Camper van accessories are essential for anyone looking to enhance their camping experience on the road. they can help transform a basic van into a cozy, functional home on wheels. With a wide range of options available, camper van accessories can be customized to fit the needs and style of any traveler.
The wrong camper van accessories will weigh you down (figuratively and literally) and will make life harder than it needs to be; the right ones will elevate your experience and will provide the trip of a lifetime.
Before we begin with our list of 13 underrated camper van accessories for 2023, let’s double-check whether you’re all-set with the essentials first.
Portable Camper Van Essentials
We list 5 portable essentials when we camp, and you can check which products you haven't got yet, hurry up, let's take a camper van adventure now!
Portable Solar Power Station
The most ethical (not to mention, cost-effective) way of charging your devices and powering your appliances is, without a double, a portable solar power generator.
Whether embarking on van life, or just heading out on the open road for the trip of a lifetime, you’re going to want to leave 90% of your gadgets at home (do you really need to take your air fryer?!).
But you still need some devices, right?
You need a few items, like a kettle for your morning coffee, as well as some lighting, sockets to charge your phone, a mini fridge, cooker, and the other bare essentials to keep you going.
The good news is, gone are the days of having to rely on stinky, noisy, unsustainable gas generators to provide your camper van trip with the juice to keep everything running.
Portable solar power stations are the way forward. Not only are they virtually free to run, but they’re also noiseless and good for the planet.
Read more: 2023: Best Portable Power Station in the UK
Life on the open road tends to revolve around one word: “portable”. This generally means that anything that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of “portable” is too big and thus, impractical for camper van life.
A portable fridge won’t take up room in the sometimes cramped confines of a camper van, and will help you stow your essential go-to foods for the long and winding road. You can also keep it running throughout your days (and nights) on your trip with your nifty solar power station.
Portable Induction Cooktop
Induction is great for a number of reasons: it doesn’t rely on gas to heat your food, and it boils almost instantly, saving invaluable time waiting around for your food to cook. Long days on the open road will work up an appetite, and you’ll want to whip up your favourite pasta comfort meal in no time so you can then stretch out and watch the sun go down.
Induction will do that for you. They’re also super practical and space-saving.
Okay, so the nomadic lifestyle can come with a few challenges and discomforts, and the main one is bathroom activities.
If you’re stuck in traffic on the M4 and nature calls, a portaloo for off-gridders is a godsend. There are several options, including compostable units, portapotties with a battery-powered flushing device, and travel toilets with detachable tanks - all of which will save you the indignity of squatting into a recyclable plastic bag!
Portable Outdoor Shower
Next to going to the loo, keeping fresh and clean while embarking on a camper van adventure can be a big challenge.
While the occasional biodegradable baby wipe bath can help you keep the flies away, it’s not a long-term solution. Nor is booking a room at a Premier Inn just to have a good scrub in the shower.
The solution? Portable outdoor showers.
They are compact, meaning they won’t take up much space; you erect and pack them away as you would a tent, and they give you a smidgen of privacy too to have a proper wash.
13 Underrated Camper Van Accessories
Okay, no you’re hooked up with the absolute camper van musts, let’s look into the most underrated camper van accessories to make your trip all the smoother.
With most camper van essentials and accessories, you can often get what you need on the road, but the following is wise to invest in before you head out.
1. Portable solar panels
Okay, so if you’ve hooked yourself up with a swanky new solar power station, you will need at least one portable solar panel to generate the juice. How many you require depends entirely on the size of your vehicle and how much energy you use.
While it can be a little costly when you initially buy your solar power panels, the money you’ll save not relying on carbon emissions will mean the panels will swiftly pay for themselves.
2. A roof rack
So, you don’t need to be a seasoned recreational vehicle driver to know that life on the road means making do with limited space. This is where a roof rack comes in handy.
Whether you opt for a generic store-bought rack, or go for something a little more bespoke, a roof rack will save invaluable space, without sacrificing certain non-negotiable items (such as the posh coffee maker you can’t live without!).
Also, investing in a good tarp is a wise idea to protect your items from the elements.
3. Camping chairs
While these may not seem that useful, they are a saving grace for those long summer evenings staring at the horizon and identifying the constellations dazzling the night’s sky.
A big part of camper van life is being at one with the great outdoors, so you’ll want to take it all in with as much comfort and practicality as possible.
