How to turn your camper van or camping experience into a home away from home (2022)

Turn your campervan into a luxurious glamping paradise with these excellent camping accessories - from solar showers to portable projectors

How to turn your camper van or camping experience into a home away from home (1)

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With so much stunning scenery to explore, the UK is absolutely ripe for a camping holiday, whether you’re chilling at the coast or roaming the mountain ranges. But heading out for a few nights under the stars doesn’t mean you have to leave your creature comforts behind, so we’ve rounded up some of the best camping accessories - from portable projectors to mobile fridge/freezers- to create your own home away from home.

Here - we’re looking at the stuff to elevate a camping experience from pleasant to transcendent. We know you’ll have a bed, a blanket or sleeping bag, a gas cooker, cultery, and lamps. But beyond the bare necessities, there are some bits of kits that can help make your camping experience memorable. They’re particularly winning if you’re on holiday with someone whose less convinced on the camping life than you are.

Additionally - we were fortunate enough to test drive the Ford Transit Nugget Plus, a delightful campervan - so we’ve reviewed our experience of this gorgeous moving home below.

Get kitted out for your hiking and backpacking adventures.

We have detailed guides to the best backpacking tents for your adventures here, or the best family tents, or four-man tents for festivals with your friends.

Want to steady your stride? These are the best walking poles for hiking.

We have detailed guides to the best camping stoves for great meals.

Keep it comfy with the best camping folding chairs, and sleep on the best air beds around, as listed here. And keep things illuminated with a great camping head torch.

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This collaboration between Ford and camper conversion specialists Westfalia truly is a home away from home.

Based on a long-wheelbase Transit Custom, this high-end campervan boasts sleeping space for four, a kitchen area with two-burner gas hob, fridge, sink and under-cabinet lighting, plus swivelling captain’s chairs and a quick-erect table to turn the rear compartment into a dining/socialising space.

There’s also a 240V power inverter, fold-out awning with sturdy camping chairs and a picnic table hidden in the tailgate and even a shower with hot and cold running water, plus a toilet if you really need your home comforts while wild camping.

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Of course, if you’re looking for a home away from home, you’ll want to take your entertainment with you.

But why settle for an iPad propped on a knee when you can have a full-on mobile cinema at your disposal? The XGimi Halo+ is an incredibly compact portable projector that can project your favourite shows or movies onto screens up to 200 inches at full 1080p HD resolution.

The Android-powered Halo+ features Google TV with hundreds of popular streaming apps including Netflix and Disney+ and you can use Chromecast to share content via a smartphone. The Halo+ features auto keystone correction and autofocus to ensure the best image quality and features a fold-out stand and tripod mounting point.

The projector’s 60Wh battery is good for 2.5 hours of viewing but it can also run off a mains supply if you have access and features its own high-quality twin 5W Harmon Kadron speakers or Bluetooth for connecting to external speakers.

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If you fancy adding a bit more oomph to your mobile cinema setup or are simply looking for a decent sound system you can take anywhere then the Wonderboom 3 packs plenty of punch into its compact and colourful form.

The rugged third generation of portable Bluetooth speaker from Ultimate Ears is drop-proof up to 1.5m, comes with an IP67 rating that means it’s waterproof and dustproof, and it even floats, in case you’re feeling particularly adventurous/clumsy.

With a 14-hour battery life, 40-metre Bluetooth range, 360-degree sound system and elasticated carrying loop, it’s ideal for taking your music with you wherever you go and features a sound boost mode for use in wide open spaces.

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These days most of us can’t go for very long without our electronic devices, which can prove tricky if you’re out in the wilds. Excitrus has a solution for that in the shape of its latest super-powered power bank. Not only can this 20,800mAh bank charge any phone or wearable several times over, its 100W output is enough to run a laptop via USB for up to 15 hours.

It features different charging outputs for various devices, from ear pods to smart watches, and has a fast-charging magnetic wireless connection for smartphones, all wrapped up in a rather nice fabric finish.

