Camper Inventory -- 2 month remote country trip

Capt. Mike

Following is a transfer from archives; we will transfer the others in time. Please check the archives before duplicating as a new post. Thanks -- Capt. Mike

After several trips where we always forgot something important, like the can-opener, I inventoried the camper as we unloaded it following a 14,000 mile -- 2 month trip into the Yukon & NWT and above the Arctic Circle. What we've learned is that what is a minor inconvenience on a long weekend or week-long trip to the beach is ground for divorce after 2 months in the remote country where if "you don't bring it, you do without." This is not a static list; it undergoes changes every trip with some additions and deletions, as well as some changes specific for the planned trip. So consider it a general purpose starter.

:rolleyes:: Camper Inventory:

110v extension cord, HD grounded, 2, 25' & 50'
1st aid kit, lg. + snake-bite
5-gal ice-water cooler
6v lantern bulb, spare
6v lantern style flashlight
A/C adapter old 2-prong outlets to 3-prong grounded
address & phone # book
air compressor, 12v
aluminum foil
audiotape carriers & tapes or CDs, 2x30
basting brush
bath mat, cloth
bath towels, 2
battery jumper cables
binoculars, armored 8x30
biscuit cutter
blanket, 3rd for <32°F.
blankets, wool or equiv., 2
bottle & can opener
box, storage (plastic covered shoe box), 2
broad-blade spreader knife
bubble levelers, 2, for stove & camper
bug spray, DEET
bug spray, flying insect
bungee cord assortment
bungees to hold open cabinet doors, 2 small
burner diffusers (allows small pots on burners), 2
butter dish, sealed cover
cabinet & refrigerator spill rails
camera bag, acc., film, batteries, etc.
camera(s) of choice, wide-angle & telephoto lenses
camera, spare 110 or disposable (opt); try the new disposable Panoramic model. If digital, take extra memory cards.
camp stove/lantern oil for pump seals (Neets foot oil)
canteen or water bottles
car chemicals, additives if used
car factory shop manual
car leveling ramps
car service & warranty books, dealer addresses
car service check-off sheets/records
car spare parts for planned services + 2
car washing soap (couple of individual or sample packets)
cassette/CD cleaner solution
cassette/CD cleaner, 2
cell phone, AC & DC chargers, spare battery
chamois, synthetic
cheese grater
cloth to clean glasses
clothes pins, metal clip style, 10-12
clothing, 8 days ea. + jackets (Layer up!)
coasters, 2-4
coffee brewer, 1-cup
coffee filters
coffee pot
Coleman dual-fuel lantern w/ acc. & spares
Coleman dual-fuel stove w/ acc. & spares
Coleman folding oven
Coleman funnel (prevents spills)
cooking fork, med. or lg.
cooking fork, sm.
credit cards
cutting board, synthetic
cutting board, wood
Dawn dish washing liquid
degreaser, “409”
dining trays, compartmented, 2
dishpans, 2
dish-washing sponges, 2
disposable "jump suit" for repairs
duct tape, 2"
egg carrier
egg rings for cooking, 2
electrical assortment (wire ends, fuses, wire, etc.)
electrical tape
emergency blanket/survival tarp
emergency saw
extra drain plug & seal for engine
eyeglasses cleaner
fanny packs w/ water bottles, ea. person
fire starters, GI surplus or commercial
flannel sheets & pillow cases, set
flares & safety triangles
flashing trouble light/lantern or strobe
foam sleeves (Koozies) for soda/beer cans
folding water bucket
folding picnic table, 4-person
food items n/avail during trip (grits, UHT milk)
food (pan) scrapers, 2
frying pan handle (camp cook kits require separate)
fuel transfer or refill hose
funnel, sm. metal (cooking use)
Gerber multi-purpose tool (Leatherman, other brands OK)
glue, Crazy-glue & epoxy
GOOP sealer (acts as glue) or silicone seal
griddle for camp stove
gun & ammo -- optional (rifle or shotgun only in Canada; check current regs)
hand cream
hand towel
