Recommended Amazon products by Van Life Geek

Links to Stuff I Like and Use

I'll add any links I think are worthy

One thing I've learned is that finding great products can be a bit "trial & error", so I'm including links to the gear I find useful living the van life. All links open in a new window/tab so you won't lose this page. Full disclosure: I make a small commission from these links, so please click away!

Also Check out my Recommended Photography & Video Product Links
Also Check out my Recommended Pet Product Page for Van Life

NewTarpClamps NewTarpConfig lightbox jquery htmlby v6.1

UFelice 16pcs Tarp Clips Heavy Lock Grip
Finally, a tarp clip that actually works! I've tried all the others and they are basically worthless. This new clip design has "teeth" that hold fast without damaging the tarp. I've been using a tarp on the driver's side of my van to create a semi-protected space for my generator and other gear I want to keep handy, but out of my ARB Awning "living space". The week spot in my plan was the tarp clips. In a decent wind, the other style tarp clips would allow the tarp to slip out of its grip, but not these.

These lock very securely and don't even think about letting go of the tarp... if they could think. Your tent stake will fail before these clips. I couldn't understand why somebody didn't invent a better tarp clip, and then all of a sudden, they did!

Nite Ize Knife recommended by Van O'Brien at Van Life Geek

Nite Ize Doohikey Key Chain Knife
I seem to be in need of a knife more than one would think. There are always the various difficult packages, or shock cord, or about a million other little things while camping that for whatever reason need to be cut. Now I have a great, albeit small, knife that's pretty much always on me. If I have my keys, I have my little knife.

It's really well made, has a great lock to keep the knife from folding back and being a danger. The lock release is simple but secure. The knife came really sharp, too. I have other, bigger, better knives, but this one is already in my pocket. It takes up a little space on the key chain, but worth it. I have quite a bit on my key chain, so this little knife is hardly noticeable.Nite Ize Knife recommended by Van O'Brien at Van Life GeekThe little clip it comes with has a clever design and can lock into place to avoid accidental openings. I'm really impressed on how much (or how little) knife you can get for around $10.

New Van Life Geek Stickers!
Cool custom Sticker Mule sticker for my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan
Size: 4" x 4" - 10 for $13 Vinyl Lettering from Sticker Mule
Large Vinyl Lettering - 20.71" x 2" - 2 for $18

Sticker Mule offer from

Van Life Geek Syncro Van Graphic Sticker from Sticker Mule4.32" x 3" - 10 for $11

Van Life Geek graphic sticker from Sticker Mule
3" x 1.54" - 10 for $1


Look at the new custom stickers I recently ordered... how cool are these?!
Sticker Mule - Custom Stickers
I've used this company a several times for custom decals and am very impressed not only with the quality, but also their extremely reasonable pricing. They have great trial deals, like the custom cut VLG sticker on the left, which I got 10 small stickers for only $1. They have "crazy deals" all the time that are too hard to pass up and huge variety of different kinds of decals, stickers, bumper stickers, buttons, magnets and more. I also got a big web address on vinyl lettering, which you can see above.

Bonus: you get a $10 store credit when you spend $10 if you click my link! I get $10 credit, too, so it's a win, win!

Click the Banner for Your $10 CreditCustom Stickers, Die Cut Stickers, Bumper Stickers - Sticker Mule

Quick Fist Mounts used in my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

I was recently asked what I used to hold my shovel, axe, saw, etc. in the back of my van. I use the Original Quick Fist for the larger stuff, like the shovel, and the Mini Quick Fist for the smaller stuff, like the Sven Saw.

I love these mounts... they hold stuff very well and are adjustable depending on the diameter of the handle. They even adjust well on items that are different sizes from top to bottom, like the hammer. You do have to screw or bolt them in, so beware of that. I also like that they hold items away from the surface a bit so they don't rub, vibrate or rattle.

They have other sizes, too, including one big enough to hold a fire extinguisher. They also have a cool looking ratchet strap clamp thingy I hadn't seen before. Honestly, they have several styles I've never seen before. Click here to see their other styles & sizes.

Original Quick Fist used with my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan Mini Quick Fist used in my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
When all else fails, I know I've got this little wonder in a pinch, or when I'm on shorter hikes and don't want to carry my bigger Katadyn filter. Filters up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) of contaminated water. Removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns; surpasses EPA filter standards.