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Perhaps more “spa break away from home” than home away from home, these two portable units offer a chance to sit back, relax and let the machines soothe away your stresses (handy if you’ve been fighting to put up a tent).

The fully portable USB-powered eye massager (£54.99) features four different modes that use 16 rotating and pressing heads to help ease eye fatigue and includes built-in speakers that can play preloaded soothing sounds or be hooked up to your phone to play your tunes of choice.

The neck massager (£49.99) needs a 240V connection, so you’ll need our kitted-out camper or a mains power supply to use it on the move. The device’s eight motorised nodes are designed to give a deep tissue shiatsu massage and it can be used anywhere from your neck, shoulders, back and back to arms and legs to help you relax. There’s an optional heating function, plus three speed and two direction settings.

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Not everyone is lucky enough to have a campervan with a fully equipped kitchen at their disposal but that doesn’t mean you have to survive on cold beans and Kendall mint cake. There are plenty of items out there to help create a usable kitchen.

The Camping Gaz Camp’Bistro Elite comes in its own carry case but can be set up in moments to provide a stable and powerful gas burner. A smart safety mechanism and piezo ignition ensure the gas is only activated when the stove is correctly set up.

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Once you’ve got your stove set up, you’ll need something in which to cook your feast, which is where the HiGear Family Cookset comes in. The three-piece set features a lightweight aluminium lidded pot, saucepan and frying pan all with non-stick coating and removable handles for easy packing and carrying.

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It never really feels like home without a proper cuppa, so a kettle is a must-have for any camping trip, no matter how luxurious or adventurous. The aluminium HiGear 1l whistling kettle is lightweight and durable and big enough to boil water for two brews at once.

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Once the water’s boiled you can enjoy a cuppa from the stainless steel EuroHike Brew Mug, designed to be sturdy but incredibly lightweight.

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Sure you could balance a plate on your lap to eat but why not bring a proper dining table with you instead? This lightweight aluminium option features foldaway legs and built-in carry handle for ease of transport and can be erected in seconds, giving space for four to eat together.

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If you have a table, you’ll need somewhere comfortable to sit, which is where this fold-out camping chair comes in handy. The compact and light chair comes in its own carry case and folds out in seconds, folding away just as quickly. A quilted cushion and back offer extra comfort and there’s an insulation cup holder integrated into the arm.

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Once again proving you don’t need an £85k camper to enjoy home comforts, this neat portable unit just needs a clean water supply in which to submerge its pump and a 12V socket to power the pump.

The unit features adjustable pressure and a suction mounting kit to hang the showerhead and is ideal for a quick rinse after a day’s outdoor activities.

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If you don’t have access to a 12V socket, there’s always the HiGear 20L Solar Shower.

Simply fill it with cold water, leave in the sun for a while then hang it up with the built-in hook to enjoy a quick refreshing shower. Two and a half hours in 21C heat is enough to get the solar shower up to a hotel-standard 38C, although don’t expect hotel-standard water pressure.

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Hate the feeling of never being able to get damp clothes properly dry when camping? The Aerative Portable Dryer offers a compact alternative to your at-home tumble dryer thanks to its clever hot air system.

The adjustable and extendable arms mean it will dry everything from jackets and T-shirts to trousers and shoes, and UV sterilisation can kill off bugs and bacteria. You’ll just need to make sure you’re on a campsite with a power hook-up or have a van with an inverter, as it requires mains power to function.

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A decent light is vital whether you’re on an established campsite or out in the wild. The 1000-lumen output of this rechargeable lantern from HiGear is more than bright enough for any conditions and features a dimmer switch and flashing function if you need to attract attention.

Its rugged case features a carrying handle and hanging hook, and a USB output port means it can be used as an emergency power source for mobile devices.

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You wouldn’t sleep on a roll-out bit of foam at home, so no home away from home camp is complete without a proper mattress.

This portable example is durable and lightweight and features a smart self-inflation system that takes the hard work out of setting it up. Single-bed size mattresses can be linked together to create a double mattress and the unit can be paired with an inflatable bed base for the next level in comfort.

