Van living needs passion and a lot of preparation, and there is no doubt having the right equipment such as safety and security items, tech gadgets, kitchen essentials, and other must-have items in the van will make your journey much easier. 

Our van life experience in Australia and Scotland has helped us to make a complete list of all you need in your van to have a fun and amazing road trip.

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Van life essentials
Van life essentials

The Ultimate List of Vanlife Essentials in Categories

Van life essentials

Van Accessories

Van Life Essentials

Air Freshener

We have a selection throughout the van, both in spray form and hang up. These help to keep our van smelling fresh during the warmer days and cold nights when damp can become a problem. 

Read more about my air freshener here 

Air Purifier

If you have hayfeaver, allergies or just want a good fan, an air purifier will be a great asset to your van.

Read more about my air purifier here.

B2B Charger

This was a game-changer for our off-grid set up as it essentially gives you free electricity whilst you drive along. Connecting the engine battery to the leisure battery, this smart charger detects when the engine battery is charging and directs some of that charge through to the leisure battery. The charger also isolates the two batteries when the engine is not running, which prevents it from draining the engine battery and killing the vehicle. 

Read more about my B2B charger here.

Cable Tidy

This is a great little product for keeping your cables nice and tidy. They stick onto the counter and hold your cables neatly together. 

Read more about my cable tidy here.

Collapsable Bucket

A space-saving tool, the Collapsible Bucket is ideal for camping and caravans. Use it to wash up plates while camping or transport water around for cleaning.

Read more about my collapsable bucket here.

Damp tester

Campervans and motorhomes are prone to dampness and one of these wee gadgets are really handy to check your damp levels around the van.

Read more about my damp meter here.

Deer Whistle

This has been really handy for us spending so much time in our van in Scotland. It seems to have done the job as we haven’t had any deer running out in front of us thankfully. This small piece sits in the front grill of your vehicle and makes a whistling sound that only animals can hear and the aim of it is that it will avoid them from running out in front our your vehicle. 

Read more about the deer whistle we use here.

Drill Set

When things break, it’s really helpful to have a small drill in the van to fix it. 

Read more about my drill set here.


This has been our saviour when times get tough in the van. Before we had our battery to battery and solar set up, we really struggled off grid without a generator. It was our saving grace as it allowed us to top up our leisure batteries without paying to use a campsite.

We keep it now for those days when we accidentally leave the headlights on and the engine goes dead. Using it alongside our battery charger, it does the job without needing to call for roadside assistance.

Read more about my generator here.


This is a necessity if you plan on spending a long time in your van as 240v charging is a lot quicker for items such as laptops and cameras. This inverter is also big enough to power any TVs and other lights, such as our Lumie clock and SAD lamp during the long winter months. 

Read more about my invertor here.

Laundry Rack

A laundry rack is a nifty wee thing for getting your clothes dry when the sun is shining. We use pegged ones and ones that hang outside the window. 

Read more about my laundry rack here.

Leisure Battery For Motorhomes

On board our home on wheels, we have two leisure batteries that help to keep our lights on and gadgets charged. Both of our batteries are 100Ah in size and are AGM deep-cycle batteries, which are perfect for frequent charging and discharging. We do hope to upgrade our batteries to LiPo (lithium-ion) due to their increased discharge capacity and reliability. 

Read more about my leisure battery here.

Screwdriver Set

Another one of those items that comes in so handy when things break. We have used ours more times than we would like to admit!

Read more about my screwdriver set here.

Solar Panels and Solar Charge Controller

During the long summer days of Scottish sunshine (only slight sarcasm here..), a set of solar panels are every campervanners best friend for an off-grid setup. We use two 240w solar panels, giving us a total of 480w of solar power charging our leisure batteries. This means that during the days when we are not driving around as much and we want to stay in one location, the batteries are still being charged without the B2B charger running.

It is essential to ensure that you have a high quality solar charge controller to prevent battery damage and optimise the amount of energy your solar panels can deliver to the battery. We started off by using the cheap charge controller that came free with our panels, however, we later upgraded to this Victron MPPT controller and the difference in the efficiency of the controller was astounding. 

Read more about my solar panels here.

Read more about my solar charge controller here.


Create a playlist and make it available offline for any mood you’re looking to set. 

Read more about my speaker here.

Teddy Bear Duvet

When winter draws in, it can get very chilly in the van, especially overnight. Our teddy bear duvet and blankets saved us during winter in the van helping to keep us nice and cosy overnight.

Read more about my duvet here.

Water Containers

We have two sets of 15L water containers that we fill whenever we can to keep as spare water, in addition to our 40L onboard water tank. This keeps us going between water points so that we do not run short. 

Read more about my water containers here.

Levelling Ramps

Our levelling ramps help us to keep the van level when we find places to park up for the night. We can place them under two of our wheels to keep the van flat during the night.

Read more about my levelling ramps here.

