10 of my Essentials for #Vanlife

Top 10 campervan accessories

  1. Portable outdoor shower

While living on the road provides a lot of freedom and flexibility, it can come with a few obstacles to overcome. Unlike their larger cousin, the motorhome, campervans rarely include a shower.

Due to space constraints, this is a feature that is often excluded in favour of storage space and kitchen facilities.

If you are staying at a caravan or camping site, there may be amenity blocks with access to showers – sometimes free, other times requiring a small fee for coin-operated showers.

But this isn’t always the case though, and certainly not an option if you are free camping throughout Europe.

A great low-space option is to invest in a portable shower. These will make showering when you don’t have access to facilities easy, all you need is somewhere high enough to hang or attach the system so the water can flow out properly.

If you can’t stand the thought of a cold shower in the morning, go for a 12V or solar-powered option – far more comfortable than the alternative, especially if you’re travelling in the colder months.

These are also great for those who plan on spending a lot of time at the beach throughout their travels, making it easy to rinse off the sand at the end of the day.

Portable showers can be picked up at a range of camping and outdoor stores as well as online retailers and outdoor specialists.

  1. Portable lighting

Much like access to shower facilities, if you are planning to free camp or stay on unpowered sites, lighting can sometimes be an issue. While you will likely have a good lighting setup inside the campervan, this isn’t always the case outside.

If you plan on eating dinner or spending time outside the van in the comfort of a balmy summer evening, you will benefit from investing in some portable lighting.

The best solution is to find battery-operated lamps, as they use limited resources and are less fickle than gas options.

Portable LED lamps come in a range of styles and price points depending on your needs, with both standard battery and rechargeable options available, so you can find the one that’s right for you.

A torch and/or headlamp can also prove handy should you need to explore further beyond your campsite at night or repair something in the dark.

None of these things take up too much storage space and are available from all good outdoor and camping stores, as well as larger supermarkets throughout the summer.

  1. Fold-out furniture and picnic set

It’s no big secret campervans are lower on space as the smallest units in the camping vehicle world.

This means that while they are a fantastic way to travel with ease and zip around the countryside, they don’t always make for the best places to eat dinner.

Insert fold-out furniture and picnic sets. One of the most versatile investments for life in a campervan, these items will quickly become indispensable to you while you travel.

Fold-out furniture requires very little space as it’s quite compact and can be used in a range of situations. Need some emergency chairs for an impromptu dinner with some new campervan buddies? A fold-out picnic set will have you covered!

  1. Portable barbecue

Following on from the aforementioned furniture and picnic sets, a portable barbecue will completely transform your campervan dining experience.

Many campervans have limited or no cooktop space, meaning a portable barbecue is ideal to expand your holiday cuisine beyond beans on toast and noodles in a cup, as affordable and delicious as they may be.

While campsites and caravan parks may have their own communal cooking facilities, the flexibility afforded by having your own portable barbecue is well worth the small investment.

Depending on your personal preference as well as how much storage space you have, you can choose either a gas or coal barbecue, both suitable options for campers. Just double check the campsite rules about barbecues before you light up.

Units can be purchased from outdoor and hardware/home stores, as well as major supermarkets throughout the summer.

  1. Levelling ramps

Ever slept on an angle? It’s not comfortable and quickly becomes annoying. Not only is sleeping an issue on angled ground, so is drainage and appliances like sinks and fridges working properly.

The best way to overcome uneven ground on campsites is by keeping a set of levelling ramps stowed away somewhere in your vehicle.

If you’re planning to stay primarily at club campsites, most are fairly level and should only require smaller ramps.

However, if you are planning on more free camping or less maintained sites, you may find it worthwhile to invest in a larger set to account for greater disparity in the surface of your camping ground.

Before purchasing a set of ramps you should consider the type of vehicle as well as its weight and size. These will all have an impact on which ramps are most suitable and run the lowest risk of cracking.

The hardness of the surface will also impact the suitability of the ramps you choose, so do some research before you depart to find out more information about whether you’ll be pitching on concrete or grass.

  1. 12V adapter plug

Keeping everything charged has always been an issue, especially if I am living off grid.  Even with my spare battery, small solar panel and main battery, charging my laptop, phone, torch, GoPro, and pumping up my mattress, all use up valuable power. I now use a three plug extension adapter so I can charge three items while I’m driving, and when I arrive, I have enough power in my devices to last a few days.

  1. Wifi booster or pocket wifi

Whether you’re looking to share all those great travel snaps with family and friends online, map out more of your travel route or make future bookings online, a reliable wifi signal is a must-have.

While camping grounds may offer wifi, depending on your site location within the grounds and distance from the router, picking up a wifi signal can be a bit hit and miss.

Increase the signal in your camper with a wifi booster which is designed to extend wifi coverage between the router and the dreaded ‘dead zone’.

If you’re free camping or staying in a location where wifi isn’t available, then a pocket wifi is a great solution to keep you connected.

The small portable wireless modem, sometimes known as a dongle, let’s you connect to the internet with wifi-enabled devices via a mobile network.

A great option to ensure you’re always connected when you need to be. Although there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of taking some screen-free time while you’re on holiday too!

 

  1. Thermal blind

Despite many campervans including some form of insulation, they don’t compare to a regular home and the internal climate can vary greatly, from sweltering hot in summer to freezing in winter.

To help combat the issue and achieve a more regulated and comfortable climate inside, a thermal blind can be incredibly useful.

Thermal blinds work in several ways to make the internal temperature of the cab pleasant. Usually suctioned to the windscreen and front driver’s side and passenger windows, a thermal blind is a real asset for campervan travel.

In winter, several layers work to reduce heat loss through the front window, which is the largest loss of heat in a campervan, and in summer by reflecting sunlight to keep the cab cool.

Thermal blinds also help with the reduction of condensation inside, helping limit mould and damp in your van.

  1. Campervan sat nav

A satellite navigation system or GPS of any type can be a super handy accessory in your campervan.

While some may be happy using an old school map, you may find things a little easier with a sat nav directing you from A to B, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory.

While many smartphones offer a range of various map-related apps nowadays, a dedicated device may be friendlier on your phone battery unless plugged in to a charge point

Some travellers might choose to get lost, intentionally, or otherwise, in hopes of discovering some sites off the beaten path.

But when you’ve had a long day on the road and you want to reach the campsite as quickly as possible, this little gadget will save the day.

 

  1. Kitchen essentials

It goes without saying that if you want to eat more than bowls of cereal and granola bars on your adventures, a few kitchen items will go a long way.

Basic kitchen essentials including a kettle, toaster and a few pots and pans will complement your portable barbecue and broaden your horizons for dining choices on the road.

Choose compact options to minimise the amount of storage and benchtop space they use. All items can be picked up very affordably from supermarkets or stores like Argos and TK Maxx.

 

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