I remember when I was building my van, and when I was buying all my bits and bobs before leaving, I kept looking up “vanlife essentials” to see what other people were sharing. So, now that we’ve been travelling around Australia in our van for six months, I thought it time we share ours.
Most of these are essentials are not only great for vanlife but also for anyone travelling in their vehicle or camping.
1. Muk Mat
If you’re travelling around Australia, you’ve probably seen a Muk Mat. That already speaks to the fact that this is a Vanlife Essential. Perfect for sandy feet, or even just that ideal spot to stand on whilst you’re cooking at your outdoor kitchen.
Originally simply a camping essential, a Jetboil is essential to vanlife if you don’t have a hot water system. This is the quickest and easiest way to boil water (if you’re not wanting to use an electric kettle). Whether its for a cup of tea/coffee or to get some hot water to do the dishes, we have used our Jetboil SO much.
3. Electric Fly Racket
There’s nothing worse than getting into the van at night and there’s a fly, a mosquito or bugs buzzing around your bedroom. THAT is what makes this a vanlife essential. Gone are the days of trying to swat a fly with the tea towel to no avail, behold an electric fly racket.
This is a vanlife essential that I think is more debatable. However, we have used our Thetford Porta Potti so much more than we expected. It’s enabled us to stay at self-contained only free camps as well as when we’ve been stranded in a mechanic’s car park with no toilets around.
5. Collapsible Bucket
I don’t think I know a single person doing vanlife who doesn’t have a collapsible bucket. It is an ESSENTIAL for sure. Whether you’re needing to do your dishes, wash your hair or wash some socks and undies without doing a full load of washing, the collapsible bucket is your friend.
6. Outdoor Rug
This vanlife essential is a bit of a right-of-passage to be a vanlifer. Whether it’s a Salty Aura rug or one of the many other similar options, this essential is perfect for those picnics, as well as just having some extra space outside to van!
This is another greatly debated vanlife essential. To awning, or not to awning, that is the question? Despite the fact that we don’t use our awning all the time, the times we have used it on the trip have been a life saver. There’s nothing like being cooped up inside when it’s raining (and humid) OR when it’s bloomin hot in the van and all you want is to be outside but there’s no natural shade, the awning will come in handy. We’ve probably used it 10 times in the 6 months on the road, but those 10 times I am SO GLAD we have an awning.
8. Peg Airer
If you’re chasing the nice whether around Australia, you’ll likely be in bathers a lot of the time. This also means, likely, a lot of wet bathers. Having one these is an essential to vanlife when you don’t have a full washing line but want to dry those bits and pieces.
9. Upright Fridge
This essential is more down to your build. But this is something that was a non-negotiable for me when I was choosing my layout, so I thought it deserved mention on this vanlife essentials list. Read five things I learnt about self-converting a van here! We’ve met plenty of people with chest fridges that made it work for their layout, but they’re often envious when they see how easy to pack and access our upright fridge is.
Most people you’ll meet on the road will have a drone. And although this is probably the most expensive vanlife essential on this list, if you’re into photos and capturing your trip, it is SO worth it. You really get a whole new perspective from photos and videos on a drone.
I hope this list of our vanlife essentials helps you deck out your build and be prepared for the things you can bring with you on the road! Let me know if you think I missed something crucial that is an essential for you.
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