Ultimate Van for Camping Guide & Essentials

Vanlife has become a popular trend in recent years, with millions of people using the hashtag #vanlife on social media. While the concept of camping in a van has been around for a long time, it has gained popularity with the rise of trendy, tricked-out vans and retro rides. Whether you plan to rent a van for a family camping trip, buy a campervan for summer road trips, or customize a van for full-time living, this ultimate van for camping guide is for you. It will help you select the best van for your needs and provide essential tips and accessories for a memorable camping adventure.

Key Takeaways:

  • Vanlife has become a popular trend, with many people embracing the freedom and adventure it offers.
  • Choosing the right van is crucial, as it will determine your comfort and functionality on the road.
  • Consider factors such as size, layout, and mobility when selecting a van for camping.
  • Customizing the interior of your van will create a cozy living and sleeping space.
  • Equipping your van with essential accessories like a camp stove, portable shower, and power station is vital for a successful camping trip.

Which Van is Best?

The best van for camping depends on your personal needs and preferences. Instead of focusing on specific make and models, let’s break down the vans by category:

  1. Camper Vans: These vans are specifically designed for camping and come equipped with various amenities like a bed, kitchenette, and storage space. They offer convenience and comfort for an enjoyable camping experience.
  2. Cargo Vans: Cargo vans provide a blank canvas for van conversions. If you enjoy customization and want to create a unique camping space tailored to your preferences, a cargo van is a great option.
  3. Minivans: Minivans offer a practical and affordable choice for camping. While they may not have all the features of a camper van, they provide ample space for sleeping and storing camping gear.

Each category has its pros and cons, so consider your budget, desired amenities, and camping style when choosing a van for your adventures. Now, let’s delve deeper into each category to help you make an informed decision.

Camper Vans

Camper vans are the epitome of van camping luxury. They are compact yet designed to provide everything you need for a comfortable camping experience. These vans typically include features like a bed, small kitchenette with a sink and stove, storage cabinets, and sometimes even a bathroom.

Pros Cons
Ready-to-use camping amenities Higher upfront cost
Compact size for easy maneuverability Less customization options
Convenient for short camping trips May have limited space for larger groups or long-term travel

Cargo Vans

Cargo vans provide a versatile platform for van conversions. With a cargo van, you have the freedom to design and build your own personalized camping space. It allows you to choose the layout, materials, and features that suit your needs and style.

Pros Cons
Complete customization possibilities Requires time and effort for conversion
Lower upfront cost No pre-installed camping amenities
Ability to tailor the space to your preferences May require additional expertise or assistance for the conversion


Minivans offer a practical and budget-friendly option for camping. They provide ample interior space and can be easily converted into a comfortable sleeping area with the right setup. While they may not have all the amenities of a camper van, they are a reliable choice for casual camping trips.

Pros Cons
Affordable and widely available Limited interior space
Good fuel efficiency May require additional modifications for camping setup
Easy to drive and park May not have built-in amenities like a kitchenette or bathroom

Consider your budget, desired level of customization, and camping requirements when choosing the best van for your camping adventures. Whether you opt for a camper van, cargo van, or minivan, the right choice will enhance your camping experience and create lasting memories.

The Interior of Your Van

The interior of your van plays a crucial role in creating a comfortable living and sleeping space. Whether you’re embarking on a van conversion project or renting a camping van, there are several options to consider to make the most of your van life experience.

Van Conversion

If you’re converting a van into a camper, you have the freedom to design the interior layout according to your needs and preferences. Consider the following key elements when planning your van conversion:

  • Sleeping Area: Choose a bed setup that suits your space requirements and comfort level. Options include a fixed bed, convertible sofa, or folding bed. Don’t forget to measure your van’s dimensions to ensure a proper fit.
  • Storage Solutions: Maximizing storage space is essential in a van. Install cabinets, shelves, and drawers to keep your belongings organized. Utilize vertical space and consider installing under-bed storage and roof racks for additional storage options.
  • Kitchenette: A compact kitchenette can enhance your camping experience. Include a stove, sink, and fridge to prepare and store meals. Portable kitchen gadgets like a camping stove or collapsible cookware are convenient for outdoor cooking.
  • Bathroom Facilities: If having a bathroom is a priority, you can install a portable toilet or a shower system in your van. However, keep in mind that a wet bath may require additional space and plumbing arrangements.

