Let me tell you the best thing about campervanning.  It’s Packing.  Packing to go.  Campervans are made to be packed and go.  Simple.    There’s no luggage allowance to worry about and the bus is full of cupboards and compartments to store stuff, plus the back shelf is the size of half a bed.  Loads of space. 

Packrage !  Have you ever heard of packrage?  Of course you have.  It happens when you can’t get that suitcase closed or your toiletry bag zipped shut[1].  Sarah’s brother, Mark, has the best packrage I have ever witnessed.  Mark lives in New Zealand and I remember a time a few years back when he was packing his case before flying home.  New swear words were invented and the old ones used at full volume.  I swear[2] his suitcase was thrown empty three times because ‘it’ wouldn’t pack properly.  Stuff was getting broken and things were getting chucked away because of his sh#tty bastard c#nting[3] suit-feckin-case.  All he needed to do was fold a couple of jumpers up properly and sit on the case while he closed the buckles.  It was hilarious.  Packrage is an uncontrollable phenomenon.

Our Ferry was set to sail at about 10:30pm that night and with a 2 hour drive to the port of Dover plus check-in time we wouldn’t need to leave home until 8:00pm.  So despite the fact we had all day to pack and that campervans are dead easy to pack, why oh why did we end up leaving late? 

What a stressful day.  Ok, so we were going away for 16 nights and we were going to be reasonably self-sufficient (i.e. lots of food), but why should it take all day?

Clothes were chosen, folded and separated into neat piles of undies, t-shirts and hangy-up wardrobe stuff.  A good, sensible start. “The wardrobe’s too short![4] All the clothes are dragging on the floor.  You told me the wardrobe was a good idea.  It’s too short.  Now where are all the wardrobe things going to hang?”  ummm….. I took that as a rhetorical question.  So clothes were unpacked, unfolded, refolded differently and re-packed differently.  Several times.  We (I mean Sarah) went through the dark arts of clothing origami. 

The kitchen stuff.  How much of this stuff do we really need?  Plates, knives, forks, spoons – both wooden, plastic, metal, big, bigger, small – little salt and pepper pots, cups, mugs, glasses for wine, glasses for juice, glasses for beer, chopping boards, bread knife, serrated knife, tea towels, emergency tea towels, washing up bowl and liquid and sponge and cloth and kitchen wipes, fridge, kitchen table, tongs, stirrers, a whisk, another serrated knife, everything except the kitchen sink…… oh, and er yeah… the kitchen sink.  The bus comes with one.

You can see the full list here at happycampervanning-camping-essentials – Teblis has made a list of essential things you should always take with you.

Big things.  Including deck chairs x2, awning, tent pegs (we’ve got Rock Pegs – they glow in the dark !), tent peg mallet (or rock – for your rock pegs obviously), ground sheet, windbreak, kitchen table (did I say that already?), coffee table (yes we have two tables) and electric hook-up cable (we have 50m worth in three sections but 10m will do as it takes up space – besides, what does the kind man in Blog 23 who gave us all the hook-up cable for free know? “You can never have enough hook-up cable!”).

The miscellaneous section included spanner to undo gas bottle, screw drivers to undo screws, socket sets to undo sockets and a kettle, night light, bug lamp, torch, BBQ coals, big camera, little camera , matches, washing line, freezer ice blocks, fire extinguisher, high viz vests, jack, puncture repair kit, arm bands, first aid kit, games, wash kit bag, mini BBQ, solar powered battery charger, spare light bulbs, skewers, laundry washing liquid and conditioner, sat nav, maps, packet of Haribo Tangfastics x3, Ipod and speakers, ferry booking tickets, a pair of scissors and a full tank of petrol.

Don't forget the Dog

Don't forget the Dog

Oh – of course, and some alcohol.  Plenty of it please.  Beer stubbies, white wine, red wine, gin, limes, tonic…..

Food.  Pasta and rice and cheese and vegetables (just enough for the first couple of days), coconut milk, biscuits, tinned tomatoes, beans, crackers for the cheese, mustard, custard[5], white wine vinegar, spices, herbs, stock, chilli sauce (yum) and no aubergines.  we took lots of ‘no aubergines’.

Dog Stuff.  Enough dry food for 16 days – 8kgs, chewy sticks, tennis balls x 3, tennis ball throwy thing, floaty Frisbee, swimming collar (so his leather one doesn’t get ruined), dog towels x 3, chewy bones, treats, floaty toy, poo bags (I can see you going “urrrghh”.  We took clean ones), dog first aid kit (you’d be surprised) and dog bed.  Oh and the dog too. 

And lastly our bedding of pillows, mattress protector, sheet, duvet (summer tog – no sleeping bags for us).

No room for the portaloo – that’s a shame.

No wonder we got stressed out.  You’d think the stress would stop once we got going wouldn’t you.  Well it kind of did, but we weren’t in the mood straight away to be on a holiday high.  We were just relieved to be on the road even if we were half an hour late leaving.  Still, it was a lovely evening with a lovely sunset with lovely empty roads ahead of us as we trundled our way to the ever so lovely port of Dover – with a slight smell of petrol in the air.  We got there in time and, well, we got there.  That was my biggest fear – that we wouldn’t actually make it to the port, what with us travelling in a 36 year old heap of rsted nuts and bolts.  With literally no mechanical knowledge or expertise we were about to embark upon a road trip to the south of France in a big tin bucket with an chuggy engine.  Gulp.

“Did you pack the passports?”    ummm…

[1]    To all you men out there, a toiletry bag is where you keep your toothbrush.  You may not even think you need a bag for it. 

[2]    I swear – but not as much as Mark did.

[3]    C#nting     a new adjective and verb.  I don’t know what it means but I reckon I know some people who I think would be pretty good at the art of c#nting.

[4]    Yeah, Ahhhh John.  The wardrobe’s too short.  What sort of clothes do you think we wear?  Action man sized crop tops? 

[5]    I’m joking of course.  We didn’t take any Custard with us.


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