Check our Deals page for last-minute bookings at discounted rates!

The essential campervan packing list for your Portugal and Spain road trip

Claire Rozzo

Owner of Siesta Campers

Travel lighter, travel better

What makes a road trip adventure uniquely exciting is how it becomes so easy to shed the burden of your daily routines and, with it, all the usual stuff and trappings you believe you need. With this in mind, it’s essential to pack for a liberating adventure in the right way. To help you make the most of your road trip, we’ve put together a few ideas based on our 20 years in and around campers and many family road trips.

A Campervan gives you the opportunity to enjoy a back-to-basics experience and to realise that you don't actually need lots of things. Siesta takes great pride in ensuring you will have all you need to cook, dine and sleep comfortably, and as your camper is considerably smaller than your average home, it will be much more enjoyable if you pack light and have more space.

How to pack for the road

Firstly, ditch the giant hard-backed suitcase and travel with a collapsible rucksack or soft case that can be unpacked and then slipped out of the way. If you're in one of our smaller vans that big suitcase will really annoy you after day one.  It's a great moment when finally you’re off in your van and have the pleasure of organising all your items into the compact storage shelves, cupboards and drawers. Our campervans are thoughtfully designed and everything will disappear into its place.

  • Small backpack for day trips + shopping (a reusable grocery bag is also great)
  • Refillable water bottle - cut down on plastic waste when you are out and about ask any cafe to fill your bottle. Most will do so with no problem.
  • Lightweight beach towel The new microfibre towels are so compact that they're easy to pop in your bag for the morning hike to that remote beach. Decathlon does a great line of these super lightweight towels.
  • 12V rechargeable head torch keeps your hands free to organise late-night park ups and orientate yourself at a new campground. Look for a rechargeable USB one, and you can charge it in the van.
  • 12V charging cables and electrical adapters for your phone, head torch etc remember that all modern VW’s have USB c plugs in them now. We run on 220v here in the EU so if you come from U.S or Canada make sure you have adaptors that work on 220v
  • Wifi Speaker - bring your favourite
  • Ear plugs - even if you sleep like a baby with the sound of the sea crashing, you can’t control when a drum circle may pop up next door or even worse the campsite Karaoke session. Spanish and Portuguese holidaymakers like to party until late in July and August.

Don't stress about taking everything on your road trip (but do make sure to bring sunscreen!)


Whilst taking your familiar cosmetics and toiletries is nice, don't stress about taking everything or forgetting something, as supermarkets here have a wide range of items.


Siestas campers include a basic first aid kit, but it’s always great to have a variety pack of bandages to slip into your day bag.

  • Your favourite tea bags - did you know that tea bags are great for your skin? After a refreshing cuppa, you can soothe and tone your face with a gentle wipe. Peppermint and chamomile tea bags are great to travel with as they can soothe stomach upsets very effectively, be used as a toner to brighten your complexion or act as a soothing antiseptic on small cuts or insect bites.
  • Essential oils we love for the road: tea tree, lavender. Citronella is great for keeping the mosquitos at bay.
  • Paracetamol, ibuprofen


Van life gives you the opportunity to unplug from social and rest the doom scrolling fingers. Embrace the change!

  • A good book to read (we have a book exchange in our bases!)
  • Sketchbook/journal, eraser, and range of pencils—take time to discover your inner artist or just try some old-fashioned handwriting to scribble your way out of your life stress or dilemmas.
  • A few sheets of A4 paper can bring hours of communal fun with drawing games such as the “Exquisite Corpse,” invented by surrealists in Paris in 1925, where you fold a piece of paper into the number of players, draw a head in the top section, fold over so your drawing is hidden and then hand to the person next to you to continue with the body.
  • Games - travel games like chess, checkers or a simple deck of cards can make a leisurely evening a family affair. Some of our favourites are Bananagrams (a simple + lightweight word game), Uno, and the travel edition of Abalone (known as “Push n Shove” in our family)

Clothing Essentials

Less is more and lighter is better! Make a pile of everything you’d like to bring and think you’ll need, and then cut that pile in half. One of the best parts of packing light is leaving space to bring home whatever it is you’ve found while on holiday. You’ll have the space to treat yourself to the perfect dress from a beachside stall, a t-shirt as the perfect souvenir from your adventure, or even a stylish Siesta t-shirt or organic cotton tote bag available at every base!

  • Sunhat
  • Shorts 
  • Undies - but go easy on the socks, as you’ll only really need them for hikes!
  • Swimsuit / shorts—Whether you're a beach lover or an inland mountain roamer, you will discover plenty of wild swimming opportunities from the refreshing Atlantic ocean to the gushing crystal clear rivers and the expansive serene lakes or barragens, as they are known here in Portugal.
  • Sarong - this easy wrap-around fabric can be used in so many ways while camping, and not just for that bright, casual beach-ready look! These are great to fling around you when you hop out of the van at a campsite, to use as a lightweight towel after an impromptu swim or hike, and you can even use one to fashion a sunshade with the help of some driftwood.
  • Lightweight / baggy tops and trousers - these double up as pyjamas and are perfect for the at-home-in-a-van vibe
  • Lightweight hoodies - keep your warm layers light!
  • Flip-flops, crocs or slides are essential for slipping in/out the van

Keep it light and travel better - but don't forget the snacks

Keep it light!

You may recognize the phrase, “Pack for a day, stay for a week. Pack for a week, stay for a month.” This also rings true for road trips and campervans! Travelling light comes with a heightened sense of freedom, flexibility and spontaneity - if you’ve ever flown with just a carry-on, you know the feeling. When roadtripping in Portugal, the paradise-like weather day and night allows for many of the usual travel supplies to be left at home, providing you with a life with less stuff, less stress, and a more simplified day-to-day while on the road.

Related posts

Ready to roll?

Your road trip awaits!

Hire a campervan


Loyd Rozzo Unipessoal Lda

Entreposto Comercial e Industrial Sambrasense – Sítio dos Barrabés
Cx Postal 908-Z, 8150-016, São Brás de Alportel

00351 308 808 058


Subscribe to our newsletter


Back to top

©2023 Siesta Campers. All rights reserved. Our Terms and Conditions.