Do you dream of living the ‘van life’? Perhaps you’re already doing it? Over the past few years, travelling by campervan has seen a huge surge in popularity with over 4,000 recreational vehicles being sold now every year.
Entire blogs have sprung up dedicated to the lifestyle and campervan conversion projects. They highlight the change in attitudes towards the appeal and accessibility of travelling by campervan.
Recreational vehicle sales in the UK have grown by 83% over the last 10 years. What’s also impressive is how low the rate of second-hand purchases of campervans and motorhomes has been over the same period, sitting at just 10%.
These figures show the adoption of travel across the UK and abroad via some form of recreational vehicle, be it a campervan, motorhome or caravan is becoming increasingly popular and the market is remaining stable.
If you’ve already purchased your campervan, you’ll know how easy it is to throw a few things in a bag and head off for some last-minute adventures – you don’t need to spend ages packing up loads of stuff!
But saying that, there are some cool, and quite frankly essential, accessories to invest in before you set off – things that will make any countryside or coastal adventure just that little bit more comfortable.
Of course, one of the most important things to get sorted before you set off is campervan insurance. Here at Motorhome Protect, we can give you a comprehensive quote in minutes.
Top 10 campervan accessories
1. Portable outdoor shower
While living on the road provides a lot of freedom and flexibility, it can come with a few obstacles to overcome. Unlike their larger cousin, the motorhome, campervans rarely include a shower.
Due to space constraints, this is a feature that is often excluded in favour of storage space and kitchen facilities.
Some of the larger models or self-converted campervans may include a wetroom but this is certainly a luxury in the campervan market.
If you are staying at a caravan or camping site, there may be amenity blocks with access to showers – sometimes free, other times requiring a small fee for coin-operated showers.
But this isn’t always the case though, and certainly not an option if you are free camping throughout Europe.
A great low-space option is to invest in a portable shower. These will make showering when you don’t have access to facilities easy, all you need is somewhere high enough to hang or attach the system so the water can flow out properly.
If you can’t stand the thought of a cold shower in the morning, go for a 12V or solar-powered option – far more comfortable than the alternative, especially if you’re travelling in the colder months.
These are also great for those who plan on spending a lot of time at the beach throughout their travels, making it easy to rinse off the sand at the end of the day.
Portable showers can be picked up at a range of camping and outdoor stores as well as online retailers and outdoor specialists.
2. Portable lighting
Much like access to shower facilities, if you are planning to free camp or stay on unpowered sites, lighting can sometimes be an issue. While you will likely have a good lighting setup inside the campervan, this isn’t always the case outside.
If you plan on eating dinner or spending time outside the van in the comfort of a balmy summer evening, you will benefit from investing in some portable lighting.
The best solution is to find battery-operated lamps, as they use limited resources and are less fickle than gas options.
Portable LED lamps come in a range of styles and price points depending on your needs, with both standard battery and rechargeable options available, so you can find the one that’s right for you.
A torch and/or headlamp can also prove handy should you need to explore further beyond your campsite at night or repair something in the dark.
None of these things take up too much storage space and are available from all good outdoor and camping stores, as well as larger supermarkets throughout the summer.
3. Fold-out furniture and picnic set
It’s no big secret campervans are lower on space as the smallest units in the recreational vehicle world.
This means that while they are a fantastic way to travel with ease and zip around the countryside, they don’t always make for the best places to eat dinner.
Insert fold-out furniture and picnic sets. One of the most versatile investments for life in a campervan, these items will quickly become indispensible to you while you travel.
Many choose to travel through the warmer months, meaning long days, plenty of sunshine and more comfortable temperatures. This is the ideal time to make use of the conditions by dining outside.
Fold-out furniture requires very little space as it’s quite compact and can be used in a range of situations. Need some emergency chairs for an impromptu dinner with some new campervan buddies? A fold-out picnic set will have you covered!
4. Portable barbecue
Following on from the aforementioned furniture and picnic sets, a portable barbecue will completely transform your campervan dining experience.
Many campervans have limited or no cooktop space, meaning a portable barbecue is ideal to expand your holiday cuisine beyond beans on toast and noodles in a cup, as affordable and delicious as they may be.
While campsites and caravan parks may have their own communal cooking facilities, the flexibility afforded by having your own portable barbecue is well worth the small investment.
Depending on your personal preference as well as how much storage space you have, you can choose either a gas or coal barbecue, both suitable options for campers. Just double check the campsite rules about barbecues before you light up.
Units can be purchased from outdoor and hardware/home stores, as well as major supermarkets throughout the summer.
