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When you are first starting on your vanlife journey; maybe you are buying your van, building your van, or waiting for it to be built. No matter how you are beginning your journey, the result is the same, you need to start packing for vanlife. When you are prunning down your items and trying to figure out exactly which items you will need for your journey this vanlife packing list should help you as a basic guide. I have also created a downloadable PDF so that you can have a physical list you can check off to ensure you don’t forget a thing!
Vanlife Kitchen Packing List
When it comes to packing up your kitchen, you need to reasonable. Think about what you like to cook and how you can cook it with the least amount of items. Often in a house, you will cook several items at a time. It’s not always this easy in a van and you might end up making more simple meals that only require one pot where everything can be cooked together. For Shawn and I, we typically only use one skillet and one pot if we are making rice or pasta. For your accessories, you truly need to pair down. You don’t necessarily need a potato peeler, cheese grater, or even the citrus squeezer I listed below.
Pick out your favorite accessories that you know you use often and then store the rest. If necessary pare them down and then as time passes make several sweeps through your kitchen drawer and get rid of the items you don’t utilize. When it comes to your dinnerware this is going to come down to personal choice but my advice is to simply have 2 of everything. I would be lying if I told you that is what Shawn and I do but it’s still my advice. Shawn and I have 4 plates, 2 small bowls, and 2 big bowls. Chances are when you are serving people they will be vanners or travelers and will have their own items. However, we enjoy having the extra plates and it is worth taking up a little bit of extra room. It’s up to you to decide what you are and aren’t willing to sacrifice.
- 4 plates
- 4 Bowls
- 2 mugs
- 2 Yeti’s – These fit in the Sprinter cup holders!
- French press or AeroPress
- Coffee Grinder
- Lemon squeezer
- Magnetic strip for silverware
- Kitchen Towels
- Cutting Board
- Wine/Beer Opener
- Can opener
- Vitamix – Ok maybe not a necessity but we love it!
Download Your Free Vanlife Packing List PDF!
Clothing Vanlife Packing List
Your vanlife packing list wouldn’t be complete without looking into what clothes you will pack. The best advice I can give when deciding which clothes should stay and which ones should go is to think practically and quality. If you’ve ever been on a two-week vacation abroad then this process should look similar. Pack items that have multi-purposes and can be stored easily without wrinkling. Have a few nice shirts/outfits that can be worn on a regular workday and will look good if you happen to go out on the town. Layering is always important and doesn’t overdo it. You will quickly find your favorite clothing items and the rest will end up collecting dust. If you buy new items then try to buy one quality item so you don’t have to have multiples and it will last a long time helping you out with your vanlife budget.
- 1 pair of jeans/pants
- 1 down/winter jacket
- 1 Flannel/ Jean shirt
- 2 plain t-shirts
- 1 all-purpose dress / nice outfit
- 2 long-sleeved shirts
- 2 pair running/hiking shorts
- 2 tank tops
- 2 bras
- 10 undies or 4 pair boxers
- 1 pair running shoes
- 1 pair hiking/winter boots
Vanlife Bedroom Packing List
Having a comfy bedroom area is important for getting a good night’s rest which keeps your vanlife road trip a happy one. I personally enjoy having a comfortable pillow, soft blankets, and nice sheets. Plus cute bedding is important for all those vanlife photos you’ll want to take!
Vanlife Laundry Packlist List Items
Your Laundry room is getting a huge downgrade on this vanlife packing list. Our laundry room is now right behind the driver’s seat and is composed of our dirty laundry bag and laundry detergent. Don’t overcomplicate things when it comes to doing your laundry on the road.
Vanlife Cleaning items Packing List
The great thing about having such a small space is clean up is an absolute breeze! Even if we need to reorganize a few things, cleaning up the van takes a maximum of an hour and frankly, that’s only if we are deep cleaning it. You don’t need a ton of cleaners or vacuums to get the job done. We use an eco-friendly cleaning spray, a washcloth, and Lysol wipes when we feel it’s necessary to kill some germs.
Some van-lifers have a small handheld vacuum and love it. We bought a vacuum and found it didn’t work well enough to take up space and returned it the next day. Using a broom and hand washing the floor is so much simpler!
Vanlife Bathroom Packing List
Personal hygiene items probably take up more room inside our van than we would like. We love oils, face cleansers, and even have toothpaste for our dogs. This is probably one area I don’t recommend skimping on. Keeping clean in a van is tough enough and when you don’t have the proper tools you are making it that much more difficult. A top tip is to create an area just for your bathroom supplies with storage containers or built-in dividers.
To learn more about keeping clean on the road check out my post on Vanlife Hygiene.
Vanlife Electronics Packing List
Inside your van you may be surprised how few electronics you truly own. The truth is, since your van has limited space you only need one of each item and since it is so small it is much harder to lose things (minus cell phone chargers which disappear just like socks!). I have listed the basic items you will want to have while traveling in your van.
Vanlife Safety and Maintenance Packing List
If you are going to have a kitchen in your home then you need to have a few safety items. First off a small fire extinguisher and a carbon monoxide detector. It is a small price to pay to avoid a major catastrophe.
- First Aid Kit
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Car Jack (Most vehicles come with one but double-check!)
- Fire Extinguisher
- Battery Cables
- Reflective Vest
- Snow Chains (If you plan on being in the mountains during the winter)
- AAA Card
Vanlife Pet supplies Packing List
Don’t forget about your pet in this vanlife packing list! If you have a dog or cat then make sure and carry the basics with you so they are taken care of as well. The great thing is that there are storable items that you can purchase for your animal. For more essentials head over to Vanlife with a dog.
Download Your Free Vanlife Packing List PDF!
That is a wrap for all the items that you should have on your packing list for the ultimate adventure! I hope this guide helps and that you have an amazing adventure!