Windscreen Cover

A windscreen cover is a necessity if you are travelling to either warm or cold countries as it will help to regulate the temperature of your van. In sunnier locations, a reflective cover in the front window will keep the sunshine out and keep the van cool. In the colder countries it will reflect the heat from your bodies back inside the van and prevent loss through the glass.

Read more about my windscreen cover here.

Wing Mirror Covers

These are a fantastic way to protect your vans most vulnerable parts on the narrow winding roads of remote lands. These covers fit neatly over your wing mirrors and not only prevent scratching or denting of the wing mirrors on bushes and walls, they also absorb any blows that may come from oncoming vehicles.

Read more about my wing mirror covers here.

Carpuride Screen

Get ready to hit the road with confidence using Carpuride’s reliable satnav systems. This connects directly with your phone allowing you to use your maps for navigation and control your music on the road.

Try Carpuride for yourself

Outdoor Equipment

Van life essentials

Camping Chairs

Vanlife doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, get yourself a good camping chair and it will feel just like your sofa at home.

Read more about my camping chairs here.

BenQ Projector

This projector will give you the ultimate date night setup and has become our new favourite toy in our van. We have the BenQ GS50 projector and we have tried it on both the outside and inside of our van and it works great! We love how easy it is to set up and the sound quality and picture is so clear. We already can’t wait for more cosy movie nights in the van. 

Check out the BenQ Projctor here.

Head Torch

A head torch is a really handy piece of kit to have in your van. You never know when you are going to need it but when you do, you won’t want to be without it!

Read more about my head torch here.

Portable Mesh Fire Pit

If you enjoy lighting a fire on a road trip, this portable mesh fire pit is great for folding up small and keeping a small fire contained and off the grass. 

Read more about my portable mesh fire pit here.

Safety & Security

Van life essentials


AirTags have become a great travel accessory for us and we wouldn’t be without them now. If you don’t have a tracker in your van, this is a great alternative. It is also great to carry around in your backpack so that you are notified if you leave it behind.

Read more about my AirTags here.

Clutch Lock/ Steering Wheel Lock

Now you must be thinking we’re paranoid! This is the steering wheel lock we use and it works as a great deterrent. 

Read more about my steering wheel lock here.

Europe Kit

This is a necessity if you are travelling inside the EU for road safety concerns. The kit contains reflective jackets, a safety triangle for breakdowns, a headtorch to see during the night, and a reflective GB sticker on the van to show that it is a foreign vehicle. 

Read more about my Europe Kit here.

Fire Extinguisher and Blanket

Without putting a downer on this post, you never know the moment you’re going to need a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket so it is always worth having one in your van in the event that you need one.

Read more about my Fire Extinguisher here.


Again, better safe than sorry. If you are looking for somewhere safe to store your valuables whilst you are not in the van. A good sturdy safe is the best place for it.

Read more about my Safe here.

Wheel Clamps

No harm in having extra security, this is the wheel clamps we use. They provide an extra layer of protection that might just be enough to deter thieves or slow them down enough so that they can’t make off with your home on wheels. Just don’t drive away with them on.

Read more about my wheel clamps here.


Van life essentials

Chopping Board

A large and sturdy cutting board is going to make cooking in the van much easier. It’s definitely an essential item in your kitchen.

Read more about my chopping board here.

Coffee Kettle

What’s better than starting your morning on the road with a fresh cup of coffee made in an Italian-style coffee maker?!

Read more about my coffee kettle here.

Dish Brush

We love our bamboo dish brush as it blends in with the interior of our van.

Read more about my dish brush here.

Filter Water Bottle

A perfect refillable, reusable, and recyclable Water To Go bottle  to have safe drinking water wherever you are, promoting sustainability and reducing single-use plastic waste.


Read more about my filter water bottle here.

Frying Pan

A non-stick frying pan is always a handy way to make quick and easy dishes.

Read more about my frying pan here.

Hand Held Chopper

We love having this little device in our kitchen chuck your veg into it and pull the chord and it gives you nice finely chopped veggies without the hassle of chopping. 

Read more about my handheld chopper here.

Hot Water Bottle

Another item that we would definitely recommend having in the van especially during a cold winter, is a hot water bottle. We like the ones with the fleecy covers for extra comfort.

Read more about my hot water bottle here.

Icelolly Kit

This is a great piece of kit to have for a hot summers day! Pop some water and juice or some fruit into an ice lolly tray and voila, you have something cold to enjoy in the sunshine!

Read more about my ice lolly kit here.


A perfect sharp kitchen knife set is going to make the cooking experience easier and more fun.

Read more about my knife here.

Milk Frother

You will definitely need a milk frother to transform milk into the thick and silky foam to add to your coffee or espresso to make café au lait, cappuccinos, lattes, and more.

Read more about my milk frother here.

Mini bbq

A brilliant addition to our van has been our mini bbq. This is small and compact, fits nicely under our bed, and easy to carry to the beach. 

Don’t forget to buy some kindling too! 

Read more about my mini bbq here.

