11 Van Life Items You Might Not Have Thought Of

By: Scott Adamson
/ May 31, 2020
Wondering what to pack for van life?

After living in my self-converted Sprinter Van for 4 years, I’ve learned a lot of little tips and tricks using items you might not have thought of. In this video, I share 10 must-have van life items that I can’t live without.


1. Aeropress

If you know me,  you know that I love my coffee. I’ve found the Aeropress to be the quickest and easiest way to making a great-tasting cup of coffee while on the road.

2. Headlamp

This one might seem obvious if you’re a hiker… But having both of your hands available to diagnose an issue while it’s dark makes a headlamp a critical packing item, for me.

3. Squirt Bottle

Freshwater supply is limited when you’re living the van life. To prevent wasting all my water while doing dishes, I boil hot water and put it into a squirt bottle with some dish soap. I spray down my dishes to wash them, then I only use a little bit of fresh water to rinse them off.

4. Wet Wipes

Sometimes you’ll go a few extra days between showering than what you’re used to. Being able to grab a wet wipe to wipe your hands, face, etc, will just make you feel that little bit cleaner.

5. Earplugs

I always carry a set of earplugs! You may find yourself in some noisy spots, on occasion. Being able to get a good night’s sleep is a must when you’re driving a lot, and earplugs will really help.

6. Spare Key

I’m always surprised when I find out that someone doesn’t have a spare key to their van. When you’re on the road, your van is your house. It stores everything you own at that moment.

I suggest getting yourself a lockbox and storing it under your van or hidden somewhere in your rack. I guarantee there will come a time in your adventures where this spare key will come in handy.

7. Grip Strength

It’s nice to have something to help keep the blood flowing and keep you awake while you’re driving. Keep it somewhere where you’ll see it, like up on the dash.

8. Pedal Box

I go more into detail about the Pedal Box in this article, but in short, this device helps speed up the throttle response and greatly enhances the driveability of your van.

From a safety standpoint, the Pedal Box makes it much safer when pulling out onto intersections because it prevents the leg in acceleration that most large vehicles experience.


9. A good set of tools & recovery gear

When putting together your toolbox for the van, you should have a wide variety so you can almost fix anything that goes wrong (within reason). Things like a socket, wrench, breaker bar, torque wrench, jack, etc.

On top of tools, it’s a good idea to bring along the right recovery gear.  I can assure you that I’ve used every piece of recovery gear that I pack, whether it be for my van or someone else’s van.

Some things to consider would be:

Make sure you know how to use this gear before hitting the road!

10. Broom, Dustpan & Hand Vacuum

I think every van should carry a small broom and dustpan as well as a good hand vacuum especially if you have a dog.

11. Blackout Window Covers

If you stealth camp and value privacy, you definitely need to invest in some good-quality window covers.

Privacy aside, window covers are also a great way to help regulate the temperature inside your van.

I tested a few professionally made covers that were available at the time and ran into the same issues every time:

  • Light would leak out from around the corners
  • The magnets weren’t strong enough to keep them up
  • They were so big and bulky and impossible to store nicely in my van

That’s why I decided to launch my own window covers… Vanlifers needed more! Grab a set here and let me know what you think!

Bonus item: Hammock (aka a spare bedroom)

If you’ve got company in the van and you don’t feel like squeezing up next to each other in bed, it’s a great idea to set up a way to hang a hammock.

I consider my hammock my spare bedroom!


For more tips, tricks, and DIY Van Build information, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Scott Adamson
Wanderful Idea Guy
Coffee drinker, adventure seeker, below average photographer.
By: Scott Adamson
/ Mar 3, 2023
By: Scott Adamson
/ Mar 3, 2023
By: Scott Adamson
/ Mar 3, 2023
By: Scott Adamson
/ Feb 3, 2023
Get The Wanderful Newsletter
Be the first to see our tips, stories, news and more.