How to complete my surf van.
It’s cheesy, but it’s true: nothing quite beats van life. Between waking up at a surf spot in time for a dawn paddle out and pulling back the curtains to watch the waves from the comfort of your own bed, van life is camping at its greatest.
Whether you’re considering making the leap to van life, or are simply looking for ways to make your van life adventures a bit more comfortable, here are ten van life essentials that you should consider adding to your wishlist.
DC to AC Power Inverter
Access to power can be crucial on the road, especially for surfers who make a living from their laptops. A handy DC to AC power inverter can plug right into a van’s cigarette lighter, and charge all kinds of devices like mobile phones, drones, cameras and laptops.
For work or play, a power inverter can be a life saver for longer van life trips away from home.
The underrated hero of van life and beach camping, a portable propane stove is an essential addition to any adventure vehicle. With one of these bad boys, you’ll have the freedom to cook all your meals in the comfort of your own van. Even if you’re not a keen chef, you’ll at least need a portable propane stove to get your morning tea or coffee fix.
Just remember, propane can be dangerous so make sure your space is well-ventilated. If you want to be extra safe, buy a carbon monoxide detector in case of a gas leak, and a portable fire extinguisher in the event of a serious cooking disaster.
Need some van life cooking inspiration? Head over to our list of 10 easy van life meals to really add some flavour on your next adventure.
Front Window Sunshade
While van life has its perks, there is no doubt that this lifestyle leaves you far more exposed to the elements than if you had just stayed at home. That’s the point, right?
That said, no one had any fun climbing into an oven-hot vehicle after a long day in the sun, which is why investing in a window sunshade is essential to staying cool during hot weather. A sunshade also has the added benefit of privacy in stealth camping situations, which is handy no matter the weather!
No matter how low maintenance you think you are, there’s nothing like having some camp chairs to set up around a fire at the end of a long day in the water. Don’t believe us? Go on a camping trip with friends who bring out their own camp chairs, and see how you really feel.
Most camping chairs are inexpensive, light, and fold right up for storage inside your van. There’s really no excuse for slumming it out on the floor when you could be drinking your morning coffee in one of these.
It’s easy to forget when you’re hanging out at home, but once the sun goes down it’s pretty hard to get around outside. This is particularly true for those camping away from the luxuries of street lights, and it’s easy to get stuck fumbling for a mobile phone torch when it’s already too late. Van life veterans will know this feeling all too well.
For those not willing to install lighting in their vans, a cheap and easy solution is to buy some portable camp lights. The advantage of buying a set of these is that you can opt to use them both inside or outside the van after dark, depending on your evening activities.
A fruit hammock is another underrated van life staple, and not just because of how Instagrammable these little babies are. A small fruit hammock is an inexpensive way to keep your fruit and vegetables from banging around while you drive, and can be a nifty hidey-hole for objects that you need on hand from time to time. No more rummaging for an apple or packet of tissues- just hang them in your hammock!
Magnetic Spice Jars
Making sure your spices are organized is handy when cooking at home, and essential when trying to make a meal with the limited means of an outdoor kitchen. When you’re exhausted from hours of driving or a day spent in the water, you’ll be glad you organized your kitchen cupboards beforehand- and this includes using these magnetic spice jars to free up some room.
No van life road trip is complete without some great music, and this extends to a camping trip long after the engines have been switched off. For avid adventurers, relying on the van stereo system is a rookie error when portable Bluetooth speakers are more affordable than ever before.
Make sure you keep yours charged up, and you’ll be dancing by the fire into the early hours of the morning.
12-Volt Oscillating Fan
No matter how strategic you were when insulating your van, it’s going to get hot when you’re trying to sleep inside its metal casing. Rather than wake up sweaty, bleary-eyed and wishing for the comforts of home, buy a simple 12-volt oscillating fan to keep things cool in the evenings. No matter the electric setup of your van, it should be easy to find the right fan for your needs.
Portable Coffee Press
There’s nothing like enjoying a hot coffee on the beach, but it’s easy to think that your options are limited when you’re camping out of your van. With a portable coffee press, you can be sure to enjoy ground coffee on-the-go. It’s as if you never left home!
So there you have it, our collection of the ten best van life essentials needed to make your next adventure a great one. If you have any recommendations, let us know in the comments section below!