If you’re about to start living the van life or are planning to travel in a van then it’s time to start thinking about the van life essentials that you’ll need when living in a van. It’s important to be space conscious when kitting out a compact camper van and to think about what items will help you curb those van life costs. However, if you’re going to be travelling in a van for a long period of time it is also important to make your tiny house on wheels really feel like your home, albeit a tiny home. So today, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the best camper van gear of 2019 that will be great for anyone looking to live the van life.
This list of the best camper van gear will be great for any vandwellers out there and for anyone looking for campervan gifts for the outdoorsy people in their life (Christmas is only three months away, after all!). Loads of these items would also be great for anyone living off the grid, trying out alternative living or simply trying to minimise and organise clutter in their life. So read on to hear our van life ideas about the best camper van gear of 2019.
Itching to try out Full Time Van Life? Want to reveal to the world that you’re a weekend warrior? Head over to our brand new Facebook Group! It’s a place to pick up vanlife tips, share ideas, and meet other van life enthusiasts from around the globe!
We’re going to be breaking our list of the best camper van gear down into eight different sections: bedroom, kitchen, toiletries and hygiene, getting outside, organisation, pets, tech and safety and tools.
Great Camper Van Gear For The Sleeping Area
First up on our best camper van gear list is essentials for the bedroom area.
Memory Foam Mattress
When sleeping in a camper van you may not have as much room as in a conventional bedroom but that doesn’t mean that your bed cant be just as comfortable. Memory foam is a great way to get an amazing nights sleep and is therefore perfect for any camper van. Memory foam is also great if the size or shape of the mattress need altering as it can be easily cut with a knife. We’ve been using this mattress in our camper van for the past two years and we’ve never slept better.
Multi Charging Wires
Most camper vans have only a few charging ports so having a multi device charging wire is a great way to charge more items at once. Charge three different devices using only one USB port with this clever piece of tech.
There’s no room for bedside tables in a camper van so storage pods are a great way to get around this. Simply attach to the wall above or beside your bed and you have a mini storage area perfect for everything you might need van you go to bed- books, ear plugs, phone etc. We love these pods from ikea and if you don’t want to hang them on the rack, simply use some heavy duty velcro to attach.
If you don’t need a whole storage pod to act as your bedside table, somewhere to store your phone is still handy as a smaller alternative. This wall phone mount is a great place to store your phone at night, or when you’re not using it. It’s great when everything has its place in a van, it is surprisingly easy to looks things in such a small space.
Our USB fan has been a life saver on warmer nights. Simply plug into a battery pack or your 12v electrics and you’re in for a cool nights sleep. This fan is great as it can clip onto any surface so you can position it to get the maximum breeze.
A Rumpl Blanket is an essential for any outdoorsy person. These super warm blankets pack up into a tiny bag, perfect foe storing in any small space. As well as packing up super small these blankets are light weight, durable and water resistant, perfect for any adventure.
Hot Water Bottle
Being too cold is a key ingredient in the recipe for a bad nights sleep. The quickest and easiest way to warm up is to employ the use of a hot water bottle. Go eco and get this rubber free hot water bottle made from 80% renewable materials. It looks good too!
Fairy lights are a great way to make any space more homely. They’re also a great replacement for a bedside lamp. Battery powered lights like these work best in a camper van as they don’t need to be plugged into your van’s leisure battery.
Best Camper Van Gear For The Kitchen
Next up on our list of best camper van gear are essential items for any camper’s kitchen.
Water bottles are an essential to any camper van, they’re easy to fill up anywhere, perfect to chuck in a rucksack and eliminate the possibility of spills- I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left a cup of water on the side before driving off! With this water bottles from 4ocean you’re also clearing 1lb of rubbish from our oceans and coastline with every purchase.
When living on the road you’re constantly filling up your water from different sources which means it always tastes different, and sometimes not the nicest. To save on buying bottled water, opt instead for a water filter to get pure, tasty drinking water every time. We love this Berkey Water Filter, it doesn’t the job well and looks good too.
Most camper vans don’t come equipped with an oven, so being able to make items such as bread, cake and jacket potatoes really is a luxury. Well, with the Omnia Oven you can do all of the above, and so much more. The Omnia Oven sits on top of any gas cook top and creates a mini oven, yes please!