hardware assortment (nuts, bolts, screws, etc.)
hatchet or sm. ax
hats, ea. person
heavy plastic spoons, 2
high-risk car spare parts for your model
hose clamps or seals/clips
hose, fold-flat water w/ spare washer
hose shutoff valve, 3/4"
hunting knife, lg.
ice-tea spoons (long handle), 2
immunization records
jack support board
kneeling pad (for repairs, padding, seat)
large cook kit, 4-person (leave out extra items)
large sharp knife
laundry bag
laundry soap & Bounce, individual packages
laundry tub
lid for fry pan
Lysol spray disinfectant
magnifiying glass
map & brochures w/ storage case
maps, guides, AAA trip-tiks, Milepost
matches, strike anywhere, wood
measuring cup
measuring spoon set
medical info
medicine, over-the-counter not in 1st aid kit
medicine, personal or prescription
mess kit, 1-person
metal soup bowls, 2
micro-cassette tape recorder for photo log
mirror, metal signaling (unbreakable)
mosquito coil kits, 2-4 -- separate holders desireable
mosquito net hats
multi-strand baling wire
nail/staple assortment
newspapers (2-3 for mats, fire starter, etc.)
non-skid pads, several
oil, spare engine, 2 qt.
outside use sponges, 2-3
oven mitt
oven or hot pads, 2
paper pad or notebook
paper towels, 2 rolls
pad to protect sink drain tank from punctures -- old linoleum square
parachute cord, 2 lengths
personal organizer/calendar/log
phone calling/credit cards
pillows, 2
port-a-john deodorant
port-a-john w/ accessories
portable gray water tanks w/ hose, 2
pot handle, squeeze type (camp cook kits require separate)
prescription glasses, 2 ea. person
propane heater w/ 2-3 ctgs.
rain ponchos
repair kit for canvas, awning & screen
rope, 2 lengths 5/16-3/8" dia.
safety goggles
scrub brush
scrubby & SOS pads
seat protector for toilettes, pkg.
serrated bread knife
serving spoon, lg. plastic
sharpening stone & oil
shoes: boots, running & shower clogs, ea.
shovel, sm. or folding
silverware, set per person + 1 set
sink drain hose for use w/o gray-water tank where allowed and appropriate
slotted serving spoon, lg. plastic
soap, liquid hand
soft sealing 3/4" hose adapter for hookups w/ damaged threads
Soft Scrub
spice assortment
spikes for awning (prefer screw-in heavy duty) w/ cords
square baker pan, 8"
stain remover stick for clothing
steak knives, 1 each
storage hammock
strikers for stoves, 2
suction cup hooks, 3
suitcase/duffle, 1! If it doesn't fit, leave it home!
sunglasses, ea. person
Swiss army knife, biggest baddest you can afford
tablecloth, plastic
tarp, nylon 5'x8'
tape measure (3'/3m)
thermal underlay for mattress
toaster, camps stove style
toiletries & hygiene products
toilette paper carrier w/ roll + spare
tongs, cooking
tool kit + extra or special tools for specific car
tow hooks & shackles
tow ropes, 2
trash can storage box
trash can baggies 20"x22" w/ ties
traveler checks
tray for liquid condiments (contains leakers)
tube for tubeless tire repair (bad flats)
tubeless tire repair plug kit (emerg. use only!)
vacuum, 12v
velcro and snaps for repairs
velcro cord bundle straps as required + couple spares
vitamins, etc.
Walkman TV, (opt)
washcloth hangers, 2 (to speed drying -- kind to hang on shower rods OK)
washrags, 2
water "thief" faucet adapter -- allows hose hook-up to non-threaded faucet
water purifier &/or tablets
water tank fill nozzle, 3/4"
waterproof canoe bag for film storage
waterproof canoe bags for roof storage, 3
whiskbroom, spare
wire ties
winch or come-a-long
windshield washer solvent (concentrate preferred)
wipers, spare set (+ set snow wipers if req'd)
wooden spoons, 2
wool ponchos -- dbl. as blankets or underlay, 2
ziplock bag assortment.
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Capt. Mike

Somebody named Schu asked about it fitting in a lost post. This is the response:

Yep, Schu; it really fits and Volksrat still runs, though maybe slightly slower up mountains!