Ooni Pizza oven

One of the best things we have in our van is our Ooni oven. Making wood fired pizzas on our doorstep on a summers evening is exactly what it’s all about. It’s important to use the right flour though to make sure you have a good base. We use 000 flour. 

Read more about my ooni pizza oven here.

Smoothie Maker

A mini blender is perfect to have in your van for the summer months so that you can make smoothies but it can also be used for blending up soups or other foods as well.

Read more about my smoothie maker here.

Soda Stream

How did I not know these existed a few years ago?! Our soda stream gets used every single day and it’s so nice as a little sparkling treat, especially on a warm summers day.

Read more about my soda stream here.

Thermometer For Your Fridge

Having a thermometer in your fridge is really handy, especially during the summer months when it can get very hot inside the van.

Read more about my thermometer for fridge here.

Veg Baskets For Fridge

using these containers is a great way to organize your fridge and keep your vegetables fresh for a longer time.

Read more about my veg baskets for the fridge here.

Veggie Steamer

A Veggie Steamer is a super handy product to cook and steam vegetables.

Read more about my veggie steamer here.


Van life essentials

Board Games

Some nights you’ll have no signal and having a good board game will help pass the night. Here’s a few of our favourites

Hair Curler

If you have a fringe or whether you just want to style your hair every so often, this hair curler has been one of the best things that I carry in the van. 

Hairdryer And Straighteners

This travel hairdryer has been great for me as a gal with a fringe. It’s small so it is easy to store and it does the job plugged into the cigarette lighter. If you have a van with a bigger battery, you can plug one into your mains.

Read more about my hairdryer here.

Hard Drives

Surely you are going to be taking loads of photos and videos of your adventures on the road and you’ll be looking for somewhere to keep them safe right? We use these rugged hard drives to keep all of our precious footage safe. These hard drives are less likely to break if they are dropped than the non-rugged ones!

Read more about my hard drives here.

Handheld Mirror

This is really handy to have if you don’t have a plug near a mirror. It allows you to do your hair etc wherever you are in the van. 

Read more about my handheld mirror here.


Our ipad has been so handy for acting as a home cinema. We use a 13” screen to give us the best size for watching tv.

Read more about my iPad here.

Multi Point

This is one of those products that you don’t realise much you need it until you have it. This adapter allows you to charge all your devices at once. 

Read more about my multi-point here.


A projector is a great way to turn your van into a home cinema! There are many made for life on the go these days and they even include access to your favourite streaming platforms on the app.

Read more about my projector here.

Tropicfeel Monsoon Trainers

An all-terrain sneaker, perfect for travellers who are looking for versatile footwear suitable for life on the road. The Tropicfeel collection covers backpacks and clothing as well as footwear. The Monsoon Sneaker was the first of the Tropicfeel footwear to brace the market and has been adapted over the years to become the ‘Ultimate travel shoe’. It’s a lightweight and quick drying shoe by Tropicfeel.

Read more about my trainers here.

Tropicfeel Nest Backpack

I have used many different backpacks over the years and I’ve struggled to find one that really suited me. I did a lot of research into backpacks and the Nest from Tropicfeel was the one I just kept getting drawn back to.

This all-rounder backpack allows you to pack smarter and transition between daily use and weekend trips as the Nest can be used as a day bag when you are out exploring the city or as hand luggage when you are travelling. The storage size of this waterproof backpack is 16 litres and this can be expanded to 30 litres by folding out the kangaroo pouch at the bottom of the bag and by using one of the additional 10 litre packing cubes which we will discuss in more detail later on in this article. This additional storage space allows the bag to stretch to a size that would be suitable for a weekend away, whilst not being too bulky for day to day use. 

Read more about my backpack here.


Cleaning Equipment

Van life essentials

Mini Hoover

This is a must in a van, you don’t realise just how much dirt you pick up until you hear that ASMR sound of the Hoover picking it all up! 

Read more about my vacuum cleaner here.

Sweeping Brush

Your van will get dirty quicker than you will think, it’s really handy to have a small sweeping brush to hand to keep on top of it. We love this bamboo one as it suits the colours in our van. 

Read more about my sweeping brush here.

Photography Equipment

Van life essentials

Given the beautiful sights and scenery that you are no doubt going to see travelling in your Van, we highly recommend packing a good camera for your trip. If you want to read more about the cameras we use and why we love them, check out the link below.

You can read what else we keep in our camera bag over here.

What is the Best Travel Insurance for Vanlifers

I know travel insurance is the least enjoyable thing to purchase and look at when you’re planning a trip, however, you wouldn’t want to be without it in the event that something happened. Accidents can happen anywhere and the extortionate medical bills will ruin your trip if you are not covered.

To ensure you have a stress-free trip with no worries about potential medical bills, make sure you cover yourself when you travel. We can recommend using SafetyWing, a backpacker-friendly and cheap insurance company that provides good coverage and support. It is also nomad-friendly, unlike most other insurance companies, meaning you do not need to worry about being out of your home country for too long.

Get a quote for your travel insurance right here and get covered!

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Van life essentials
Van life essentials

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