Katadyn Hiker Pro Transparent Water Filter
This is my "go to" filter when camping, hiking or backpacking. Katadyn has been a standard in water filtration for as long as I can remember. This newer version is transparent which allows you to see the filtration working. I guess with my previous version, I just have to imagine, lol. Proven protection against bacteria and protozoan cysts down to 0.2 micron with pleated glass-fiber filter media. Activated carbon in the core of the filter improves the taste and reduces chemicals in your drinking water. The field cleanable filter protector screen extends the life of the cartridge in challenging conditions. Filters about 1 liter per minute.

Renovo Water MUV Tote 10 Liter Gravity Water Filter Combo
When I'm camped near a water source, I can use this filter combo to get safe drinking water. It's pretty easy, too. Just let gravity do its thing. Removes 99.999% of bacteria, eColi, Giardia, Cryptosporidium, cysts, and more. A wide mouth roll-top makes it easy to fill from a stream, river, or lake, and the robust hang strap doubles as a shoulder bag so you can easily carry water. So it filters 10 liters with no pumping, which would take about 10 minutes of pumping using the Katadyn filter above. I also got the Activated Carbon Filter, which helps when the water tastes like ass.

Camco 40043 TastePure RV/Marine Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
I use this filter when I'm filling up my Westy's water tank from some gas station, or other possibly sketchy water source. Sometimes the water is fine, but doesn't taste great and this helps a bunch. A water source may be labeled potable, but that doesn't mean it tastes good or might have some sediment. I'm used to Colorado water, which is the best. When I visit other states, sometimes the water is horrible, like Kansas for example. Sorry Kansas, but your water has a really odd "flavor". FYI: This filter is not intended for lake/river/pond water, it just makes a potable water source better.

Camco Water Bandit Camco Water Bandit - "Hose Hack" - Allows you to connect your hose to spigots without threads, sink faucets, etc. I also use mine to go from my 6-gallon water containers (just jam it over the pour spout) to my main water tank.

Water meter used in my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

Orbit Hose End Water Flow Meter
Sometimes it's nice to know how much water I've used from my water tank since my last fill up. With this little meter attached to my hose, I can see how many gallons I'm putting into the water tank, which is the amount I used since the last time. Not an absolutely necessary item, but it satisfies my curiosity. It does help me understand my water usage better. Maybe it's just a geek thing, but I think it's cool.

You can see from the image on the left how it fits into my water fill setup. The Water Tank fill port on my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervanconnector with the spring goes to the water filter (listed above), which then connects to the hose (listed below). The green thingy with the yellow stripes at the bottom is a quick connector that fits the water fill port on the van's utility input (above).

It calculates both single-use and total water consumption. Displays usage in gallons or liters letting you know just how much water is being used. Easy-to-read LCD screen display. Fits 3/4-inch standard outdoor hoses and faucets.

Camco 50ft TastePURE Drinking Water Hose Camco 50ft TastePURE Drinking Water Hose - A hose made for drinking water. No hose taste! Lead and BPA Free, Reinforced for Maximum Kink Resistance, 5/8" Inner Diameter. Also available in several lengths up to 75'.

Jetboil Zip Camping Stove Cooking System
This is the best backpacking stove I've ever had, and I've had a few. These days, I mainly use it as a backup to my Westy's stove for when I run out of propane or want to cook outside. It has never let me down and boils water fast. If all of my water filters fail, I've always got this to get some safe drinking water.

UB12500 12V 50Ah Internal Thread AGM Deep Cycle Battery
This is the biggest battery that will fit in the space under the driver's seat in a Vanagon. I was initially hoping it would meet my 12V accessory demands, but I just have too much stuff for this to keep up. Especially when I added my 12V Alpicool fridge. I'm on my second one of these as I managed to kill the first one by letting it discharge too low. I kept this in the system, but added the 100Ah battery below and now have plenty of power. There is another version of this battery with different posts that seems to be in stock more often and should fit fine. I wouldn't normally recommend such a small deep cycle battery, but this is the only size that fits in that particular space that VW dedicated to a house battery, other than some 6V wheelchair batteries wired in series, or some newer Lithium batteries. If you don't have a Vanagon, I would definitely recommend a larger battery of at least 100Ah. If you do own a Vanagon and want to utilize this space, this is the battery that fits.

Absolute Battery 12V 100Ah AGM Deep Cycle Battery
This was the best priced 100Ah AMG battery I could find and now has a new home in the cabinet where the original fridge was. Model: AB121000 I got this to augment the 50Ah battery I already had to meet my 12V demands.

Seachoice Battery Tray with Hold Down Strap
This is to secure the 100Ah battery in place. Even though the battery is inside a cabinet, it could still do some serious damage in an accident. This tray fits the battery well and is mounted to the floor using four #10 pan head screws. The included strap secures the battery to the tray. This particular Group 27 tray seemed to be the best value for one that fits the battery. Seems pretty solid.