If you want to up the cooking experience another notch then try out the Ooni Pizza Oven. This portable mini pizza oven allows you to cook authentic wood fired pizza anywhere on the road. It super convenient too, pizzas are ready to cook just ten minutes after lighting the fire and are ready to eat in just 60 seconds! Surely one of the best camper van gear ideas out there!
Porcelain plates can be a problem in a camper van, for obvious reasons, but it’s nice not to eat off of plastic. This is where bamboo plates come in, difficult to break, super lightweight, easy to clean and super fashionable- you can’t go wrong! We love this dining set from Lekoch.
Every camper van needs somewhere to cook. We love this Vango burner as it has three rings to cook on, meaning you have more space and can cook a wider variety of meals. By having a portable cooker you can decide whether you want to cook inside or outside, depending on the weather. If you don’t like the look of this one then check out our best campervan cookers article.
If you’re looking to spice up your cooking experience while living the van life then try out the Go Sun Portable Solar Oven. This clever piece of kit uses just the sun to create temperatures up to 280degrees c. So pack into your camper van and get creating!
Washing up on the road can be a tedious job, especially as most camper vans don’t have anywhere to put wet dishes. Well, with the Joseph and Joseph drying rack you can create a temporary drying rack each time you was up, giving the dishes space to dry. Simply fold away and hide in a cupboard until next time.
Another great product from Joseph and Joseph, these nesting bowls sit inside one another to save on storage space. This clever design allows you to have a large mixing bowl, colander, sieve, smaller bowl and set of cup measures all inside the largest bowl. A great way of storing everything you need for cooking on the road.
Conventional pans take up a lot of storage space due to the handles. Well, with this Tefal Saucepan Set the handle comes off, meaning they will store away nicely. Perfect for van life.
Another great Joseph and Joseph find is this cutlery set that includes a stainless steel knife, spoon and fork. Each piece stores inside a spoon shaped box, perfect for storing in your camper van and for taking on any adventure.
Tupperware is great for storing any leftovers as well as for using for a packed lunch. The key to good camper van Tupperware is selecting a set that takes up minimum storage space, like this stackable set.
A good coffee is an essential way to start the day and is just as important when travelling. This AeroPress coffee maker is small and portable, allowing you to make great coffee on the go. A must have item on out best camper van gear list.
A flask is a great item to be able to take out on a hike with you and as van life and hiking go hand in hand this is an essential item to take on the road with you. We love the Hydroflask as it keeps things hot for a whole 12 hours and cold for the entire day!
A fruit basket is often forgotten in a camper van but if you’re trying to eat healthily it is essential to have somewhere to store fruit to stop it from getting bruised. This hanging basket is the perfect solution as it doesn’t take up and storage space in a cupboard or on a countertop.
Everyone loves a BBQ and they’re great when you’re on the road. This Notebook Folding Grill is perfect as it folds away to be super small, which is perfect for storage.
Last up in our kitchen section of our best campervan gear guide is one that is certainly not to be forgotten, the Ridge Monkey. The Ridge Monkey creates a miniature oven on top of a hob (or even an open fire) and is perfect for cooking fish, toasted sandwiches and so much more.
Essentials: Toiletries And Hygiene
Next up on our best camper van gear guide is toiletries and hygiene.
Wash bags are a great way to organise your toiletries and keep them easily accessible, they’re also perfect if you plan on showering at campsites or swimming pools on your road trip. We love this washbag from Noome as it is a great size and would be perfect for hanging in any shower cubicle.
Hand Sanitiser is great for hygiene on the road, these portable ones would also be great for chucking in your rucksack when on the go.
Baby wipes are super handy if you haven’t found anywhere to shower in a couple of days and are running low on water. Really, any will do.
If you’re going to be showering outside then you need to get some eco friendly soap and shampoo so you don’t damage the environment you are enjoying. Try Campsud’s soap which also helps to protects against those pesky mosquitoes.
Scrubba Wash Bag
The Scrubba Wash Bag is a great way to wash your clothes on the go, it is small and portable and can even double as a waterproof rucksack. Its super easy to use and can delay a trip to the laundrette, check it out here.
