9 Affordable Upgrades for Your Van

Whether you’re a seasoned vanner or are just beginning your #VanLife adventure, certain luxuries go a long way during life on the road. Below are a few of our favorite affordable upgrades that can help you sleep better, feel safer, and keep things a little cleaner. 

  • Mini Heater

  • While you can get a heating and cooling system directly built into your conversion, if you don’t, this propane buddy heater is a clean burning and energy efficient way to toast up your van after a day in the mountains. Leave it running on low throughout the night in colder temps, but beware the manufacturer warning that it may not work above 7,000 feet. For hotter places, make sure you get a fan vent built into your conversion! (Always read manufacturer warnings when installing and using heaters). 

  • Solar Camp Shower

  • We are partial to a dip in the lake with some bio-degradable soap (hello longtime favorite, Dr. Bronner’s) but if that’s just not an option or you’re too big of a wuss, this Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower heats up in the sun and lets you get in a quick liberating rinse. 

  • Window Shades

  • There’s the obvious benefit of keeping the van from cooking during the day, and then there’s the added bonus of privacy whenever you need it. From afternoon naps to maintaining your stealth mode at night, getting covers for all of your windows is highly encouraged. You can find off-brand ones like these on Amazon (make sure they fit your model).

  • Folding Tables and Chairs

  • Follow your bliss in compact folding chairs and a table while enjoying a game of cards, or eat your beans in the sunshine. You may not ~need~ these accessories, but you’ll be glad you have them on a beautiful afternoon. 

  • Multi-Use Picnic Blanket

  • We like this sandproof option that can also be doubled as a sleeping blanket if things get desperate. Lay it out to enjoy lunch on, dry off after a dip in the lake, or use it when Chad forgot to get propane for your mini heater and the stores are closed. 

  • Anti-bacterial Quick Dry Towel

  • We are all about the multi-purpose purchases. Use it to wipe up spills as well as your damn self. Don’t be a boob and buy cotton towels… make sure you have some kind of quick dry option like this microfiber towel that packs soft and can still stand a beating.

  • Under Cabinet Produce Hammock

  • Live out your banana-hammock dreams with this produce net that provides better circulation and preservation of your fruits and veggies. Aesthetically pleasing and satisfying to use, save precious space with this netted suspension. 

  • Cabinet Magnets

  • If not for any reason other than not being super embarrassed when your cabinets fly open and spill their contents on the floor while flying down the highway, you’ll need these cheap magnets to keep cabinets, doors, and drawers closed. If your van conversion is done right (side eye), hopefully you have something in place already to keep this from happening. 

  • Oil Diffuser

  • For the bougiest amongst us, cover any #VanLife stink with a mini essential oil diffuser. This is an obvious luxury but can also be used to help deflect bugs and soothe road tension. We’re partial to Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Cedar.

    Packing only the basics is critical for a harmonious van life. Disorganization is the enemy, and a good rule of thumb is that if you don’t use it weekly (or for emergencies), you don’t have room for it. Living minimally doesn’t mean you have to forgo all comforts… choose wisely and let us know some of your favorite luxuries and upgrades in the comments below.

    1 comment


    Who makes the nice bumper grill/ guard gown on some of your glitzy shots?

    And are modifications needed (eg grinding, drilling or welding)or does it bolt on to MB Sprinter ( pretty) easily?

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