My Top 10 Essential Campervan Items
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Whether you have your own self-built Campervan, a VW style pop-top, or even just use your car, there are certain items that are essential for a smooth and enjoyable trip!
Whilst pre-made campers often come with electrics, plumbing (including the luxury of a toilet), and an inbuilt cooker, if you make your own mini-home you have to think about all these things yourself.
I've made a handy list of things that I couldn't have lived without during my recent week in Cornwall testing out my DIY Berlingo Campervan for its longest trip yet.
You might have electrics, plumbing, a fixed kitchen, or a mixture of the above, but I didn't include any of these in my Berlingo so I can easily change it between a car and a camper and back! So this list is perfect if you're interested in a Flexible, Reversible Conversion! However many of the item are super useful for any type of Campervan.
Cigarette Lighter Extension
This is one of my favourite purchases for my Van! It lets me fit 4 cigarette chargers and 2 USB chargers in at once which is amazing for extended trips where I don't go to sites and Wild Camp.
I use it to charge my laptop (via universal cigarette laptop charger), lights, phone, camera, power banks and even plug in my cigarette-powered heated seat!
You can use it when you're parked up for short periods (just make sure you don't run your battery flat) as well as when you're driving around like I do.
Perfect for off-grid camping and if you have multiple devices you want to charge! Click here to get yours!
2. Rechargeable Lights
Your campervan is your home away from home, so you want to feel comfortable.
Once the sun goes down, it gets dark quickly and you need to see what you're doing! I hate using loads of batteries because of the impact on the environment. Plus if you're away for a long time you get through so many!
I found some amazing rechargeable lights that I used non-stop on my trip; a reading light for bright light so I can cook etc, and fairy lights to set the mood.
This reading light has a handy clip so I can attach it to the ceiling, it recharges via USB in 2 hours and lasts for up to 10. I love that it also has various options including cool and warm light.
My fairy lights come with separate rechargeable packs that also charge via USB. They last for up to 56 hours because they're low-energy LED but are still surprisingly bright. The lights are fitted into copper wire which is very flexible and easy to fix to any area of your camper.
Fairy lights are great to have on just when I'm relaxing in the van, in the evening or even early morning when it's not bright yet.
3. Electric hook up
So not every night can be a wild camping adventure with crazy sea views! Sometimes you need to take a shower, refill your water, empty your bins, and enjoy the relative comfort a campsite has to offer.
For these times, I've invested in a portable electric hookup.
This handy device plugs into the campsite electric mains and provides me with three sockets to use inside my camper. All the sockets are covered to keep them water-tight, and the unit has an inbuilt circuit breaker and fuse box that is also water-tight.
It's great to have the option of visiting a campsite on cold nights and plugging my little heater into this. I can run any device I like off it, which is great for guests!
I pass the wire through a gap in the front window, and keep the water out with windbreaker covers for the front windows.
This is an amazing way to get electricity into your van without fixing anything permanently or needing to be an electrician!
4. Safety items
No they're not exciting. But they might just save your life!
I have a carbon monoxide detector so I can cook in my Berlingo Campervan safely knowing that my CO detector will tell me if I need to improve my ventilation or am in danger. This device is so loud and annoying, it will definitely wake you up if you're in trouble!
I also have a fire blanket I keep right next to where I cook. These are the best way to deal with a kitchen fire, as they're suitable for oil fires, and can be wrapped around a person to extinguish any flames on their body.
Don't risk it- these items aren't expensive and might be the difference between life and death.
5. Hand Tap
No plumbing is needed for this handy bit of kit. You just pop it into your water storage container, pump the top section up and down a few times and voila you have running water!
No electricity needed, no pipes needed, and you don't even need to fix it down- simply remove the tap and put the jerry can lid back on when you want to drive off!
This amazing, cheap little tap made my life so much easier during my trip!
I used it to fill my kettle, give my dog water, do the washing up, and wash myself! It's awesome.
6. Insulating Blinds
These hand-made blinds not only kept the light out and helped me get a good night's sleep on my trip, but also kept me nice and toasty! In the summer they reflect the heat back out so work to keep my van cool.
I made these to fit my camper myself, so I only spent about £20 on Thermawrap and tape the fix the edges.
You can buy specifically-designed options to fit your individual vehicle, but a set to fit my Berlingo starts at £70 so it depends on your budget.
They are definitely worth the effort, especially if you often don't have any heating in your van like me!
7. A Good Sleeping Bag
A warm camper is a happy camper!
You might prefer a duvet, as it's more homely, but for me the sleeping bag is king!
They are the best at insulating and making the most of your body heat, plus they pack away so small.
In a campervan as small as mine, space is key, so a sleeping bag gives me more room in the day.
Plus, as I mentioned, I don't have any heating when I'm wild van camping so a sleeping bag designed to keep me comfortable down to -7°C is way better than a duvet that's usually used inside a house.
I have the Snugpack Travelpak 4 which is awesome because it has a built in mosquito net, is anti-microbially treated to keep in fresh and reduce the need for washing it, and it's really light so I can also take it along with my trek tent on any overnight hikes I do.
Even my dog Maze is a sleeping bag convert! And who could argue with her.
8. Folding Table
For cooking, eating, painting, games, and anything else you could possibly imagine, a folding camping table is something I never go away in my van without.
I love that the legs fold into the top and that you can store it in the tiniest places, plus when it's hot you can use it outside the van too. For ease and flexibility you can't beat it.
I love this one as it fits perfectly next to my sofa bed with space for me to get my feet in.
9. Boot Opener
So this is a rogue item that takes a bit of explaining, and is probably most useful for DIY campervan conversions and cars.
This little device is to allow air into your car when you leave your dog in it, whilst still letting you lock the car and keep it safe.
One part screws into the base of the boot and the other fits into the catch of the boot door, leaving the boot ajar but secure.
I love it for keeping my campervan aerated and stopping condensation building up whilst I sleep. It's great for extra air when it's hot too.
Most of all as a solo female traveller I don't have to worry about my safety, as it doesn't interfere with my central locking system so I know no-one can get into my camper while I'm inside sleeping.
Yes it's gross, but sometimes you've got the answer the call of nature.
And when it's sleeting sideways, pitch black, and the early hours of the morning, going outside is less than appealing.
Whoever said VanLife was glamorous eh?
If you're male, then you can find a sealed container and the whole ordeal is solved before you know it. But what about if you're female?
That's where the shewee comes in!
Mine was a joke Christmas present from a friend, but I can say it's now one of my favourite Campervan items and one I don't go anywhere without!
It's a funnel and tube made of plastic that comes in a discrete case, that allows you to pee standing up out of a tiny tube! It's amazing!
It gives you the freedom to go outside without stripping off, or even to go inside your van into a container!
No more trips outside in the middle of the night!
So that's the end of my Top 10 list of Campervan Items!
Feel free to have a read about how I made my DIY Berlingo Campervan, or subscribe below to keep update with my Campervan Adventures and Tips in the future.
Thanks for reading!