Campervan accessories: all you need to know
Getting the right accessories for your campervan can make all the difference. Here, we offer our expert advice to guide you towards getting the right kit for your campervan
- Make a campervan accessories checklist
- Must-have campervan accessories
- Campervan essential safety kit
- Campervan kitchen accessories
- Campervan fun and games
- Outdoor camping furniture
- Campervan light accessories
- Final thoughts
- About our magazines
Words by Iain Duff
Make a campervan accessories checklist
Make a checklist of everything you need. You can refer to this every time you go camping so you don’t forget any essentials, and you can update it over time as you discover other things you need.
The best campervan accessories to take are the ones that suit you best. Exactly what you take with you will depend on several factors, such as the time of year, where you’re going, and what you’re going to do when you get there. However, there are a few must-have campervan accessories that every camper should carry.
Must-have campervan accessories
Levelling blocks and electric hook-up
Levelling blocks, an electric hook-up (EHU) lead, a water container, and gas are the first things you’ll need when you arrive at a campsite and are essential campervan gadgets.
Buy a pair of levelling blocks that come in a bag – this keeps mud at bay in your campervan after you’ve packed them up at the end of your stay. Similarly, opt for an EHU lead on a reel, as it keeps things tidy in the campervan.
Water tanks and containers
If you have an on-board fresh water tank, it’s better to fill this up on site rather than before leaving home, as the extra weight makes all the difference to your fuel consumption. Carry a small water container with a funnel or attachable hose, and you’ll be able to fill up easily, wherever you are.
Gas cylinders and LPG tanks
When it comes to gas, campervans are either fitted with an underslung LPG tank or use refillable cylinders – typically, Campingaz or Calor Gas. Gas cylinders need to be exchanged when empty. Many petrol stations and campsites sell refills, but they are not necessarily readily available everywhere, so always check how much gas you have before setting off.
Campervan essential safety kit
(Photo courtesy of AA)
Emergency breakdown kits
If you’re planning a long road trip or heading to Europe, you will need some sort of emergency breakdown kit. Contents depend on the country you’re visiting, but all kits generally contain a warning triangle, a high-vis jacket, and a torch. Whilst this isn’t compulsory in the UK, it’s still good practice to carry such a kit.
Likewise, it’s always handy to have a paper road map in your campervan – internet can be sketchy and sat-navs are notoriously unreliable once you get off the beaten track, so don’t rely on Google.
Power to recharge gadgets is useful, too. Campervans tend to have inbuilt sockets (12V, 230V, and USB) so you can charge things up. However, that’s not much use if your phone or torch dies while you’re out, so get a portable power bank or two. Solar panels are also a sensible investment if you’re planning on camping in places without electric hook-up. Solar panels can be fitted to the roof of a campervan, and free-standing portable units are also available.
Campervan kitchen accessories
(Photo by Iain Duff)
Dining sets and cutlery
Don’t take plates, bowls and cups from home on your camping trips as they are heavy and likely to get broken in the hurly burly of travelling around. Instead, invest in a camping dining set made from bamboo, melamine, or tempered glass, and you’ll have it for years to come.
Likewise, when it comes to cutlery, don’t be tempted to bring knives and forks from home. Instead, buy a camping cutlery roll that keeps everything you'll need together and won't rattle around in a drawer while you are driving.
Mugs and glasses
Again, don't take regular mugs and glasses from home, as ceramic and glass are heavy and breakable. Bamboo, enamel or titanium are better for hot drinks.
For the campsite, get a set of stackable plastic glasses, which will take up minimal space in a cupboard. If you enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, choose polycarbonate glasses, which look and feel the part but are virtually unbreakable.
Pots and pans
Pack a metal camping kettle, a couple of good-quality regular non-stick pots, and a frying pan. For storage, ideally, look for a set of lightweight pots and pans that have removable handles and can stack inside each other.
Storage containers are perfect for the fridge as well as for dry items like tea bags and rice and can also be used for lunch boxes.
Washing up and laundry
For washing up, don’t forget a washing-up bowl and liquid, a scourer and sponge, and a tea towel. For drying laundry, or even just for drying towels, get a pegless washing line.
Coolers and heaters
If you don’t have much room in your fridge, consider a coolbox for keeping drinks in. And if you don’t have heating in your campervan or often sit out in an awning, an oscillating fan heater is useful.
