Staple Camping Van Accessories
These are our camper accessories must-haves! A lot of people may have some or even all of these built into the van but, if not, you’ll at least need to have a portable solution.
Solar panels are definitely essential RV accessories and, ideally, we’d recommend having solar panels built into your van. Allowing you to create a fully off-grid system that works for you with zero hassle! That’s what we have, and you can learn more in our complete off-grid campervan electrical setup guide.
If your van isn’t capable of storing fixed panels though, a portable setup would be the next best thing! Portable panels need to be quick and easy to set up whilst also being fairly lightweight and easy to store.
The Bluetti Portable Solar Panels are a great option, they have good conversion efficiency and work with most solar generators. They are durable, waterproof and have 4 kickstand legs for super easy set-up.
This particular one weighs about 14.3ibs (approximately 6.5kg) which is pretty good for solar panels. They are very easy to transport and store though because they fold up small and come with a handy carry case.
Following on from this, you may instead want to opt for a portable power station, as a perfect power source for your campervans electrics.
We reviewed the Jackery stations and were pleasantly surprised by just how good they are!
The Explorer 500 comes with the ability to charge a range of different devices, right through from household AC outlets, to straightforward USB devices.
And when combined with one of their custom-built 100W solar panels, you have a full solar generator.
Meaning you can keep your power station topped up whilst on the road, so long as you have some sunlight each day. And it can also be charged whilst driving through your vans cigarette charger.
You can learn more about these Jackery units, as well as other top brands in my roundup of the best portable power stations.
An awning is an excellent way to quickly and easily add more living space to your van when you pull up at your camp spot. Which is the best campervan awning for you will vary though.
Awnings can come as just a roof, others come with one side for some extra weather protection but some are a fully walled room. Deciding what you want the awning for is the key to choosing the right one for your van.
If you just want somewhere shady and sheltered from the rain to relax or set up a table and chairs, a simple roof and poles might be enough. The Tuff Stuff Rooftop Awning is a great example of something like this, you just pull it out and secure it with poles.
If you want somewhere a little more secure where you can leave gear during the day or with protection from more extreme weather, a fully walled awning is a must.
It’s not necessarily an “accessory” and is more of an appliance but having a reliable fridge is so essential we didn’t want to overlook it. The best campervan fridge needs to be compact and fairly quiet (nobody wants to sleep next to a loudly humming fridge).
There are many small 12V fridges suitable for travel that come with a lid on the top. These might be suitable for tent camping but they’re not great for a campervan as you end up with a lot of wasted space on top to allow for the lid opening.
We definitely think standard front opening options just like you’d have at home but smaller make the best campervan fridges. We opted for the 12V Dometic Coolmax CRX 80 Litre which even comes with a removable freezer section.
5. Roof Rack
Anyone who lives or spends a lot of time in their van will tell you that storage becomes an obsession! You’re always looking for ways to save or make extra space and trying to think of new storage solutions.
One of the easiest ways to add the option of extra storage is with a roof rack! Whether you just sling a large sturdy box up there and strap it down or get a purpose-built pod, the storage options are endless.
Rhino racks come in a huge range of different sizes so it should be easy to find something that suits. They’re a well known and respected brand that make high quality, durable products and they’re well worth a look.
Outdoor Living “Van Life” Essentials
The easiest way to add extra living space to your campervan is to live partially outdoors! This might not always be possible if you’re travelling somewhere with poor weather but, even if you’re bundled up in a winter coat, that extra sense of space can be a lifesaver.
This is now officially our favourite camper accessory!
Having fires in nature is one of our favourite experiences, and the Wolf & Grizzly Fire Set is a crazy compact way to make having fires safe and responsible, no matter where we are. The whole set is made up of just two parts and folds down so small it’s so surprising.
In fact, it’s compact design is what also helps make this one of our top rated gifts for backpackers. As you can literally tuck it away in any rucksack and forget it’s even there.
I recommend getting the full Wolf & Grizzly Campfire Trio which also includes a purpose-built Grill …
This also rolls up and packs away really small, so is perfect for living in a van where space is at a premium!
Hammocks aren’t just for lounging around on a tropical beach holiday. They’re fast becoming a camping staple thanks to being comfortable, small and super lightweight.
There are some seriously high-quality camping hammocks out there that are designed to sleep in and come with full mosquito nets and rain covers to keep dry. If you want to have visitors stay overnight it could be useful to have one handy.
If you don’t need the extra sleeping area, a simple and cheap hammock can just be used as an extra spot to relax outside.
This lightweight hammock from Wise Owl Outfitters can be set up in less than a minute with no tricky knots to tie and weighs less than 700 grams.
Being able to sit outside can feel like you’ve added a whole extra room to your campervan which is why it’s one of our van life must haves!