Blue Sea Systems Battery Switch
I use this 300 Amp m-Series switch to select which house battery feeds the fuse block, which in turn powers the 12v accessories in the van. I can choose house battery 1, house battery 2, combine both battery 1 and 2, or disconnect from both batteries. Blue Sea Systems is a high quality brand that I trust. There are many less expensive battery switches out there, but somehow cheap didn't seem the way to go when dealing with electricity.

ProMariner 43012 ProSport 12 12 Amp, 12/24 Volt, 2 Bank Generation 3 Battery Charger - I use this to charge both my starting battery and house battery at the same time when I'm hooked up to shore power. Also great for maintaining your batteries when parked for a while. Has worked flawlessly for over 5 years!

Noco charger and Blue Seas System switch mounted in my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

NOCO GENIUS5, 5-Amp Fully-Automatic Smart Charger
This is my dedicated shore power charger for my 100 Amp Hour house battery. It's very compact, works great, and will also charge Lithium-ion batteries if I upgrade in the future.

An integrated thermal sensor detects the ambient temperature and alters the charge to eliminate over-charging in hot climates and under-charging in cold climates. Charges batteries as low as 1-volt. Or use the all-new force mode that allows you to take control and manually begin charging dead batteries down to zero volts.

Automatically detects battery sulfation and acid stratification to restore lost battery performance for stronger engine starts and extended battery life.

Blue Sea Systems 5026 ST Blade Fuse Block with Cover - When you wire in a bunch of 12 volt accessories in your van, you need a safe way to properly fuse them. This is a top quality fuse box for your van or RV. It's interesting that so many of the best choices for van-lifer gear comes from the marine sector. Unfortunately, I have so many geeky gadgets and accessories, I may have to buy another one... do'h!

Table cover for my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

Table cover for my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

Table cover for my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

"Leather" Desk Pad Protector
I was surfing on Ben's Bargains and saw this "Leather Desk Pad Protector, Mouse Pad, Office Desk Mat, Non-Slip PU Leather Desk Blotter, Laptop Desk Pad, Waterproof Desk Writing Pad for Office and Home" at Amazon and thought, this looks about the same dimensions as my Westys rear table. I got out my measuring tape and sure enough, to my surprise it was in exact match at 31.5" x 15.7". It comes in many colors (and a couple of other sizes), and it's really cheap so I took a chance. I just got it and it nearly fits perfectly... the corner radius is slightly off, but still fits like it was custom made for a Westy table. I got brown to match my interior, but like I said, it's available in many colors including gray for newer interiors. Only $10 to $13 depending on color, so super cheap. It comes rolled up, so you need to roll it the opposite direction to get it to lay flat. Laying out overnight, mine is now perfectly flat and it stays put, too. It has some kind of non-slip property on the back side. It should protect the table top and prevent stuff from sliding around. My table surface has a few dings and cracks, so this covers that up nicely. I already spilled some coffee on it and it wiped right up. Plus it looks cool, to me anyway.

Alpicool APLT50-LG Dual Temperature Control 12 Volt Refrigerator 53 Quart
UPDATE: This fridge died and had to be replaced. I can't recommend this anymore due to the failure. Listed here is the updated version of the fridge I had. It now has a compressor made by LG (mine was a generic Chinese compressor) and Bluetooth. Mine has been fantastic (until it died) and I'm sure this version is even better. Of course I would have rather had an ARB or other big brand name fridge (I replaced this with an ARB Zero 73qt), but after doing an insane amount of research, I think this is the best choice for a more affordable fridge. It's dual zone, too, so you can have ice cream in the middle of nowhere. Keep an eye out for sales on this unit! If the LG version lasts longer, then this is still a great value.

ARB Zero 73 Under the Awning Inside of ARB Zero 73 Fridge & Freezer with Additional Thermometers New Willow Spot Higher Ground for Better Views lightbox jquery htmlby v6.1

ARB ZERO Portable Fridge Freezer 73 Qt Dual Zone
I purchased this to replace a failed Alpicool unit, see above. I'm hoping this will be the last fridge I'll ever buy. It's pricey, for sure, but it is a solid piece of gear. I am very impressed so far with the build quality, the features, the noise level, and the clever basket setup. It has a 12v input plug on both sides, which comes in very handy for me. I also feel the smaller side I use for the freezer section is a much better ratio than the Alpicool. I always felt the Alpicool dedicated too much space for the freezer size, leaving me wanted more space on the fridge side.

The ARB can be configured so that either side can be fridge or freezer, or one big fridge or one big freezer. Both sides are independently controlled, and it can all be controlled from an app on your phone via Bluetooth. The app is very simple, but has all the features needed to control the unit, or several ARB units. One will do me!