5. Levelling ramps
Ever slept on an angle? It’s not comfortable and quickly becomes annoying. Not only is sleeping an issue on angled ground, so is drainage and appliances like sinks and fridges working properly.
The best way to overcome uneven ground on campsites is by keeping a set of levelling ramps stowed away somewhere in your vehicle.
If you’re planning to stay primarily at club campsites, most are fairly level and should only require smaller ramps.
However, if you are planning on more free camping or less maintained sites, you may find it worthwhile to invest in a larger set to account for greater disparity in the surface of your camping ground.
Before purchasing a set of ramps you should consider the type of vehicle as well as its weight and size. These will all have an impact on which ramps are most suitable and run the lowest risk of cracking.
The hardness of the surface will also impact the suitability of the ramps you choose, so do some research before you depart to find out more information about whether you’ll be pitching on concrete or grass.
6. A hammock
Whiling away an afternoon snoozing in the sun or catching up on your latest holiday read is made all the more comfortable when done in a hammock. Holidays are for chilling out after all, right?
If your idea of relaxation is swaying gently side to side, while the summer sun warms your bones, a hammock is an essential campervan purchase for you.
The great thing is that hammocks are also super-compact and easy to stow away.
You can set one up quickly from neighbouring trees or poles, and they’re suitable for anywhere, whether you’re by the beach, overlooking beautiful rolling hills or tucked away in the woodlands.
Nothing says ‘holiday mode’ quite like a hammock, a good book and afternoon apéritif.
And if you really get into the swing of things with your hammock, you can even set one up inside the van. This VanLife blog shows you how!
7. Wifi booster or pocket wifi
Whether you’re looking to share all those great travel snaps with family and friends online, map out more of your travel route or make future bookings online, a reliable wifi signal is a must-have.
While camping grounds may offer wifi, depending on your site location within the grounds and distance from the router, picking up a wifi signal can be a bit hit and miss.
Increase the signal in your camper with a wifi booster which is designed to extend wifi coverage between the router and the dreaded ‘dead zone’.
If you’re free camping or staying in a location where wifi isn’t available, then a pocket wifi is a great solution to keep you connected.
The small portable wireless modem, sometimes known as a dongle, let’s you connect to the internet with wifi-enabled devices via a mobile network.
A great option to ensure you’re always connected when you need to be. Although there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of taking some screen-free time while you’re on holiday, too!
8. Thermal blind
Despite many campervans including some form of insulation, they don’t compare to a regular home and the internal climate can vary greatly, from sweltering hot in summer to freezing in winter.
To help combat the issue and achieve a more regulated and comfortable climate inside, a thermal blind can be incredibly useful.
Thermal blinds work in several ways to make the internal temperature of the cab pleasant. Usually suctioned to the windscreen and front driver’s side and passenger windows, a thermal blind is a real asset for campervan travel.
In winter, several layers work to reduce heat loss through the front window, which is the largest loss of heat in a campervan, and in summer by reflecting sunlight to keep the cab cool.
Thermal blinds also help with the reduction of condensation inside, helping limit mould and damp in your van.
9. Campervan sat nav
A satellite navigation system or GPS can be a super handy accessory for your campervan.
While some may be happy using an old school map, you may find things a little easier with a sat nav directing you from A to B, especially if you’re in unfamiliar territory.
While many smartphones offer a range of various map-related apps nowadays, a dedicated device will be friendlier on your phone battery.
Some travellers might choose to get lost, intentionally or otherwise, in hopes of discovering some sites off the beaten path.
But when you’ve had a long day on the road and you want to reach the campsite as quickly as possible, this little gadget will save the day.
10. Kitchen essentials
It goes without saying that if you want to eat more than bowls of cereal and granola bars on your adventures, a few kitchen items will go a long way.
Basic kitchen essentials including a kettle, toaster and a few pots and pans will complement your portable barbecue and broaden your horizons for dining choices on the road.
Choose compact options to minimise the amount of storage and benchtop space they use. All items can be picked up very affordably from supermarkets or stores like Argos and TK Maxx.
Protect your home on wheels with campervan insurance
Campervans are a great way to explore and discover new places, giving you the freedom to pull up almost anywhere and make the most of your surroundings.
They become your home on the road, offering so much more than just a transit vehicle. That’s why campervan insurance is so important.
Being larger than most vehicles on the road leaves campervans at a greater risk of incident. While this shouldn’t limit your travel plans, getting covered with a specialist policy fromMotorhome Protect will help you feel more assured.
Insurance policies can include additional extras such as:
- Unlimited European cover
- Breakdown cover in the UK and Europe
- Up to £3,500 of cover for camping equipment and more.
That way, you can just focus on enjoying your adventures.
Get a quote today.