It’s all well and good having the top campervan specs possible; tonnes of space, great insulation, gorgeous furnishings, etc. But the little things can make all the difference, and that’s what the focus of this article is going to be: the little things.
There are thousands of accessories available to purchase that will be perfect for your campervan, but this is both a blessing and a curse. With that many options, it’s hard to determine which bits are worth spending your precious pennies on, and which ones will be of the most useful to you.
Luckily for you, we’ve done all the heavy lifting, and we’ve compiled 7 of the best accessories for van lifers. These choices have been made based on price, availability, functionality, and overall quality-of-life effects the products will have on the consumer. The products aren’t in any particular order; this means the #1 ranked product isn’t necessarily the best. With that being said, let’s get stuck in…
Power packs, or portable charging methods, are essential for those who are looking at travelling a little way out from most of modern civilisation. If you’re going to be setting up shop miles up a mountain or deep into a forested region, then electricity isn’t going to be readily available to you; and since most, if not all aspects of your van will rely on some sort of electricity, then you’ll need to grab yourself a power pack.
Power packs come in all shapes and sizes; from tiny ones that fit in your pocket and are only mean to charge your mobile phones, to hulking beasts that have the capacity to fuel small villages. But for what you’ll be using one for, your best bet is to get one that sits somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
Our recommendation? The BESTEK 200w power inverter is a great choice. It’s inexpensive, doesn’t take up too much space, but caters for all your needs. Its 3-in-1 design combines AC outlets, a cigarette lighter socket, and USB charging ports into one great package, with the ability to power up to 6 appliances at once. And don’t worry about creating a possible fire hazard as the BESTEK is fitted with a built-in fuse and cooling fan to offer protection against short-circuiting, overloading, overheating, low battery voltage, and over battery voltage.
- BESTEK Advantage: America’s No.1 Power Inverter brand on Amazon. This BEAST inverter provides 200 Watts continuous DC to AC power and 500 Watts instantaneous power, featuring 2 AC outlets and 4 USB ports for multi-purpose charging.
- Fast Charging: two widely spaced 110V AC outlets for charging larger devices such as laptops and tablets, 3 auto 0-2.4A USB ports with one 3A Type-C ports provide total 7.8A (39W) power for charging USB powered devices.
- Ultra-Compact and Convenient: 5.9*3.14*1.18 inch compact design, ideal for vacations, long road trips and camping. 28 inch power cord extended to car's backseat, easy for your family members to use in the backseat.
- Perfect Isolation Protection: Exclusively developed high and low voltage isolation protection - AC outlets and USB ports are completely isolated to protect all your electronics from accidental damage. You can turn off the power switch and use USB charging ports separately if you don’t need to use AC charging.
- Multi-Protection and Warranty: ETL listed, built-in 30 amps fuse, safe charging design provides protection against overheating, undervoltage, overvoltage, short-circuiting, overloads, and over-current. We provide 18-month warranty and 7/24 hours customer service for every purchase.
If you’re the type of person who is worried about the true purity of your water, then you can have your anxieties put at ease by a water filter.
After filling up your water supply from a natural spring, unmarked tap, stream, or even from rainwater, simply attach your filter and all the impurities will be extracted. It’s as easy as that.
Now most filters are either attached directly to the plumbing system of your van, or attached to the tap, on what’s called a tabletop filter. It’s completely up to you which type of filter you go with, but we’d recommend a tabletop filter. They’re just as good as any other filter but don’t cost nearly as much, and you don’t have to put in all the hard labour when it comes to installation.
The only downside to tabletop filters is that they can take up a lot of valuable space, especially on countertops which is a key area for those who love to do a bit of cooking/baking in their van. It’s up to you to decide which is more important. Tabletop filters also require constant cleaning and emptying which can be inconvenient if you’re constantly on the move. But with that said, they’re still a great option, as the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
When it comes to top-of-the-line filters that are still reasonably cheap, the BRITA Flow Fridge Water Tank is a great choice. It’s also portable which is great for when you want to set up camp outside!
- The BPA-free UltraMax water dispenser holds 18 cups of water, enough to fill six 24-ounce reusable water bottles
- Get great tasting water without the waste; by switching to Brita, you can save money and replace 1,800 single-use plastic water bottles* a year
- This space efficient filtered water dispenser fits perfectly on refrigerator shelves, features an easy locking lid and precision pour spigot; Height 10.47"; Width 5.67"; Length/Depth 14.37"; Weight 3 pounds
- Brita is the #1 water filter** reducing chlorine (taste & odor), Mercury, Copper, Zinc and Cadmium; always get cleaner***, filtered water with a helpful sticker indicator that makes filter reminders effortless
- Compatible with Longlast and Standard water filters; replace your Longlast filter after 120 gallons or approx. every 6 mos. or Standard filter after 40 gallons or approx. every 2 mos; *16.9 oz water bottle; **Based on IRI data; ***vs tap
Everybody loves a good sing-along on a long road trip; a tune by a campfire; or even a cheeky melody in the shower. But for all three of these things, you’ll need a portable speaker.
