Vanlife Essentials - Top 14 Things You Need To Live Van Life

Vanlife Essentials

If you're looking to move your life into a van, figuring out what exactly you are going to bring with you can be tricky.

Living out of a van can already be uncomfortable, no matter how well built out it is - so you want to make sure all the other aspects that you do have control over like warmth, food, and hygiene are taken care of for the most comfortable experience.

Whether you plan on driving along the warm coastal roads or winding and weaving through mountain tops, here is a list of the 14 top van life essentials to have with you.

I’ve included links to amazon for your convenience, but I receive a small commission from purchases made through links on this page.

Van Life Essential Top 14 List

Van Life Essential Top 14 List

1. Propane Stove

Perhaps the most essential thing to have on your van life journey. Having a propane stove gives you the freedom to cook all of your meals from your van. All you have to do is make sure to always have enough propane on hand to power it.

Propane can be extremely harmful to humans so it is important to use with caution and make sure you are always in a well-ventilated area before use.

To be super safe, buy one of these carbon monoxide detectors to install in your van to ensure you are alarmed in the event of a gas leak. Having a stove in the van, you want to be sure to have a fire extinguisher in the event of a cooking error.


2. Maxx Fan

Maxx fans are great to have for proper ventilation in your van while you are cooking or if you are in the desert sun on a hot days.

The great thing about Maxx fans specifically is that they have a rain guard to prevent rain from getting into the van during use, which will come in handy if you want to cook on rainy days.


3. Buddy Heater

During the brutally cold winter nights or a chilly night on the beach, you’ll be wishing you had a buddy heater. These little heaters can keep your van warm and toasty even in the coldest weather.

Like the stove, these heaters are powered by propane. So it is important to use these with caution and have proper ventilation as well. It is highly recommended to not leave the heater on overnight.

These are my Vanlife Essentials

These are my Vanlife Essentials


4. Camp Lights

When the sun goes down, so does your main source of light. You’ll want to avoid running your car battery to use your stock lights to see after sundown.

Instead, invest in some camp lights so you can still be active in the evenings. You may also want to get some headlamps for a great reading/cooking light.


5. Solar Charger

These solar chargers are great to have on your off grid adventures. With two USB ports, you can keep all of your electronics charged up and ready for use.

Another great thing to get is this converter to plug into your main car port to allow more charging options while on the road. With this and a solar charger, you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery again.


6. Cooler

It's important to invest in a great cooler or refrigerator to keep your food and drinks nice and fresh. This heavy duty cooler will keep your items cold for up to two weeks, electricity free.

When getting your essential items for van living, it is important to note that simplicity will keep your cost affordable and your issues minimal.

Best VanLife Essential Equipment

Best VanLife Essential Equipment


7. Cast Iron Skillet

Whether you are cooking over a fire or a propane stove, a cast iron is the way to go when cooking your camp meals.

A nice soup pot is a great thing to have on hand as well. With these two items and a few utensils, you have everything you need to cook up a feast.


8. Cutting Board

Living out of a van, you may find yourself cooking a lot more and eating a lot more produce than usual.

It’s important to have a good cutting board on hand to make life in your tiny kitchen a whole lot manageable.

9. Wool Blanket

Wool blankets are amazing to have in a van. These will keep you warm on those cold winter nights and they are great to fold up and store on those hot beach days.

Along with your wool blanket, a soft fleece and a lightweight flannel sheet will be the perfect combination to keep you warm in 20 degree weather and comfortable in 80 degree.

Get this sleeping bag as an added layer if you plan on braving those below freezing temps.

10. Compost toilet

If you picture yourself as an off-grid van life explorer, a compost toilet would be a great thing to have. Even if you are the stealthy sprinter type– these toilets are great those emergencies where you just don’t have time to make it to a public restroom.

Compost toilets are also great for when you have to use the restroom in the middle of the night. Unless you are at a 24 hour Walmart or a campground, it’s likely you won’t have access to a proper bathroom at 3am.

VanLife Essentials Checklist

VanLife Essentials Checklist


11. Camp Chairs

When you set up camp, some camp chairs are great to have so you can enjoy more time outdoors around a fire.

These chairs are also great for backpacking and are super small so they won’t take up too much space in the van.


12. Awning

An awning is the perfect way to extend your living room into the great outdoors. These awnings are super easy to install and use.

These awnings are great because even on rainy days, you can set up a fire and your camp chairs outside and enjoy cooking in your extended living room.

Advertisement: if you want to save money on gas then I recommend the GetUpside app. GetUpside is a legit cashback app that gets you up to 25¢/gal off per gallon of gas.

The only “getdownside”? It’s not available in every state yet, currently only the easter-half of the U.S.

If you’re in the East, click here to download GetUpside and start saving money on every gallon of gas today.

The app also offers you deals on food, groceries, and restaurants, too. Plus you get a 15¢/gal bonus when you use my promo code (58N6H) to sign up.

If you want to learn more about the app, here’s a GetUpside App Review video on Youtube that my friend made. If you like the video please comment, like, or share it.



13. Solar Shower

Finding ways to shower on the road is tricky. Unless you are in a big city or popular camp site, you may not be able to find access to them easily.

Having a solar shower is a great way to keep a warm shower with you anywhere you go. These solar showers hold up to 5 gallons of water.


14. Outdoor Table

These are great to have while camping. These sturdy tables are great to set up at your campsite so you can cook on it, eat on it, play board games on it and fold laundry on them.

They collapse into small carrying cases for easy storage.

Thanks for Reading My Top 14 Van Life Essentials List

Thanks for Reading My Top 14 Van Life Essentials List

Although all of these items aren’t absolutely essential to van life,


About the author

Erica B. is currently living the van life and traveling around the country with her boyfriend in their van, The Econoline Experience

they sure make life a whole lot more comfortable when living in a space less than 200 squre feet.

It’s important to remember to try and make your van as comfortable as possible for you and your other passengers on board.

Try to be as simple and minimal as possible when it comes to deciding what goes in the van.

Most importantly, have fun with it the process. It can get tiring at times, but just remember an open road awaits your four wheels.

So go make your van life dreams into reality today, you won't regret it.

Thanks for reading my van life essentials checklist. Let me know if you have any questions or comments down below.

You can follow me on my journey on our Youtube channel: The Econoline Experience.