Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Preparing for a Road Trip in your VW Camper

There is an old adage that if you go back-packing you should only take the absolute minimum amount of possessions that you think is possible, lay everything on the floor and then half it! Well we are not sure at Class Campers that this applies to taking a trip in a VW Camper but there are lessens to be learnt from this. Firstly, it is worth thinking carefully about what you pile in to your bus. Ours was a classic example: portable satellite dish/receiver and 12 volt TV; 3 different tents and a swing ball for entertainment! All this and we forgot to take any plates or eating utensils.

Secondly, too much weight will effect the ride of your vw bus and decrease your fuel economy, which to be fair isn't very good anyway. I once asked on a VW Camper forum how I could make my bus faster whilst increasing fuel economy. The reply was "add lightness", a suggestion that I have never forgotten.

How does one remember everything that you might need on a Volkswagen Camper road trip?
Some advocate a simple system by sticking a checklist to your fridge a week or two before you leave and then just add to it every time you have a thought! Others suggest that one should have your traveling equipment in your bus at all times. Thereby, each time you go on a trip you can add to your supplies, after several road trips you should have everything you will require.
Well although both of these methods work to a certain extent the first suggestion is fraught will problems and will inevitably leave you without something you really need. Like bog paper! The second suggestion is one that I have used for years. I cleared out my camper only a couple of months ago and there must have a ton of crap in there! Most of which had no use at all. And after which my fuel economy got noticeably better. So here's how you do it! Well its how I figure is the best way.

Write out list of everything you think you might need and throw it away! Then get a pen and write a list of everything you will need to cook your breakfast/evening meal and make tea and coffee! Right that's nearly everything you need. Then write out a list of everything you need to have a shit/shave and a shower. What you should have now is all the absolute basics but enough to get you through a day or two. Now think about location specific stuff that you might require. Are you going to the Lake District or to New quay- Cornwall, because if you are then you are likely to be going walking or surfing so think about what you might need for these trips. Remember don't overload your VW bus, there is absolutely no need to take 6 surf boards with you.

Finally, what will you need if something happens to your bus, it breaks down or you have a crash? Now this might not be so obvious to some folks out there so I have included a five part checklist at the end of the article. Suffice to say that your emergency equipment is more important than anything else. If you forget to take your plates you can always buy some. But if you have an emergency and you don't have any kit it will be too late to do anything about it.

Travel Checklist

Everyday items:
Knives/forks/spoons/corkscrew/plates/bowls/serving spoon/mugs/glasses
Tupperware for storing food
Herbs/salt/pepper/condiments
Food/tea/coffee/sugar/milk
Washing up liquid/tea towel/scrubber
Soap/shampoo/flannel/towel/toothpaste/toothbrush/shaver/shaving foam
Toilet Paper/girly stuff
Lighter/matches
Black Bags
Water Container
Prescription Medication
Sleeping bag/duvet
Sunscreen
Pen Knife
Candles
Maps/directions
Travel alarm clock Safety:
Small Fire Extinguisher
Fire Blanket
Torch
Spare batteries
Warning Sign
First Aid kit
Hi-vis Jacket
Mobile phone/charger

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