Micro Fibre Towel
Micro Fibre towels are definitely one of the best pieces of camper van gear out there, they’re quick drying and pack up much smaller than a regular towel, taking up less storage space. We love the Tesselate towels as they have beautiful designs and feel much nice than a standard microfibre towel.
If you don’t have a shower inside your camper van then a road shower is a fantastic solution. The Road Shower mounts onto the roof rack of your vehicle and provides a pressurised shower wherever you are- a true van life luxury. If it’s sunny outside the water will become hot, even better!
If you’re looking for a more affordable camper shower then you could try a rinse kit that plugs into your 12v electrics to heat the water. Alternatively try a simple solar shower, left outside in the sun to heat up and hung from a tree to shower, low tech but works perfectly.
Dust Pan and Brush
A camper van is prone to getting dirty, it’s a small space and you’re constantly moving in and out, bringing bit of the outside with you. It is therefore essential to own a dust pan and brush, honestly it’s one of the things I use the most in my van. They all do the same job but if you’re looking for something a bit more aesthetically pleasing (and only £7!) check out this wooden dustpan and brush from Matalan.
If you don’t have a toilet in your van then a camping toilet is great for emergencies or for using at night time. This portable folding toilet with bags is perfect for the job but if you are looking for something bigger check out our list of best campervan toilets.
It’s useful to have a bucket in your camper van, you never know when it might come in handy- for transporting water, washing up outside, standing in while you shower or washing your camper. The list is endless. A collapsible one like this is great as is takes up less storage space.
Best Camper Van Gear For Getting Outside
Next up on our list of best camper van gear are some great items to make getting outside that little bit easier.
A hammock is a great way to relax and enjoy nature outside. They’re prefect for van life as they pack down really small which is great for storage. We love the Maca Hammocks, they are easy to hang from any tree and are super comfortable.
When you’re living the van life you are constantly on the move, meaning it’s difficult to store all of the hiking maps you might need in their physical form. This is where a hiking app comes in- all the maps you could possibly need all stored in your pocket. Try All Trails for hiking routes around the globe.
There is no feeling like being out in nature and by the water and it’s even more fun if you can get out on the water. Paddle boards are great as they require no training (just practice!) and an inflatable one packs down to be fairly small, so there’s no need for a surfboard rack just yet. We love the inflatable paddle board by Bluefin SUP.
If you’re going to be getting outside a lot then it’s a great idea to have a good pair of outdoor sandals to make your adventure that bit easier. Something that can get wet, drys quickly and is comfortable to walk long distances in is perfect. Try a pair of Teva’s for something practical and stylish.
A torch is an essential van life item, especially if you’re going to be going oitside for the toilet in the middle of the night. A head-torch is even better as it means you can have both of your hands free.
Picnic Blankets make eating and sitting outside extra comfortable. One with a waterproof backing is best as it means you can relax on the grass even if it’s a little damp.
A good rucksack is essential to any outdoorsy adventure, what you go for will depend on how much you want to be carrying. For those looking for something for day to day use with enough space for water, a packed lunch and an extra jacket try a reliable Eastpack bag.
Even if you have somewhere to sit inside your camper, you can’t beat sitting outside when the weather is nice. Camping chairs like the MEC Park Chair are a great way to do this as they’re quick and easy to get out and use and generally pack down pretty small which is good for storing in a camper van.
Go one step further and add an outdoor camping table to your set up. Having a table allows you to eat outside and even host your van neighbors for dinner!
It really doesn’t get much better than a campfire and to build a great fire you’re going to need an axe to cut the wood. So, make sure you can bring the fire to the party with an axe on board. Plus, they look pretty badass!
Gear To Keep Your Camper Van Organised
Next up in our best camper van gear guide are some useful items that will help keep your tiny home orgainsed.
Large Storage Boxes
Large storage boxes are great if your camper van has a garage (or outdoor gear) area as they keep everything in their own place. These boxes ensure that you will alway know where your gear is when you need it.
It’s easy for things to get lost in a camper van, especially when it comes to clothes getting stuck at the bottom of your drawer. Packing cubes are a great way to organise and separate items into different categories and can be a life saver when it comes to finding that top that you really want to wear.
