The idea of moving your entire life into a campervan can be overwhelming. But living tiny doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all of your belongings. It just means you have to be more intentional about what you have and more creative about how you store your stuff in the valuable space you have.
I moved into my Promaster van after living in a fun-sized (less than 300 square feet) studio apartment in New York City. It’s hard to believe, but even after living that small for many years, I still had some downsizing to do to get into the van.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to organize your rig, these camper van storage ideas are for you!
Now that a couple of years have passed and I’m no longer a newbie, I’ve figured out a few camper van storage ideas to help me stow things around my home without making it feel too cramped or cluttered.
While everyone’s storage needs are different, finding ways to create more space, maximize storage, and organize your belongings will definitely make your van life easier!
We just love the inventive campervan storage gear over at Radius Outfitters. We use the small kitchen organizer, but you can also find sectioned-off storage boxes, headliner storage, plus laundry and garbage storage. They have some cool stuff to check out!
Use the coupon code WAYWARD10 to get 10% off your order!
Campervan Storage Hacks
If you aren’t the creative type, fear not! There are plenty of folks who have designed amazing storage setups already. I’ll break down the different storage areas you might have in your van and share some tips and tricks for each.
One or more of these space-saving camper van storage ideas is sure to spark some ideas for you, so let’s check out some fun and innovative storage options for van conversions!
Kitchen Camper Van Storage Ideas
Because I love to cook, I thought I needed more gadgets and utensils for my campervan kitchen than I really do. You can do a lot with a little if you have multi-use tools in your van. For example, your milk frother for your coffee can double as a whisk for scrambled eggs!
Over the past couple years, I’ve pared down my kitchen setup, and now I cook fairly elaborate meals with just one pan. Yep, I only own one pan now! It’s large enough to boil pasta, make a stir fry, or whip up a hearty vegetarian soup.
A fruit and vegetable hammock is one way to add some design flair and function to your campervan kitchen. When parked, this option keeps fruits and vegetables secure and visible so you don’t forget them, but be sure to take it down before driving or you’ll be eating bruised bananas and dodging flying fruits!
Paper towels come in handy to clean up messes, but they can take up a lot of counter space. Install a paper towel holder inside a cupboard or attach one to the outside of an overhead cabinet so they are still easy to access and give you enough space to cook or work on the countertop. (@theforeigndrifters)
A common, space-saving technique for storing eating or cooking utensils is a magnetic wall rack. This utilizes the flat space against the wall and leaves you room to keep other things in your drawers or cabinets. (@sweet.odds.and.ends) Plus, it looks super sleek!
If you need help organizing all your plates and utensils in your van, we highly recommend this kitchen organizer by Radius Outfitters:
We just love this small kitchen organizer from campervan supply company Radius Outfitters. It holds all of our plates, silverware and cooking tools and is easy to hang from the van. Radius has lots of cool van organization stuff so be sure to check them out!
Use the coupon code WAYWARD10 to get 10% off your order!
Food Storage Ideas
We’ve already looked at how to store some of your kitchen items, but without food to cook those won’t do you any good! Here are some food storage ideas from my own van and from other.
Elastic nets come in a variety of options and can hold food in place in your food cupboards or against a flat surface like a wall or cabinet bottom.
Sealable and sturdy containers are key to keeping food fresh, secure, and rodent-free. As a person who has had a couple mice in the van, I’m much more conscious of how I store my food now!
Buy dry goods from a bulk store or transfer things like pasta, rice, cereal, and granola to sealed containers, such as mason jars, to keep them fresh and safe. Adhere jar lids to the bottom of your overhead cabinets to instantly free up space (and make it look pretty spiffy, too)!
Hot tip: Make sure any glass containers are secured in place before driving to avoid any catastrophes! (@nas_adventures)
Having a variety of spices is great for mixing up flavors, but they can take up a large amount of space in a van. This creative spice rack option uses magnets to turn the wasted space along the wall into a beautiful and chic spice storage area. And of course that frees up space in the overhead cabinets for other things! (@our_luna_adventure)
A narrow, vertical storage area on drawer slides is a fantastic way to store dry goods out of the way. You can easily see everything you have when you pull out this slide-out pantry. I would probably buy less of the same thing over and over at the store if I could see all of my food without having to stack and unstack cans and boxes! (@journeysofjessanded)
Countertops are precious real estate in a campervan. One way to create more counterspace is by custom fitting butcher’s block over your kitchen sink. This sink cover provides a cutting board surface, creates a more spacious work area, and it can be used to hide the dirty dishes in the sink! Storage win! (@ourmidlifevan)
Vertical storage solutions can help utilize open space inside a van. I like to use a hanging double plant holder to store my produce. Remember to take things like this down before driving though to safe yourself some stress and mess!
