How to pack your camper trailer

Kath Heiman — 4 December 2014

Why is it that some people pack for a trip away with military efficiency, while others appear to make a life’s work of it – only to find that, while camped at a remote site, something fairly essential is left languishing behind in the garage?

The key to success in any endeavour is preparation — and when it comes to packing for a serious trip, this needs to happen a long time before you start shoving things into the vehicle.


If you haven’t already got one, we recommend developing a personal inventory of items you need, which will help take the guesswork out of packing next time you want to get away.

Your list should be broken into sub-categories focused, for example, on vehicle survivability (spares and repairs), personal safety, recreation and comfort.

 If you get the list right, it can span the spectrum from quick weekends away, short recreational and business travels, to the complexities of packing for a big overland adventure. It simply depends on how much effort and thought you put into the task.


When planning to pack, consider how to keep your equipment damage-free and accessible.

Drawer systems are commonly used and you’ll find plenty of forums on the web to help you work out the best way to pack them.

A cargo barrier may be essential to stop your luggage becoming a missile in the event of rough roads or emergency braking.


Roof racks are great for storing bulky items that you don’t necessarily need to access all the time. But be careful about what you store up top. You’ll raise your centre of gravity if you’re not careful and this can badly affect your vehicle’s handling and fuel economy.

Roof racks also have a load carrying capacity — commonly 100kg. By the time you’ve loaded a spare tyre, a small storage trunk and a Tirfor you’ll quickly reach your limit.

If you’re approaching your vehicle’s load capacity, you should consider a suspension or GVM upgrade.

Wherever you decide to store your equipment, make sure you take plenty of tie-down fasteners — and use them. Friction is the enemy of most bits of kit, so don’t allow things to move in transit, whether that’s in your vehicle or in your camper.



  •   Tent
  •   Poles
  •   Pegs
  •   Mallet
  •   Gas cooker, lamp, bottle
  •   Spare mantles
  •   Table
  •   Camp chairs
  •   Mozzie coils
  •   Fly spray
  •   Clothes line/pegs
  •   Spot light
  •   Tarp
  •   Mats (outside tent/camper)
  •   Fire lighting pellets
  •   Portable fire bucket
  •   GPS
  •   SW radio
  •   Electronics spares (batteries)
  •   Day pack/survival kit
  •   Water purifiers
  •   Binoculars
  •   Entrenching tool/machete
  •   Whistle
  •   Hiking poles


  •   Mozzie net
  •   Hootchie cord
  •   Sleeping bags/inner linings
  •   Pillows
  •   Blankets
  •   Mattress/over-sheet
  •   Air pump


  •   Bug-out-bag
  •   Tool kit/spares
  •   Roof rack/awning
  •   Tie-downs/occy straps
  •   Recovery gear
  •   Jumper leads
  •   Air compressor
  •   Fire rake /axe
  •   CB radio/EPIRB/PLB
  •   Jerries and funnels
  •   Torch
  •   Chainsaw
  •   Tyre pressure gauge
  •   Generator
  •   Toilet roll
  •   Picnic blanket


  •   Wheel brace
  •   Spanners/socket set
  •   Jack/jacking plate
  •   Screwdrivers
  •   Hammer/chisel
  •   Hacksaw
  •   File
  •   Pliers and wire cutters
  •   Feeler gauges
  •   Tyre levers
  •   Jumper leads
  •   Repair manual
  •   WD40
  •   Pipe wrench
  •   Spark plug spanner


  •   Tyres
  •   Radiator and fuel hoses
  •   Bypass hose (cool system)
  •   Hose clamps
  •   Fan belts for: water pump, alternator, power steering, air conditioner
  •   Range of wire (diff gauge)
  •   Fuses, globes, elec wire
  •   Coil/condenser
  •   Tyre tubes, tyre valves
  •   Engine oil
  •   Gasket goo/grease
  •   Brake/trans/wheel fluid
  •   Spark plugs

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Check out the feature in issue #82 November 2014 of Camper Trailer Australia magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest camper trailer news, reviews and travel inspiration.


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