Camping Gear for a Van

A roof rack provides extra storage.

Camping gear for a van isn't much different than gear for a tent, camper or RV. However, camping in your van does have a few distinct advantages. Van camping is far less costly than an RV, and with many vans that have four-wheel drive - you can go many places in your van that an RV just can't handle. Undoubtedly, your van will get better gas mileage than an RV as well. Take a look at some camping gear for a van and be ready for a great camping alternative.

Get Ready

Before your first van camping trip, you will want your vehicle to be ready. First, remove any seats that you don't need. Many vans have a back bench seat that will fold out into a bed. This is a great feature that will allow you comfortable seating as well as a cozy sleeping space without needing to bring an air mattress.

Then, plan for storage. Plastic storage totes are great for storing gear when it isn't in use. If your van is small your totes can be kept outside with no worry of your gear getting wet. Rooftop cargo carriers are also great for van camping gear storage. Light and durable, these watertight carriers can store most of your camping accessories and leave you plenty of room in your van.

Another storage option is a rear-mount carrier. With this option, you can carry a cooler on the back of your van. You can use this option for other types of camping gear as well. For example, bicycles or your camp stove and cooking utensils. There are endless options of what you can store in a carrier, allowing you to have a clutter-free living space in your van; for extended camping, this is an important consideration.

Van Features

Conversion vans have so many great features that are ideal for camping; there may not be many things you will need to bring along. Some have built in coolers and refrigerators. For the kids, many have built in video games and surround sound stereo systems.

You can also get a conversion van with all-wheel drive as well as an impressive towing capacity to bring your boat with you on your outing. If your van doesn't have these features, you will need to have the right gear.

Camping Gear for a Van

Be sure you bring the standard camping gear for any van camping trip. You will likely want a propane camp stove and camping cookware to prepare your meals. Be aware though, that cooking inside of your van can be dangerous because of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. Always cook in a well ventilated area.

Another item you will need, depending on the climate, is extra blankets. While you can run the heater of your van if it gets too cold, this should only be briefly to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and wasting gas. Dress warmly and have extra blankets or sleeping bags to sleep comfortably.

If your van does not have a fold out bed, you will want an air mattress. Even with seats that recline, you will feel better if you can stretch out at night, and you'll appreciate the extra cushion of an air mattress.

Other essentials that you will want to bring include:

  • A first aid kit
  • A map and compass
  • A flashlight or lantern

Be sure to bring extra clothes and enough fuel for your camp stove as well.

Camping Van Extras

While not a necessity, some campers like the extra space from a van or SUV tailgate tent. These tents are great because they attach to the back of your vehicle. This can provide extra room for cooking or just relaxing. One place that has a nice selection of these kinds of tents is Tents for Trucks.

Another little luxury that you will appreciate is having screens for your windows. It can get stuffy in your van and leaving the windows open will assure that the mosquitoes have easy access at night. Screens will allow for ventilation and protection for insects. An excellent resource for window screens is Magna Screen. These magnetic screens will fit most any window, just measure and get the size that fits your vehicle.

With just a few necessities and maybe a luxury or two, and you can be sure of a comfortable and fun-filled van camping experience.

Camping Gear for a Van