What do you pack for campervan holidays in Europe?

What to you pack for campervan holidays in Europe

Volkswagen Caledonia owner Bobbie has many good tips on what to take for long campervan holidays in Europe.

Bobbie is one of a growing number of sunseekers who head south in their campervans at the first sign of winter. We asked what camping equipment she takes for three-month holidays in her VW Caledonia camper.

She says, “I take a small filter coffee machine, as I like real coffee, but I have to be on a campsite with electric hook-up to use it. If not, I just boil the kettle on the gas hob and have instant coffee.  I tend to make a lot of meals in a wok, whether it’s curry, pasta or a stir fry. I have a small Cadac barbecue with its own gas bottle and a two-litre Remoska, which uses less electricity than an oven and in which you could cook a roast dinner if you wished to. I also have a plug-in halogen oven, but I only take it for long stays. Some people take slow cookers. I tend to eat out a lot as well, when the weather is nice, as it’s so much cheaper in Spain.”

VW Caledonia campervan owner Bobbie takes her dog and cat to Spain for three months

Bobbie takes her rescue dog Willow and her black cat Ebony with her wherever she goes

The Volkswagen Caledonia comes equipped with a 50-litre fridge with ice box, a two-burner hob and cold water pumped to the sink. Bobbie likes to eat out as well as cooking in the campervan and entertaining, so she only takes essential kitchen equipment: “Electric kettle, gas hob kettle, wok, a saucepan for rice or pasta, five-litre fresh water bottle for coffee, and for me, my cat Ebony and dog Willow to drink, and bottled fizzy water in the fridge. I just use the campervan’s onboard water tank for washing or washing-up. I also have a collapsible kettle, saucepans, strainer, and a bucket – all blue, of course, to match my van’s interior.”

Spanish markets sell fabulous fruit

Food-wise, Bobbie takes, “Bread, butter, cheese, small tins of tuna, fresh or powdered milk, soup, apples or any fruit that is easy to eat while driving and to store. When on-site in Spain, I go to local markets and buy fresh fruit like kiwi, oranges, grapes, strawberries and avocados, which are all so much cheaper than in England. I also take dog and cat food, treats and bowls.”

For the rest of the camping kit and clothes, Bobbie takes, “The Porta-Potti. and chemical sachets – easier than liquid to store safely. A warm sleeping bag with liner, which is so easy to wash while I’m away, or a duvet in its cover, so that if it’s warm I can just use the duvet cover. I pack nightwear that I would be happy to wear in public, in case of emergencies, or just for going to the site facilities. Like most people, I take flip-flops to wear in campsite showers.”

This is the life... campervan owner Bobbie spends the winter in Spain and comes home in time for spring

This is the life… Sussex Campervan owner Bobbie spends the British winter in Spain and comes home in time for spring

There’s not much time to watch TV

For entertainment, Bobbie takes, “Books and DVDs, an iPad and a 12V TV. Campsites will often rent you a TV lead if there’s no signal. You can organise expat VPN ( or other providers) for secure use of the internet and to watch British TV, for about £5 per month. You can also download Mobdro on tablets to watch TV, but this can be inconsistent and freeze and buffer, especially during sports events. Usually there’s not much time to watch TV, as people are mostly very friendly and you could be out; entertaining or being entertained for many days and nights of the week. Equally you can spend time exploring, or just chilling.”

The VW Caledonia campervan has a twin-burner hob, sink with pumped water, 50-litre fridge and more

How to pack clothes for three months

When packing clothes, Bobbie recommends, “A minimum of three of everything – shorts, T-shirts, casual trousers, fleeces and underwear – so that if you get wet, or it’s hot, or it’s cold, you can change. Put one set in the wash, while another is drying and you’re wearing the third set of clothes. Hand wash your clothes every day, so it doesn’t build up, unless you’re on site with washing machines. I also take walking boots or shoes, short Wellingtons, casual and smart sandals, a waterproof jacket and trousers, a skirt, dress, linen trousers and tops for more formal occasions. I also take my swimming gear and two special quick-drying camping towels – they’re honestly not as nice to use as normal towels, but wet towels hanging inside a campervan are not nice either. In a nutshell only take what you will wear and use.”

