9 Extremely Useful Items for a Campervan Trip in New Zealand

If you’re planning a trip around New Zealand in a campervan, here’s a list of essential items you might not have thought to pack. We spent about a month between the North Island and South Island and picked up a few things along the way that made our trip just a little better. Some items are 100% necessary and some are just plain fun. Making friends with other campers helps, especially scoping out each other’s campers for new ideas. Without further ado, here’s our short list of the best items for your successful NZ camper trip. There are tons of other comprehensive lists of all the things you should and can pack but these are the ones that aren’t top of mind most of the time but turn out to be really useful.

  1. Baby Wipes
    This one is pretty obvious. Showers can be few and far between.
  2. Candles/Battery Powered Christmas Lights
    Once the sun goes down, you don’t want to waste your car battery on keeping the van lit to see what you’re doing. Candles don’t use any precious electricity and create the perfect glow for cozy nights inside the camper.
  3. Power Inverter
    The power inverter was a lifesaver for us, especially as freelancers. If you need to keep electronics charged up beyond your phone, it’s vital to have a power inverter to run off the car battery. Just make sure you’re not draining the car battery if you don’t have a separate house battery.
  4. Campermate and/or Camping NZ
    These two apps were ridiculously helpful for finding campsites and everything else you’ll need along the way like dump stations, water taps, free wifi, free camping sites. They both have almost identical information and the reviews of the sites are really helpful for the latest info on where to go and what is available. Campermate has a sleeker design but Camping NZ lets you search by free campsites.
  5. Solar Battery Charger
    Power can be hard to come by or nonexistent, especially if you’re freedom camping. Having a way to charge your stuff can make your life a lot easier. Solar chargers of any size are perfect for sitting out during the day to charge up your stuff while you’re hiking, driving or relaxing.
  6. Rope/cord
    You never know when you’re going to have to tie  something or someone up! Comes in handy in a lot of ways whether it’s making a closeline or tying closed that stupid door that keeps swinging open on right turns.
  7. Mini Coffee Maker
    There are a few types like the aeropress or a french press but for compact espresso you can’t beat a bialetti or a minipresso.
  8. Headlamp
    You’ll need both hands a lot and fumbling around in the dark or holding a flashlight in your mouth can only work for so long.
  9. Whiskey
    Cause beer takes up too much room.



Our trusty van among the stars at Lake Tekapo in New Zealand.


  • Alice says:

    Hi Derek, thanks for sharing the information on the essentials for a campervan journey. In spite of knowing these, we always forget to take one or the other thing. So, thanks for mentioning the required stuff for a campervan journey.

  • Great tips you got here. I will go camping soon. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sam Solo says:

    Thanks for talking a little bit more about using a power converter to run off the car battery. I can see how this would be a lifesaver when out in the middle of nowhere. I’ll have to consider getting a power converter for any trip we make.

  • Shayra Gill says:

    Thanks for sharing this informative article. I really found it very useful. As these tips helped me in making up my family trip to New Zealand. We spent about a month in New Zealand and picked up some things along the way which made our trip just better. Some items are 100% necessary and some are just for fun. We really enjoyed the trip by using these tips on our trip to New Zealand. I must say awesome tips for full enjoyment of the trip with family and reconnect with your family. I also found one informative article that helped me as well. You can also visit their site and have fun.

  • Rafting Auckland says:

    This article provides details about the essential items campervan trip New Zealand. I enjoyed reading this article and would suggest others it as well. Thank you for this article! This is really very informative for us and look forward to more such in future for all of us.

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