5 Upgrades You Can Add to Your Camper Van

Camper Van Upgrades

Camper van life has become increasingly popular in recent years. The freedom to travel and live on the road while bringing your home with you is an appealing lifestyle for many. As fun, as van life can be, living in a small space also comes with challenges. Upgrading your camper van is crucial to make it functional and comfortable for full-time living. This article will discuss five important upgrades you should consider for your camper van. These upgrades will improve your living space, storage capacity, power supply, and overall van functionality. With a few upgrades, you can customize your van into the perfect home on wheels.

Solar Power System

Relying solely on your alternator while driving or shore power when parked is not ideal for full-time van living. With a solar power system, you can generate clean electricity to power all your devices and appliances directly from the sun. Solar panels on your roof can charge 12V batteries to provide off-grid power 24/7. An independent solar electricity source means you don’t have to worry about draining your van’s main battery. It allows you to live comfortably in remote areas without shore power access.

When choosing components for your solar system, aim for high-efficiency monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels. Compare the power output and physical size to find the right panels for your roof layout. For the battery bank, go with tried and true deep-cycle lead-acid batteries designed for solar storage. Use a charge controller to regulate the charging and prevent battery overcharge. Installing the system yourself is feasible for beginners. Carefully plan the layout and educate yourself on safely wiring the components. With a fully functioning solar power system, you’ll have renewable electricity to power lights, a fridge, laptops, and anything else you need!

Kitchen Upgrades

The standard kitchenette in a basic van often needs upgrades to work well for cooking regularly. One essential upgrade is replacing the single-burner propane stovetop with a unit that has 2-3 burners. It allows you to cook full meals more easily. Install a separate propane or diesel oven unit or a small convection oven for oven needs. Consider adding a 12V cooler or compressor fridge/freezer to keep food fresh longer. You also need sufficient water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. If you have space, add a water pump, sink, and water heater. For filtered drinking water, install an under-sink water filtration system. With these upgrades, you can cook delicious meals, have cold drinks, and keep a steady water supply. A well-equipped kitchen makes van living much more pleasant.

Sleeping and Seating Upgrades

One of the biggest challenges of van living is utilizing your space efficiently, especially for sleeping and sitting. Making a few upgrades can hugely improve your comfort. Most vans will need a new mattress or bed frame to maximize space. Consider bunk beds or a fold-down bed to sleep multiple people. Choose a comfortable foam or spring mattress. For privacy and insulation, install blackout curtains around your bed. Also, transform your space into a comfortable seating area for working, dining, and lounging. Add a convertible sofa bed or modular cushions. Use plastic bins or cubbies to store bedding under seats. With limited square footage, it’s all about optimizing every inch!

Storage Upgrades

Lack of storage is another common downside of camper vans. Without enough storage, your small space will quickly get cluttered with everyday items. One of the best upgrades is installing overhead cabinets along the ceiling to stash gear and canned goods. You can also build custom wood shelving and cubbies tailored to the unique contours of your van. Use crates, bins, and baskets to hold items under beds, seats, and unused nooks. Consider installing a closet rod and hanging organizer for clothes, shoes, and towels. A few collapsible shelves give you more surfaces to stack essentials. Get creative with magnets, hooks, and multi-purpose organizers to hold items on walls, doors, and the ceiling. With the right storage solutions, even the smallest van can hold all your possessions.

Exterior Upgrades

While most upgrades focus on the interior, investing in a few exterior upgrades can hugely benefit your travels and experience. One of the best investments is upgrading your existing tires to all-terrain or off-road tires. That gives you greater traction and durability to take your van off the beaten path. Installing a backup camera improves safety and makes parking much simpler. Adding protection along the sides and rear is also smart. A sprinter bumper replaces the vulnerable plastic bumper with a steel guard. That prevents damage from minor bumps and collisions. A few simple upgrades transform your camper van exterior to get you through rugged terrain and off-grid adventures. Protecting the outside of your van is just as important as upgrading the inside.


Upgrading your camper van unlocks a new level of comfort, convenience, and functionality. Investing in solar power, kitchen appliances, sleeping solutions, storage, and exterior upgrades allows you to live in your van full-time without compromises. The five upgrades discussed here – solar electricity, kitchen, bed/seating, storage, and exterior protection – are essential for a fully-equipped camper van. You’ll be set up for an epic adventure on the open road with a customized and upgraded van.


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