Mark Clinton THL© Mark Clinton THL
Mark Clinton THL

12 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip

© Mark Clinton THL

What to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Road Trip?

A campervan trip is unlike any other kind of vacation out there. You have ultimate freedom, get to experience the outdoors and take your accommodation around with you. With that in mind, there are a few essentials to add to your campervan road trip packing list that you might have not thought about. We list a few right here in this article. Better yet, all these things to pack for a New Zealand campervan trip are specific to New Zealand!

Some of the essentials to pack for a New Zealand campervan trip can be prepared and packed back at home, while others you can pick up while you are in New Zealand. We’ll tell you a few cheap stores to pick up the essentials and give you a few links to examples. For more tips on your campervan road trip, see How to Plan a Campervan Trip in New Zealand.

For a complete list of things to pack for a trip around New Zealand, check out our complete New Zealand Packing List and Camping Essentials Checklist for New Zealand.

1. Solar Power Generator

Say your campervan doesn’t have an inbuilt generator or you want to get off the grid for a few days. How do you get power? That’s where a solar power generator comes in, where there are many excellent portable models available, like BLUETTI.

Some of our favourites are the BLUETTI AC300 and AC500 with a huge 3,000 W or 5,000 W of power and a base 3,072 Wh of battery capacity with a modular system that can be upgraded to hold a massive 18,423 Wh! The power stations have dual charging; solar panels and AC inputs, as well as several output options, including four AC outlets, four USB-A, a USB-C, an RV port, a cigarette lighter port and a DC 5521 output.

Read more about camping generators in our guide, How to Choose a Generator for Your Motorhome, Campervan or Tent or head straight to for all of their offerings.

12 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip© BLUETTI

2. Playing Cards

A campervan road trip is the perfect bonding experience, as is playing games, so both come hand in hand. If you don’t have your own deck of cards lying around, pack these Plastic Playing Cards in Aluminium Box for a quick boredom buster on your flight to New Zealand and on an evening in the campground. Why waterproof? Well, a campervan trip is all about the great outdoors so you and your cards are going to a lot of places!

For alternative games to pack, we have a ton of suggestions in the 20 Best Travel Board Games.

Pexels© Pexels

3. Travel Blanket

As an extra blanket in winter or for something to wrap around yourself when you’re sitting around the campfire, an extra blanket is always a good thing to have no matter what season you are travelling by camper! Either pick up a cheap blanket from New Zealand department stores like The Warehouse or K-Mart or get yourself a wool blanket like this Arcturus Military Wool Blanket.

Pixabay© Pixabay

4. Cash and Coins (or a Campsite Pass)

New Zealand is a country of card transactions – even for the smallest things! However, a campervan road trip is just about the only scenario where you’ll need some small change and cash on you. Many of the cheaper campsites, like the Department of Conservation campsites, only have honesty boxes where you’ll want to have the right amount of change to pay for the night. Alternatively, it might make more sense to purchase a DOC Campsite Pass, so you can carry less change with you. Find out more about passes in our guide, DOC Campsite Pass: How it Works & Is it Worth it?

Pexels© Pexels

5. AUX Cable

There’s no point making the epic road trip playlist only to realise you can’t play it in your campervan! Many of the rental campervans in New Zealand come with an AUX cable slot so you can hook up your phone or whatever you play your music on so all you need is the cable to go with it! If you still don’t know what we’re talking about, here’s an AUX Cable we like!

Pixabay© Pixabay

6. Lotions and Potions

Depending on the season, you’re going to want to bring some sort of skin cream to protect your precious body from the elements. We’re talking about high-factor sunscreen for those spring, summer and autumn months, moisturiser for hydrating your skin in winter, and insect repellent – we have a bunch of environmentally friendly ones listed in the 7 Best Insect Repellents for New Zealand. See more about packing a first aid kit in our full Travel Health Tips for New Zealand: Vaccinations, Medication & More.

Pexels© Pexels

7. GPS App

Instead of renting a GPS for an extra daily rate from your campervan rental company, make sure you have a GPS app downloaded on your phone. It can be the free MAPS.ME (recommended) or Google Maps or any one of the big GPS brands that only costs a couple of dollars to download. Save areas of the map that you are travelling to before you hit the road so that you can access them offline and not use up all your precious mobile data.

12 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip©

8. Swimwear and Towel

Or as they say in New Zealand, “togs”! It’s not just a swim at the beach that you’ll want to bring swimwear for your New Zealand road trip. There are plenty of opportunities to get in the water, from waterfall pools to natural geothermal hot pools, for surfing, white water rafting, caving and much more! On top of that, it’s best to bring your own towel as not all campervan rentals supply one; and if they do, they are usually thick cotton towels that take forever to dry. Pick up a compact and fast-drying travel towel like this 4Monster Camping Towel.

12 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip©

9. Marshmallows

Ok, so you don’t have to bring these all the way from home, but pick up a bag of marshmallows (and other road trip snacks, of course) for those campgrounds with open-fire areas. That way, you’ll be prepared for some classic marshmallow roasting around the fire. You’ll be the most popular crew at the campsite.

pexels© pexels

10. Bodyboard

Yep, this is another thing you don’t need to bring from home, but you’ll be thankful you picked one up at the start of your New Zealand road trip! Bodyboards are not just for riding the waves in New Zealand – oh no! There are sand dunes to board down AND the world’s longest natural waterslide is situated in Gisborne.

11 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip©

11. Merino Wool Layers

Even in summer, you’d be a fool for not bringing some extra warm layers for your campervan road trip in New Zealand. New Zealanders swear by merino wool as it’s both breathable and warm. You can find merino wool layers readily available in plenty of stores across New Zealand or pick up some Icebreaker merino layers for women and Icebreaker for men before your trip.

12 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip©

12. Torch

Or flashlight or whatever you call it where you are from! For finding the campsite bathrooms at night, locating your midnight snacks in the camper, or going on glowworm walks, a torch is essential for a campervan road trip! We recommend the ultra-useful Juninp Rechargeable Headlamp. Check out more tech like this in the 65 Genius Travel Gadgets & Accessories.

Pxhere© Pxhere

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in How to Plan a Campervan Trip in New Zealand.


Robin C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before calling New Zealand home. He has now spent over a decade in the New Zealand tourism industry, clocking in more than 600 activities across the country. He is passionate about sharing those experiences and advice on NZ Pocket Guide and its YouTube channel. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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