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Sep 16, 2019

Caravan trip checklist – The essential packing list

Caravan trip checklist – The essential packing list

Getting you and your caravan ready for the road can seem like a huge task that is going to take days. but it can also be a breeze if you use our handy caravan trip checklist. Getting the packing right the first time round can save you a lot of time, effort and frustration.

The essentials

Depending on where you are going and what sort of trip you have planned, there will be different items that you would need to pack in. There are however some items that will make up your basic essential list and will need to go on every trip.

Getting your menu sorted would be a good starting point so that you can get the dry items sorted and bought. If you are a typical South African though you could skip this step because braai meat, beer and biltong is a pretty easy list to remember 🙂

Your chariot checklist

It may seem that when you are set up on camp that there is ample space to move around freely, it is really the trip to and from the camp that can leave you feeling a little cramped. So when you are doing this caravan trip checklist, a good thing to consider is “is there a smaller version available”.

Keeping your camping checklist on hand during your stay is also advisable so that you know exactly what you have on hand.

  • Alarms, check that they are working and if they need new batteries
  • Fire extinguisher and fire blanket. Essential items for us South Africans who love fire so much
  • Dish washing liquid, plug, sponges, drying towels
  • Braai wipes, car or canvas cleaners like Kleen Green, big sponge, old towel
  • Soap, wipes, hand sanitizer, hand towel, tissues
  • Mini vacuum cleaner or broom and dustpan set
  • Mats for inside and outside the caravan
  • Folding camping table to work on outside
  • Camping chairs
  • Rubbish bin & rubbish bags
  • General carrying bags
  • Laundry bags, pegs and line
  • Board games, books, crosswords, pens and other stationary that your family my need to keep them busy
  • Camera, tablet and other small electronics
  • Rugby, cricket, soccer and other sports equipment
  • Fishing gear
  • Umbrella, wet weather gear, sun protection, hats
  • Chargers for any devices you take
  • Torches, spare batteries, blitz, charcoal
  • Toaster and kettle
  • Toiletries & bath towels
  • Extension cord/s for car fridge & caravan on a powered site. Check for 12 and 24 volt connections.
  • Kitchen essentials like potato peelers, crockery, cutlery, cutting boards etc

Your car checklist

It may seem like a good idea at the time to jam everything into your caravan to keep your car uncluttered, but you may find yourself frustrated when you need an essential trip item and it is packed way back behind everything in the furthest corner of the caravan. Here are some items that you should have in your car rather than your caravan.

  • GPS – It is a well known fact that us South African men never get lost and never need directions. The GPS is just for your wife to assure her that you are indeed on the right road and know exactly where you are going.
  • First aid kit – Keeping it in the car is a good idea, accidents happen in the blink of an eye and you will need quick access to it.
  • Baby wipes – Useful to have on hand after a pack of koeksisters or a streetwise 2, after all, a big part of the trip is about the padkos
  • Rubbish bags – small rubbish bags for empty food containers and general rubbish that floats around the car.
  • Device chargers – if the kids are using an iPad or DVD player in the car, plug it in so they can keep watching it and stop asking “are we there yet”
  • Rubber mat – Changing a tyre or checking that noise on your knees on South Africa’s blisteringly hot tar and gravel roads can be a lot more pleasant on a rubber mat.
  • Duct Tape and zip ties – Like a true MacGyver, you can patch up anything that needs urgent attention until it can be seen to by a pro.
  • Rags/Old Towel –if you need to change a tyre or check the oil. A neat addition is the little tubes of water less hand cleaners to get the hands clean again.
  • Tools – Keep a few basic tools handy if your toolbox isn’t easily accessible from the caravan.
  • Biltong & Droëwors – enough said.

Tools to take along

There are a different set of tools for road caravans and off road caravans. But there will be a common set for both. If you have some specialized tools for any specific requirement, be sure to add them here.

  • Electrical, plumbing and duct tape. Hemp fiber is great non plastic sealer for plumbing jobs too.
  • Spare fan belt & radiator hoses
  • Hammer and rubber mallet
  • Spanner set
  • Screwdrivers
  • Tyre pressure gauge
  • Puncture repair kit or a can of tyre weld to get you to the nearest repair station.
  • Socket set
  • Mini spirit level to check the van is level if you are going bundu bashing in your off road
  • Scissors
  • Stanley knife and blades
  • Zip ties

Spare items

This is an important one if you are going off road and there are no Spars on the horizon.

  • Batteries for torch, lamp, fire alarm, camera etc
  • Camera memory cards and USB sticks
  • Tyre/s for car
  • Tyre/s for caravan
  • Fuses and plugs

Before you leave

There are a few things to take care of on the home front too before you head out. These are particularly important if you are planning a longer trip.

One week + to go

  • Arrange with your neighbor to collect your post and newspapers
  • If you have an automatic garden sprinkler system, make a note to switch it off
  • Try and minimize your trash output so that there is little or none to put out.
  • Let someone know where you are going if you plan to go to the bush in case you get stuck.
  • Check up on your car service record and book it in if needed
  • Check the conditions of your tyres and the spares of your caravan and car
  • Fill gas bottles
  • Check for some attractions near your location that you may like to visit
  • Check your bikes if you are taking them, remember to pack in your bike tools too.
  • Plan your route and check for some cool things to do along the way and book ahead if you need to

Your caravan trip checklist one week before you leave

  • Buy your steaks, tjops and boerie. Vacuum pack and freeze
  • Purchase all your dry pantry items like braai spice,
  • Give an unruly teenager your house key to have a party while gone or rather to a trusted friend in case there is a house emergency.
  • Do your pretrip caravan check 
  • Make up the beds and start to pack the linen and other bedding
  • Pack your pantry items
  • Pack in the trip clothes

The day before 

  • Water your indoor plants and move any sensitive ones out of the elements
  • Check with buurman if he would take out your rubbish on collection day. Offer him some biltong as payment for his services 🙂
  • Check your car, water, oil, fuel and tyres
  • Fill the caravan water tanks
  • Buy your fresh foods
  • Last check for kitchen utensils and DO NOT forget the braai tongs.
  • Final clothes pack
  • Organize your padkos for easy access, keep the sugar items to a minimum for the kids. We all know what sugar highs do on long road trips in small spaces
  • Turn on the caravan fridge.
  • Charge batteries

On the morning you leave- Your last look at the caravan trip checklist

The night before, write yourself a short list of everything you need to take with you in the morning (or print out the lists in this article with your own bullet points added) . I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s always doing one final check.

  • After your shower, remember to pack your toiletries
  • Pack your favorite pillows and the kids fluffy toys
  • Empty the last items from the fridge
  • Turn off any electrical appliances at the wall
  • Empty any indoor bins
  • Check you locked all doors and windows
  • Pump up the tyres on the car and caravan after you leave home

Doing a caravan trip checklist will most certainly help you speed up the packing process and get things done in an easy and manageable process.

Category: Camping tips

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