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FAQs

Can you live out of a camper van? ›

Whilst living in a campervan isn't for everyone, we can assure you that it is a freedom you will not find elsewhere. You can read up on things to know when deciding if van life is truly the life for you. Check out some tips from experts on Porch to see if vanlife is for you!

Can you live permanently in a van? ›

There is no law stating that you cannot live in a motorhome, camper, or converted van full time. My personal opinion still remains that most people don't believe that anyone would want to live in a van, and that the ones that do either love it or pretend that us vanlifers don't exist.

Is it cheaper to convert or buy a campervan? ›

Is it cheaper to convert a campervan than buy one? The answer is, yes. DIY conversions can save you a lot of money, and you can simply convert the van to whatever standards your budget allows. You'll save loads on labour costs by converting your own van too.

How do I convert my camper? ›

Here's everything you need to know about converting a campervan.
  1. Set a budget. ...
  2. Decide on what you need in your campervan. ...
  3. Big or small? ...
  4. Look at ventilation. ...
  5. Electricity and gas installation. ...
  6. Don't forget insulation. ...
  7. Fresh and waste water storage. ...
  8. Think about furniture.
21 Jul 2020

What is the best camper to live in year round? ›

The Interstate comes with all the amenities of a luxury RV like air conditioning, heating, a sound system, and more. All Airstream models are 4-seasons campers, so Interstate is undoubtedly the best RV to live in year round. It means that they can protect you well whether it's scorching hot or freezing cold outside.

Can you live in a camper in the winter? ›

Whether you choose to move around the winter wonderland or try winter camping in one place, with a bit of planning and preparation, you'll find full-time RV living perfectly doable, and more importantly, enjoyable.

How do you pay taxes if you live in a van? ›

You won't need to pay any property taxes or the corresponding amount as part of your rent. However, you'll still have to pay sales taxes, if applicable. Beyond this, you still must pay any local, state, and federal taxes on any income you receive.

Where do you shower when you live in a van? ›

When you really need to shower, there are a few public facilities that you can take advantage, mostly at a cost: Campgrounds. Gyms. Public Beaches.

How do van lifers make money? ›

If you have any crafty skills, you can make your own products and sell them on the road! A lot of van lifers make and sell art items like paintings, jewelry, wood carvings, and more. Some also make and sell their own products, like sunscreen, coffee, clothing, and more!

Is it legal to convert a van into a camper? ›

Is it legal to convert a van into a campervan? Before undertaking the task of investing hours into transforming your soon-to-be beloved campervan, you want to know if it's going to be legally passed as such. In short, yes, you absolutely can convert your van into a campervan.

Do I need to register my van as a campervan? ›

Since rules changed in October 2019, there is no legal requirement to register a van as a campervan: a conversion can still be DVLA-registered as a panel van or similar, and a conversion van can legally be used as a campervan as long as it's properly insured.

How much does it cost to turn a van into a home? ›

A professional van conversion can cost anywhere from $30,000 to upwards of $200,000. Of course, the final product you get on either end of this spectrum will be vastly different. Let's break down the different elements that affect the final cost of a van conversion.

Can you legally live in a camper? ›

There is no law that prevents you from making a motorhome your primary residence. The same is true of caravans and campervans. The only legal stipulation is that it must be roadworthy, hold a current MOT certificate and be taxed and insured. Plus, you must only pitch up in permitted places.

Can you live in a camper van all year round? ›

Can you live in a motorhome all year round? Of course, you can, if you want. However, bear in mind that in the winter, when it's off-season for many campsites and caravan parks, finding overnight parking facilities isn't automatically assured.

Is it a good idea to live in a camper? ›

Some of the many advantages of living in an RV include: Freedom: RV life allows you to change locations whenever you want. You're never obligated to stay in one place for longer than you want. It's a great option for anyone who isn't ready to settle down and for individuals who want to explore and wander.

Is it legal to sleep in a campervan on the road? ›

As far as most motorhome and campervan experts can say, there is currently no specific legislation or law to prevent you from sleeping in a vehicle at the roadside.

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