Really, the only things that are stored in the living area are the port-a-john (behind passenger seat); a hinge-top wooden box (that houses trash can, bug spray, etc. & becomes our coffee table/step stool, extra chair); and the pillows & blankets sit on the rear seat. The wood box goes outside when we set up, the pillows & blankets in the pop-top, so the living area is clear again for camping.

The rear luggage area is not particularly full. We now use a large plastic tub for dirty clothes so the duffel gets smaller as the tub gets full (until wash day). Rear luggage area stuff goes under the awning on the portable picnic table or also into the pop-top to clear the mattress for making the bed at night.

The leveling ramps and 3 canoe bags of spares or seldom-used stuff on the roof racks is 100 lb., just under the 110 max allowed.

Probably the thing that frustrates most people is how we cut clothing to the minimum. 4 pants, 4 SS & 4 LS T-shirts, 8 sets of skivvies. PJs & 8 pr sox. At the end of a week, we hit the Laundromat. Each has a heavy chamois or wool shirt, sweatshirt, windbreaker and the listed ponchos in the closet. If it doesn't fit, you can't take it! My wife agonizes for three days on what if's and what matches. I grab the first 4 pair of jeans and top 4 of each shirts. She says I cheat.

Gross weight with all VW tanks + 5 gal. cooler + aux. fuel tank (7 gal.) is 5,279 lbs. [Max GVWR is 5,515.] Distribution is very even, within 49 lb. per side, 197 more in rear but that's before driver & passenger. Average mileage is 19.60 miles per US Gal. for all camping trips since new -- over 51K.

Another post:

Where do you put all this stuff?!?!?!

Also, now that I've traded my Westfalia in on a Eurovan, maybe you don't want to answer that question. Does a Eurovan count? It's exactly like my Westy except it only has 500 miles on it instead on 137,000.

Thanks for the info - I'm going to try to get as much of this stuff as I can.


My response to Cheryl was:

I suppose the Eurovan is all right except engine's at the wrong end, no diesel, no 4WD, so I'm 'no buy.' Someday VW will figure out that we want diesels and 4WD over here, too.

Although the list seems long, it does fit into the Vanagon easily, and actually have room to spare. Starting at the front: I use 3 waterproof canoe bags on the luggage rack. These contains spare parts & service items, items used only occasionally, like laundry supplies, & some spare foodstuffs you can't get up north, like grits! We may put some clothing up there that is also limited use, like swimsuit or long johns.

The galley cabinet gets most of the foodstuffs, fridge holds about 3 days fresh meals and chilled staples like mayo & jelly. About 2-3 days juices & milk, which I replenish almost daily to chill down.

The cabinet between the closet & fridge has three compartments. Underneath, cleaning supplies, mosquito coils, toilet paper. Above forward, all of the pots & pans. Above aft is curtains, shop manuals and equipment manuals and the 120v AC cord.

Closet hanging stuff (not much and not full). Emergency triangle kit on back wall. Tow strap, emerg. tarp, etc., on closet floor.

Under the seat are tool kit, med kit, 12v air compressor & vacuum, and the Coleman oven, griddle, toaster & our two GI style mess trays to eat off of. Usually room for some spare juice or soft drinks.

We have put a couple of bungee hold-downs on the closet face and back corner of galley cabinet, so we can hold 2 dishpans & a box on the table. One is breads, rolls, & chips. One kitchen stuff like sponges, cutting board, hot pad, and 3rd for whatever.

The back pigeon hole cabinet gets binoculars, film, etc.; shoes; work gear like Wisk broom, LP cartridges, spare oil, flashlight, gray water tank fittings.

