Whether you’re camping in a trusty Ford Transit, an iconic VW Transporter or the extra roomy Peugeot Avantgrande – the best campervan storage ideas can make life on the road just that little bit more comfortable.
The best campervan storage ideas
The average campervan length is between 18-24 feet – not including the small self-converted cargo vans. A tiny flat in central London will have more floor space, so it’s safe to say there’s minimal room to manoeuvre after packing a camper with your belongings.
Unfortunately, you will have to go through a drastic downsizing of your possessions to accommodate your new minimalist home! The good news is that there are a few tricks to help you organise your campervan storage.
Although the layout may be smaller, you can become better adapted to this space and work effectively with what you’ve got. Here are a few tips to help you maximise your campervan storage in the best way possible.
1. Utilise every nook and cranny
There is no such thing as “dead space” in a campervan. Every area, no matter how small, must serve a function.
It’s good to pack your campervan like a giant rucksack, similar to how you would pack for wild camping. Think about where can you make the best use of space and how can you fit in the maximum number of items. Try storing bulky items in the hard-to-access areas and work back from there.
For example, place seasonal clothing, van essentials and accessories, and sports gear underneath the bed. Next, place your shoes, bins, cleaning products, and miscellaneous objects underneath the seats, besides the door, and in the corners of the van. Items that are used regularly should be stored in nets, shelves, and cupboards that are easy to reach.
If you’re extra thrifty, you can pack the bed down and use it as a table/seating area during the day (this is a common feature in old-school Kombi RVs). This frees up storage space in other areas as your bedroom and dining room are now the same!
2. Vertical space is just as valuable
Most vans are high topped with many measuring 5-8 feet from floor to ceiling. This is prime real estate for van lifers and utilising this space to build upwards is a common solution. Try to disregard the idea of an off-the-shelf kitchen counter and instead aim for long, thin compartments that maximise campervan storage instead.
If you’re handy with tools, or eager to learn, why not try building custom shelves or cupboards for increased functionality? Install hooks, pegs, nets, and racks to hang your possessions. This strategy works particularly well for kitchen items where plates, dry store food, cutlery, and cooking utensils can all be fitted in vertical storage spaces.
If you love adventure sports, aim to mount these items on the roof or on the back of the van to free up valuable floor space.
3. Buy a roof box
Sometimes, no matter how well you pack your possessions, there simply isn’t enough campervan storage space. This is particularly true if multiple people live in one campervan or if you own climbing gear, hiking equipment, surfboards, or wetsuits.
A good roof box (we’d always recommend Thule) is an easy way of providing extra space with minimal effort. Campervans all have different shapes and roof layouts. Some may allow a roof box to be installed but you may need to build a metal frame or wooden rack to fix it in place.
You might find a hitch cargo carrier (we’d recommend the Thule Backspace) as a quick and easy campervan storage solution. If you aren’t confident fitting a roof box yourself, stores such as Halfords can complete the installation. It’s more expensive doing it this way but the convenience and quality assurance are a big plus!
4. Stack and slot
Much like a classic game of Tetris, campervan storage often involves fitting items inside one another to make the best use of the space available. Storage solutions and campervan accessories that stack together and slide into a stowaway compartment are extremely convenient and a fantastic space saver.
5. Van Shelving Ideas
Your shelving set-up will vary depending on the model and layout of your campervan. Generally, you will have two primary campervan storage spaces: one for cooking, and another for clothes. However, if you’re resourceful with your DIY, you can place extra shelves in other spaces too.
The cooking shelves are where you want to store all your kitchen items. Heavy objects such as pots, pans, clean & grey water tanks, and a gas canister should all go close to the floor. Ideally, they should be fixed in tight spaces to prevent them from shifting around. If you design the area around your existing products, you can ensure they fit perfectly together.
Above the cooking area, you can construct a series of shelves to store cutlery, dishes, spices, and sauces. Shelves that have a lip, net, or bungee cord on them will prevent your kitchen from flying off the racks when in transit.
For your clothing area, install hooks and rails to hang coats, waterproofs, and towels. All other clothes can either be sorted within a secure shelving unit or placed in upright storage boxes with tall sides/lids – again, this is to prevent unwanted movement whenever you’re driving!
There are myriad ways to make the best use of your campervan storage. The fun part of the process is that nearly every build or conversion will be unique. It’s up to you to study your van’s interior and tailor the modifications to suit your needs. It’s a challenging process, but it can be incredibly rewarding.
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