The Ultimate Van Life Essentials Checklist for Adventurers
Workplace Inspiration

The Ultimate Van Life Essentials Checklist for Adventurers

|Jun 23, 2023

Anyone who has camped out in a camper van or RV rental knows how important it is to pack the essentials. The essentials for road safety, comfort, food, and sleep in an RV are all things that a casual campervanner should carry with them.

We've compiled a comprehensive list of van life essentials you'll need to outfit your van with for life on the road, to have a truly remarkable experience.

Primary Essentials

Your campervan equipment should reflect your lifestyle, van size, and the kinds of trips you do.

Finding the right van to suit your needs as a full-time resident is crucial.

After purchasing a van, installing standard campervan appliances will greatly improve your quality of life while on the road.

You should think about the following standard van life essential items:

  • Cooker
  • Motorhome stove
  • 12-volt refrigerator
  • Camper heaters
  • Caravan commode
  • Occupancy sensor
  • Sink
  • Water purifier
  • LED lighting for a camper van
  • Battery-free solar charger
  • WiFi amplifier etc.

Primary Essentials - van life essentials

Hygiene Routine Essentials

The question "Where do you shower and go to the bathroom?" is the most commonly asked regarding living in a van. Here's a van life essentials list for bathing and maintaining personal hygiene.

Solar shower nag

A shower with a solar shower bag is a winter van life essential, requiring no additional equipment.

Simply fill the shower bag with water and place it in direct sunlight for an hour. Hang it from a sturdy tree limb or a sturdy hook, and you can take a refreshing hot shower outdoors.

A canopy for your personal space

You might wish to invest in a shower curtain or a pop-up tent if you intend to shower in the great outdoors.


Soap is a no-brainer in maintaining personal cleanliness and freshness while living in a van.


Regarding showering in a camper, a lightweight, quick-drying towel is ideal.

Hair wash

It's possible that showering won't be a regular occurrence if you're living in a van. Van life essential items such as shampoo and conditioner go a long way, even if it's tiny.

Extra items for personal hygiene

  • Using Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Hair Brush
  • Face Wash
  • Dry Shampoo

Hygiene Routine Essentials

Basic Kitchen Essentials

A well-stocked kitchen in a camper van makes it much simpler to maintain a balanced diet while on the road.

Having compact and functional van life kitchen essentials makes life easier, more organized and reduces the storage we need within the vehicle..

These are some basic things you might need:

  • Pressure cooker
  • Saucepans
  • Boards for chopping
  • Dishes and utensils
  • Insulated drink container
  • Cutlery
  • Knives
  • Utensils
  • Can-Opener
  • Mechanical coffee grinders
  • Skillets
  • Kettle
  • Kitchen mitts
  • Cups
  • Glasses
  • Air-tight storage containers
  • Garbage bin

Basic Kitchen Essentials - van life essentials

Safety Essentials

Camper vans are compared to small house kits; therefore, security measures for your campervan are crucial for safeguarding your belongings, investment, and your own self.

Some safety van life essentials list:

Remedy kit

You may easily scratch your knee or, even worse, at any moment.

A first aid kit is one of those things you hope never to use but which you also should leave the driveway with.


Two types of radio beacons can be used in an emergency: an EPIRB and a PLB. Both serve the same purpose and are useful van life essentials to have on hand when venturing to rural areas by vehicle.

A safe container

A lockable safe is another useful item to have on hand when living the van life. Keep your valuables secure while you're away from your van by locking them in a safe that's out of sight and, ideally, attached to the vehicle.

Some further suggestions for this list;

  • Portable Detector
  • Dash Cam
  • Safety fasteners
  • Lock for wheels
  • Smoke and CO2 detectors
  • Fire alarm etc.

Safety Essentials - van life essentials

Essential Electronics Items

This is a basic necessity in your everyday life; therefore, essential electric van life items should be additionally prioritized when moving into a van.

Solar panel (Sungoldpower 100W)

Solar panels for your van are a must-have accessory for every RV trip. They are a good investment if you enjoy wild camping or strive for independence.

Universal power 100-Ahr deep-cycle battery

You'll need a deep-cycle battery to store the energy produced by your solar panels. It is important to match the wattage of your solar panel with the appropriate vehicle life batteries.

Voltage regulator

Living in a full-time van necessitates a way to charge electronics while not in a populated area.

Essential Electronics Items - van life essentials

Outdoors Life Essentials

Living out of a van is a lot like camping, so you'll need to bring outdoor van life essentials and have a place to store them.

Chairs for camping

You'll spend a lot of time in these, so get some high-quality models if you have the room and the cash.

Outdoor table

You may buy a camping table to take up minimal room in your vehicle, or you can be creative and create one for use in the great outdoors.

Outdoor mat

A mat to place outside the van at the door is a godsend for anyone concerned with maintaining a clean space inside.

Outdoors Life Essentials - van life essentials

Entertainment Essentials

The demand for entertainment remains even when you are traveling.

Thus, these are some of our preferred travel pastimes:

Audio system

When traveling in a van, music is a must-have accessory.

Projection system

If you enjoy viewing movies, this can be a great activity to have in your vehicle.

Portable games

We advise picking up a few portable variants of your preferred game for your trip. This is a fun backyard idea for adults.

Other entertainment van life essential items:

  • Books
  • Indoor board games
  • Fishing rod
  • Services like Netflix, Spotify, etc.​​​​​​​

Entertainment Essentials - van life essentials

Other Minimal Living Options - Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU)

While everyone dreams of retiring to a rustic A-frame cabin, secondary dwellings have become a more common and affordable option when the need arises.

You can maximize your property's potential while staying within your means by adding a prefab ADU (additional dwelling unit), often known as a granny flat, in-law suite, or sidekick apartment.

The typical size of an ADU is between 150 to 1,000 square feet, though this number can be lower or higher depending on building codes in your area.

Many states have recently amended their zoning laws and lifted restrictions on ADUs, such as prefab ADUs in California, making it easier to create secondary housing units.

At a time when home prices are high, and living space is hard to come by, prefab ADU in Los Angeles is a popular and legal way to get affordable housing units in overcrowded ADU in Bay Areas.

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Ending Note

While everyone is unique in their requirements and preferences, there are still some similar necessities. Therefore, not having the essentials on hand is taking a risk when transitioning to van life.

The van life essentials list in the above guide covers all the bases to help you start your fun adventure life. So get your essentials now and get ready for the adventure.

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