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Home > Tips and Hints > Starting Out Index > Choosing for your style of travel > Packing List

For camping days away from caravan


Tent and groundsheet

Sleeping bags and pillows (from caravan)

Beds and air pump if air bed

Gas camping stove and small gas bottle

Large bowl for washing up and bathing (this is our bath bowl in the caravan)

Other cooking utensils, eating utensils and food packed from caravan

Mosquito/midge netting

Water canisters (drinking, cooking/washing)

Table and chairs

Rechargeable lanterns


In the car


We have an Engel car fridge which carries lots of drinking water and our lunches.

Lunch box with our needs for preparing and eating lunches (tray, cutting board, sharp knife with round point suitable for cutting and buttering), “truck cups”, paper towels, and some dry foods such as biscuits for emergencies and snacks.     

We carry a 12 volt pie warmer when in cold climates.

Moist hand wipes

First Aid kit (goes into caravan when we stop)

Back pack and contents ready for walking (click on link for suggested contents)

Recovery gear, tools and vehicle spares, spares tyres, tyre mending kit, tyre pliers set, compressor, and warning triangle or flashers for breakdowns

A torch

Mobile and/or satellite phones

Maps for that area

List of phone numbers such as for Royal Flying Doctor Service, fuel outlets if travelling in remote areas, agents for spares parts specific to your car and caravan eg caravan springs, motoring organisation breakdown assistance, your vehicle insurer, road conditions, Police

Music (MP3 player or similar ideal)

Plastic bags (freezer type) for rubbish and for toilet paper when in the bush.

"Grab Bag" with phones, money and anything you would need to take quickly in an emergency evacuation.  This can be kept in your back pack.










This is my basic packing list, and we can travel indefinitely through most climates, but for someone with a big van as their sole home, they would probably have a lot more home comforts.  This list started out as the packing list for short holidays with a tent, and a few more things were added each trip through the progression of camping styles.  Everyone will have different needs, but these may help you get started on your list.




Three sets of every day clothing, and a few more ‘socks and jocks’ if you want to as they don’t take up much room.  Depending on expected climate whether you need warm clothes or just shorts and tee-shirts.  Even in hot areas, take one track suit for cool nights or unexpected weather changes. 

Shorts, tee-shirts and tank tops.  Non iron is great, but cotton is much more comfortable on hot days. 

Track suits for cooler weather and a good pair of jeans.  Choose colours that will not show stains or require special laundry treatment.

One good non iron outfit for special occasions (I take black slacks, a non iron Balinese sarong and a lightweight long sleeved blouse, he takes dark jeans and a good quality non iron shirt)

Socks and undies; include Explorer socks or similar for cold climates, particularly as bed socks

Pyjamas/sleepwear (two sets; summer or winter depending on where you are going)

Shady hat (collapsible), beanie for cold climates

Sandals and joggers (good quality walking shoes), one pair good shoes for special occasions, slippers suitable for wearing out of doors (eg to shower block).  Rubber thongs to wear in showers if you are prone to tinea.





Keep it lightweight.  Silicon bakeware is ideal. 

Large fry pan

Medium and small saucepans

Lightweight kettle

Small baking/browning dish if you have an oven (mine travels in the oven) and silicon bread/cake bakeware and silicon baking sheet 

Barbecue tongs and jaffle iron for outdoor cooking; you may also want a bag of campfire cookware if you plan to cook on camp fires (fire restrictions permitting)

Gauze toaster for toasting on gas

Small or medium sized plastic jugs with lids

Plastic trays

Pack in tea towels to avoid rattling and wear

Gas lighter (needed particularly if you have a built in gas hot water system without electronic ignition) and matches

Detergent, laundry detergent and pegs

Can opener, serving and cooking utensils such as kitchen knives, tongs, wooden spoon and egg slice

A couple of boards for hot pots

Pot holders

Tea towels, paper towels

Sponges and disposal Chux style wipes

Crockery – lightweight or plastic

Cutlery – lightweight

Cups and mugs, ‘glasses’ plastic preferred

Take only enough for your needs.  If you have guests, they can bring their own.




If you are going to more remote areas (and much of Australia is remote), allow enough food and water to live on for a couple of weeks at minimum in case you are stranded by rain or a breakdown.