Buy toiletries on holiday

When it comes to toiletries, Bobbie says, “I only need one tube of toothpaste and one shampoo, shower gel, etc as you can buy these everywhere in the world. I take a soap bag that I can hang up, as not all floors are salubrious. Flat pack toilet paper takes up less room.”

Medication is one area not to skimp, she says. “If you are on medications, take enough for the trip abroad, or if you’re touring Britain take your prescription. You may be able to buy your medication over the counter in some countries, but they may not be the same, and you might have to see a doctor to get a new prescription.”

Despite all her years of touring experience, Bobbie confesses that even she packs too much into her VW Caledonia campervan. “I usually take far too many pairs of shorts and T-shirts and actually end up wearing same ones. I take three dresses, when one would do, four pairs of smart trousers and blouses, when two would do. Make a list of what you don’t wear and leave it at home next time. This list can be condensed for shorter trips or winter or summer stays when the weather is predictable. Everything basically must be as light and easy to store as possible.”

Happy campervan touring!


New: pop-top campervans with fixed toilets from Sussex Campervans

New: pop-top campervans with fixed toilets from Sussex CampervansPlenty of folks want a campervan, because they’re lovely to drive, easy to park, and offer car-like fuel economy. The beds are comfortable, there’s plenty of headroom in the pop-top roof, and we can provide two types of double bed up in the roof, too. 

Sussex Campervans really are really well equipped.

The only thing that some clients worry about is the toilet. While a Porta-Potti type of loo is perfect for most people, it’s a bit too low down for others. So we’ve found several ways to provide a proper cassette toilet in our campervans.

With the Manhattan MPV, the answer lies in the fact that we can fit an ottoman bench seat behind the front cab seats. It’s built on a long wheelbase Renault Traffic or Vauxhall Vivaro or Nissan NV300, which is just 40cm longer than the short wheelbase van. A good van conversion company can work wonders with that much extra space. In this case we create a ‘commode’ style of toilet, with a proper lift-up hinged lid. It can either sit within the ottoman bench seat, or if you’d rather just have more floor space, we can put the toilet in its own seat base next to the kitchen. Either way, we provide an upholstered cushion to match the rest of your bespoke upholstery, so it can be used as a seat as well. 

With the Paradise Twin, we’ve come up with a different solution. We can remove part of the kitchen on the offside of the camper, in order to fit the kind of built-in cassette toilet that you might find in a much larger motorhome washroom. It sits neatly inline most of the time, but when you need to go you can simply swivel the toilet seat sideways, allowing you plenty of leg room. The lower cassette is easy to remove from the upper section, when you need to take it away to empty it in the campsite’s chemical disposal point. 

Daniel made a really quick video on his phone to show you how it works! Please click here: 


We’ll work on a better video next time.

In the meantime, we have plenty of video tours of all our conversions here: http://sussexcampervans.com/our-vans.

Happy viewing! 


Still waiting for that lottery win before you buy a campervan?

Still waiting for that lottery win before you buy a campervan?We think a campervan is the only thing you buy that makes you richer… do you agree?

Campervans make a wonderful investment, because they depreciate a lot less than a new car, and everybody wants one – especially in the spring and summer, so it’s easy to sell on when you decide to upgrade to a newer one. Make sure you buy your campervan from an established converter, because if they’re like Sussex Campervans there’s a good after-sales service to help you keep it in top condition.

But the best reason to buy a campervan this year is that it gives you the perfect reason to escape from the stresses of modern life, making the most of every free moment, as well as actual holidays.

Campervans bring couples closer. People with children are able to give their little ones the most wonderful memories, to last a lifetime. Single people discover it’s the perfect way to explore the UK – and Europe – in comfort and safety. And dog owners no longer have the hassle and heartbreak of leaving their pets in kennels.

It’s all very well, you may be thinking, but how can I afford to buy my dream Sussex Campervan this year?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, so I thought I’d share with you a few finance options that you may not have considered.