Camping chairs have come a long way since those dodgy, rock hard seats mum and dad used to take on your family camping trips. Nowadays, there are some really compact and super comfortable options.
These SunYear camping chairs pack down really small and only weigh around 1kg, thanks to the lightweight aluminium alloy frame. They even come in a handy carry case that doubles as a storage basket under the chair when it’s set up.
Another great way to increase your outdoor living space is with a foldable camping table. Whether you want to eat outside, get some work done in the fresh air or just play a card game with friends, they’re definitely motorhome essentials.
The key is finding a table that either folds down completely flat or sort of rolls up and therefore is easy to store.
The Portal Camping Table is the perfect example. The slatted tabletop is sturdy but it rolls up and the legs fold together so everything can be stored in the carry bag measuring just 89cm x 18cm x 13cm.
If you don’t want damp clothes hanging all over your camper or a clothes area blocking your galley area, a travel clothesline is one of the essential accessories for campervan travel.
It doesn’t have to just be used outdoors either, you could find a way to string up your clothesline up high inside the van. You might need to duck sometimes but it’s still a less obtrusive way to dry things in bad weather.
This portable travel clothesline is made from an elastic line so it can be stretched to fit the space you have. It even comes with attached clothespins so they won’t go missing and handy stoppers so clothes aren’t moving up and down the line.
Bathroom Accessories For Campervans
Again, a bathroom might be something that you’re lucky enough to have built into the van. Plenty of people don’t though and instead rely on portable or pop up options or bank on finding good facilities nearby. These are our bathroom camper van must-haves.
It might not be the most glamorous of our van camping accessories but we can guarantee it’s one of the most vital. It’s a fact of life – everyone needs a toilet!
We opted for the Thetford 365 and it suits our needs perfectly. It has a large 5.5 gallon waste water tank and a 4 gallon fresh water tank but despite that, it’s surprisingly compact.
As with many modern portable toilets, there is a rotating spout that pulls out and allows for mess-free emptying. It even has built-in water tank indicators so you don’t have to just guess when it’s full.
We managed to find enough space in our layout to have a built-in shower and we’re very thankful. It makes life so much easier not having to plan our travels according to facilities. If you’re not so lucky though, portable showers could be a cheap and easy solution
There are portable shower systems available with a powered hot water system but they’re often bulky and not easy to store. A great alternative is a cheap solar shower bag.
These types of showers are made from a material that absorbs the heat from the sun, therefore, heating the water inside. They are surprisingly effective so always be sure to check the temperature before spraying yourself though!
13. Quick-dry towels
Like we mentioned before, drying clothes and towels in a campervan can be a little annoying. Trust us, quick-drying or microfibre towels are one of the big must-haves for van life!
There are a lot of these on the market nowadays but many of them are on the smaller side. These microfiber towels from Yuphoria though are just under 1m x 2m and great to use as full-sized bath towels.
They even have a handy loop to hang them by and come in a choice of 10 different colours.
Campervan Essentials For Cleaning
Cleaning gear might not spring to mind when trying to think of cool camper accessories but don’t overlook them! Keeping the campervan clean and tidy is absolutely essential if you want to keep a sense of space. Things can quickly descend into chaos if everything isn’t kept neat and tidy.
If you don’t have the means to fit an in-built water system, you’ll need a way to store water.
We tend to mostly use the 5-litre containers bought at the supermarket for fresh drinking water so we always know we have a clean water supply. However, if you just want to store water for washing, cooking or showering, collapsible water containers are handy to have around.
These ones are made from BPA free and food-grade plastic that has no seams so they definitely won’t leak. They come with a heavy-duty faucet attached for ease of pouring.
It’s actually a little ridiculous how much we love our collapsible washing up bowl! It’s definitely up there for me as one of the best camper van accessories we’ve bought.
Seriously, they are so handy to have around. You can use them to wash dishes in but you can also use them to carry large amounts of stuff, wash small clothing items, carry stuff around in, put ice in and use a cool box for drinks, put cooking scraps in before you take them out to the bin and more.
They’re just generally handy to have around and the fact that they fold down flat is always a bonus.
16. Handheld Vacuum
The quickest and easiest way to clean up messes is with a handheld vacuum! Not only is it easier than sweeping but it’s also a great way to get up into the bulkhead, into drawers or even clean the car seats and bed.
The key is to find a small and lightweight option so it’s easy to vacuum up high and into small spaces and little nooks and crannies. That’s what makes it one of our must-have camper van accessories.
The Shark Wandvac is unbelievably slim and lightweight but without compromising on suction strength. The charging station is small and unobtrusive as well.
A handheld vacuum is great for cleaning the whole van but if all you want to do is sweep up a spillage or dirt that’s been tracked in a small dustpan and brush is handy to have.
