Living on the road in an RV or campervan can be an exercise in sacrifice. You have to abandon so many of the creature comforts you have at home — small luxuries that you didn’t even know you needed until they were gone.
The payoff is well worth it, of course, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard to leave all your toys behind.
The good news is that you might not have to. There’s a seemingly endless number of gadgets and accessories that make van life safer and more enjoyable — everything from tools that can save your life to devices that can save your phone.
Do you need a bunch of accessories in your campervan? Not necessarily — but that’s not the point. The coolest RV gadgets on this list will make your life just a little bit better, and that makes them worth every penny.
Also read: 5 Best RV Vacuums and Buying Guide to Help You Choose!
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1. Jackery Portable Power Station Explorer 500
The last thing you want when you’re alone out in the wild is to run out of power, and the Jackery Explorer 500 ensures that you will never have to worry about that again.
This small, portable device — only about the size of a basketball — packs a considerable wallop, as it boasts an AC outlet, 3 USB ports, 2 DC ports, and a 12V car port. You can keep every single one of your electrical devices fully charged with this thing (including the mini-fridge) without putting unnecessary strain on your van’s battery.
The 518 watt-hour capacity will keep it running for quite some time, and when it finally runs out of juice, you can recharge it from a wall outlet or even a solar panel.
Read more: Our Review of the Jackery 500 Solar Generator: A Must-Have Camping Companion For Outdoor Lovers
2. Jackery SolarSaga 80W Solar Panel
If you’re going to buy the power pack, you might as well get a way to recharge it when it’s out of juice as well. The Jackery SolarSaga is a foldable solar panel that makes it easy to get all your energy needs met for free.
This is a lightweight panel at just 6.6 pounds, and it has a foldable kickstand that makes it easy to set up almost anywhere. Its high-efficiency panels allow you to capture as much energy from the sun’s rays as possible, so your battery pack will be fully up and running again in no time.
It can stand up to quite a bit of abuse out in the wild as well. It’s water-resistant (but don’t leave it out in the rain, of course), and it comes with a laminated case that protects it from bumps and shocks.
3. Camco 41541 Portable Travel Toilet
The Camco 41541 is designed for a different kind of emergency you might encounter on the road, but it can come in just as handy as any portable power pack. This toilet has a 5.3-gallon holding tank with a 2.5-gallon flush tank, so you’ll almost feel like you’re in your bathroom at home.
The holding tank is detachable, so you can empty it out whenever you get the chance. In the meantime, there’s a sealing, sliding valve that locks everything (including odors) inside, so you won’t have to clean up any unfortunate mishaps.
It doesn’t take up much space, either, and weighs a mere 11.5 pounds. Despite its diminutive stature, it can handle users of just about any size, as it’s capable of supporting at least 330 pounds.
4. epauto Waterproof Car Trash Can
It’s amazing how much a clean cabin can make or break a trip. If you’re swimming in your own garbage, it’s hard to appreciate all the natural beauty that’s just outside your window.
The epauto Waterproof Trash Can is the best way to stay neat and tidy on the road. It has a 2-gallon capacity with a waterproof interior, so you can throw away half-empty drinks as well as more traditional trash.
You don’t have to worry about it collapsing and spilling all over the place if you accidentally sit on it or shove a bag next to it, either. It has semi-rigid sides that allow it to keep its shape — which means it’ll also reliably hold your trash.
5. THISWORX Car Vacuum Cleaner
Keeping your trash situation under control is only half the battle — the other half is staying on top of dirt, crumbs, and all the other gunk that accumulates when you live out of your car for any serious length of time.
The THISWORX Car Vacuum Cleaner has powerful suction that can make quick work of messes, and the nozzle is small enough to get into cracks and crevices. There’s even a washable HEPA filter inside, which will come in handy if you’re traveling with furry companions.
It has a 16-foot cord, so you’ll have plenty of slack when you need to clean the back of your van. You’ll get an array of accessories as well, including 3 attachments, a carrying bag, and a spare filter.
