A packing list of what to bring with you on the road is inconclusive. You could spend hours, days or even months on this comprehensive list and yet never feel fully prepared. But we are here to tell you, that’s okay! Like any long trip, embarking on a camping vacation or travelling in the van for extended periods you will surely never feel fully ready, but that is part of the elusive charm of hitting the open road.

Those important items, the essentials, what’s crucial, means something different to everyone BUT armed with a little know-how, you can surely pack everything that’s absolutely necessary. Everything else, you can buy, trade or make along the way which is what makes this kinda lifestyle so special.

The Practical

Camping and cook equipment. These basics which are readily available from all outdoor stores in the UK will ensure that our most basic of human needs are catered for. We don’t want any HANGRY campers on our hands and unless your van/camper is decked out well, perhaps it’s wise to keep camp cooking equipment handy. There is something deeply satisfying about cooking and eating outside as well, by a campfire, in nature. There is little else that is quite as nurturing. It’s also a good idea to make sure to pack a tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag. The outdoor lover’s basic essentials. A sleeping bag particularly, keeping you cosy and snug as a bug in a rug, even on the coldest of nights.

Phone/ Laptop Charger. Although the whole nature of heading out onto the open road to discover the wild, is to discover, have an organic moment with your loved ones or indeed just in nature. However, there is no shame in admitting that we are products of our environment, we crave connection and that’s alright. Not only to let loved ones back home know you’re safe but also to allow you the freedom to explore. The internet provides a wealth of information, maps, hints and tips not to mention instant answers. Taking the stress out of traveling.

Warm Clothes. Whether you would consider yourself fashionable or even interested remotely in clothes, every outdoorsman worth their salt knows the value of good quality gear. From smart fabric thermals and next to skin layers all the way to lightweight down mid layers and shells; investing in the right clothes will see you through any adventure. It’s worth investing in this, stay clear of the high street and head for outdoor speciality brands online, ones with a green certification label is important too!

Trusty Shoes. From driving to hiking and everything in between, a good sturdy pair of shoes will become your best friend. By study shoes, we don’t necessarily mean leather but we mean a well crafted, rugged sole, maximum comfort inner liner and waterproof. Again, worth the investment and guaranteeing your comfort whatever you get up too!

A traveller’s survival kit. This is something all outdoor lovers, travel addicts and campers should keep with them at all times. Keep it in your backpack, the boot of your car, any place where it’s easily accessible. In this survival kit, you should ensure these items stay topped up and looked after. It will ensure you stay on top of every situation and make life so much easier. We recommend: 1.) A swiss army knife, 2.) First aid kit, 3.) Energy Bars 4.) Steel flask with a beverage source, 5.) A lighter 6.) A light source (either battery or solar powered or even candles in some situations) and finally, 7.) Hand sanitizer. Together these items are useful, trusty and can curb travel anxiety which is exactly what we need!

The Meaningful

A sense of adventure. What is it to travel, to head out doors with an intrepid sense of wonderment for all the tales, stories and experiences that lay ahead of you. You must go into your new found van life with an open mind and an open heart. Be willing to embrace new experiences and situations that push the boundaries of your comfort zone. Whether that be driving to a location and setting up the campfire to look out into the distance or whether that’s meeting new friends on the road and taking the chance to see new sights with them. The promise of the open road is infinite, as is your imagination. There is nothing stopping you now.

A camera. This may seem like a subheading more befitting of the practical section but the meaningfulness of the camera is far more than taking images for Instagram. The Camera captures a brief moment and makes it eternal. The poetry behind the idea of photographing all your experience means you can live in that moment forever- whenever you see the image, it will evoke memories of this moment in time. Exploring life through the lense provides you with another perspective. Experience what you might not see otherwise.

Out of office reply. Working up to life on the road, heading out to see what’s beyond the horizon has been a long time coming. No doubt you have been saving and planning for a while, working towards that sweet moment when you walk away from work for the last time before you head out on your expedition, whether it’s 2 weeks road trip or a few years. Setting up that automated out of office reply is the final step towards distancing yourself from your former life and opening your heart to the next chapter. Short term or long, this will surely be a special moment.

To travel is to find one’s self and that’s what is so endearing. All the possibility, all the promise of the unknown. We all want to get a little lost to find ourselves and that’s what this #VanLife is all about. To us, it’s just as important to experience a 2-week road trip around the North American National parks as it would be to set out for a 3-year sabbatical to travel from pole to pole. Let your mind run wild with ideas and spots you always wanted to visit. Now’s your chance. Make sure you pack smart and light and you will surely have a magical time.

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