Is this the year you’ll start living in a campervan full-time? Congrats! There’s a lot to figure out as you make a transition to a life of freedom, travel and adventure. First, you’ll have to decide which type of camper van conversion you want, then you can get down to the nitty-gritty of the best campervan gear.
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1. Magnets for your doors and drawers
It’s easy for stuff to shift around when you drive in your camper van, and these powerful magnets will keep doors and drawers safely clamped shut when you’re living in a van full time.
2. A propane heater for cold nights living in a van full time
Sometimes, it can get chilly inside your camper van as the temperature outside dips. If you don’t want to stay huddled beneath your sleeping bag or blankets all evening, try out a tiny heater. A propane heater like the Mr. Buddy heater is popular among van lifers as it doesn’t use up any battery power. However, these heaters create carbon monoxide in your campervan, so it’s important to leave a window cracked and have a carbon monoxide detector. You can learn more about staying warm in your van with this post: 11 hacks to staying warm in your campervan.
3. Pick a stove for your cooking needs in your camper van
We all know a stove is a camper essential when living in a van full time, but you’ll have to think about what type. A lot of van lifers build a kitchen and stove right into their van and charge it using a marine battery or solar panels. Personally, I didn’t want to build a kitchen into my tiny Chevy Astro, so I bought a single burner to use on a picnic table at a campground.
I bought this particular single-burner gas stove. It’s big enough to fit a large pot in case I want to make soup, and runs on butane gas, which is cheaper than the propane/butane gas mix we use to run our Jetboil backpacking stove.
4. Rumpl Puffy Blanket
Nothing is better than a cozy blanket to wrap around yourself when reading a book in a van or sitting outside with morning coffee. These Rumpl Puffy Blankets are light and packable, fitting into a small, waterproof stuff sack when not in use. These awesome blanket are made with the same warm synthetic materials found in premium sleeping bags and puffy jackets, and are durable, waterproof and resistant to odors.
5. A portable refrigerator or high-quality cooler
You’ll need some way to keep food cool inside your campervan. One way is to get a 12-volt portable refrigerator, which means you don’t have to constantly search for ice. This refrigerator runs just like your fridge at home, and can keep food very cold even when it’s scorching hot outside. If your budget doesn’t allow for a portable refrigerator just yet, you can always go with a well-insulated cooler, like this Yeti cooler.
6. Reflectix insulation keeps the heat in for life on the road
Some people who live in a van full-time love to tack this Reflectix insulation on their windows as part of their blinds. It’s a great way to stay warm and cozy, especially if you’re planning on living and traveling in cold climates.
7. A roof vent for your campervan
You’ll want to make sure your campervan is well-ventilated, so a roof vent is a must. There are a few roof vents on the market that you can DIY install right into the roof of your campervan. These pull nasty smells out of your van and also draw into fresh air from the outside. To read more about roof vents head here: The best roof vents for a campervan.
8. A sunshade for your front windows
We had to be super undercover while living in the Prius, and having sunshades over the front windows helped a lot. People couldn’t peer into the car as easily to see if someone was sleeping back there. A sunshade not only just keeps you hidden, it also keeps the heat down on sunny days.
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9. A DC to AC inverter so you can use a computer while living in a van full time
This handy pure sine wave DC to AC power inverter can be plugged into your cigarette lighter and is powerful to charge things like laptops and tablets. The inverter also comes with a couple of USB plugs for your phone. Could be a life-saver if you’re out in the woods and want to watch a movie or do some work on your computer.
10. A microfiber towel for drying off after a refreshing solar shower
These small Wolfyok microfiber towels work like a dream and are small enough to pack into a campervan. Microfiber towels are absorbent and quick-drying – they dry much faster than a terry cloth or cotton towel. They’re also lightweight and compact, weighing only 8 ounces. We’ve taken microfiber towels backpacking and hiking, and love their portability and performance.
11. A camp chair
You will want a camp chair on those days when it’s just too beautiful to sit in your van. The Kelty camp chair is super comfortable and a top favorite.
12. A Bluetooth portable speaker for listening to music outside your van
I can’t tell you how often we use our Bluetooth portable speaker. It’s great for our sailboat and for our Chevy Astro campervan combined! A Bluetooth portable speaker is small enough to store but packs a big punch for music. Who wants to listen to music from a smartphone speaker? We use the Sony XB-20 with Extra Bass and it’s been more than enough to play our favorite hits.
13. An outdoor shower for van life
You may not have a bathroom in your van, and like many, rely on a gym or a rec center for your shower. Personally, if it’s warm enough outside, I love showering out in nature. I recently purchased a solar shower that provided enough water for both my boyfriend and me to take showers recently when camping with my Astro van. The solar shower heated up really fast.
What items can you not live without during your van life or car living explorations? I’d love to know!
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