By now you’ve definitely heard loads of stories about people trading expensive housing for life on the road. While RVs and motorhomes have been popular for years, scaled-down van living sets a new balance of comfort and freedom. Though it may not always be as beautiful and easy as Instagram shows, with the right accessories for campervans, life in the van can be a lot of FUN!
Van life is all about leaving the stresses of rent or mortgage payments behind and going on an endless road trip. We discovered the joys of traveling in a campervan while exploring Australia and fell in love immediately.
We’ve traveled in our van for the last year and have fine-tuned our camper van equipment to suit our needs and space. Out of all the gadgets out there, these are the campervan accessories that we recommend the most.
Best Campervan Accessories for Van Life
In no particular order, these supplies and gadgets for campervan make our van life that much better. Everything is packable, portable, very efficient!
Non Negotiable Essentials
We’ll start the list with 3 non-negotiable items that are not sexy or exciting but are incredibly important to have in any campervan. We are talking about a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and a smoke/carbon monoxide alarm. Buy them once, find a place for them in your campervan and sleep soundly knowing that you are covered in case of an emergency. And if you are traveling outside of your home country, add essential medical and travel insurance to that list too. We recommend Safety Wing!
now.. onto the more interesting items!
Picnic Table and Chairs
Whether you’re having a meal outside or sitting by the campfire, having a table and outdoor camping chairs is a must. Not all campsites have picnic tables so having our own has become a staple in our van camping equipment.
Our set folds flat so it barely takes up any space when we’re not using it and is easy to tuck away. The chairs are some of our most used van accessories for camping and relaxing outdoors – an absolute must for any camper!
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Awning With Built-in Lights
Protect yourself from the summer sun or inclement weather with a retractable awning. Having an awning allows us to hang out outside no matter the weather. Being stuck in the van can feel a little cramped sometimes so the awning basically doubles your living space.
We especially recommend an awning with built-in lights. It’s a way better alternative to fairy lights since you don’t need to worry about unstringing them to put it away. It’s one of the fun camper accessories that other van lifers always ask us about!
A must-add to your campervan accessories list! We consider these camper van essentials since they’ve helped us out in many situations. Having a level van is super important for your fridge, its essential for being able to cook inside and sleep without blood rushing down to your head!
These levelling blocks are small enough to store but versatile enough to work on all different terrain. They’re perfect for vans and one of the best motorhome accessories you can have in your rig—AKA essential campervan equipment.
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A nice hammock is a must-have on your next camping trip to enjoy the great outdoors and stay comfy. We’ve spent many relaxing afternoons reading a book in a hammock. The nylon ones make excellent van camping accessories because they’re lightweight and packable. If you can splurge on a sustainable option made with recycled nylon or plastic water bottles – that’s even better! A hammock is as close to a comfortable mattress as you can get that still fits into a tiny pouch!
A picnic rug is one of the best camper accessories, particuarly in the summer months! We found so many great uses for our rug. It’s a beach blanket, a picnic throw, a cozy blanket for an afternoon nap and a warm throw for sundowner and evenings by the campfire.
Get yourself a rug in a cool design that looks like a fun accessory for your campervan and make sure it can be easily washed in a washing machine!
If you live in Canada like us, a heater is one of the camper van must-haves you can’t live without. In particular, a diesel heater is one of the best campervan accessories for dry, energy-efficient heating. It uses a small amount of fuel and electricity to create powerful heat that you can control with a remote.
We saved the additional cost by installing it ourselves but if you dont feel comfortable, you could always get an electrician to install it for you. The installation was pretty straightforward. A diesel heater is one top recommendation for accessories for campervan you need in the winter!
Maxx Air Fan or Portable Fan
A roof fan is one of the best camper gadgets for van life. It makes the summers cooler and keeps our air fresh—which is crucial in a small space. We have two of the MaxxAir Deluxe Fans in our van to help circulate clean air from front to back.
The one over our bed acts as a ceiling fan on a hot day, with options to push air in or suck it out. The extraction feature is always on for our kitchen fan as it draws out steam and excess moisture from cooking. This keeps our van dry and helps to prevent condensation and mould from building up. These fans are at the top of the list of essential campervan accessories that we could not live without!
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Our espresso machine is one of our favourite camper kitchen accessories. Sure, it’s a coffee maker but it’s also amazing for boiling water. We have the De’Longhi Nespresso Essenza Plus Machine which we use for coffee, tea, and other boiled water needs. It only takes 30 seconds to boil water so hot tea is always on the menu. And since we don’t need to pull out the camping stove or our portable hot plate, we can get moving a lot quicker in the mornings.
Anything that takes up less space is a win in our van. Having a foldable bucket is super helpful for washing dishes, filling up water, and even using as a portable shower. This foldable bucket is so great for space constraints and we can easily take it along to the lake or river. Plus, when the nearest washing machine is more than a few meters away, it can also serve as a laundry bag!
