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Family Campervan Checklist: 101 Packing List

Bastian Graf Portrait

Written by Bastian
Sales & Marketing Manager

Who doesn’t love going on a campervan adventure with their kids? There is no better way for a family to bond – fact! But sometimes planning and packing for a family holiday is hard, especially when you’re in a campervan or camping and need to have the right items for all activities.

Being well-organised and prepared in advance is the key to making sure your family campervan trip goes smoothly. We’ve created a detailed packing list, designed especially for families, so you don’t forget any of those essential items when you’re off the grid!


When it comes to packing clothing, it helps to try to pack light. However, don’t go too minimalistic. As you know, kids get dirty quickly and you don’t want to be doing laundry daily. Opt for quick drying and sweat-wicking fabrics designed for travelling.

If there’s one thing you can guarantee about New Zealand, it’s the unpredictable weather! In fact sometimes we’re known to have “four seasons in one day” so it’s best to be prepared, even if you’re travelling in summer. Layers will soon become your best friend in New Zealand! Of course, this won’t stop your three-year-old from insisting on wearing nothing but a bathing costume and tutu with wellies, but you should at least have some layers ready for a more sensible clothing option!

  • Underwear
  • T-shirts
  • Long sleeved shirts
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Socks
  • Pyjamas
  • Waterproof jacket – to make sure you can explore even on the gloomiest of days and spend as much time outside as possible.
  • Hiking boots
  • Jandals or comfortable sandals
  • Wellies
  • Swimsuit
  • Sarong (it doubles as a scarf, cover up and towel)
  • Hats
  • Sunglasses

Pack wellies for the family


You need to be comfy while sleeping in your campervan so don’t hold back on packing all of your favourite pillows along with your sleeping bags. If you and the kids are well rested, it means everyone will be happier and a lot less stress for you. Travellers Autobarn can provide you with extra sleeping bags as well, so even if you forget them we’ll have the backup. We also provide free heaters and water bottles in the winter, as well as a number of other optional campervan equipment.

For less stress and more relaxation, remember to pack the following for your next campervan adventure:

  • Sleeping bags, sheets, and pillows
  • Nightlights or torches – apart from the obvious uses, it can be difficult to get kids to sleep when the lights are on inside your van. Instead, turn the lights off at bedtime and use a torch if you need something from inside. Mum and dad can then relax outside with a camping lamp and a glass of wine or two.
  • Hot water bottle
  • Pack and play or camping cot for babies

Camping with children


When you’re travelling with kids it’s always important to bring lots of snacks, as those dips in blood sugar can lead to crankiness and frayed tempers. Not what you want when on a long journey. Dried and tinned food in particular for when you can’t buy fresh or don’t want to go out to eat – dried noodles and pasta, rice, tinned vegetables, beans, and soup, jams, honey & peanut butter, dried fruit snacks, cereal bars, spices, long life milk, and oil. Don’t forget the marshmallows for toasting on the open fire!

Other kitchen items you shouldn’t forget:

  • Tea and coffee
  • Formula, bottles, and sterilising equipment if using
  • Baby food or equipment to make baby food if you use it
  • Microwavable containers – if you have the option of hiring a campervan with a microwave, this can be a lifesaver when you’re travelling with kids. When witching hour hits and everyone’s tired and hungry, quick and easy food can be prepped in minutes.
  • Cutlery, sharp knife, can opener and other utensils
  • Pots and pans for cooking
  • Chopping board
  • Foil and baking paper for using with public BBQs
  • Dishcloths and tea towels
  • Paper towels
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bin bags
  • Water filter or water purification tablets – in case you don’t have immediate access to clean drinking water.

For kitchen equipment we do have you covered though, as we offer pots, pans, plates, cutlery – the whole lot.

Cooking Pots

First Aid Kit

Have you got your first aid kit to fulfil your role as super-mum/dad? Hopefully, the answer is yes! Whatever you do, make sure your kit is packed for all disasters – kids can have the strangest incidents, making you either laugh or cry!

For smaller children, it helps to be creative when it comes to treating the inevitable cuts and scrapes. Wrapping your kids up in cotton wool isn’t something you want to do when you’re exploring the wilderness but some toddlers can become hysterical at even the tiniest spot of blood. In these cases, your box of tricks (first aid kit) becomes your best friend with its “magic” antiseptic cream, cartoon-adorned Band-Aids, and, of course, a lolly or two won’t hurt either!