Under the closet is room for 3 custom trays. Seldom used stuff like water hose fittings, baling wire, rope, duct tape, glue,

In actual cargo area, I have 4-person picnic table, Coleman stove, lantern, LP heater & 5 gal. water cooler. 2 camp chairs, tripod bag, 2nd cassette carrier, boots, our ONE suitcase/duffel and laundry tub.

This leaves one cassette carrier up front against the passenger seat. Typically, at least when in the boonies, my wife's camera bag is also between the seats. The port-a-john is behind the passenger seat. Against the rear seat, held in place by bungees, is the wooden box that holds trash can, bug spray, etc., and serves as coffee table, step stool and 3rd chair when needed. We use blankets so they & the pillows do sit on half the rear seat. The sheets & bathmat store in a tent type gear hammock slung below the rear cabinet or A/C housing. Total weight does push the maximum GVWR allowed, but is very evenly distributed.

Rear cargo area has plenty of space left over. Cabin area surprising uncluttered despite the port-a-john and wood box.

Perhaps the one thing that many campers never seem to learn, is you can't 'leave stuff out' for convenience. Dishes have to be washed and put away before setting up the bed. If you ain't wearing it, using it right now, or eating it, it goes back away. The bed is put away before the bath, which is put away before breakfast.

Don't even try to carry everything consumable for the trip. Limit yourself to 4 set of clothes (multi-purpose, layering) & skivvies for 8 days. Food for no more than a week. You should plan a break once a week anyway, laundry, maybe a hotel or inn room, hot showers.

Since no one can predict beyond scheduled service what will break, we carry few spares. For car, V-belts & water pump, tire tube in case one can't be fixed with a proper inside patch, and a small assortment of nuts, bolts, washer & wire ends. Food -- heck that's half of the fun, eating what's found locally.

We can set up camp in 15 minutes; it may take 20 to break or stow from the time breakfast dishes are finished.
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Capt. Mike

Not truly a Camping list post, but I thought it might go here as well since it's along the same thoughts as far as the food items go.

I was asked by private email about some AC/DC fridge wiring & operations. That exchange resulted in some fridge ideas some might find interesting. Below is a copy of my last email to the writer.

>>>If you go to the Westy site under either TIPS or FRIDGE sections, there is a thread on Westy "Fridge Syndrome". Although it was meant to apply to the 3-way fridges with LP, some of the info is applicable to the AC/DC modes and thus yours.

Primarily, the AC/DC requires the long 24-48 hours cool-down just like the 3-way. You should, after 12-24 hours, be able to detect a noticeable temperature difference from the grill behind, where the heating unit vents. Not like a hair-dryer or anything, but several degree warmer than ambient. Try a good shop-type thermometer if in doubt. Also, do cool-down and operate your fridge every month or two during the off season. They seem to get sluggish when left idle for long periods.

The AC/DC fridge works on the same principles as the 3-way; a sealed coolant (ammonia based) that moves only by heat transfer flow. The differences are what supply the heat, AC, DC or LP. AC is the most effective, thus why fridges pre-cool best on AC. In your case, the DC cannot provide sufficient power to cool down the fridge. The best of batteries will only give about 4-5 hours at full power. Per the owner's manual, it is meant to HOLD temperatures for a short period. An overnight will pretty much wipe out the auxiliary battery. In my '79, I used to frequently cut my fridge off for the middle night hours, say MN - 0400. The discharge until dead-dead cycle is tough on conventional batteries, thus the move to deep-cycle & gel-cells posted elsewhere on the site.

P27 campers were equipped with a heavier duty alternator. The battery would recharge quicker and it provided better fridge operations underway. Still, it required a good 3-4 hours continuous drive to bring things back towards full charge and cool. Thus whenever replacing an alternator, be sure you have stayed at or above OE specs.

Another thing to remember from the owner's manual is that the fridge system is only capable of bringing the fridge a certain amount below ambient temperatures, not to any sort of absolute low. Typically, presume no more than 40°F below. Add to this that it is inside the camper, thus ambient, especially parked in sunlight, can get pretty high!