  • Part-exchange vehicle. We take ‘anything with wheels’ in part-exchange when you order a campervan from us. We’ll get the best part-exchange price possible for you, to reduce the cost of buying your campervan. Why keep a car, when you can drive our campervans as your only vehicle?
  • Personal loan. Interest rates are still at low levels – so this is a great time to shop around for a fixed-term unsecured loan with your bank or building society.
  • Finance. We’re very happy to offer you one of our campervans on finance. Click here to watch our Sussex Campervans finance video. Once you’ve chosen your campervan, you just need to pay £1000 to secure the order. After that, our trusted independent financial adviser will work with you to create your monthly repayment plan, typically spreading the cost over up to 10 years. The better your credit rating is, the lower the interest rate will be. At present, the annual interest rate (APR) is less than 9%, but he will advise the best rate available at the time of the order. Of course, the more you have saved up as a lump sum, the less you will need to borrow.
  • Extend your mortgage. Mortgage rates can be even lower than personal loans, if you shop around. As with any mortgage, if you are unable to repay the lender they’ll want you to sell your home in order to pay up.
  • Downsizing. Lots of our customers decide to downsize from a family house to a smaller home,  once their children have grown and flown. This frees up the cash you need to enjoy your well-earned freedom from family responsibilities at last.
  • Shared purchase. In the same way that some families buy a holiday home, caravan or lodge to share between them, why not buy a campervan between several close friends or family members? Just make sure you draw up and sign an  agreement to share the running costs and who uses it when!
  • Windfall. Of course you may win the lottery, or – more likely – inherit money. Many people like to spend an inheritance on a campervan, in honour of their loved ones, because life’s too short to spend the whole time working!

I hope you find this round-up of finance options useful. Let me know if you have any more creative ideas, won’t you!

Don’t forget –  “A campervan is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

Why not come and see us at Sussex Campervans? We’re open six days a week, and we’d love to show you around our campervans and give you a tour of our workshop. We’re in the countryside north of Horsham in West Sussex.

Just give us a ring on 01403 336 369 to book an appointment, and we’ll put the kettle on!

Sussex Campervans, Graylands Gateway, Langhurst Wood Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4QD. 


Which are the best campervans for me?

Which are the best campervans for me?If you’re trying to decide between all the different campervans on the market, it can get pretty confusing. So I’ve put together a quick blog to help you decide.

If you’re drawn to the Volkswagen California, for instance, you’ll want to compare it to a few other medium sized campervans for sale

Here at Sussex Campervans people often ask what the differences are between the Volkswagen Caledonia (from £39,995) and the Manhattan (from £34,995) 

At first glance, they’re very similar. Both the Caledonia and Manhattan ranges have a classic campervan layout – with a side-kitchen, a rear seat that turns into the Rock ‘n’ Roll double bed, and an optional double bed in the pop-top roof.

Shared highlights: VW Caledonia and Manhattan campervans

4 or 5 belted seats

Front passenger seat options – swivelling single or double seats

Sleep 4 or 5

Rock ‘n’ Roll double bed 3’9” x 6′ (7′ with extender panel)

Pop-top roof with optional double bed

Side kitchen with integrated sink/hob

50L fridge with ice box

Under-body 12-litre/ 6kg LPG tank powering hob and heater

Gas gauge

Under-body thermostatic heater

External BBQ point

Leisure battery 

Electrical hook-up point

Gauge for both batteries

LED lighting

240V, 12V and USB sockets

Optional solar panel

Portable cassette loo

Hand-finished furniture and upholstery in a range of colours and textures

Ottoman (LWB)

Microwave option.

Spot the difference: VW Caledonia versus Manhattan campervans

The Caledonia SX is based on the Volkswagen T6 panel van range.

The Manhattan SX is based on the Renault Trafic panel van range or its twin, the Vauxhall Vivaro.

Both have Euro 6 diesel engines and manual gearboxes, but VW offers a DSG autobox option.

The VW Caledonia has a smaller pop-top roof bed area, due to the tapered shape of the van.

The Volkswagen Caledonia SX is our take on the iconic VW camper – available in long and short wheelbase versions

VW Caledonia dimensions:

VW Caledonia SX: Length: 4.9m (SWB), 5.3m (LWB). Width: 2.29m incl mirrors. Height: approx 2m. 

Rock ‘n’ Roll bed: 3ft 9ins x 6ft. (6ft 10ins with optional extender panel)

Pop-top roof bed area: 8ft x 4ft (259cm x 122cm).

Pop-top roof bed option: 6ft 8ins x 3ft 9ins (203cm x 112cm)  (3 upholstered roof boards plus overcab area) 

Manhattan campervan dimensions

Manhattan: Length: 5m (SWB); 5.4m (LWB). Width: 2.28m (incl mirrors). Height: approx 2m.