This miniature dustpan and brush set does the job and is better than the standard style as they can be stored flat so it doesn’t take up too much room.
Best Camper Accessories For Comfort
The absolute best van life accessories should make life more comfortable and more enjoyable. You might not have thought of some of these but they’ll certainly make the van easier to live in.
18. Small heater
The best campervan heater is probably going to be a built-in system (we have the Propex HS2000 and think it’s great). If that’s not possible or you live in warm climates and just need something occasionally, a small heater is the next best thing.
Unfortunately, cordless space heaters don’t actually exist so you’ll need to find a small portable option instead. Regardless of which one you go for just be sure to ensure it is safe for use in campervans, which are naturally sealed and can pose problems.
If fitting a permanently fitted gas or diesel heater, then have it professionally installed so that it vents externally.
19. Air Conditioning unit (From Zero Breeze)
By far the best recent update we made to our campervan was by building in a Zero Breeze Air Con unit.
They are not designed to be built in to a van, but with some creativity it’s entirely possible.
In fact the company themselves have now started selling a range of additional accessories, such as a 12v to 24 step up converter and portable power station adaptors.
Allowing people to easily install this unit into their van conversions and have cool air whenever they need it.
So, does it work?
We absolutely love our unit, and it makes traveling through hot countries SO much more enjoyable.
Especially at night time, when it’s horrible trying to sleep in a hot humid van.
Traditionally, such units (like from Dometic) are crazy expensive, and require 240v/110v hookup in order to power.
But not the Zero Breeze, that’s why it’s such a game changer.
Of course, this is definitely one of the pricier items on this list, but more than worth it if you spend significant time in your van in hot climates.
Read ore about how this unit works and how to install one in your van in our dedicated Zero Breeze Mark 2 Portable Air Conditioner review.
Blackout curtains are one of our most essential pieces of van life gear! If you take a look at our van tour video you can see we have them on the side windows and across the front to block off the cab.
We have these exact blackout curtains from Amazon and they work perfectly. Not only do they efficiently block out the light but they also look great too.
They are available in a range of different sizes and colours so it should be easy to find something that suits your needs.
21. Sun shades
Reflective window and door sun shades are a great way to make sure the van doesn’t heat up too much during the day.
Blackout curtains work great on the side windows but if you’re travelling in a really hot climate every little helps to keep the sun and the heat out.
These reflective sun shades are simple and cheap but do the job. Better still, they come in a range of different sizes so you should be able to find something that fits just about any van.
These might not be essential for everyone but if you like to keep the door open when it’s warm and you’re in an area where flies or bugs are an issue, flyscreens are nice to have.
These magnetic fly screens are made for house doors but there are two sizes and they just stick to a surface so would be easy enough to place over the van doors. They also have a magnetic closure so are easy to get in and out of.
They may not be a perfectly secure fit but they’re certainly going to do a better job than having nothing at all up.
23. A coffee machine
We love coffee and couldn’t survive without it so this was non-negotiable. We actually have a Delonghi espresso machine that we can plug in and runs off our 1500 watt inverter. If you don’t have the space or power, there are plenty of portable coffee makers though
One option is to take a look at the Handpresso 12V car coffee machines. They are super easy to use and plug straight into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter.
If you want something that doesn’t need any power at all, Handpresso also has a manual coffee maker that reaches 16 bar pressure and can therefore make espresso drinks.
Safety Campervan Equipment
With all the fun of getting set up and on the road, it can be easy to forget about safety gear. Make sure to give it some thought though. Not just to protect yourselves but to protect your baby (the van) seeing as you just put all that money into buying or converting it!
When you’re living the van life, you never quite know where you might end up. The worst thing would be not to be properly prepared for a flat leisure battery.
It’s such an easily solvable issue if you just carry a portable jump start device. If you don’t have one you’ll be kicking yourself and risk spending hours by the side of the road waiting for help.
This Ampeak smart battery charger uses a 6 phase charging function and is reliable enough to get you on the road again in no time.
25. Tyre inflator
Another very handy piece of gear when you’re stuck by the side of the rad. A tyre inflator could be just what you need to crawl those final few miles to the garage with a slow puncture.
This one uses a standard 12V cigarette lighter for power and is incredibly simple to use. It even comes with a built-in super bright LED light that’s perfect for roadside emergencies.
26. Snow chains
If you plan on travelling in snowy and icy weather, snow chains are an absolute must. It’s not worth gambling on good weather and having a pair of these handy can never hurt.
We have high quality proper commercial snow chains for our van as we didn’t want to take any risks. We highly recommend getting some professional advice to make sure you buy the ones necessary for the weight of your vehicle.