Just like the power packs from before, speakers also come in all shapes and sizes, and once again, you’d want to find one that sits in that nice middle ground, the “goldilocks” zone if you will. You want a speaker that’s large enough to produce a nice, full sound with great range and volume, but you also want out that’s portable and doesn’t take up valuable space.
Another thing to consider is whether or not you’d want a waterproof speaker. If you’re camping in the great outdoors, you don’t want a spot of rain to ruin your party! With a waterproof speaker, the fun never has to stop. You can also have the speaker on the side of a beach or river if you decide to go for a leisurely swim on a hot summer’s day, or if you want to have a cool shower and work on your Elvis impersonation at the same time.
This time we’re going to present you with two options; both are great in their own right, but one is far superior in quality.
The first is the Anker SoundCore Mini. This nifty little speaker for those who want quality sound on a budget. It’s compact, light, and extremely portable, but it’s not waterproof, which is a huge downside. But for its price tag, it’s an absolute steal.
The second is the JBL Waterproof Portable Speaker. Of course, with it being over a hundred pounds more than the Anker SoundCore Mini, it’s going to be much higher in quality. With up to 22 hours of play on just one charge, Bluetooth 5.0 technology, and with it being waterproof, it’s certainly the better option if you can afford it.
- WIRELESS BLUETOOTH STREAMING: Wirelessly connect up to 2 smartphones or tablets to the speaker and take turns enjoying powerful sound.
- UP TO 20 HOURS OF PLAYTIME: Built-in rechargeable Li-ion 7500mAH battery supports up to 20 hours of playtime and charges your device via USB port
- IPX7 WATERPROOF: Take Charge 4 to the beach or the pool without worrying about spills or even submersion in water
- JBLCONNECT plus Amplify your listening experience to epic levels and rock the party perfectly by wirelessly connecting more than 100 JBL Connect plus enabled speakers.
- DURABLE FABRIC AND RUGGED MATERIAL: The durable fabric material and rugged rubber housing allows your speaker to outlast all of your adventures
If you prefer to watch your movies on a big screen, then you’re going to need a projector. The TV you may or may not have in your van just won’t suffice; plus, what if you want to take your movie night in…out? Projectors are a great way to enjoy screenings outside.
Now you’re probably not going to be eyeing up any large projectors. Not only are they expensive, but they take up a lot of space and aren’t exactly portable. It seems mini projectors are the way to go for van lifers.
Mini projectors are just as good as their larger counterparts but come considerably cheaper. And realistically, you won’t need any of the features that come with large projector. A mini projector will much better suit your needs.
We recommend the Artlii Octopus Portable Projector. This funky little projector packs a punch. The Artlii Octopus is very versatile. It has HDMI, USB, TF, AV, 3.55mm Audio ports, which can be directly connected to TV sticks, game consoles, computers, laptops, iPad, DVD players, digital cameras or HDMI-enabled device. This means you can even stream films and tv shows through platforms such as Netflix and Disney+ on the mini projector!
It’s also mounted on a tripod which has full 360-degree rotation, meaning the projector can be set up however you like, and adjusted to fit your needs. The projector itself has built-in speakers that provide crisp audio, and it also has a built-in sleep timer function, which you can set according to your needs; this is perfect for energy saving and environmental protection.
- [Mini Portable Projector] This mini portable projector is neat and portable. It also comes with a 360-degree rotating base which makes it even easier to set up. Use it anywhere you want.
- [Eye Protection] Are you worried about your kids having too much screen time? With the new diffuse reflection imaging technology, the mini portable projector reduces eye fatigue significantly. The projection image light is soft and does not harm your eyes.
- [Multimedia Connection] Connect the portable projector directly to your computer, DVD player, digital camera, or HDMI-enabled device. It is equipped with HDMI, USB, TF Card, AV, and Audio ports.
- [Built-in Stereo Speaker] The mini projector has a built-in HIFI stereo speaker (2.5w) with SRS Sound System. Whether using it indoor or outdoor, the powerful speaker can make your watching experience more immersive. No extra speaker is needed.
