Packing for a bus roadtrip

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Sven, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. There's a series of pictures i've taken just before our last trip that shows some essentials we travel with. I'm not one of those "over-organize and make lists" type of people, but in this case it really helps.

    Apart from the usual camping stuff like pots and plates that just stay in the bus all year round;

    Food supply (non-refrigerated):


    We can't afford to eat out much, western europe's prices are insane for our standard, so we take as much backup as we can. This can't be beans and sausages because we'd get sick, fat and constipated, so we tend to buy as natural food as possible... bit more expensive in the start but pays off in the end.

    We always keep a bottle of good wine. you never know when you'll need to celebrate something on your trip, or maybe thank someone who won't take money for their help - it's a universal gift anywhere in the world.



    Apart from an archaic mobile phone which is more for emergency than communication and something to play music on, the rest is just related to photography. the most important being the external hard drive which is used to store all the photos - this has it's own hiding place in the bus so even if someone breaks in and steals all our stuff, we still get to keep our photos, everything else is replaceable.



    Before the trip, scan your passport and email it to yourself - in case you loose it, a copy will help a great deal.
    Some people will tell you not to take lots of cash, but to use credit cards. I disagree. I only keep a little on the bank card (not credit) just in case i didn't have time to change currency, and i want to buy something. if i lost it, it would be useless to anyone without a code. It's more likely for a cash-point machine to eat your card or some scamming device being used on you than it is for you to loose cash if you take the right measures.

    The majority of cash is kept in a money belt - this goes under your trousers and is not taken off or shown EVER in public. some money (up to 200 eur) is kept in your spending and decoy wallet, and a third amount; enough to get you back home is kept hidden in the bus. We use strong neodium magnets to pin notes on the inside frame behind the plywood side trim. even if a burglar would tear those down, it's unlikely he would be able to find it without knowing it's there.

    Take your student card if it's still valid (or has no dates on it like ours); it can save you a lot of entry fees, your international healthcare card, road assistance (although not much use once you get too far from home)
    MEASURE YOUR CURRENT UNLADEN VEHICLE HEIGHT - Some countries have very low height limits in garage entrances and other places, and this information is sometimes missing or hard to see, it helps if you know beforehand if your bus will fit under 2.0m or 2.2m In Italy its useful to know your width too.

    Roadtrip Library:


    You might think you can find anything you need to know on the internet, but wi-fi is still not that well spread, and reading beforehand doesn't work. You don't have the same enthusiasm reading about something that's 2000 miles away from you as you would at the time and place. GPS is NOT a substitute for printed road maps.

    Spare parts & tools:


    It's hard to make a decision on what's too much to take, but i've gathered a list of things I think cover most breakdowns with Bay windows. Some poeople have a theory that its no use taking a spare part if they wouldn't know how to change it anyway. You might not, but you'll find a garage in the middle of Africa. on the other hand parts for a 40 year old vw aren't exactly sold on the news stand.

    Things I don't need:

    Starter motor - even if the starter breaks down beyond repair (which is rare) you can still push-start the car. it's heavy and big - you don't need it.

    Alternator - a camper will have two batteries, that should be enough sparks to get you anywhere safe in time you realize it's not functioning - it's heavy and big - you don't need it.

    Balljoints & tierods - if these parts are not serviced regularly, and in top condition, you best not be driving at all. - you don't need them, change them now.

    Take all the small parts with you.. fan belt, spark plugs, piece of thick wire, insulation tape, copper gasket maker, a pushrod tube with gaskets, valve cover gaskets, spare carb (cleaned and serviced) spare distributor including at least one spare cap and rotor, if with points, take 3 spares, if electronic, take a spare module, coil, at least one spare spark wire, assorted nuts and bolts, wire connectors & fuses, fuel pump (with shaft), grease, front wheel bearing, spare cv joint, some fuel hose, brake fluid, spare clutch and acc. cables, tire repair kit, spare alt. regulator, a rubber mat to lie under the bus.

    Apart from regular tools; 46mm and 36mm sockets (use road signpost as breaker bar), 8mm - star socket for cv joints, heli-coil tap and inserts for spark plug threads.
    I also took a spare cylinder head, although that might be overkill.

    A great place to put all this stuff is in between the floor and belly pan. it will keep the weight distribution low, and be completely out of the way. i used sound insulation and zip ties to keep it from moving about. In case of emergency, all you need is a 13mm spanner. - i would avoid parking in places that do anti-terrorist mirror-checks on cars though.
  2. Nice guide thanks for posting...:thumbsup:
  3. All that for a day trip,
  4. Add two spare wheels, four inner tubes, 20 meters of 5 ton breaking strain rope, engine oil and brake fluid.
    Then you are good to go across the Sahara!! Been there, done that, got the tee shirt:)
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2013
    steveagain likes this.
  5. Spare wheel and engine oil should be standard gear, that's always in the bus.
    This was packing for a 1 month long trip. and yes, the part we didn't and couldn't have taken failed, the windscreen. :)
    redarmy likes this.
  6. No gaffa tape or cable ties?
    What are you?
    Bobreoc and steveagain like this.
  7. IS an(opened)" Pandora"s box there dude ?u know ,when the box was opened and all the evils of/for the world were released into the world and at the bottom of said box and still in the box was "hope "? am I on philosophy site ,dudes?
  8. A roll of thick s/steel aircraft locking wire, this saved my life in the middle of the Sahara desert, when the roof rack came off, shearing a bunch of the screws that held it together.
    Managed to lash it back together like a shipwrecked sailor would have done.

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