Summer is just around the corner, which means more conversions are expected to hit the road and head out to the most adored camping destinations across the country. Some individuals will choose to travel from campground to campground while others will find the perfect dispersed camp spot. Regardless of your conversion camp style, check out these must-have gear items that will make for a perfect adventure irrespective of the destination.
Conversion Insulating Curtains
Your privacy is paramount, and a temperature-regulated van is even more so. With Insulating Window Curtains on your packing list, you can ensure privacy is kept and that your conversion stays cool during your summer adventures and warm during the winter months. DIY Adventure Van Co has created a full-blackout, special insulating curtain that will provide you with the appropriate comfort so you don’t have to worry about wandering eyes and the sun peaking into your conversion. They have practically every van model available and the option to save on a full set or buy the individual window covers separately.
Hitch Cargo Carrier
Most campervans utilize the roof as storage for larger recreational gear and housing their solar panels. Some individuals want to keep it clear for hanging out on top while others don’t have a roof rack or side ladder at all. This is when a Hitch Cargo Carrier can be the perfect addition to your van conversion. A Hitch Cargo Carrier attaches to the van’s rear receiver and allows you to bring a cooler, store firewood, firepits, etc., to utilize most of your interior’s interior.
The locations and terrain we typically take our campervans are rugged and not level. Since your bed and kitchen are fixed to the van, an off-level van will certainly lead to uncomfortable sleep and difficulty cooking. It’s essential to get the van as level as possible as part of your setup routine. The leveling blocks also spread your van’s load over a more broad area, which keeps your van from sinking into soft ground over time. Having leveling blocks part of your packing list will provide you with a safe cooking station and more restful nights sleep. Some people on our staff will argue that they even double as makeshift traction pads in the event you find yourself stuck down that road you had no business driving down.
Additional Solar Capacity
Keeping your batteries topped off will eliminate loads of headaches while camping. While roof mount panels provide a solid foundation for your charge system, sometimes a shady parking spot has your name written all over it. Once a spec of shade hits your roof mount panels, kiss the output efficiency goodbye! To buffer the overall solar charging system, we find a hood-mounted solar panel kit or a Zamp Solar Portable Unit work wonders to maximize your charging input. A hood-mounted solar panel, such as the one provided by DIY Adventure Van Co makes use of an otherwise empty flat surface and may even allow you to free up space on your roof for more storage. Since the panel comes as a complete kit with a MPPT charge controller, many people will wire it into their vans starting battery. This option is particularly attractive for those who store their vehicles for long periods of time, like to run their dash radio at camp, or have factory power sliding doors. The Zamp Portable Solar kit, on the other hand, gives you up to 200 watts of additional solar capacity with a 15ft cable so that you can park in the shade and still keep things charged. The ability to properly angle the panel at the sun means that your portable panel will operate at peak efficiency, always. We find that a portable kit can oftentimes out-perform a roof-mounted system that’s twice its size, because you can keep the solar panel properly angled at the sun. Either (or both) of these additional solar options will keep your conversion constantly charging, so you can enjoy your dispersed camp spot as long as the sun is shining.
Portable Campfire Pit
Some of the first camping memories children have are sitting around the campfire roasting marshmallows or finding the perfect kindling to ignite a spark. With a portable campfire pit, you can continue building these memories but provide minimal impact on the environment as ash is not left behind, and you have a safe container to control the size of the fire.
- While not required by all campgrounds, good fire safety practice is to have a shovel and gallon of water near the fire to put it out adequately. Remember, if the coals are gray to white, they can retain heat for hours and reignite quickly.
While nature is the most entertaining, it’s always a good idea to bring another form of entertainment such as cards, compact board games, or even a football! It can make the trip more amusing and provides something to do if the weather turns. Another suggestion is purchasing a projector so you can watch movies both inside or possibly outside on the van underneath the stars – The ultimate movie theater. Here’s a list of our favorite games and toys to bring along.
- A deck of cards
- Monopoly Deal
- Banana Grams
- Camping Bingo
- Corn Hole (If you have the room)
While most of the ADF conversions provide you with the space to cook inside your van, you may not want to do it every day! With a portable stove such as the Camp Chef Everest, you can set up your cooking station in the fresh air and enjoy the outdoors on another level. This is also great to keep your van free of fragrant smells and splatter from your favorite meals.
When Overlanding in remote locations, it’s crucial to be prepared, which is why an Air Compressor is such an essential piece of equipment. To safely navigate muddy, rocky, or sandy trails you’ll want to air down your tires to broaden the traction pad of your tires and increase your conversion vans grip to the trail. A properly aired down tire will have as much as 50% more surface area to grip the trail vs what you will get at highway pressures. The extra bounce in the tire will also greatly improve the ride quality on those back country washboard roads that you probably have a love-hate relationship with. Note that aired down tires should only be driven on these trails and at low speeds, and you should be prepared to fill up your tires before you’re ready to hit paved roads. This is where an Air Compressor comes into play. Having the ability to air up your own tires will save you tons of time when getting back on the road. If your van conversion is not equipped with an air compressor, it would be smart to buy one to keep on board.
More than likely, you’re going to be sweating and getting dirty from all the fun places you’ll be traveling to. However, not every campground has running water, and not every conversion has an interior shower, so a shower tray is a great gear item to pack if you intend to utilize your van’s exterior shower. The shower tray will allow you to stand off of the soft ground and keep your feet clean while rinsing off.
Chairs & Hammocks
While your conversion may be comfortable, you’re using it to travel from one destination to the next and spend valuable time outside, which is why hammocks or camping chairs go a long way! Find something that’s compact and light, so they don’t take up a lot of space in your conversion, or a daypack if you’re leaving your van for a quick adventure. These accessories allow you to fully embrace the outdoors, spend more time in nature, and relax.
While these items are just the first on our packing list, there are a lot more accessories that make it into our van each trip. See below for a full list of our recommendations to make the most out of your trip!
|Lanterns||Batteries||Small Porta Potty||Sunscreen|
|Water Filter||Coolers||Bug Nets||Broom/ Dust Pan|
|Collapsible Bucket||Blankets||Cell Phone Boosters||Shovel|
|Hatchet||Foldable Table||Bug Spray||Max Trax|
Don’t have a conversion but still want to experience van life? Consider renting one of our campervans. Our van rentals come with all the accessories you need, such as a fridge, two-burner stove, and cooking gear such as pots, pans, and utensils to make for a fantastic trip.