Also read: 20 Best Campervan Accessories in 2023 (For Comfortable Van Life)
6. Alpicool C15 Portable Refrigerator
Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you should be restricted to fast food and convenience store fare. The Alpicool C15 can chill items down to -4°F, and it has a 16-quart capacity, giving you plenty of space for snacks and drinks.
It won’t suck all the juice out of your battery along the way, either. There are 3 different levels of battery protection, so you can set it at a level that your battery can comfortably support.
Made of durable plastic, it’s capable of standing up to some serious abuse, and it has a memory function that allows it to automatically return to your previous temperature setting after being unplugged. While it may not be a threat to your home fridge, it’s a great way to keep your stomach happy on long drives.
7. Speller 12V Van Interior Lights
One of the hardest aspects of van life is, well, feeling like you’re living out of a van. You can dress your ride up a little bit with the Speller Van Interior Lights, as they can make the back of your vehicle feel a little more like home.
The lights have double-sided tape on the back, so installation is as simple as removing the backing and sticking them where you want them to go. All you need to do to power them is plug them into a 12V outlet, and they don’t draw much power while on.
They’re perfect for reading late at night, ensuring you have light when you need to find something, and they can even help create a romantic atmosphere. You can also set them up outdoors, in case you want to actually be able to see what you’re cooking and eating for once.
8. RecPro RV Camper 12’ White LED Awning
While exploring caves and climbing mountains can be endlessly entertaining, there are few things in life that can compete with relaxing at home. With the RecPro LED Awning, you can hang out near your rig without having to suffer in the heat.
You won’t have to lounge in the darkness, either, as it has an LED strip that keeps everything underneath it illuminated. It’s bright enough that you can comfortably read while underneath it, although you may want to pair it with a powerful bug zapper.
Better still, it’s easy to install, and even easier to set up and dismantle. The whole process should only take a couple of hours, but it will provide you with over 50,000 hours of reliable service.
9. Roadside Rescue Emergency Assistance Kit
It can be hard to anticipate everything you could possibly need if something goes wrong on the road, but thanks to the Roadside Rescue Emergency Assistance Kit, you won’t have to.
It has everything you’re likely to need if you break down, as there are 110 different pieces inside. That includes jumper cables, tow straps, a multi-tool, and hazard triangles — and all for far less than you’d pay to acquire them individually.
The bag includes a first-aid kit that can be useful even if you’re not having car trouble, and it saves you from having to buy that separately as well.
Also read: How to Make a DIY Travel First Aid Kit Perfect for Van Lifers
10. Honey-Can-Do Heavy Duty Gullwing Drying Rack
You have to take your opportunities to do laundry where you can find them when you’re on the road, and sometimes that means having to improvise when it’s time to dry your duds. The Honey-Can-Do Gullwing Drying Rack makes it easy to lay out quite a few clothes at once, ensuring each load is fully dry before it gets put away.
Made of heavy-duty alloy steel, it isn’t likely to blow over in high winds, yet it weighs less than 4 pounds and folds up to a slim 3-inch profile.
There’s room for all sorts of clothing on here, and it even has a special rack for drying shoes. You can fit a large load on here without much issue, and you may even be able to find room for two if you’re creative.
11. Camco EZ Level
Leveling your RV is easier than ever, thanks to the Camco EZ Level. All you have to do is set it on the floor of your van and press a button; the red indicator lights will let you know if one side is lower than the other.
The whole thing is incredibly tiny and unobtrusive, so you can stash it just about anywhere. It only takes 3 AA batteries, and the battery life is quite long, especially since it shuts off automatically when not in use.
This is an especially useful gadget for RV owners who aren’t particularly handy with tools, as it’s much easier to use than a bubble level while being roughly as accurate.
Also Read: 13 Best Gifts for RV Owners They Will Love – 2023
12. KitchenArt Adjust-a-Teaspoon and Adjust-a-Tablespoon Set
Space is at a premium in a campervan (especially in the kitchen), and the KitchenArt Adjust-a-Spoon set is a gadget that allows you to conserve as much space as possible.