If you’re driving in Europe it’s actually a legal requirement in many countries to carry a high vis vest, warning triangle and fire extinguisher at all times.
You can buy safety kits that are small and compact enough to store in the van. This one includes safety triangles, high vis vests and more but you will need to buy a fire extinguisher separately.
28. Levelling blocks
We can’t stress the importance of a decent pair of levelling blocks enough. There is nothing quite as annoying as parking the van and trying to relax only to find everything is on an angle. It can make it impossible to cook and is just generally frustrating.
Plus, don’t forget one of these adorable little spirit levels to help ensure you park up level.
29. Reversing camera
You might think reversing cameras are a bit of a luxury but they’re a really great investment and one of our essential gadgets for campervans. After all, it’s cheaper to buy a quality reversing camera than it is to repair the van or pay insurance excesses to cover other people’s repairs!
This particular reversing camera can be mounted in a high position so it’s perfect for campervans. There are no wires or internal cables and the transmitter is small and unobtrusive.
Once installed the guidelines can be adjusted as every vehicle is different due to size differences. It’s really affordable and we’d recommend anyone snap it up.
30. First aid kit
From minor cuts and stings to more serious accidents, you never know what might happen while you’re out exploring and it never hurts to be as prepared as possible.
A comprehensive first aid kit where everything is kept together in a handy case makes sense when you’re travelling around in the van.
Choose a kit depending on what you feel is most important but this compact first aid kit includes things like bandaids, bandages, antiseptic ointment, gauze, cold packs and more!
Life’s Little Luxuries
None of these accessories are things you won’t be able to live without but we think they make van life a lot more enjoyable! Whether it’s making life simpler, providing some entertainment or making the van more homely, they’re definitely top camper van accessories.
A customised welcome matt is a fun and quirky way to add a touch of personality and a homely feel to your new little mini home. We have this exact one from Etsy and we love it!
32. Mattress Topper
Campervan mattresses usually have to be quite thin. If you’re worried that the mattress you chose isn’t comfy enough or even just want to add a touch of real luxury, a mattress topper is a quick and easy way to do just that.
I might be repeating enough but I’ll say it once more. In van life storage is everything! Things like kitchen utensils take up a lot of room in the limited drawer space you have so a magnetic knife rack is a great idea.
We have this exact one and believe it or not, after a year of use, a knife has never fallen off. Not even once!
If you enjoy cooking with herbs and spices, don’t feel like you have to miss out just because you’re living the van life! These magnetic spice jars are an awesome way to store spices without using up all the drawer space.
We have these exact ones and they are great! They go well with the magnetic knife rack above but you can also stick them to the fridge, the walls or anywhere else metal.
The one we have runs off the 12v inverter and is very similar to this one. We also have a small projector screen (like this one) that is the perfect size for our van. If you don’t mind spending a little more cash there are smaller and more powerful projectors available too.
What does every campervan need?
This is a tough one, what every campervan needs will largely depend on what you personally feel is the most important.
We would recommend making sure that you have all the staples, safety accessories and bathroom gear mentioned here as an absolute minimum. After that you can pick and choose a few that you think will have the biggest impact on making van life easier.
Alternatively, if you have a large budget and want to be fully decked out, we really believe all these campervan accessories will be a huge benefit to you.
How do you make a campervan cosy?
Making your campervan feel like home is so important. Those little touches can make you feel much better about living on the road in such a tiny space.
We highly recommend getting some of these blackout curtains as they’re a great way to add a touch of privacy and will also help keep the heat in a little. Other things that we think make our van lovely and cosy are having some twinkly fairy lights, real bed linen (just like in any other home), throw pillows and even a few plants (even just fake ones if you want something low maintenance).
How do I personalize my campervan?
There are tons of things you can easily do to personalize your tiny van home. We definitely recommend getting one of these personalised welcome mats as we did.
A few photos of family and friends around the place is always a nice touch as well. You can easily avoid hanging frames with glass etc and either purchase some magnetic frames or just laminating photos so they’re extra durable.
Don’t forget the outside of your van either! Having graphics and a funky colour scheme will really bring personality to your new tiny home.
How do you brighten up a campervan?
Adding light to a campervan is key to feeling like you have more space. Hopefully, when you did your conversion you installed some decent side windows to let the light in but there are other things you can do too.
To see how we brightened up our van with lighting and some cute little porthole windows, take a look at our full van tour video.
We really think that all of these campervan accessories make our life a lot easier, safer and more comfortable!
Apart from all the staples, I personally couldn’t live without my coffee machine!
Blackout curtains are an absolute essential for privacy and a projector is a bit of a luxury but it’s always good to have some movies to relax in front of at night.
Do you have any other must-haves to suggest?
Or perhaps you’ve been inspired to buy something from this list?
Drop me a comment below!