10 Camper Van Essentials for the Ultimate Journey

yellow camper van with essentials parked up watching sunset

A camper van can take you across amazing cities, spectacular mountains, fascinating deserts, and everything in between. You can spend months living under its simple steel roof if you know how to prepare for a journey. Even living in a van full-time is possible with these camper van essentials.

Many people start travelling or living in a camper van to lower their expenses, save on electricity, and live remotely, close to nature, and off the grid. Having a camper van means that you can take off at any time and not worry about where you are going to sleep next.

Continue reading for the most comprehensive list of cooking basics, tech gadgets, safety and security things, and other must-haves to help you live your best van life.

1. Portable Power Station

A portable power station is essential for many reasons when it comes to camping. Among the advantages of a portable power station is the fact that it operates completely silently. You receive enough power to operate anything from a phone charger to a refrigerator, all without the noise of a normal generator.

When you're camping in a well-established campground with nearby neighbours, or when you're in a place that restricts generators and does not provide shore power, having a portable power station is the right option for all your power demands.

The majority of power stations have several charging choices, such as solar power, AC, and DC. Furthermore, many compact portable power stations include fast chargers that can charge any battery considerably faster.

Additionally, unlike traditional generators, there is no risk of carbon monoxide emission when using a portable power station. Other benefits or solar generators over traditional petrol generators include:

  • No risk of fuel spillage
  • No bad and dangerous smells
  • No fuel canisters to take up valuable space

In the long run, having a portable power station that works on solar power saves money and has far more advantages than fuel-powered ones.

Another reason to consider investing in a portable power station for camping is that they typically provide more power than you actually need for a campervan trip. A 2200-watt power station, such as the BLUETTI AC200MAX Expandable Power Station, can charge your gadgets, start your coffee maker in the morning, or run a small refrigerator. It can charge your laptop, power a speaker for music, power an electric grill, and cook dinner in the crockpot, all while the light is on.

Read More: 2023 - Best Portable Power Stations in the UK

2. Portable Outdoor Shower

Camper vans rarely contain a shower. This component is sometimes overlooked because of the space needed for storage, sleeping or kitchen facilities, but it is one of the camper van essentials you have to think about if you are planning a longer trip.

A wetroom may be included in self-converted camper vans or bigger models, however, this is not common and is considered a luxury. Camping sites usually have showers, which most campers use. But this is usually not an option if you're free camping. A portable outdoor shower is an excellent low-space solution.

3. WiFi Equipment

A reliable wifi signal is one of the camper van essentials if you want to work remotely, share all of your beautiful vacation photos with family and friends online, and map out more of your travel route. While camping grounds may provide internet, picking up a wifi signal might be hit or miss depending on your site placement within the grounds and distance from the router.

Increase the signal in your camper with a wifi booster which is designed to improve wifi coverage. If you're free camping or staying somewhere where wifi isn't available, pocket wifi is a terrific way to stay connected. The little portable wireless modem, often known as a dongle, connects to the internet via a mobile network with wifi-enabled devices.

4. Camper Van Satellite Navigation

A satellite navigation system, also known as GPS, can be a very useful addition to your camper van. While some people are content with an old-fashioned map, you may find it quicker to get from point A to point B using satellite navigation, especially if you're in an unknown area.

While many smartphones now have a variety of map-related apps, a separate device will be gentler on your phone's battery. Some travellers might get lost, either purposefully or unintentionally, to find sites off the usual road. However, if you've had a hard day on the road and want to get to the campsite as soon as possible, this tiny gizmo will come in handy.

5. Portable Lights

Illumination might occasionally be a problem when free camping or staying in locations without power. You may want to read, eat dinner outside, or fix something in your van, and for this, you will need a strong light. With a light, you will not only camp more comfortably but also be safer in case of emergency.

Buying portable lighting that can preferably be connected to a portable power station will be a game changer for you. Depending on your demands, portable LED lamps are available in a variety of designs and pricing points, with rechargeable and conventional battery alternatives both accessible. A few rechargeable reading lights can usually do the job for most purposes but if you want something stronger, BLUETTI portable power stations come with strong flashlights built in.

6. Picnic Furniture

Although camper vans are excellent when travelling around, they aren't always the most comfortable to eat dinner. Include fold-out chairs and picnic tables as your camper van essentials. These goods will rapidly become indispensable to you when travelling so you can enjoy the views when you park up.

Many people prefer to travel during the summer months when there are longer days, more sunlight, and more agreeable temperatures. Fold-out furniture takes up less room than permanent fixtures in your campervan because it is small and may be utilised in a variety of settings.

two campervans parked up overlooking the sea with essential outdoor picnic furniture

7. Hammock

Spending an afternoon dozing in the sun, reading or studying, is even more enjoyable in a cosy hammock. If you enjoy swaying softly while listening to birds and nature sounds while the summer breeze is felt on your skin, a hammock is a must-have camper van accessory.

The best part is that they are very compact, take little space, and are easy to set up. You can rapidly erect one from nearby poles or trees, and they're appropriate for most places, whether you're in the garden, on the beach, in the campsite, or nestled in the woods.

8. Thermal Blinds

Even though all good campervans should be built with some type of insulation, the internal environment can fluctuate dramatically, from burning hot in the summer to frigid in the winter. A thermal blind can be extremely effective in combating the problem and creating a comfortable and more regulated atmosphere inside.

They work in a variety of ways to keep the inside temperature of the van comfortable. In the winter, multiple layers prevent heat loss through the windows, because windows are the major heat loss, and in the summer, several layers work to keep the inside of a van cool by reflecting sunshine.

9. Cooking Equipment

For those who want to eat something more than just a bowl of cereal, having cooking equipment is one of the camper van essentials for any epic road trip. A Ridgemonkey pan, stove top kettle, and a portable BBQ will drastically expand your possibilities for food options when travelling.

Select small alternatives to reduce the space required for storing the equipment. All of these goods are relatively affordable and can be purchased at multiple stores and supermarkets. You can also plan the types of meals you are going to make so that you can create a checklist of every item needed for your portable kitchen.

A portable BBQ, in addition to cooking essentials and picnic furniture, will entirely revolutionise your camper van eating experience. Because many camper vans have only a small cooking space, a portable barbeque is great for expanding your food options and give you options for cooking outside on a nice evening. Having a freshly made dinner is an excellent way to bring your camping experience to another level.

While some campgrounds and RV parks feature community kitchens, the freedom of having a portable barbeque you can use anywhere is worth the minor expense. You can select between a gas and a coal barbeque, both of which are acceptable for campers. Just make sure that you’re properly airing out the van whenever you use gas!

roasted marshmallow cooked on outdoor bbq - camper van essentials

10. Levelling Ramps

The best approach to deal with the bumpy ground on campgrounds is to maintain levelling ramps in your camper van. If you want to stay at campsites, most of them are pretty flat and you may not even need levelling ramps at all. For camping at less maintained locations, you may need to invest in a set to accommodate for more differences in your camping ground's surface.

Factors like the weight and size of the camper van will influence which ramps are the best and have the lowest chance of breaking. The hardness of the surface will also influence the suitability of the ramps you select, so do some research before you leave to learn whether you'll be pitching on grass or concrete.

Camper Van Essentials - That’s a Wrap!

Having camper van essentials ready for your next trip is the best way to ensure a great camping experience. With just a few essential items you will be able to stay in remote locations as long as you want and explore nature at your own pace.

Keep Reading: 20 Car Camping Essentials You NEED (+ Free Checklist)

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