  • Personal medications – bring enough to last your entire trip in case you can’t get hold of it on the road
  • Antiseptic cream
  • Insect bite cream
  • Bandages and Band-Aids – Include some waterproof dressings too
  • Gauze pads
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Panado / Nurofen – liquid versions for small children
  • Cold and flu sachets
  • Anti-diarrhea tablets
  • Rehydration sachets
  • Antihistamine
  • Thermometer
  • Small sharp Scissors
  • Tweezers

Packing list for the family

Personal Care

Some campervan sites have pretty luxurious shower facilities, while at others you’ll be lucky if you get a cold tap and a bar of soap. Even in the most remote surroundings, having a selection of your own toiletries and wash products can bring a little taste of your home comforts. Fill up small bottles and give each member of the family their own wash bag so there’s no need to take it in turns to have showers.

  • Soap, shampoo, conditioner, and other toiletries
  • Aloe vera to treat sunburn
  • Toilet rolls
  • Antibacterial wet wipes – as well as the obvious uses, wet wipes can be invaluable when you’re travelling between campsites and don’t have the chance to shower for a few days. Keep you and the kids fresh while you’re on a long journey.
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Hairbrush
  • Hairbands
  • Towels – they’ll get dirty so opt for dark colours or patterns
  • Jandals / sliders or other plastic or rubber sandals To use in shared shower facilities
  • Potty or toilet seat if you have a toilet-training toddler
  • Nappies and swim nappies for babies
  • Baby bath or big bucket – even older kids will love the novelty of a bucket bath! Also, if you’re staying at a more basic campervan site and only have access to cold showers, you can make bath time a bit more tolerable for the little ones by heating up some water for an al fresco bathing experience!

Kids camping outside


There will be plenty to see and do while you’re on your trip but sometimes kids just need a bit of downtime at camp or something to keep them occupied while you’re driving to your next destination.

  • Tablets to keep kids occupied on those long car trips – add some fun camping apps like an animal track identifier and night sky constellations app. Older kids also love acting as navigator, so a GPS-powered map app can be great entertainment as well as being useful
  • Headphones – make sure each kid has their own pair!
  • Books – New Zealand themed and activity books in particular, especially if you’re “road schooling”
  • Board Games
  • Ball
  • Playing cards
  • Travel journals/notepads and pens
  • Colouring books
  • Easy craft supplies – stickers, glue, coloured paper for cutting, you can also use leaves, sticks and others objects you find around the campsite
  • Toys – bring a couple of favourites from home and some new options to pull out on a rainy day. However, you’ll find your kids are generally happy to play with sticks and stones and whatever they find around them.

Games for kids while camping


You’ll be spending the majority of your time outdoors, which is both a blessing and a curse. Kids need less entertainment and are better at keeping themselves occupied in the great outdoors, but they also seem to be a magnet for insects, dog poo, toddler-sized holes, and pretty much any other mischief they can find themselves in. It’s best to be prepared but go with the flow and remember you can always hose your kids down at the end of the day!

  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Shade cloth
  • Gas bottle
  • Camping stove
  • Tools, rope, and tent pegs
  • Large water containers (fill them up when you’re at a serviced site)
  • Mosquito coils
  • Folding camp chairs and camp table
  • Arm bands or float vests
  • Snorkels
  • Picnic blanket

Family campervan trip


And last but by no means least – all those random bits and pieces that are so important but you’re so likely to forget! There’s a whole host of travel gadgets available. Honestly, it can be tempting to get carried away when you’re shopping in your local store, but stick to the essentials and opt for multi-use items where possible.

  • Camera
  • Chargers for electronics – it’s well worth investing in a couple of solar chargers for when you’re on the road and don’t have the chance to power up for a few days. If you keep them on the dashboard while you’re driving, you should have enough power by the evening to charge up your phones.
  • Extension cord
  • Clothesline and pegs – you can get a special travel clothesline with suction cups and attached pegs, so they don’t get lost.
  • Candles
  • Batteries
  • Torch
  • Pocket multi-function knife
  • Coins for laundry
  • Baby carrier
  • A booster seat or bumbo type seat can also be handy for babies
  • Maps – not just for navigation. Kids love to help plan and see where they’re going. You can mark off where you’ve been on a big map of Australia
  • Fans – to help you stay cool inside your campervan so you don’t have to run the air con all the time

Luggage for the family

Get Ready for Your Family Campervan Adventure

That’s it – you’re now packed and ready to hit the open road in your campervan!

If you’re looking to go on an adventure with your family and think that hiring a campervan would be a great option, come and chat with our friendly staff today. We are experts in family travel and know all the tips and tricks you need to make sure your camping trip is great fun and stress-free.

About The Author

Bastian Graf Portrait

Sales & Marketing Manager

Bastian is the Sales & Marketing Manager here at Travellers Autobarn. He holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing and International Business Management, and 20+ years experience in campervan hire, road trips and travel.

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