Bathroom Storage Ideas
The amount of space you’ll need for bathroom storage will vary based on what elements you’ve included in your build. If you have a toilet and shower, this probably provides more room to store toiletries and necessities, but if you’ve decided to forgo a traditional bathroom setup, you’ll have to get a bit more innovative.
Toilet Storage Ideas
Shower Storage Ideas
A hidden shower is an incredible campervan storage hack. You still get the seating while keeping your layout feeling spacious!
Hot tip: Store your portable toilet and/or cleaning supplies and toiletries in this shower box when you aren’t using it!
Toiletry Storage Ideas
This is admittedly my messiest area of the van. Toiletries often come in oddly-shaped packages that can make organization in a tight space a nightmare. I find myself reorganizing this overhead cabinet frequently.
A foldable toiletry kit that’s made for travel is a great storage solution. You can stash it away in a drawer or cupboard, pull it out, and hang it up for easy access when you need it in the van or wherever you shower.
One of the most sleek and innovative storage designs I’ve ever seen in a van is this hidden toiletry cabinet that pops up from the counter. It’s a great way to use the empty space in the back of a cupboard while saving counterspace. Bravo to @courtandnate for this amazing idea! (https://youtu.be/roDSYQP2nhE 5:40)
Clothing Storage Ideas
Though I pared down my wardrobe quite a bit when I moved into the van, I still have a decent amount of clothing, plus I love to thrift shop. Of course, there are pieces I wear far more often than others, so I make sure those are within easy reach and tuck away the things I wear less frequently.
Folded Clothing Storage Ideas
Save space by using packing cubes to store your clothing. I have a few cubes of shirts, a few of pants, and some for dresses, swimwear, and cover-ups. I used to love opening my cabinets and seeing all of my folded clothes, but quickly learned how impractical this was. Every time I went down a bumpy road and a cabinet opened up, clothing would go everywhere!
Hanging Clothing Storage Ideas
Crafting some hanging storage closet space is a great way to keep a few items wrinkle-free. If you’ve got a shower in your van, this can be a convenient place for a hanging rack, but you’ll have to move the clothing to use the shower. Unless, of course, you build an ingenious wardrobe shower combo like this one! (https://youtu.be/P9IOOqt6R-c) (@travelingpapaya_)
Clothing Bin Storage Ideas
My Promaster van has bulkhead storage over the cab and I use bins to store socks, underwear, hats, gloves, sunscreen, washcloths, and bug spray in this convenient overhead storage.
If you have a lot of clothing, I recommend switching out your seasonal wardrobe when you don’t need immediate access to it. Keep your winter clothing in the garage or behind/under things you need more readily available like sports equipment for the summer and vice versa.
Hot tip: Some folks like to use vacuum bags to maximize space, but beware, those suckers can pop while driving over mountain passes in high altitude!
Accessories Storage Ideas
Some accessories you will need for van life don’t really fit into any of the above categories, but you should definitely take note of these campervan storage hacks to help you save space!
Blanket Storage Ideas
Blankets come in handy for lots of situations in a van. They can be used for picnics, pets, the beach, or to stay warm. Stuffing blankets into a cushion or pillowcase can keep your space looking neat and tidy. This fun little throw pillow unfolds into a comforter! (@skipandjazz)
Jewelry Storage Ideas
Jewelry can be difficult to store in a van; necklaces easily tangle and earrings are can get lost in various nooks and crannies out of reach. Consider a roll-up jewelry organizer!
Hat Storage Ideas
There is a hanging bar mounted inside the slider door of my van. This is a perfect place for my caps and also doubles as a towel drying rack!
Hanging hats on the wall is a space-saving technique that keeps hats in good shape and also gives an artsy feel to a camper van.
Shoe Storage Ideas
Hot tip: You can cut down the shoe organizer to fit your space and use the additional storage pockets elsewhere in your van!
Laundry Storage Ideas
So you’ve planned out where and how you’ll keep your clothing, but what happens when it gets dirty and smelly? If you’re off-grid for a while or traveling for long stretches in between laundromat stops, you’ll want to make sure to keep dirty clothes in a dedicated space.
This cool laundry chute keeps smells at bay and brings a little bit of sticks and bricks luxury to van life! (@andyandlaur https://youtu.be/qmpgOpE9GJA)
Hot tip: A big way to save space in terms of laundry is to use laundry sheets instead of traditional detergent or bulky detergent pods. They’re also better for the environment so that’s a win/win.
Maintenance and Cleaning Supplies Storage Ideas
Living in a small space means you clean often and will want to have cleaning supplies on hand. Wipes, spray bottles, rags, and other supplies are stored under my sink area, along with my paper towels, so I can grab everything I’ll need to clean up a mess at once.