Campervan fun and games
Guidebooks and maps
Let’s not forget campervan entertainment, as you’ll no doubt spend a lot of time lolling around relaxing. It’s a great opportunity to research and plan days out, so pack guidebooks and maps, as well as a good novel, puzzle books, etc.
Local radio is a good source of information for what’s going on nearby as well as for getting the weather forecast and travel news, so buy a portable DAB radio – fancier ones have Bluetooth so you can stream your own favourite tunes.
Fun and games
Games are fun when camping, too, so you might like to take things like a kite, a football and a frisbee for outside, and a pack of cards or your favourite board game for evening entertainment.
Outdoor camping furniture
(Photo by Iain Duff
When choosing essential items of camping furniture, pack size is one of the most important factors to consider, so start by making a list of the things you really need. That starts with camping chairs.
Tripod chairs are so named because they fold like a tripod. They usually come with a carry bag with a handle, so they are handy for taking down the beach, etc, and typically take up less storage space in your campervan than folding chairs.
Folding chairs fold in half like a book. These are often bigger and more comfortable, with features like a reclining back and adjustable headrest, but be mindful of the size and weight of them, as they can be quite bulky. If you need a set of four, they can easily fill up your campervan boot!
Inflatable furniture is another option to consider, especially if you have an awning that doubles as a bedroom. Inflatable armchairs and settees that convert to camp beds are widely available, but beware that they can be on the bulky side, and don’t forget to pack a compatible pump!
The next piece of furniture you will need is a table. These are also available in many shapes and sizes, so it’s important to consider how you’re going to use it. For most campervanners, a camping table is used for eating meals and playing games, so make sure the table is big enough to accommodate the number of diners in your camp.
Table & chair sets
If buying chairs at the same time as your table, make sure these are at the right height – especially if you have children. For a really versatile set-up, opt for a picnic table. These typically seat four and come with a pair of benches or individual stools. The table folds like a suitcase and the chairs fit inside, so it takes up minimum storage space in the campervan.
Campervan light accessories
Campervans usually come with inbuilt internal lighting, which are typically LED strips and/or downlighters, but you will need additional portable lighting for sitting outside or in an awning, and also for walking about the campsite at night.
Make sure you have a small hand torch or headtorch that is kept in the glove compartment at all times, as this has many uses. If you arrive at your campsite at night or break down on the way, a torch is the first thing you’ll reach for, and you’ll need it for late-night trips to the loo.
Portable camping lanterns
A portable lantern is perfect for sitting at a table outside your campervan, whether in an awning or al fresco. The benefit of a lantern is that it is free-standing, so it will easily sit on a table while you’re enjoying dinner or a game of cards. Lanterns come in many shapes and sizes – even collapsible silicone ones.
Look for lanterns with various light settings so you have the choice of bright lighting though to mood lighting. Many lanterns have a built-in rechargeable battery that also serves as a power bank, so you can charge up your phone with it, for example. Some lanterns even have an inbuilt Bluetooth speaker.
Awning lighting sets
If you have an awning, you may want bespoke lighting, which attaches to the inside of the awning and hangs up out of the way. Many brands offer purpose-built accessories to fit their awning ranges, so check out their essential accessory offerings before buying an awning.
Vango, for example, uses its own SkyTrack system to which you can attach many items, including LED lighting, while Outwell uses its HookTrack system. Awning lighting varies in length and complexity, and power sources include USB, 12V, and 230V mains electric.
How can I make my campervan more homely?
To make your campervan cosier, consider adding decorative elements like cushions, throws, and curtains. Personalise the space with photos or artwork. Adding plants can also create a homely atmosphere. Finally, choose lighting that creates a warm and inviting ambience.
Where can I buy campervan parts and accessories?
You can buy campervan parts and accessories from various sources. Local automotive and camping stores often carry a selection. Online retailers like Amazon, eBay, and specialised campervan accessory shops and websites offer a wide range of options. Additionally, you can check with campervan dealers and manufacturers for specific parts.
Enhancing your campervan with the right accessories can turn it into a home away from home. From safety equipment to kitchen essentials and outdoor furniture, the right gear can make your camping trips more comfortable and enjoyable. Remember to tailor your accessories to your specific needs and preferences, and don't forget to stay safe and well-prepared on your adventures.
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