Great Toiletry Bag
Having easy access to all of your shower products and toiletries is key while road tripping. We love the Peak Design wash pouch to keep all of our toiletries in one place. It’s made from 100% recycled nylon with a DWR shell for long-lasting use and water resistance.
If we’re taking a shower at a gym or campground, we know we can grab our wash pouches and have everything we need. Pack all your on-the-go campervan essentials into it and never be stuck without shampoo again!
Portable Travel Toilet
Some might think a portable travel toilet isn’t as exciting as other cool campervan gadgets. But van lifers know the reality of not having a toilet in the campervan. You can easily make your next campervan holiday a lot more enjoyable by adding a portable toilet.
This Portable Toilet from Camco is a great budget option. It’s affordable and big enough for a couple to use for 3-4 days! It only needs to be emptied every few days and refilled with clean water. It tucks away and makes going to the bathroom in the middle of the night a lot easier! You can check the size of a portable toilet in person at stores that sell van/RV accessories to pick the right size for your set-up.
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An inflatable kayak is ideal for camping trips on the water and is super easy to store. You don’t need roof racks or bike racks to store the kayak, you simply pack it away when you’re not using it. It’s always fun to have when we’re camping and want to explore lakes and rivers without having to rent a canoe or hop aboard a boat. An inflatable kayak become one of our favourite vanlife accessories this summer. We have this double-seater kayak – it’s sturdy, reliable and only takes 10 minutes to set up.
This is one of the best van life accessories that you might already own! Whether you’re listening to music inside or hanging out outdoors, having a speaker that’s durable is key. We have the Bose Soundlink Micro, which is perfect to throw in our daypacks or bring out to the campfire. We can easily play music and podcasts while we’re cooking or relaxing on the beach. The battery life is impressive and it’s nice and lightweight. Did I mention that it’s also waterproof?
Microfibre towels are a great alternative to regular towels because they dry really quickly. We use them as hand towels, for drying dishes, and more. Microfibre towel come in a variery of sizes, but they are always super compact and packable, ans surprisingly absorbent too! Consider a set of 2-3 microfibre towels to be must-have items for vanlife.
Portable Power Bank
This is one of many helpful camping van accessories that’s especially handy if you don’t have a solar panel or electrical set up in your campervan. Power banks come in all different capacities and are a lifesaver to give your phone, camera, or laptop a boost. We make sure to charge our power bank while driving so that we always have back-up power for small devices. A portable power bank is one of the best campervan gadgets to have in your arsenal.
A WiFi extender is one of those electrical gadgets that makes life on the road that much easier. It allows us to work from remotely, even when the internet signal isn’t great. We’ve stayed at plenty of campgrounds with weak WiFi signal at our site and this little wifi extender has been our lifesaver.
The extender helps to boost the signal and extend its range to your campervan. It’s a perfect solution to get wifi in your van to do work or watch some late-night Netflix. It was easy to set up and works well to amplify any weak wifi signals within a few hundred meters. There are lots of unnecessary gadgets for campervans but for us, this is one is a true winner!
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Collapsible Storage Containers
Storage containers are essential to help organize your campervan kitchen cupboards. If you’re living in a van full time, you know that the small space can get cluttered very easily. Having collapsible storage containers makes all the difference.
We have these silicone containers that are durable, non-toxic, microwave and dishwasher safe. They fold flat and are easy to store when we’re not using them. They’re our go-to campervan accessories for leftovers, premade meals, or dry goods!
Water Purifier or Water Filtration System
One of our best travel tips is to have a water purification pen in your pack of essential campervan supplies. This UV SteriPen has been our go-to for travels around the world and you bet its made the list of essential accessories for campervan. The Steripen is easy to use – just put it in your cup and stir unfiltered water for 30 seconds to let UV light kill all bacteria and viruses. This has been super handy on the road so we can fill up water anywhere. And the pen is rechargeable so we can use it over and over again.
We also have an under-the-sink water filtration system in our campervan that we highly recommend. Simply put, it purifies water that comes out of our tap. This way, we can fill up our water tank anywhere and not have to worry about harmful germs and bacteria.
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If you have solar panels, an inverter is an essential campervan accessory to convert solar energy into AC power. This is especially important when you wild camp and are depending on your auxiliary battery. But even without solar, having a portable power inverter that plugs into your van’s cigarette lighter is great.
We love our power inverter because it has an outlet and two USB slots. It’s perfect for charging your tablet or laptop while driving so it doesn’t drain your battery. It’s nice and small too so we can easily store it above the driving area when we’re not using it.
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These 20+ items, have made our life in a van a lot more comfortable. Thankfully with all the traveling we’ve done, we’ve gotten pretty used to living with less. In a van, it can be a challenge to have everything you need in such a small space. But, with these camper van supplies, we’re able to live tiny without sacrificing convenience and comfort.