Camping Van Rental

If you’re renting a camping van, the interior will already be equipped to meet your basic needs. However, you can still personalize the space with the following accessories:

  • Bedding and Linens: Bring along comfortable bedding, pillows, and extra blankets for a good night’s sleep.
  • Cooking Utensils: Pack cooking utensils, pots, pans, and dishes to prepare meals during your camping adventure.
  • Camping Chairs and Table: Enjoy outdoor dining and relaxation by bringing folding chairs and a portable camping table.
  • Lighting: Portable LED lights or lanterns can illuminate your van’s interior during dark nights.

“The interior of your van is your mobile home on wheels. Make it a cozy and functional space that fits your camping lifestyle.” – [Author Name]

Remember, the interior design choices depend on your preferences, budget, and the intended use of your van. Whether you’re converting your own van or renting one, aim to strike a balance between comfort, functionality, and the freedom to explore.

Camping Van Interior Accessories Features
Campervan Bed A comfortable sleeping area is essential for a good night’s rest. Consider options such as folding beds, couch-to-bed conversions, or a fixed platform bed with storage.
Compact Kitchen A small kitchenette equipped with a stove, sink, and fridge allows you to prepare and cook meals during your camping adventures.
Portable Toilet/Shower If you prefer to have bathroom facilities in your van, portable toilets and showers can be a convenient solution.
Storage Solutions Maximize space with cabinets, shelves, and drawers to keep your belongings organized. Utilize vertical space and consider under-bed storage and roof racks.
Lighting LED lights or lanterns can brighten up your van’s interior during the evenings.


Van camping offers a unique and adventurous way to explore the world. With the right van and interior customization, you can create a comfortable and functional living space on the road. Equipping your van with essential gear, such as a camp stove, portable shower, and portable power station, ensures that you have everything you need for a successful and enjoyable camping experience.

Whether you’re planning a family camping trip or embarking on a van life journey, this ultimate van for camping guide has provided you with the necessary information and tips to optimize your adventure. From selecting the best van for your needs to personalizing the interior, we’ve covered the essentials of van camping. Now, it’s time to hit the road and enjoy the van life to the fullest!

So pack your bags, fuel up your camper van, and embark on a van camping adventure filled with freedom, flexibility, and unforgettable memories. Embrace the van life and discover the beauty of the great outdoors at your own pace. Happy camping!


What is vanlife?

Vanlife refers to the lifestyle of living and traveling in a van, typically converted into a cozy and functional living space. It allows people to experience the freedom of the open road and the ability to explore various destinations while having all the comforts of home.

What are the benefits of van camping?

Van camping offers several benefits, such as the flexibility to travel to different locations, the ability to bring all necessary supplies and equipment, and the comfort of having a cozy and personalized living space on the road. It also allows you to immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the freedom of a nomadic lifestyle.

How do I choose the right van for camping?

When selecting a van for camping, consider factors such as the size and layout of the van, its reliability, fuel efficiency, and available features. Decide whether you want to buy a pre-converted camper van or customize a van yourself. Assess your needs and preferences to find the best fit for your camping adventures.

Can I rent a van for camping?

Yes, there are various van rental companies that offer camper vans specifically designed for camping. These rentals provide a convenient way to experience vanlife without the commitment of purchasing a van. Research local rental options and ensure they meet your requirements before booking.

What are some essential van camping accessories?

Essential van camping accessories include a camp stove for cooking, a portable fridge or cooler for storing food, a portable shower for cleanliness, a portable power station for electricity, and comfortable bedding for a good night’s sleep. Other useful accessories include camping chairs, a portable table, and outdoor lighting.

How do I convert a van into a camper van?

Converting a van into a camper van involves various steps such as insulating the interior, installing a bed platform, creating storage solutions, adding a kitchenette, and incorporating electrical systems. It requires planning, research, and some DIY skills. Many online resources and tutorials can guide you through the conversion process.

What are some tips for van camping?

Some van camping tips include planning your route and destinations in advance, packing efficiently, staying organized, practicing minimalism, being mindful of weight distribution, utilizing solar power for electricity, and familiarizing yourself with local parking and camping regulations. It’s also essential to prioritize safety and be respectful of the environment.

Can I live in a van full-time?

Yes, many people choose to live in a van full-time and embrace the van life lifestyle. However, it requires careful planning, budgeting, and adaptability. Consider factors such as finding reliable sources of income, ensuring access to necessary amenities and services, and addressing any legal and logistical considerations before committing to full-time van living.

Source Links

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

Back to top button