Gadgets for Campervans: Making Life Easier

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GADGETS FOR CAMPERVANS — 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 gadgets for campervans or motorhomes 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 or hire a motorhome, are a full-time or a part-time RVer/ motorhomer, or campervan owner, these practical campervan gadgets 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 many of these accessories on this trip too.

Below, we share our fixes, modifications and suggestions of practical campervan gadgets that will make a difference, ensuring your campervan travel will be memorable … for all the good reasons.  

>>> READ MORE: If you are looking for gifts for a camper, motorhome or RV owners or a special treat for yourself,  check out our post: Gifts for Camper Owners 

Motorhome with a map of Europe in the windscreen

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.

Motorhome and Campervan Accessories Lists:

ESSENTIAL CAMPERVAN GADGETS AND ACCESSORIES

1. AUXILIARY BATTERY

Campervan gadgets - car 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 battery 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) without dramatically shortening its lifespan.

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

solar cells

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.

The 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 gadgets for campervans that we just couldn’t do without.

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

bush camper with roof top tent

Our Bushcamper with solar panel  


3. DUAL BATTERY ISOLATOR

Voltage 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. LEVELLING BLOCKS

two black levelling 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.

motorhome parked on levelling blocks
Levelling blocks make all the difference

In our campervan, we had one set of levelling blocks that didn’t have these tiers. Ahhh!

I’d need my wife, Shelley, to 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!


5. VEHICLE JACK

blue vehicle jack

The campervan may or may not come with a vehicle jack.

The load rating of the jack should as a minimum equal to or exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) which is the weight of the vehicle plus the maximum allowable payload.

A bottle jack comes in various load capacities and is compact enough for easy storage.


6. COLLAPSIBLE FRESH WATER HOSE

red collapsible water hose

Our preference was to use a clear hose for fresh water and a coloured opaque hose for greywater.

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

Two Thule deadlock system

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

Pack of headlamp beam converters

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 from 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

Multi socket electrical reel

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 GADGETS

10. TYRE PRESSURE MONITORING SYSTEM (TPMS)

Tyre pressure monitoring syste,

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 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.


11. PORTABLE 12V AIR COMPRESSOR

portable air compessor

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.


12. DASH MAGNETS TO HOLD IPHONE AND TABLETS

sticky mounts for dashboard

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.

Red magnet mounts on dashboard for iphone
We use these magnets in our bush camper
Ipad secured to dashboard by magnets
Good for securing iPhone and tablet

13. 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 basins on frame
The collapsible basin and bucket are perfect for our limited storage in the bush camper
side view of collapsed bucket
Side view

14. 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 2 Ton rated ones ourselves.


15. 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!


16. IN-LINE WATER FILTER

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, and bacteria and improve the taste of the water.


17. PORTABLE FILTERED WATER CONTAINER

 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.

water filter container fixed into place in the bush camper
Fits into its own bracket (shown in our bush camper)

18. WIFI EXTENDER / ROUTER 

wifi camp pro packet

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.


19. 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.


20. 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.

Bush camper with awning out and clothes on hanger drying hanging from awning
Pull out awning — good for shade and to hang the washing

21. CORKSCREW

Arguably a necessity for some, the good ol’ corkscrew can come in handy if you enjoy the occasional tipple. 


22. ECOCAMEL ORBIT SHOWER HEAD

shower head

We haven’t tried this, but several motorhomers have raved about its water-saving capability and increased shower water pressure.

Its AirCore technology is the secret and the unique halo-shaped design looks pretty cool too


23. REMOSKA ELECTRIC COOKER

The latest buzzword in the world of useful gadgets for campervans and motorhomes is the Remoska. It’s an all-in-one electric cooker with a viewing window and is available in two sizes with the standard being 2 litres and the larger 4 litres. The standard size is good for couples.

A useful addition to this little gem is the Remoska cookbook

12V CAMPERVAN ACCESSORIES

24. 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.


25. KINDLE (CHARGES WITH 12V)

Our Kindles are one of our must-haves while travelling and on top of that, they’re easy to charge with a 12v connection.


26. REARVIEW CAMERA

 These units come in both wireless and wired versions with lenses that give varying fields 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.


27. 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.


28. 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 are that there is an adequate length of hose to reach the rear wheels and a digital pressure readout.


29. PORTABLE 12V/18V DRILL

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

TOOL KIT ESSENTIALS: GADGETS, 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 sort the issue. In this case, you won’t need a diverse range of tools but you’ll certainly need something.

LAST-MINUTE GADGETS AND  ACCESSORIES FOR CAMPERVANS

THE RIGHT CAMPERVAN GADGETS AND ACCESSORIES – ROUND-UP

Campervanning is definitely a fun way to travel. Accessorising your campervan/motorhome with useful and practical camping gadgets,  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 campervan gadgets and accessories and if not, then at least it’s food for thought.

Thanks for reading and happy camping!

>>> READ MORE:  130 Road Trip Quotes and photos.

campervan on a beach with a sunset
That feeling of freedom … 

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OUR OTHER CAMPERVAN / MOTORHOME ARTICLES YOU MAY LIKE TO READ


PLANNING YOUR TRAVELS?

These are some of the travel resources we use when planning our trip and can recommend:

For a more thorough list visit our Travel Resources page here.

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