These drawbacks were part of the reason VW went 3-way in the Vanagons. Believe it or not, the idiots in marketing originally planned the Eurovan camper to go back to AC/DC because they had compressor type DC fridges that were slightly more efficient. I was fortunate enough to be one of the ones the US headquarters asked, and in my quiet reserved way, told them they were STUPID! Apparently enough others did as well, and the final version came with AC/DC/LP.

You want a real laugh, they were going to combine the AC/DC fridge with an alcohol stove and do away with LP altogether! Brought to you by the same marketing geniuses that put pale gray velour upholstery and carpet in a camper! And say we don't need diesel or 4WD.

There are number of things that can greatly extend the DC battery life and efficiency. Camping more than overnight without an AC plug-in is pretty near impossible. [Not applicable to AC/DC/LP models] I have carried a small generator, but be advised that's a good way to find sugar in your tank or tires slashed if you run one in a campground with others around. It was no sweat on trips into the Yukon & NWT where we were camped alone in remote areas. See the extended rear bumper picture I posted on my Pic Site linked from the home page under Accessories. The right side gas can could be quickly changed to a generator mount for a small 1,000w model. Now they do make some ultra-quiets (<56 db) and some smaller units in the 650w range that would still be adequate. But anything >58db is likely to get your run out of a campground.

Besides the fridge pre-cool, also pre-cool and even freeze foods when possible going in. The chest style of a '75 was far more efficient than uprights in a Vanagon, but still avoid using the fridge for drinks, condiments and other frequent access items when possible. Many condiments are often available in non-refrigerated packets like the fast food joints from places like Sam's, though usually in such huge quantities it takes a group purchase. Sweet-talk your connections at restaurants or schools to see if you can buy some from them. Some, like mustard, ketchup & BBQ sauce, do fine without refrigeration if bought in small containers and kept out of the heat and dark.

If you put frozen meats in there, you can get an extra day or two. Frozen sausage instead of fresh, frozen eggbeaters to reduce fresh egg quantities, pre-freeze hot dogs & hamburger patties. You can freeze grated cheese (sliced, too, but it gets crumbly).

Oddly enough, the fridge works better full, though not at the expense of putting in hot foods to refill it. One of the few times I might recommend drinks in the fridge is to keep it reasonably full. I do keep a couple of the long-life box milks in there and you can freeze most box drinks & juices. You can freeze milk (did it for years on the ships) but it may separate slightly. [2% does better than whole.] I hate the lumps but perfectly harmless and often a real good shaking can get it back together enough.

For drinks, we carry a 5-gallon water cooler. We use it for most drinking & cooking water requirements, reducing tank use, and keep an assortment of drinks in there. 4 brews, 4 soft-drinks leave plenty of room for water & ice. Since ice is something you can get almost daily, it's a constantly renewed cold drink source and as it melts, is your water supply. Makes for some COLD hands though when fishing around for a brew, though!

Although we do extensive, full cooked meals when camping -- it's part of our camping experience and pleasure -- switching to some canned items is still better. Homemade stew might be nice, but canned doesn't give you ptomaine. We know some who dry foods & veggies. We despise most of the freeze-dried packages, but have to admit the eggs work pretty good for everything except sunny-side up and in most recipes like our cornbread. There are some acceptable mixes for pancakes & biscuits that use only water. Long life milk is the only way to go, but we found we have to carry the trip's entire supply as the ½-pints size isn't widely available on the road. That's something that can be carried in storage and just cycle in a couple at a time. Same with box drinks.