While the more space-effective solution may seem like sitting on or in the camper van to watch mother nature in all her glory, camping chairs will save you from straining your neck or keeping the door open and letting all the bugs in (and the warm air out) while you perch uncomfortably on the step.
4. Back-up lights
If you’ve ever tried reversing a large vehicle in a pitch-black wooded area (as many van lifers do on the regular) you will know it can be a rather anxiety-inducing experience!
RV back-up lights can take the tension out of this by illuminating the space behind your vehicle, meaning you won’t kiss goodbye to your brake lights by accidentally backing up into a 2000-year old oak tree….
5. Levelling blocks
These might be the most underrated (but lifesaving) purchases on this list.
Those familiar with sleeping in the great outdoors, whether it’s in a van, tent, or a big, swanky RV, will know there’s nothing more annoying than being set up on uneven terrain (especially if you need to cook a meal!).
Mother Nature does not care about catering nor your pitching needs, so this is when a decent set of levelling blocks are your best friends.
There’s nothing like a flat tyre to get you going nowhere fast!
While a tyre inflator won’t repair a slow puncture, it will at least give you enough puff to get you to a garage to fix the issue. As well as being portable and compact, it is also useful for those using an inflatable mattress - and it takes up little room.
7. Portable power station accessories
If you invest in a portable solar power station, there are some go-to accessories you will need. These include:
- An AC adapter to charge your power station.
- Solar power charging enhancers.
- External battery connection cables.
8. Clothing line
Again, this is an item that will be invaluable in terms of making life easier!
When living on the road, laundry won’t be something you’ll be able to do as easily as you would in the comfort of your own home, which means you’ll likely be doing laundry in bulk sessions, and nothing - and we mean nothing - will be more annoying than adorning your camper van with damp clothing to try and get it dry!
Invest in a clothing line!
9. Quick-dry towels
While we’re still on the subject of drying things in a practical and prompt manner - quick-dry towels are a brilliant shout in terms of camper van accessories.
Once you’ve hopped in your portable shower and gotten nice and clean, you then won’t want soggy towels hanging around while you’re trying to cook breakfast, etc.
Quick-dry towels are the solution here, folks.
10. Black-out curtains
Black-out curtains are the optimum solution for a good kip while living on the road - especially for those travelling in the summertime.
Not only will they prevent dazzling sun rays from waking you up every day at 5am, but they also provide great privacy for the evening times - and they look pretty smart too!
For additional practicality - invest in a set of thermal blackout curtains to help insulate your vehicle on chilly nights.
11. Reversing Camera
A reversing camera is an essential camper van accessories. When driving a campervan, it can be challenging to see behind the vehicle, especially when reversing or parking. A reversing camera helps to eliminate blind spots and provides a clear view of what is behind the campervan. This can be especially useful when backing up into a tight parking space, reversing out of a driveway, or navigating through a crowded campground. Additionally, a reversing camera can also provide added safety when driving on the road by allowing the driver to see any potential obstacles or hazards behind the vehicle. With the added convenience and safety benefits, a reversing camera is an excellent investment for any campervan owner.
12. Electronic Mosquito Swatter
Electronic mosquito swatter is essential tools for campers who want to enjoy their time outdoors without being bothered by pesky insects. Mosquitoes are known to be carriers of diseases and their bites can cause itchy, painful reactions. When camping, mosquitoes can make it difficult to sleep, relax, and enjoy the scenery. An electronic mosquito swatter can provide campers with a quick and effective way to eliminate mosquitoes without the need for chemicals or sprays.
13. Satellite Navigator for Campervan
A satellite navigator is a crucial tool for any traveler who wishes to explore new places in their campervan. Unlike traditional navigation systems, a Campervan satellite navigator is designed specifically for campervans, RVs, and motorhomes. It provides customized routes that consider the size, weight, and height of the vehicle, avoiding roads that are unsuitable or restricted for larger vehicles. Additionally, it allows travelers to search for campsites, gas stations, and other amenities that cater to their specific needs, such as power and waste disposal. With a campervan satellite navigator, travelers can rest assured that they are on the right path and have access to all the necessary resources for a comfortable and safe journey.
While camper van essentials are, well, essential, we believe that it’s the underrated, lesser-thought-of accessories that help keep you safe, comfortable, clean, happy, and sustainable while on the road!