A campervan, known in the industry as a Class B motorhome, can be a stylish choice of RV that gives travelers a comfortable camping and traveling experience – in a single, compact package. Even though vintage campervans such as the avocado VW buses of Woodstock can still be found around the United States, modern campervans provide function and a sense of home, with practically all the standard amenities we’ve grown accustomed to. But adjustments can be made easy enough.
Before choosing a campervan for your mobile lifestyle, make sure you have some key things on the list that will make you a more self-sufficient, savvy, and prepared RVer. Since space is very limited, only the essentials can make it in the van, such as the majority of these items. Some items are left at the discretion of the RVer.
Portable fridge/freezer – There are some things that need to stay cold, or you want the option of preserving and eating something fresh, which means a portable fridge may be an item to consider adding to your campervan. There are various types and sizes, so you need to do your research as to what will work for your van’s space and electrical capabilities (including what else needs to run off of electricity/battery).
Vent fan – Smells go a long way in small spaces, so a well-working rooftop vent fan is essential. Many campervans come off the line with one installed, or you may need to install one yourself. Make sure, if your van comes equipped with one, that the fan functions exceptionally. There are other vent fan kits that you can swap in, if the other one doesn’t do the job.
Power inverter – An inverter converts DC from your campervan battery to 230V mains AC to run items such as plug-in appliances. A typical campervan runs on a 12V system, and the fan, lights, and devices such as phones or tablets should work fine utilizing this power directly or with an adapter. You can add a battery charger as a backup.
Stovetop or single burner – You need to be able to cook indoors, even if it’s a single burner. This way you can avoid bad weather and still make a hot meal or warm up some coffee. You should also pack outdoor cooking supplies such as a portable propane grill or a Dutch oven that can be tossed into the coals.
Roof rack and/or cargo box – Maximize your indoor space by adding a cargo box on top of your campervan to hold more stuff. Alternatively, if you’re into biking or kayaking, you can easily travel with one if you have a roof rack.
Window coverings – Choose coverings that will help keep the interior temperature of your campervan warmer when it’s cold and cooler when it’s hot. This may mean switching out between seasons. Plus, window coverings are essential for privacy. It is your home, after all.
Insulation – Keeping your van comfortable in all types of weather is highly dependent on proper insulation on your walls and floor. You may need to do this project yourself, and there is plenty of opinions on the Internet by others who have done so. Insulation will help to better keep your warm air in when it’s cold outside. Think of how a cold car feels after a night outsid, thanks to all that metal and glass. You can combat that with insulation.
CO Alarm – If you have a portable personal heater to help keep the interior of your campervan toasty on cool nights, then you definitely need a CO alarm.
Fire extinguisher – Any fire can be devastating in a campervan, so mitigate the risks and be prepared by having a fire extinguisher in a handy spot.
Car jack – A flat tire can strike anytime. All it takes is a leftover nail in a parking lot. You need to be able to change a tire and use your spare. A hydraulic jack will help make this conversion easier.
Microfiber towels – Towels made of this type of fabric will dry more quickly, making them a perfect choice for after showering at the gym, campsite, or beach.
Laundry detergent sheets – If you’re camping for a long time or have chosen to live in a campervan full-time, then you’ll need to do some laundry either at a laundromat or at the campground if those facilities are provided. Choose detergent sheets rather than liquid detergent to safe on space and spills.
Coffee maker – What is camping without coffee? Or tea or hot cocoa? A French press might be just the kitchen appliance for you. All you need is hot water. A French press doesn’t use electricity directly, such as standard counter coffeemakers, making it an ideal choice for mornings in the van.
Camping lantern, flashlight, and headlamp – You will need all three light sources for various purposes.
Toilet – One of the top questions, should I have a toilet in the campervan? There are pros and cons. The pros include convenience, comfort, privacy, and cleanliness because you can avoid public bathrooms. The cons include emptying the toilet when it’s full (and finding a place to dump it), carrying around a full toilet which can cause smells, and the space the toilet takes up in the van. Many campers have done fine without carrying a toilet along, while others can’t live without it.
USB port car charger – Charge while you drive. Enough said.
Tool kit – From tightening screws and wheel nuts to hammering in some extra hooks, a tool kit has everything for the handy person.
Hand vacuum – A rechargeable hand vacuum that can be charged via your portable charger, is pretty much all you need to tidy up the inside of your campervan. It’s easy to pack, too.
Safe – A locked glove compartment may not be secure enough for you, so you can look into a small portable safe for which to put sensitive documents.
Water container – For preparedness and ease of access, travel with a filled water container to use for cooking and drinking. Sanitize the inside of the container regularly between refills.
Blankets – If you’re looking for a season-versatile blanket, choose one that is made of wool. Wool helps to trap heat to keep you warm and it doesn’t absorb odors, making it the ideal material for van life.
Gym pass – Approximately 25 percent of folks who travel regularly in campervans use gym showers for bathing, so they keep a gym membership. Choose a gym that has a widespread collection of locations and is open, ideally, 24 hours.
Ear plugs – Since you are in a campervan and can park for the night practically anywhere, you may need ear plugs from time to time. Think about drowning out the noise of a busy parking lot or an active truck stop.