We find we can usually go about 3 days between major restocks of fresh foods. But I also think buying and eating 'off the land' is fun and part of the adventure. Get caribou burger in the NWT; reindeer sausage in AK; codfish tongue in Nfld! We've learned you can't get good canned beef & gravy in Canada (We mix with one of the Lipton flavored rices or noodles pkgs. for a full meal.) but they have a very different flavor of canned meatballs with gravy. Forget their canned sausages, tho'! When you get way into the boonies, those small stores are sometimes very accommodating. Through-out Canada and Alaska we've been amazed how the stores with bakeries will break 12 packs of rolls into an amount we can handle. Same with burgers, steak or chops, etc. But ya gotta carry the entire trip's supply of grits!

Start really looking close at your menus and experiment with cooking. My wife makes a good meal with packaged chipped beef, a white sauce and canned mixed vegetables over an English muffin -- high grade SOS. With the portable Coleman oven, we can bake biscuits, cornbread, and even roast potatoes. We do make French fries as well.

We strive to carry that 3-4 days of fresh meals in the fridge, but also keep a steady supply of heat & serve only. If we arrive late, in bad weather, or must leave early, it's nice to heat up the aforementioned beef, gravy & rice, or in mornings do hot cereal & toast, thus not have to fire up the big Coleman outside. We do NOT do smoky, splattery, greasy cooking inside; that's reserved for the Coleman outside. No sense in screwing up the interior permanently with cooking mess.<<<

Hope this helps.
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Chuck (CA)

New member


New member
I would be interested in if anyone on the site has already purchased this item. My main concern would be if it is removable while loaded. BC Ferries has a higher rate for vehicles over 7' and the Westy just fits under that, so I usually remove whatever is stored in the luggage rack to ensure I fit in the under category. I would like to be able to take the entire bag, contents and all, off the roof and place it in the van when going on the ferry.

Also is the zipper nylon or stainless steel as I could see rusting being a problem.

'85 VanagonGL Westy
1.9L Wasserboxer

Capt. Mike

"Canoe Bags" can be purchased in most major canoe & camping stores/dealers. See the one's listed under SUPPLIERS. Campmoor, Eureka and Bass Pro are just some where I've seen them. Hit the specialty shops and Internet site.

I doubt the ferries actually measure -- they usually accept the vehicle spec sheet. Canoe bags don't have zippers; they use a roll-down & clamp with plastic buckles arrangement. There is Velcro to hold the top in place while starting the roll-down. The finished closure forms a handle at the end of the bag.

Tim Hannink

New member
I have an RV-type stick-on thermometer that I applied directly to the interior cooling element. It gives a relative indication of temperature, the ice formed on the cooling element is a better indicator.

I have a small tackle box that we keep all of the packets of condiments in. It currently has catsup, mustard, onions, sugar, salt, pepper, jelly, handy-wipes, hot sauce, bbq sauce, syrup, mayo etc..; all obtained from restaurants, convenience stores and fast food outlets. We always ask for extras when doing the drive-thru and its nice having stuff when they forget to give you something.

For more info on the basic Vanagon Camper model, go to the Wolfsburg_Campers Yahoo!Group. Copies of the Camper Supplement Manual and the RC-160E Owners manual are in the photo section as well as a lot of other information about these unique vehicles.


TJ Hannink

[This message was edited by Capt. Mike on February 03, 2004 at 09:39 AM.]


New member
for chuck (ca), searching for canoe bags

okay .. i tried posting a link, turns out to be a very long link, so i'm not sure if it will get through.

try and search for Seattle Sports. They offer various sizes of drybags from $10 to $30 that will fit nicely into luggage rack.


[3/18/09: Moderator note; 1st link not effective, use 2nd link & search recommended. It turns up several sizes.]
Last edited by a moderator:


New member
Mike: Love the site. I am just cruising it as I make plans for Mexico this winter. For your info: BC Ferries does measure. They have a tall ruler and arm by thier gate they can roll over your vehicle to check for height.
Dave (Owner of the Podey Dodger, '87 Westy.

Capt. Mike

Storage Trays under closet:

I was recently asked the dimensions of the 3 storage boxes or trays I made that fit under the storage closet to the left of the engine lid. See the TIPS forum, "Dash trays, other storage . . ." topic.