7 Awesome Van Life Accessories, Gadgets, and Gear
There’s no question that #vanlife is awesome. Thousands of people across the U.S. are hitting the road in converted Sprinter camper vans. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a full-time traveler, camper vans can offer a compact but functional living space to make your dream adventures a reality.
Even the best builds can be greatly improved upon with the addition of some well-chosen gear. From ladders to bug screens, these simple additions to your camper van will help to make your adventures seamless and fun.
Not all vans have roof racks, but for many vanlifers, this is one accessory they just can’t live without. These days, many companies are custom-building roof racks to seamlessly fit specific Sprinter van models. Roof racks are handy for attaching solar panels to, and carrying extra gear such as surfboards and kayaks.
Some people who need more storage for smaller items add a cargo box to their van’s roof rack. Additionally, certain amenities such as Road Showers and awnings require a roof rack for mounting. As an added bonus, racks just happen to make your rig look way more badass.
You’ve probably seen vans with awnings before. Way back in the 1970s, people began adding awnings to the side of their VW Bus campervans. There’s a reason why people still add awnings to Sprinter vans today – it’s because they’re awesome!
The most popular place to mount an awning on your van is over the sliding door. When deployed, an awning creates a covered outdoor space with protection from rain and sun. First and foremost, a camper van is a tool to get you outside to the places you love, and an awning allows you to truly be outdoors while staying comfortable. Most awnings require a roof rack for mounting, so here’s your excuse to get that awesome rack you’ve had your eyes on.
Thule Van Ladder
The Thule Van Ladder is a 9-step telescoping ladder that can be stored away when not in use. The ladder gives you access to your van’s roof, which is especially important if you have a roof rack holding gear or other items. Even without a rack, most vans can benefit from the addition of a ladder, since rooftop solar panels operate best when cleaned frequently.
A major benefit of the Thule Van Ladder is its versatility. As opposed to a fixed ladder, this telescoping ladder can be moved to access any area on your van’s roof. Magnetic pads hold the ladder securely in place against the top of your van’s siding. When you’re not using it, simply collapse the ladder and store it inside of your van.
ARB 12v Onboard Compressor
An onboard air compressor is an awesome and practical addition for many van owners. It is most useful for people that use their van for biking trips, as well as for those who find themselves in off road situations.
For bikers, the ability to quickly inflate and adjust the air pressure of tires means you can get out on rides without anything slowing you down. In offroad scenarios when lowering the air pressure of your van’s tires is beneficial, the compressor makes the deflation and reinflation process a breeze.
The ARB 12v air compressor runs off of your van’s auxiliary battery system. As long as your charging sources keep your batteries topped off, you will have access to on-demand compressed air.
Nothing beats opening your van’s sliding door to enjoy the view and fresh air on warm summer evenings. But, in many areas of the country, warm summer evenings mean swarms of mosquitoes and other insects.
Thanks to custom-made bug screens such as those manufactured by RB Components, you can still enjoy the fresh air without letting critters in. These screens are made to fit specific van models for a secure fit, and they feature a magnetic closure for easy passage in and out of your van.
Insulated Window Covers
Insulated window covers are a great item to pick up for just about any van owner. These custom-fit window coverings feature insulation, wrapped in durable blackout fabric which blocks light.
Insulation in a van is critical, both to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Without insulated window coverings, the rest of your van’s insulation becomes much less effective at retaining or keeping out heat.
Another great benefit of window covers is privacy. When the lights are on in your van, anyone in the area can see clearly through the windows. Window coverings add privacy, and unlike a curtain in between the cab and rear of the van, they can be utilized even when people are sitting in the van’s front swivel chairs.
Cassette or Composting Toilet
A custom Sprinter van turns camping into GLAMping. But unlike traditional RVs, many Sprinter vans don’t come equipped with a toilet. Fortunately, there are toilet options for camper vans that are sanitary and that take up minimal space.
The two most popular options when it comes to camper van toilets are cassette and composting. Cassette toilets utilize chemicals to process waste, while composting toilets take advantage of natural processes to break down waste. Both options are popular for use in camper vans, and each is small enough to fit in a compact slide-out drawer.