A shower caddy is a great way to create portable storage so you can store the cleaning supplies in your bathroom and move them when you need them.
Pet Supplies Storage Ideas
Van pets make great copilots and adventure partners, but of course, you need space to store their things as well. Let’s look at some ways to pack in all that your pet might need on the road. (@campervanseth)
I find that I typically buy smaller bags of dog food than I did when I lived in an apartment because of the small space I have to store it. I keep my dog’s food inside a storage bench in a lockable plastic bin to avoid any spillage on rough roads or sharp turns.
While many pet accessories like leashes, waste bags, sweaters, and boots, are small, they need a dedicated place so they don’t get lost. Here’s an awesome slide out drawer for pet food and supplies. (raw video from @trailsofdanindy)
If you’re traveling with a cat, you’ll need to find a way to store a litterbox and be sure that it can’t tip over or have things fall into it. This cute little cat cutout cupboard is a fun and functional solution for litterbox storage! – (@dancingondirtroads)
Garage Storage Area Ideas
The “garage” area of camper vans is the back space that’s accessed from the rear doors. In builds with a fixed bed, there is permanent extra space under the bed for storing all kinds of stuff! You can build storage shelves or drawers into your garage or use bins to organize it. (@the.karavan)
Under my fixed bed platform, I have large sliding drawers for things I don’t need immediate access to. I keep my folding bike, camp chair, paddleboard, outdoor shower, carry-on luggage, firewood, and Starlink satellite internet system in the garage drawers. One drawer also has a cover to create a slide out table for outdoor use.
Tool Storage Ideas
Every person should carry at least a few tools in their van. Latches inevitably break, screws need tightening, objects need repositioning, and you’ll certainly be glad you have tools with you during those times.
I have a small tool box that contains quite a bit in a very compact way. I keep it under my driver’s seat and can reach it from inside the van whenever I need it.
A larger amount of tools can be stored in your garage space and accessed from the back doors. (@campervanseth)
Sports Equipment, Gear, and Hobby Storage Ideas
Maybe you got into the van life because you wanted to be outside and have more time to spend on your outdoor hobbies like backpacking and mountain biking or maybe you’ve picked up some new hobbies like paddleboarding or rollerblading after some time on the road. Whatever sports, hobbies, or activities you’re into, you’ll need to be strategic about storage space for your adventure gear in your camper van.
This rig is ready for some summer adventures!
External Storage Ideas
Adventure gear and equipment doesn’t always fit inside the van, and you might need some external storage. Here are a few campervan storage accessories that give you extra storage outside the van.
Storing bikes externally allows for more storage flexibility internally. (owl.van.engineering)
Organizational Tips and Tricks for Small Spaces
Hidden Storage Solutions
How can you create a visually appealing interior that still holds everything you need? Build and make use of hidden storage. There’s no such thing as too much space in a campervan!
These storage benches in my living space were the biggest upgrade in my most recent renovation. They hold my refrigerator, portable stove, dog food, and craft supplies. There’s some extra room to store things like clothing in case I go overboard at the thrift stores, too!
If you’ve got a few inches of space in front of your sink, install a tip out tray to hold sponges, soap, and other small items. It’s a great way to turn otherwise dead space into a useful, little nook.
The backs of the driver and passenger seats are great places for hanging organizers. You can store small objects in this otherwise wasted space. I use a cute organizer to keep my dogs leashes, collars, bandanas and waste bags in one space, right next to the sliding door.
Campervan storage pockets on back doors are an awesome way to store small items like bug spray, sunscreen, gloves, cooking fuel, and shoes. (@skipandjazz)
You don’t need to spend a lot to organize well. Small bins, containers, and baskets from a dollar store are great for organizing drawers and cupboards. (Grateful Glamper https://youtu.be/KfGwAvYLsaE)
Shelf dividers or separators are great tools for adding extra storage space inside your cabinets or drawers.
Hooks are perfect for utilizing wall space to hang hats, bags, etc.
Multiuse items – get the biggest return for the amount of space the item takes up. For example, reusable grocery bags have many uses outside of carrying your groceries from the market to the van. You can use them to collect recyclables, hold produce, or even as your gym and shower bag!
Final Thoughts on Campervan Storage
I’ll leave you with two pieces of advice for campervan storage:
- Give everything a dedicated home.
- Expect all of your belongings to fall out of their home at some point!
Unlike a traditional home, you will drive this one down bumpy backroads, up steep switchbacks, and through unexpected potholes on the highway that will make your cupboards fly open and even their most secure contents go flying. Store your stuff in a way that makes it easy to clean up and minimize the breakable objects in your rig. I promise you’ll thank yourself later!
Hopefully, this glimpse at some of the best campervan storage solutions and campervan storage hacks gets you excited about how to build or reconfigure your home on wheels. Happy organizing!