tips for beginners can help you furnish and renovate your campervan.
If you don’t have your own motorhome, you can also buy a campervan from PaulCamper. And when you’ve got your own and you’d like to share the joy with others, you can rent out your motorhome and make back the money you spend on camping essentials.