Campervan Accessories – Making Life Easier

Tailoring your campervan, RV or motorhome to fit your own needs, is an important step to making your ‘camper’ just right for you. As full-time travellers, we’ve learnt a thing or two about what campervan accessories you’ll need on the road.

Your van life will be a whole lot more enjoyable after those annoying little bugbears are ironed out. Whether you own, lease or rent, are a full time or a part-time RVer/ motorhomer, or camper owner, these practical campervan accessories are applicable to all.

We spent a year Campervanning in Europe, visiting 32 countries and on the way faced some niggly problems that we eventually fixed by finding some practical solutions using some of these campervan accessories.

We are currently Overlanding Africa in our own Bush Camper and use so many of these accessories on this trip too.

Below, we share our fixes/modifications/suggestions of practical campervan accessories that will make a difference, ensuring your campervan travel will be memorable (for all the good reasons of course).

If you are looking for gifts for camper owners or a special treat for yourself,  check out our post: Gifts for Camper Owners.

What Equipment Do I Need for my Campervan?

Once you have your motorhome/campervan you’ll be thinking about the equipment that you’ll need for it.

To be honest, there will always be some little gadget that will take your fancy and that you could really see working in your campervan/motorhome. Below I have included 3 lists: essential campervan accessories (ones that we use and have found indispensable), useful campervan accessories (ones that aren’t necessarily essential but some that we find are super handy) and finally, 12V campervan accessories.

Essential Campervan Accessories

1. Auxiliary Battery

Fit a high capacity auxiliary battery or even two. When you find yourself in those off-the-beaten-track locations and wild camping when no electricity is available, then 12V batteries will be your go-to power supply.

There are different batteries types and capacities to consider. The AGM/Gel type battery is popular as it is well priced, maintenance-free and tolerates deeper charging (compared to other types of batteries) and without dramatically shortening its life-span.

The capacity of the battery, measured in Ah (amp hours), will depend on how much power you’ll need to draw. I’d have to say that a second battery would fall under the essential campervan accessories list.

2. Solar Cell

Charging the auxiliary battery is possible when the campervan engine is running, but when the engine is off then an alternative means will need to be found. This charging source may be mains electricity (if available), or if you’re out bush and wild camping, then a solar cell/s will keep your auxiliary battery topped up.

Solar cells can be either mounted or portable. For us, this is one of those great campervan accessories that we just couldn’t do without.

Monocrystalline solar panels are most efficient, whilst the polycrystalline type is cheaper and less efficient. The portable/foldable type of solar cell has only half the efficiency as polycrystalline. 

Our Bushcamper with solar panel  

3. Dual Battery Isolator

The isolator performs an essential task: it isolates the starting battery at a certain minimum voltage ensuring it always retains sufficient voltage to start the engine.

4. Leveling Blocks

Levelling blocks are really handy and used when parking on uneven or sloping ground. A good indicator you’re in need of levelling blocks is when the water can’t drain or you’re feeling like you’re on a tilt in bed. There are different types but the better ones have tiers on the angled blocks to allow the vehicle to sit easily on any level.

In our campervan, we had one set of levelling blocks that didn’t have these tiers. Ahhh! I’d need my wife stand outside the vehicle to shout out when I had driven close to the top of the blocks where I then quickly tried to apply the foot and handbrake simultaneously before the campervan slid back down the blocks. Go the tiered blocks every time!

Levelling blocks make all the difference 

5. Vehicle Jack

6. Collapsible Fresh Water Hose

The campervan may or may not come with a vehicle jack. The load rating of the jack should as a minimum equal or exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) which is the weight of the vehicle plus maximum allowable payload. A bottle jack comes in various load capacities and is compact enough for easy storage.

Our preference was to use a clear hose for fresh water and a coloured opaque hose for grey-water. Although plastic hoses are cheap (the option we chose), if you are concerned about saving space then you should consider a collapsible fresh water hose. I’d probably stick to using a plastic hose for the greywater as it is easy to run some disinfectant down the hose to disinfect it and remove any smell.

7. Deadlocks on Side Entry Doors

This deadlock system can be mounted on either a sliding door or a normal hinged door. This deadlock system is mounted externally on the vehicle and is not only effective but a visible deterrent to would-be thieves. Campervan owners that we spoke to that had this installation said that they had never had a break-in.

8. Headlamp Beam Deflectors

These stickers are placed over the headlights themselves and are useful in stopping the headlight beam spread from dazzling oncoming drivers when driving your campervan/motorhome in a country that uses the opposite side of the road to what the vehicle is fitted for. A left-hand drive vehicle will have a different beam spread to that of a right-hand drive vehicle.

Another consideration is if you find yourself in a night-time vehicle accident, then it’s possible that your insurance cover may not cover you.

9. Heavy Duty 15 / 20-amp Electrical Reel with Integrated Surge Protector

This multi-socket electrical reel has integrated surge protection. A few times we had voltage surges after connecting to mains power at a campsite and it was the breaker in the electrical reel that tripped, keeping the vehicle completely isolated.   

