5 weeks in a campervan: what we learned

For the last five weeks we have been living in a very small, very basic campervan.

Here it is:


After this amount of time in a campervan like this you learn a few things about how to make the most of your experience.

Don’t bring too much stuff

Really try to be thoughtful about what you bring. There isn’t much space and sleeping among your dirty laundry isn’t fun. Keep it simple and you’ll have a much better time.

Have a home

This means as soon as possible find a “home” in the van for your belongings, especially important items. For example, we used the under seat spaces for less used items like books, laptop and spare shoes. We kept our food near the cooking area at the back and our important documents upfront in the glove compartment. Giving your belongings a home serves two purposes. The first is that you feel like you are at home and so you don’t have that living-out-of-a-bag feeling. Secondly it’s much easier to find something in a cramped van if things have a their place.

Keep it clean kids


Like the idea of having a home for your belonging, it is also good to treat your van like home. That means take the time to keep it clean. It’s likely your going to be spending a fair about of time in your little van driving, sleeping and eating so you’ll want it to be clean. You’ll be surprised at the dust and muck you’ll accumulate after day at the beach, a hike and dinner so be prepared with a dustpan and a brush to give it a once over each day.

Tidy your room

Your van is tiny so it doesn’t take long for it to resemble a teenagers room. But remember it’s tiny so it doesn’t take long to keep things tidy. It will feel much better if you do. We found it helps to use containers such as boxes and bags to better store your items and keep them organised. Ziplock bags were great for small items such as electronics cables and recycled boxes, often available for free at supermarkets or grocery stored, helped us keep bigger items like plates and cups neat.

Don’t make the bed without the bed clothes

You’re going to be keeping your bedclothes in their “home” during the day so you can use the van for seating and eating etc… but each night you’ll need to make your bed up and it’s likely that once made “the home” for your bed sheets will not be accessible. So always remember to retrieve the bed clothes from their home before you make up the bed.

Remember to open the curtains

Your van will have curtains for use at night or when it’s very sunny. They should not be used when driving so always remember to open your curtains when driving and that reverse park will be so much easier.

Check your lights

In the simplest of vans, like ours, their is no power and so any lights you use when the engine is off will be using the battery. That’s the same battery that starts the van. Be conservative with your use otherwise you’ll be pushing the car in the morning!

Ventilate when cooking


Often you get a small gas stove in the rental vans but if not you’ll likely have your own to use for cooking. When in use these camping gas stoves give off gases that are harmful to you. Make sure you ventilate your van if you use it inside or better still take it outside to use.

Hopefully with these few tips your campervan experience will be as fun as ours. And if you have tips to share please do as we are still novices ourselves!







  1. Pingback: 5 weeks in a campervan: revisiting New Zealand | Somewhere about there

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