Produce bags not only reduce your plastic consumption at the supermarket but also help to organise your food items in your camper van. If everything has its own bag then you’re more likely to know where it is. We love these ethically made bags from Lucy and Yak.
Hooks are brilliant as they can make use of otherwise wasted wall space. They are good for items that you use everyday and need to be able to access quickly such as coats and bags. Hooks are also good for drying towels and wet swimwear. Get something decorative like these vintage hooks and add a bit of style to your camper.
Storage bins are especially great if you are travelling with kids in your camper van. Pop a couple of storgage bins hidden inside a bench seat and you’ve got easy access (and quick tidying) to a toy box or dirty laundry basket. As they’re hidden they don’t need to be anything fancy, try these practical storage bins.
There is nothing more annoying when traveling in a camper van than loosing you keys and it’s surprisingly easy to do, even in such a small space. Attach a tile to your keys and it’ll beep whenever you open the app on your phone. So useful!
Being able to take a bike with you on your travels opens up so many possibilities of different places to go, once you’ve parked up. It’s unusual that your camper van would have enough room to carry your bikes inside and this is where a rack, like this Fiamma Bike Carrier, comes in, mount on the back of your van and take your bikes where ever you go!
If you’re a keen surfer it’s also good to be able to keep your boards outside, not only will it free up room insdie your camper van but it also means you can avoid putting wet, sandy boards insdie your living space. We love these super affordable Surf Hooks from Campervan HQ.
Even if you have a big camper van it can sometimes be a struggle to fit everything that you need inside. If you find that you need that extra bit of storage space then a roof box, mounted onto your roof rack, could be the way to go. Why not try the Thule Cargo Box.
Despite all the fancy feature that we have in our van, I still use this cheap folding step stool more than almost everything else. It’s great for reaching things in high cupboards, getting onto the bed and getting in and out of the camper more comfortably.
Best Camper Van Gear For Pets
Next up on our list of the best camper van gear this year we’ve got a whole section for your furry friends. Pets make great adventure companions but it is important to make sure they are safe and happy in and out of your camper van at all times. Read our useful list of items and see what will make their lives (and yours) that bit better.
It’s really important that animals don’t over heat when sleeping in a camper van. This is something every pet owner should be aware of, especially if your van doesn’t have any air conditioning. Try this gel mat from Amazon that works by absorbing your pets body heat.
Fold Away Pet Bed
A compact pet bed is essential when going traveling in a camper van- something comfortable that can be easily packed away and doesn’t take up room during the day. We love this travel dog bed from Spruce, perfect for any adventure pup!
When traveling to unknown places it’s important to always know where your dog it, especially in the dark. Opting for a fluorescent, glow in the dark collar means your dog will always stand out in a crowd, or in the dark for that matter. Go for this fluorescent and flashing collar and your dog will never be lost.
Once you’ve set up camp it’s great to be able to take your pets off the lead and let them roam free but, unfortunately this just isn’t possible in some places. Go for a super long lead so your pet can explore and be safe at the same time.
If you want that extra peace of mind then you could look into getting a pet tracker for you furry friend. This GPS Pet Tracker from Tractive allows you to see where your animal is at all times on a live GPS app on your smartphone, pretty cool right?!
With animals comes the inevitable never ending stream of hairs, which can get frustrating in such a small space and without a vacuum cleaner. Having a couple of lint rollers around the camper van is great if you want to get animal hairs off of your clothes.
Collapsible Food Bowls
Pet Food Bowls can take up a lot of precious storage space, unless you opt for collapsible bowls that fold down after use. We love the RollaBowl, perfect for small storage spaces as well as for taking out on a hike or long day trip.
Best Techy Gear For Your Road Trip
Next up on our list if the best camper van gear is tech. Now, most of these items aren’t exactly essentials but they will make your vanlife adventure much more fun!
You don’t need a huge sound system in a small space like a camper van, a portable bluetooth speaker can sound just as good. Plus with this JBL Speaker you can head to the beach and not worry about it getting wet as it’s completely waterproof, bonus!
Taking pictures on your phone is great but when you’re on a long road trip it’s nice to be able to decorate your camper van with memories from the journey. Try a super affordable Instax Mini and get snapping!