Useful Campervan Accessories

1. Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)

The Tyre Pressure Monitoring System is designed to read the real-time pressure of all tyres simultaneously and transmit this data to a monitoring system. The tyre pressures are displayed in a standalone unit that you can mount inside the car. Low pressure and temperature alarms can be also be configured on the monitoring system and the unit will alarm if a sensor fails. We use the external sensors on our vehicle and it gives great peace of mind.

Pressure sensors can be of 2 types: an internal or an external type fitting on the tyre valve. When considering external sensors, look at the sensor units that have replaceable batteries and are waterproof + dustproof. If you tow a trailer, you can also fit extra sensors to those tyres.

2. Portable 12V Air Compressor

Air compressors can be powered from the campervan 12V battery or via the cigarette 12V socket. Be sure to check how long a compressor can operate before it must stop to cool.

Keep in mind to check there is an adequate length of hose to reach the rear wheels if powering off the battery under the hood.

3. Dash Magnets to hold iPhone and Tablets

The mount is stuck to the dash using an adhesive pad on the base of the unit leaving the magnet to hold a phone or tablet. Generally, these units have a flexible stem allowing the angle of the magnet to be adjusted for better visibility of the iPhone or tablet.

We use these magnets in our bushcamper

Good for securing iPhone and tablet

4. Collapsible Space-Saving Sink and Buckets

There are some really great options for space-saving in a campervan and a couple of great ideas we use are the collapsible bucket and portable sink. The ones we use collapse down to about 50mm or 2 inches in height making them easy to tuck away into a small space.  

Collapsible basin and bucket is perfect for our limited storage in the bushcamper

5. Jack Stands

The jack stand has an adjustable height and is used to support a vehicle that is already jacked up. If there is any possibility that you may need to get underneath the vehicle when using either a portable jack, then placing an appropriately rated jack stand under the axle will act as an additional safety measure should the jack fail. We have a couple of 2Ton rated ones ourselves.

6. Locking Wheel Nuts

These wheel bolts protect your wheels against theft. The normal methods of removing the wheels nuts with a socket will not work as a special ‘keyed head’ is needed for the removal of these security bolts. One security bolt is fitted to each wheel with all other bolts kept as standard. Remember to keep the security ‘keyed head’ in the glove box in case you need to change a tyre!  

7. In-Line Water Filter

8. Portable Filtered Water Container

This unit does not require mounting and connects in-line between the water supply and the water tank via hoses. Depending on the unit you choose, the filter will reduce sediment, bacteria and improve the taste of the water.

 

We use a Lifesaver jerrycan with a filter that is rated for 10,000 litres of water filtration. It’s so good that even the military use it. There are a few different Lifesaver filtered container options available.

Fits into its own bracket (shown in our bushcamper)

9. Wifi Extender / Router (Long Range)

 Getting out to the back-of-beyond is great but losing the wifi signal is not. A wifi extender/router will boost that weak wifi signal and act as a personal hotspot for all your devices ensuring that you stay connected.

10. Portable Clothes Hangar

At some stage, you’ll need to hand wash some clothes which is no issue but finding somewhere to hang the wet items may be challenging. Some campsites are strict and do not allow clotheslines to be erected so having a drying rack to hang over a campervan window then becomes a super handy item.

11. Sun Retractable Awning

Whether it’s protection from the rain or protection from the sun, a retractable awning has to be one of those essential items that every campervan should have. Choosing a retractable type will allow for a quick and stress-free erection. 

Pull out awning – good for shade and to hang the washing

12V Campervan Accessories

1. External Motion Sensor Lighting

Having an external motion sensor detector with 12V LED lighting will not only automatically illuminate an area at night but also act as an alert when anyone approaching passes within the sensor beam.  

 

2. Internal Motion Sensor Lighting For Storage Compartments

 

 

Instead of fumbling around in the dark looking for the light switch, fit an internal 12V motion-sensitive LED light strip and you’ll not have to think about it anymore. There are also battery-operated models.

3. Rear View Camera

 

These units come in both wireless and wired versions with lenses that give varying field of view (60 to 170 degrees) and can focus close to the rear of the vehicle or further away depending on what the model is. 

4. 12V Cigarette Lighter Splitter (with dual USB Ports)

 

 If you need more than 1 USB port in your vehicle then using a 12V cigarette lighter splitter is just the trick. There are a few options: whether you need 2 or 3 USB ports and one or two 12V sockets.

5. Portable 12V Air Compressor

Air compressors can be powered from the campervan 12V battery or via the cigarette 12V socket. Be sure to check how long a compressor can operate before it must stop to cool.

A couple of important factors to keep in mind is that there is an adequate length of hose to reach the rear wheels and a digital pressure readout.

6. Portable 12V/18V Drill

 

A 12V drill is a great handyman’s tool and often comes with a set of different type size of screw heads.

Tool Kit Essentials: Bits and Bobs

Most repairs you carry out on the road will likely be a temporary fix to keep you going until you can have a professional to sort the issue. In this case, you won’t need a diverse range of tools but you’ll certainly need something.

Last Minute Campervan Accessories

The Right Campervan Accessories – Round-Up

Campervanning is definitely a fun way to travel. Accessorising your campervan/motorhome not only makes it personal but also makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable and stress-free. I hope you have an opportunity to use these accessories and if not, then at least it’s food for thought.

Thanks for reading and happy camping!