Tips for Quick Pack Up and Go Campervan Camping
How-To's & Resources, Traveling With Kids
By Care Willink
One morning, while in our Escape Campervan, I noticed something that made us love the Escape Campervan type of travel even more. We woke up, made a fire, cooked bacon and eggs in about 20 minutes (meal menu here), and used the next hour to sit by the fire, drinking our coffee, and watching the girls playing around the campsite. When it was time to go, we took about 10 minutes to clean up and leave no trace, closed the Escape Campervan doors and headed out!
Why am I mentioning this? Because it struck me how our tenting neighbors next to us were making breakfast while we slept in. Then they spent the hour we were sitting by the fire to fold, take down and pack up their car.
So many times when I talk to people and they mention how they dislike camping, the reason they always give is that it is just too much work! This is one of the main draws to camping in a campervan for me. The time you would have spent packing, setting up and breaking down a tent, instead can be spent doing what you came out there for, to soak in nature and enjoy the outdoors!
Escape Campervan has done a wonderful job of creating a Packing List HERE. While this covers the essentials, we have a few things to add to help you quickly pack up and go when campervan camping.
Our Favorite Items to Bring for Campervan Camping
We love our coffee! Escape Campervan is awesome about having all the dishes you need, including a coffee mug. But if you need a cup of coffee on the go like us, you’ll want to pack a thermos!
Quick-Dry Towels & Shower wipes–
These two things are the biggest time saver we have found. If you do have time for a shower, you sure don’t have time to dry out your towel too. Make sure it is a quick-dry towel, lay it out during breakfast and it’ll be ready by the time you leave! No time/place to shower? Be sure and bring a pack of shower wipes. You will have a pep in your adventure step if you feel more refreshed!
Hard Shell Luggage-
When packing ahead of time, think through your luggage not only for the airplane but also for your Escape Campervan! For both van types, we bring hard shell cases. Here’s why:
Big Sur: They roll right under your bed acting as a ‘drawer’ rather than soft luggage bags stuffed under. If we have a Big Sur model we leave the bed down most of the trip helping with the ‘pack up and go’ mentality.
Maverick Model: For the Maverick model, hard shell is even more important to us! We sleep ‘upside down’ compared to the chart you may see, so our heads are by the kitchen area. We place the hardshell cases in the luggage area which then serve as a makeshift night stand. It makes having a glass of wine while looking through pictures of our day that much easier to manage… oh, and all of this while the kids fall asleep! I know, we are brilliant 🙂
We also bring a backpack for each of us to put our extra treasures in. We put these right up between the front seats. Make sure these have a place for your camera, snacks & activities for quick access during your trip!
Essential Items for Traveling with Young Kids in a Campervan:
One of the best things we figured out while traveling with kids is bringing a carrier pack for each young child. Airlines view these as a stroller so you shouldn’t have to pay for any extra luggage. It is really convenient to hold your children in while running around in airports and then folding and fitting nicely into your van. Then you also have the packs for any hikes and adventures! This is a huge time saver if you have young kids.
When purchasing a pack-
*Make sure the pack fits your child well. This goes without saying, but think about where the child’s feet and headrest while in the pack. If they fall asleep, will they still be comfortable?
*Make sure it fits YOU the right way. While it is important it fits your child, be sure it fits your body type. For me, I’ve learned some are more comfortable for my back than others. Also if you have a shorter torso, certain packs may not be very adjustable and could rest on your hips, making it hard to carry for long periods of time. One suggestion is to borrow some from friends before buying your own. Or trying some out in the store instead of purchasing online.
*Make sure it has a large pocket. Some packs have very small pockets and you are going to regret this! We have everything in there like snacks, drinks, cameras, blankets, sunscreen & more!
*You get what you pay for. When you are looking around ahead of time be sure and read reviews!
*Airlines see it as a stroller at check-in. However, not all customer service reps who check you in will realize this. Sometimes you have to educate them! 🙂 You should be able to either check it in at the front like a car seat or keep the child in all the way through security and boarding the plane. Also, you can use the pocket as extra packing space!
If you are in a Big Sur you won’t have to take out the seats to sleep. If you are in a Maverick you will need to take out the seats to make your bed. This can be challenging to figure out where to put them. Two ideas: once you are parked for the night and ready to sleep you can put them in the front two seats. If you elect the sleep top carrier add-on (which we LOVE and highly recommend splurging on) you can put the car seats up top. Or you can sleep up top in which case you wouldn’t have to remove the carseats at all! Pat yourself on the back for being brilliant one more time!
Hope these tricks help on your next adventure and you can “pack up and go” when campervan camping a little bit easier! Also, don’t look down on those who tent… just give them an Escape Campervan flyer to book a campervan and be on your way 😉
9 thoughts on “Tips for Quick Pack Up and Go Campervan Camping”
We have rented a Maverick twice now — LOVE IT! We actually brought soft luggage because we traveled with a medium (10yr) and small kid (6yr). Both times we slept with the smaller one and made the bigger one sleep where you were putting your luggage. We bought a blow up pool raft and laid it down on the storage area and he slept sideways across the van. Yep our last rental was 2 years ago and we knew then that would be our last time with him sleeping there. He is a little too long now. The space was great to store all the bedding while the seats were up. Our family loved our campervan trips. Both of our trips were 2 week long trips. The quick dry towels are a must, they pack small and can be used for blankies too. The first thing we would do is organize our clothes in one of the storage bins and get the kids games, small toys, car seat all fixed up. Can’t wait to travel in a campervan again…a Big Sur next time.
Hannah, love all the tips! We hope to see you back soon 🙂 A Big Sur is calling your name! In the meantime, stay healthy and safe.
First Escape campervan trip coming up; we have a 6 and 4 year old and a 7 month old baby. Do you think we should put the kids up top and sleep inside the van with the baby? Or should we sleep up top with the baby and put the kids inside? Thanks!
Either way! The bed in the van is a bit bigger, which might be more comfortable with the baby. And the kids are probably big enough to climb the ladder into the rooftop sleeper with adult supervision. Whatever you feel the most comfortable with.
I envisage to rent a Maverick we will be with our 2 kids (3 and 6 yo) but don’k want to use the roof tent in april to cold and be with the kids. Is it enough space to sleep 4 in the van ? One with us but the other one ?
It would be tight with 2 kids and 2 adults sleeping in a Mavericks. The bed is queen sized. Your 6 year old could probably climb the ladder into the rooftop tent with adult supervision, but it will be easier for the adults to sleep in the rooftop tent and the kiddos inside. The rooftop sleeper can keep you fairly warm. Pack an extra couple blankets and warm layers just in case.
very good information
thanks from holland
We like to hire a van for 3 people, 2 adults and a 10 year old girl. Could she sleep in the van as well? If yes, what is the best place . And which van do you recommend?
Yes, three people can sleep in the interior of the van in the bed. The best bet would be to rent our Big Sur model. You also have the option to add a rooftop tent, and have some people sleep on the inside, and some on top. Lots of options depending on your preferences!