Coffee, tea, sugar, milk powder; decanted into plastic containers

Flour and yeast if you intend to make bread

Rice and or pasta, including a few packets of ten minute noodle meals

Dried fruit for inland areas where fresh fruit is hard to get

Cooking oil (spray can)

Spices, pepper and salt, to suit your tastes

Vegemite, peanut paste, jam if you eat these – plastic jars preferred

Canned food.  I take canned tuna, baked beans and canned fruit, most of this is as a back up for when out of fresh food.  Canned meats can also be useful; particularly when refrigeration space is small and remote travel means a long time between shopping centres.  

Dried vegetables for back up and after crossing into exclusion zones.  Dried meat or meals can be obtained on line and from camping stores that cater for hikers. 

Breakfast cereal; hot porridge is nice on very cold mornings.

Dried bread type biscuits or mountain bread for lunches when there is no fresh bread.

Long life milk (heavy and bulky to store, but nicer than powdered milk)

Fresh vegetables and fruit. Potatoes and onions keep well.  Be aware of restrictions crossing state borders and into exclusion zones. 

Cheese, meat and fresh vegetables in fridge




Buckets (colour coded for fresh and waste water)

Sullage (grey water) hose

Large buckets with lids if you want to do the washing with the vehicle movement

Rags or old towels

Broom, dustpan

Cleaning needs such as laundry detergent, nappy soaker for laundry and toilet

Camp spade

Insect repellant and ant dust, sunscreen

Spare light bulbs, cupboards hinges and latches

Power cords and multiple outlet boards


Torches and spare batteries

Ladder if needed

Laptop and accessories if needed

Cameras, spare batteries and battery chargers

Scissors, note pads, pencils, pens, sticky notes

Books – another weighty item unless you use and electronic reader, but you will still need some maps books and tourism books or brochures and any other reference books (birds, reptiles, wild flowers).

Container of coins suitable for laundromats, coin showers, parking meters.

Fishing gear if needed



Bathroom and bedding


Personal items such as bathroom bag, cosmetics, medications

Two sets sheets and pillow slips, light cover, quilt and pillows

Towels and floor towels/mats

Toilet rolls (leave some in the car)



Tools and spares


Depending on you style and region of travel, your rig and your own expertise


A minimum, wheel spanners and good jack suitable for both your vehicle and trailer; we carry two jacks 

Compressor for re-inflating tyres, tyre pressure gauge

Depending on how far off the major highways you are going to venture, type repair plugs and tyre pliers may be invaluable. 

A selection of spanners

Recovery gear such as snatch strap and/or drag chain. 

A pair of jack stands (for safety when working under a jacked up vehicle or trailer).   

Breakdown warning triangles or flashers

Hi Vis vests for yourselves

Infra-red temperature reader (mine is a Fluke brand, but cheaper ones can be purchased from Jaycar stores); for checking wheel bearing and brake drums, as well as being useful for monitoring fridge and freezer temperatures. 

Radiator hoses and clamps, belts according to your vehicle


Screwdriver set

Portable electric drill

Electrical pliers and connectors (for 12 volt vehicle light cables and similar)

Spare bolts in a variety of sizes

For really remote travel and depending on your rig, trailer springs and or axles may even be considered. 

Your load will be limited by weight and space availability

My husband's tool boxes have the above and lots more.

Packing list

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tn_lunchbox.jpg tn_plates.jpg
Our insulated lunchbox hold our needs for making luncjes on the go and can be carried on day hikes strapped to a back pack
Square 'plates' to fit into the lunchbox are lightweight and compact, cheap and can be disposable - two litre icecream container lids
Purchased from Woolworths for around $8 if on special, I find these lightweight frypans a very good non stick product for frying and all-in-one pan meals.  Cheap enough to replace if they warp or wear.

See also

General packing hints for the larder

What to pack 

Protecting breakable items

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An ideal choice for setting up your caravan would be this lightweight Combo Pack from Big W stores with
Saucepan with Lid
Casserole Pot with Lid
Baking Tray
3 Piece Knife Set
8 Piece Utensil Set
4 Piece Storage Set with Lids
Kitchen Tong
Set of Measuring Cups
Set of Measuring Spoons
Measuring Jug
Mixing Bowl
Can Opener
3 Cutting Mats
Not available at present
Big W stores stock a good forty piece set of lightweight utensils - click for details.  This is unavailable at present. 
Kitchen utensils Combo Pack