Creating the Perfect Kombi Road Trip Wardrobe

BUT WHAT TO PACK for small spaces or kombi van roadies? Don’t worry – we have your back!

We know it’s difficult to know how many clothes to take when you’re going on holiday.  We often pack loads more than we actually need!

We’ve put together some packing tips for your van life roadie, or in fact, any other minimalist packing style holiday. 


So I’m catering to the female crowd here because for the guys, it seems to be a simple thing (well the way my man puts it!) “all you need is a couple pairs of shorts and jeans, a few tees, tanks, a good shirt and boots to go out for dinner, along with the good old jandals of course” for that kiwi summer holiday.

But for us gals, it can get a bit more complicated! But it needn’t be – check out my visual capsule wardrobe pictured – this is generally what I will take for 3 weeks of van life on the road.

Individual photos collated to show packing list for kombi van road trips


My number one tip is layering and natural fibres – merino is ideal and we are very lucky in New Zealand to have easy access to this – you get what you pay for, and for soft, non-itchy merino, my go to is Glowing Sky or Icebreaker.

Jeans of course are a good all rounder – hard wearing denim will last the course, and that’s why I’ve picked jean shorts as well. You also can’t go wrong with a denim skirt (mini or knee length, whatever’s your jam!) Cotton tees roll up well, and un-crease easily, as does merino.


So do you fold or roll?  I roll everything – it’s less likely to crease that way, and if you need the crinkles to drop out, hang it outside the shower and the steam will work it’s magic. That’s if you happen to be camping where there are showers, that’s a bit more tricky if you’re in a DOC or free campsite, but no one cares when you’re on holiday anyway!


A cute little skirt for day or evening wear, and pick a colour that tones with your various tops – the tops selection here are cotton, bamboo, merino and linen. The cropped khaki vest is perfect to layer over the maxi dress for a cool vibe for going out in the evenings.

A maxi can also be cool and swishy during the day, and glammed up for an evening out – I like to take sandals that double as glam but are also easy to walk in. No heels in MY luggage for van life!! Add to that a big square scarf, instant dress-up and cover-up from sun, which can also double as another blanket for cosying up in the van.


Minimal jewellery is important to me so I don’t have to be concerned about losing any (because I’m notorious for that!) and I make sure that it’s a selection that goes with everything.  Costume jewellery is fabulous these days – my advice is to leave those diamonds at home!


Sneakers and jandals, sun hat and because NZ weather can be unpredictable, even in the summer – a puffer jacket and rain jacket that pack away into small pockets.


Packing cells are great space savers. The one pictured is double sided so I’ve got all my tops and skirt/dress in one side and flip it over for the jeans, shorts, jackets. I got this from Kathmandu which has fabulous gadgets if you’re that way inclined and also lots of other cool outdoor gear.

Obviously if you’re into more serious hiking, you’ll want to add extra gear.


Holidays should not be stressful – we get it, decisions are hard sometimes. But lay everything out on your bed, subtract if necessary. Ask yourself if you really need those five pairs of shoes. Or if you honestly want to keep track of multiple jewellery items and be worried about losing them.

So, just get out there!

You will find that once you are on your kombi road trip, who cares if you wear the same tee shirt two days in a row! You’re travelling to these amazing scenic spots, chatting to different people every day. 

Start up the engine, hit the road, soak up those kiwi retro summer time vibes and get out there and just enjoy the adventure!

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