Rock ‘n’ Roll double bed: 3’9” x 6′ (7′ with extender panel)

Pop-top roof bed option: 2.7m long x 1.5cm wide

Ottoman bed for a child: 19ins x 5ft 2ins (47cm x 158cm). Option on LWB only.

The NV200 CamperCar SX (from £29,995)

“Like a VW camper that’s shrunk in the wash.”

The CamperCar SX has the same layout and facilities as the Manhattan and VW Caledonia, but is smaller, so it sleeps 2 or 3. It’s as easy as a car to drive, and fits in most garages and under most height barriers.

Base vehicle choices:

Nissan NV200 Tekna or Acenta

Diesel engine and manual gearbox, with barn doors at the rear

Petrol engine and automatic gearbox, with tailgate

NV200 CamperCar dimensions:

Length: 4.4m; Width: 2m (incl mirrors)

Height: 1.95m approx.

Rock ‘n’ Roll bed: 3ft 4in x 6ft (not counting the front passenger swivel seat)

Paradise Compact and Paradise Twin campervans

The Paradise Compact SX (from £36,995) and Paradise Twin SX (from £37,995)

The ingenious Paradise SX layout makes the most of the front seats, swivelling them round to join the extended rear seats, forming a sleeping platform the width of the van. The Paradise Twin – the LWB version –  has lots of extra storage in the rear kitchen.


4 or 5 belted seats

Kingsize bed 6ft x 5ft (1.83m long x 1.48m wide)

(Or use as twin single beds)

Pop-top roof bed option: 6ft 8in long x 4ft 9in wide (2.03m x 1.45m) SWB

Pop-top roof area: 8ft 10in long x 4ft 11in wide (2.7m x 1.5cm) SWB; 9ft 11in long x 4ft 11in wide (2.82m x 1.5m) LWB 

50L fridge with ice box

Under-body 12-litre/ 6kg LPG tank powering hob and heater

Gas gauge

Under-body thermostatic heater

External BBQ point

Leisure battery 

Electrical hook-up point

Gauge for both batteries

LED lighting

240V, 12V and USB sockets

Optional solar panel

Portable cassette loo

Microwave option

Hand-finished furniture and upholstery in a range of colours and textures

The Venturer SE (from £24,995)

Like the California Beach, our Venturer SE is aimed at those who love a simple outdoor life, with a comfy bed. 


5 belted seats

Rock ‘n’ Roll double bed

Pop-top with double bed options

Side-kitchen with water on tap

12V sockets in cab and kitchen unit

Portable cassette loo

Based on a Renault Trafic

Venturer campervan dimensions:

Length: 5m. Width: 2.28m (incl mirrors). Height: approx 2m.

Rock ‘n’ Roll bed: 3ft 9in wide x 6ft long (6ft 8in with extender panel)

Pop-top roof bed: 2.7m long x 1.5cm wide

All sizes are approximate.


You’re welcome to visit us

I hope that this guide to pop-top campervans models is helpful. Browse the ‘Our campers‘ pages on our website, complete with video tours of each model, then come and visit us!

We’re open six days a week – Monday to Friday, 9-5, and Saturday, 10-4. Just ring 01403 336 369 to let us know when you’re hoping to arrive, and we’ll put the kettle on.

Please click here for a handy Sussex Campervans map and directions. See you soon! 


Looking for campervans to use as a car?

Looking for campervans to use as a car?If you’d like to swap your car for a campervan, take a look at the nimble and versatile Nissan NV200 CamperCar.

Made in both petrol auto and diesel manual versions by Sussex Campervans, this is one of those pop-top campervans that brings immense freedom to its owners.

Whether you’re commuting long-distance, attending weddings and events, singing at open mic nights far from home, heading to a festival. – or heading off on holiday, this little CamperCar provides a really comfy, well insulated and heated home-from-home. Ideal for couples and single people, it can also have padded roof boards fitted, and a drive-away awning popped on the side if you want to sleep more.

Click here for our Nissan NV200 CamperCar Video Tour  and let us know what you think!

Just give us a ring on 01403 336 369 or email hello@sussexcampervans.com.