- [Sleep Timer] Remember the last time you fell asleep without turning off your portable projector? With the sleep timer function, you will never have to worry about it.
Now you might be saying, “What would I need a hammock for? I’ve got a comfortable, warm bed to sleep in at night already installed in my van!”, and to that we say…you’re right. Because hammocks are about so much more than just sleeping. They’re the ultimate relaxation nest. You feel weightless, the hammock contorts to fit your body perfectly, and they can be set up almost anywhere (given that there are plenty of trees around you)! They’re also extremely light, and can be easily packed into tight spaces, meaning you can chuck one into a rucksack if you’ve already used up all your available storage inside your van.
Hammocks are perfect for those lazy Sundays or hot summers days where you just want to mope about and do nothing but bask in the glorious sunshine. So, what hammock do we recommend? Well…
It really depends on what you’re looking for in your hammock. If you’re looking for a fun, quirky little piece that will fit well with the aesthetic of your campervan, and your vibes in general, then your best option is something like the Anyoo Outdoor Hammock.
They come in a wide variety of colours and give off a vintage feel that’s perfect for those who are into that sort of aesthetic. They can handle weights of up to 450lbs which is impressive given that they’re comprised of just cotton. Given that they cost very little, they’re perfect for families who might want to snatch up more than one, or van lifers who are just trying to save a bit of money.
But if you’re looking for more of a professional, and better made hammock, then look no further than the Wise Owl Outfitters Hammock. This hammock is considerably more expensive, but the expense is definitely worth it.
Its 210T nylon structure makes it both incredibly lightweight and incredibly strong. Just like the Anyoo, the Wise Owl hammock comes in a variety of colours, so picking the right one to match the rest of your set up shouldn’t be an issue.
The Wise Owl hammock is certainly geared towards van lifers who prefer that proper camping and outdoors feel; but you’ll have to be willing to sacrifice a piggy bank for the look.
Now to some this might seem like an accessory, and to others it might seem like a necessity. And the people who agree with the latter are probably right. Having a shower in your campervan should be standard, after all it is just basic hygiene.
But for some, showers just aren’t a viable option. After all, they take a lot of valuable space, which for some vans is quite limited. They can also cost quite a lot to have fitted. If you’re only using your van a couple weeks out of the year, it’s not worth the cost to install a shower.
Most people can get away with it by utilising showering facilities at campsites. But what if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, and showering facilities are nowhere to be seen? Well then, you’re going to have to make sure you’re equipped with a portable outdoor shower.
Portable outdoor showers are great additions to any campervan set ups. They don’t take up much space at all, but still cater for all the same needs as a normal shower would do. Simply hook the showerhead onto a structure that sits above head height, and make sure the bag is full of water. And voila!
If you prefer hot showers to cold showers, then there’s always the option to have a heated portable shower. These are usually set up using solar panels which can produce heat through electricity. Of course, with these types of showers, you need to make sure you set them up in an area that receives a lot of natural sunlight.
The one downside of these panels is that they need to be constantly charging, which isn’t amazing for those who are on the move a lot. But if you really want a hot shower, then you need to be willing to make sacrifices.
Our recommendation is the Service Survival Camping Shower Bag. It’s the perfect all-rounder; its portable, lightweight, solar-powered, and extremely good value for money! It even comes included with a carabiner so it can be easily attached to any structure.
Rounding off our list we have one of the most important items for any summer campers out there: the barbeque.
At the heart of any summer camping trip is the evening barbeque. No matter where you are, barbeques always make that place feel like home. They’re perfect for family dinners in the great outdoors, chilling while watching movie (maybe using the mini projector we mentioned earlier) or throwing a little get together.
However, there are a few problems that arise when it comes to what barbeques are best for van lifers. The two biggest problems being space and cost. More specifically, a lack of space and too high of a cost.
Well, you don’t have to worry about either of those issues with the UTTORA Barbecue Grill! This product is the perfect solution for van lifers who love to barbeque but might not have the room or cash for a super flashy grill.
The UTTORA has all the functionalities of any normal grill at about ¼ of the price. You get a foldable, stainless steel grill that can be put away within seconds. Although the grill is just 15” x 11”, it isn’t any lesser quality than other larger grill; it is designed with ventilation holes at both ends of the grill so that air flow can be easily controlled and heat is evenly distributed on the grill, allowing for perfectly cooked meat and veg.
What else can we say other than it’s an all-round amazing product!
We hope that you found this article useful! All of the products mentioned are of great quality and value for money and are totally worth picking up for any campervan enthusiasts who are looking at spending a lot of time out on the roads in the near future!
Thank you for reading!