Rather than store a variety of measuring spoons, you can winnow your selection down to just these two. They’re clearly marked, simple to use, and provide accurate measurements every time.
It’s also dishwasher-safe, but if you don’t have access to one of those, the pieces snap apart easily, allowing you to really get into every nook and cranny with a scrub brush.
13. La Crosse Technology Wireless Atomic Digital Forecast Station
Knowing what the weather is likely to do in the near future can be a matter of life or death in some parts of the world, and you’ll be the first to know the forecast with this Digital Forecast Station from La Crosse Technology.
It monitors temperature and humidity levels both indoors and out, and it can survive temps ranging from -40°F to 140°F. The full-color LCD screen will give you more information than you ever knew you needed, but it does so in an easy-to-read fashion.
Most importantly, though, it can alert you to the possibility of extreme weather, allowing you to be proactive in your response — even (or especially) if that means getting out of Dodge ASAP.
14. Spacesaver Premium Vacuum Storage Bags
This gadget may not be as fun or sexy as some of the other RV accessories on this list, but they can have an incredible impact on how much room you have to stretch out — and that can have an incredible impact on how much you enjoy your trip.
You can store spare bedding, out-of-season clothes, or anything else that you don’t have a pressing need for in these things. By vacuum-sealing and squeezing all the air out of them, they become compact and easy to store, allowing you to pack way more than you need (without feeling like you packed way more than you need).
The set even comes with a travel pump so that you can really suck all the air out of the bag before you seal it. That’s kinda fun, right?
15. Advanced Elements 5 Gallon Summer Shower
The hardest thing to give up when you lead the campervan lifestyle is hot showers on demand. If you’re not willing to make that sacrifice, the Advanced Elements Summer Shower can almost replicate the shower-at-home feeling, as it can spray you with 5 gallons of piping-hot H2O.
It has a sturdy strap that allows you to hang it from a hook or tree without it snapping off, and the 4-ply construction ensures leaks won’t be a problem. There are even storage pockets for soap, shampoo, rubber duckies, and anything else you can’t live without.
The biggest selling point, though, is how warm it can get. It absorbs and reflects the sun’s rays to heat the water, then the thick insulation ensures that heat won’t escape until you want it to. There’s a temperature gauge on the side as well, so you never have to worry about accidentally stepping into a freezing-cold shower.
16. Odoland Portable LED Camping Lantern with Ceiling Fan
As you can probably tell, we’re big on never running out of light around here. Being able to see what’s lurking in the dark can be the difference between life and death, regardless of whether you’re worried about running into a bear or an unexpected cliff.
This isn’t just a light, though. It also has a fan installed, allowing you to get some cool air flowing on those stifling summer nights. The thing can move an impressive 10 feet of air per second, allowing you to create some strong drafts when you need to.
Despite its 2-in-1 design, it’s lightweight and unobtrusive, as you can collapse it when not in use. It offers great battery life as well, as the light’s capable of running for more than 37 continuous hours with just 2 D batteries.
The Campervan Life is Better with Gadgets
The RV accessories on this list may seem unnecessary to hard-core campers, but we can safely say you won’t regret having any of them with you on your travels. They just make things easier, and that’s no small thing when you’ve been on the road for weeks at a time. You can always travel light and leave these things at home, but most of them are so small you won’t even notice that they’re there — and you’ll definitely miss them when they’re gone.
Saturday 19th of February 2022
Vaccuum storage bags should not be used for long term storage as the compression can ruin your clothes. I destroyed a down coat and duvet this way :(
Angela and Graham
Monday 21st of February 2022
HI Bobby - That's pretty unlucky. We've just opened up some of those vac bags in a storage unit after 4 years and down quilts were completely in tact. They needed a good shake out and airing but they're mint. For life in a camper though, use of these storage bags tends not to be for such long term use - more for storing seasonal items like quilts, coats and jumpers for a few months, until winter comes around again. It's worth bearing in mind your bad experience for sure though.