If you’re an outdoorsy person and want to capture your adventure, with minimal effort, then a GoPro is a must for your van life journey. They’re robust, waterproof, wearable and shoot both film and video. With a GoPro in hand you’ll be taking epic shots that ensure you’ll never forget your road trip.
If you want to take your film making one step further and capture the amazing places you can stay in in your camper in cinematic quality then you might want to invest in a drone. If you’re serous about getting great footage of your journey then go for the a DGI drone. They’re expensive, but worth it.
While you can use google maps on your phone when driving, it can be great having a Sat Nav so you don’t need to drain your phones batteries. Some Sat Navs, Like the TomTom Go Camper are specially made to be used by campers and will therefore always take you down the easiest route for a large vehicle, pretty handy if you ask me.
Duel USB Charging Socket
If you are running a Sat Nav, it’s still useful to be able to charge your phone while on the go. Unless you own a brand new fancy camper then you’re going to need a car charger to plug into your old cigarette lighter to do so. Getting one, like this, with multiple charging ports means you can charge both sat nav and phone at the same time.
Taking a trip in your camper is often a great time to read a few books. However, with limited storage space, it’s not ideal to carry around multiple books but a Kindle could be a great replacement. Carry around literally hundreds of books on one small device, a Kindle is perfect for long road trips.
You’re going to need to be able to charge all of this fancy tech while you’re on the road and the best way to do this is with a solar electrics set up. Having solar enables you to have free electricity whenever the sun is shining, ideal for charging on the go. Get started with this Solar Kit.
Portable Charging System
If you can’t install a full solar electrics system then this portable power station from Jackery is the next best thing. This power station gives you 3USB, 2DC and 1AC port with 1000watt surge power to charge your devices on the go. Recharge its battery via portable solar panels, via a wall plug or 12v source.
Best Camper Van Gear: Safety and Tools
Lastly in our guide of the best camper van gear we’ve got safety and tools, things you need to take on the road that you might not think of.
First Aid Kit
You never think you need a first aid kit, until you do. Choose a kit that will cover your needs if have an accident. If you are an outdoorsy person then this kit should be thorough and go with you on your adventures… sometimes a plaster just isn’t enough. If you plan on camping in the wilderness then go for something like this My Medic kit.
European Driving Kit
If you plan on driving around Europe then there are certain items that it is compulsory to carry in your vehicle at alll times such as a high visibility jacket, warning triangle and spare headlamp bulbs. You can buy a kit from the RAC that covers all of your needs.
Holts Tyreweld Spray
Carrying a spare tyre is a really good idea but what if you’re not in a position to change it, or you’ve already used your spare when you get a flat tyre? Well, by carrying a bottle of Holts Tyreweld you don’t need to worry. Tyreweld reinflates and seals any puncture, making your car safe to drive home or to a repair station, easy peasy!
Basic Tool Kit
It’s a good idea to carry a basic tool kit on board your camper van. Having some essential tools means that you’ll not only have tools to fix your vehicle if anything goes wrong but also for the interior of your camper, if needs be. Start with something like this kit from Screwfix and then add to it if you feel there is anything else you need.
If you have a roof fan or skylight in your van it may be worth carrying a tube of waterproof sealant in your camper, as there is nothing worse than a leaky roof. A covering of sealant may be enough to repair your leak while on the road and make your trip much more enjoyable.
If you are traveling throughout the colder months then carrying snow chains for your tires may even be a legal requirement, depending on the countries you will be visiting on your road trip. Even if they aren’t it’s probably worth getting some if you plan on driving through the snow.
If you’re going on an adventurous road trip with your camper van and plan on doing some off roading then packing some MaxTrax with your gear could be a life saver. Place these clever pieces of kit in-front of a tire stuck in mud or sand to give your vehicle a surface to grip onto. MaxTrax could get you out of some very stick off road situations.
Finally on our list of the best camper van gear are levellers. Levellers allow you to ensure your camper van is sat level, even if you are parked on a slope. This means a better nights sleep and easier movement around your camper. Definitely not to be missed!
We have reached the end of our guid to the best camper van gear of 2019. We hope it’ll be useful when it comes to preparing for your next van life adventure. Let us know if you think we’ve missed anything by joining the Van Clan over on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.