This purchase was sort of a big deal for me. I didn't want to go through the hassle of replacing a cheap fridge every year or two, so this time I went with a high quality brand, hoping I will never need to buy another fridge for the van. I'm old... is that too much to ask?

I also purchased the transit bag to help keep this investment in the best shape possible, and also for a bit of extra insulation. Willow has also decided the new ARB is a great place to lay down and to get a better perspective while "guarding" camp. The bag should help here, too. I haven't received this yet, but it's waiting for me at the post office in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Once I've had a chance to check it out, I'll list it here, assuming I think it's an accessory I can recommend.

  Heavy Duty Magnetic Hooks - These are great for both inside and outside the van and have a 110 lb pull. I've found you just can't have enough magnets! The hooks on these will unscrew if you want it hook-less. You get 12 of them in this pack, so you can stick them all over your van. Neodymium magnets are the best!

Fire-Maple Tea Kettle
I use this tea kettle to make coffee every day. It has held up very well and still looks new. It comes with a nice mesh bag to help keep it from getting scratched up in the cabinet. Leftover hot water is great when doing dishes. I can also heat up water for my shower if the solar water bags aren't ready to go. It holds 1.5 Liters. It also has a fancy heat exchanger thingy on the bottom, which may or may not help... couldn't tell you.

GSI Outdoors 79480 Collapsible Java Drip Coffee Maker - For me personally, drip coffee is the best. I got this because it's silicone and folds flat. This is one of my favorite purchases!

GSI Outdoors Javamill, Coffee Grinder GSI Outdoors Javamill, Coffee Grinder - OK,sometimes I can be a bit of a coffee snob. Having fresh ground coffee is better than pre-ground coffee... sorry, no doubt about it. This little guy will let you grind our own coffee without any power. The design and engineering is pretty impressive, too. It can be a little time consuming, but who's in a big hurry hanging out in the forest?

GSI Outdoors - Gourmet Pourover Java Set
Or save a couple of clicks and just get this set. And hey, you get a spoon! It's actually a much better deal than buying them separately.

#4 Cone Coffee Filter, Unbleached Natural Paper - 100 Count
And of course you're going to need these to complete your coffee bliss. These are made of pure natural log pulp. No Chemicals, NO Glue, Formaldehyde Free, TCF (Totally chlorine free), Clean taste, No odd flavor. Unbleached. Biodegradable and compost-able, too. A pretty good deal for 100 of them.

Snow Peak Kanpai Bottle - I got one of these as a gift and am really impressed with it. It's way too expensive, but it is a top notch tumbler from Japan. It keeps my coffee hot for hours. Think of it as a luxury Japanese tumbler that would make a Yeti flee into hiding.

Good camping pans for my VW Westfalia Syncro campervan
SHINEURI Camping Pans Nonstick Titanium Japan Designed Removable Handle Cookware 4 Pieces Pots Pans Set with Induction Base (4 Pieces Set) - I got these because my smaller backpacking size pan set is just too small for some meals I like to make in the van, specifically chili. I like to make enough for several meals, and keep the leftovers in the fridge. The non-stick on these are fantastic and seem to be holding up well. The single, removable handle helps keep it compact for the van.

Dr. Bronner’s - Pure-Castile Liquid Soap (Citrus, 8 ounce) - I love this all-in-one soap! The citrus smell is fantastic, but of course you can get it in a ton of other scents. Since I do almost all of my bathing, dishes, laundry, etc. in the National Forest lands, I need to make sure I'm not doing any damage to the environment. This is safe for the planet, and is also very concentrated which means I don't have to carry a ton of it to get the job(s) done.

High Road Leakproof Pop-Up Car Trash Bag - Compact Size High Road Leak-proof Pop-Up Car Trash Bag - Compact Size - There are many of these on Amazon, but this one has a longer Velcro strap and is a great price. Tip: Dog poop bags make a great liner. It's much easier to find a place to throw away small, dog poop size trash bags than the big 40 gal. size ones I use in my Trasharoo. This is also the same one GoWesty sells on their site.

Clothes Compression Bags 12 Travel Storage Bags for Clothes - Compression Bags for Travel - I use these for storing "off-season" clothes. These really do save a bunch of space, which is crucial in a van. Nice package deal, too.

Camco Knife Safe Camco Knife Safe - securely Mounts on Wood or Metal Surfaces, Holds 7 Cooking and Carving Knives, Organize and Store Knives While Creating Space - (9" x 11") - I didn't want to give up my kitchen knives, so I didn't! It mounted perfectly on the inside of the deleted fridge door.

Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes Surviveware Biodegradable Wet Wipes - Baby wipes for grown-ups! Unscented, just the way I like them. Not being able to take a shower as frequently as house dwellers, these are great and you don't smell like a baby. Vitamin E, Aloe, Hypoallergenic and Unscented.

JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Many times, I try to purchase an item that is one or two versions old so I can pick it up at a bargain. Since the Charge 4 recently came out (and even more recently the Charge 5), the "3" version can be had on sale. I found this one on Amazon for under $100. It's a little higher now, but keep an eye on it as the price is bound to come down again. This speaker rocks! I had a little Anker Soundcore speaker, which was fine, but I found it to have too low of a maximum volume. The JBL gets loud without any distortion. The bass is amazing and it's fun to watch the passive bass radiators on both the left and right ends bounce in and out, thumping out the bass. It's completely waterproof (drop it in a bucket if you want) and has a hefty battery. You can even charge other devices via its USB port. Yes, it's bigger than the little Anker but not too big and I think it's a good balance of quality and size for van life. Thanks to the rubber base, I can place it on one of the tables and it doesn't move as I drive. It has an audio in port, which is great for hooking up my TV's headphone out port for excellent audio when watching movies in the van. So glad I upgraded! Of course, you can always pop for the newer Charge 4, which isn't much more if you don't find a decent sale on the Charge 3. Looks like there's even a Charge 5 out now... even more opportunities to save on the previous models.

TV mounted in a VW Westfalia Syncro

Back with Accessories
TV with accessories mounted in VW Westfalia Syncro

TV Facing Forward
TV Mounted in my VW Westfalia Syncro Campervan

Supersonic SC-2211 22-Inch 1080p LED Widescreen HDTV with HDMI Input (AC/DC Compatible)
This is one of the few 12V TV's on the market and has worked very well for me. I got the 22" size based on a YouTube video I saw where a guy installed a 22" TV in his Westy. Now that it's installed, I think I would have rather gone with the 24" version as there is plenty of room for it and at the time of this writing, it's the same price and has better features. Also, the mount he used in his video sucked (I tried it)... see the mount below that is way better. Although it's "DC Compatible", it doesn't come with a 12V cord, which wasn't a problem for me since I was planning to hard wire it to a switch anyway. The correct pigtail cable can be found here.

The TV isn't a "smart TV", but has a USB port which supplies power and allows for a tiny adapter from ROKU (the one I have), Amazon Firestick, Google Chromecast, etc. connected to the HDMI port. Of course, you'll need a decent internet connection to take advantage of the ROKU's, etc. I also added a 2-port HDMI switcher, antenna amplifier and a tiny USB hub. All can be attached to the back of the TV to keep things neat and out of site.

This also works out great as a second monitor for my laptop using the HDMI input. The quality isn't quite as good as a dedicated computer monitor, but it's pretty darn good and doesn't require 110v. Plus, I can play digitized movies from my external hard drive via my laptop if I don't have a good internet connection. With the mount listed below, I can orient the TV any way I want and can adjust it for viewing from either the front seat or rear bench. A lot of entertainment options and it really doesn't take up any valuable space. Lot's of people seem to be interested in my "entertainment setup", so feel free to contact me if you have any specific questions.

TV Monitor Wall Mount Bracket Full Motion Articulating Swivel Double Extension for 17-24Inch Monitor
I've tried other mounts in the van, but this one is the best I've found so far. It is fully articulating so I can orient my TV however I want depending on the situation. I can even go vertical if I want. The gas struts make adjustments easy and you can fold the TV back against the wall when not in use.

Great Vanlife TV Antenna

KING OA1501 OmniGo Portable Omnidirectional HDTV Over-the-Air Antenna
Want to watch over the air TV in the middle of nowhere? This antenna is your best bet for pulling in far away channels while camping, and works with 12v. It's a really nice package with a folding tripod and case. It's surprisingly compact in it's case and fits well in my closet when not being used. The antenna has a magnetic base, but since my roof is fiberglass, the included tripod is the perfect solution for me.

YI 2.7K Ultra Dash Cam with 2.7" LCD Screen YI 2.7K Ultra Dash Cam with 2.7" LCD Screen - with 2.7" LCD Screen, 140° Wide Angle Lens, Dual-Core Processor, Voice Control, MEMS 3-axis G-Sensor, and Night Vision (sort of) (Micro SD Card and Car Charger Included) I hooked mine up to power that is only on when the ignition is on so I'm always recording when I'm driving and don't have to remember to turn it on or off. If I'm driving, it's recording.

Dashboard Navigation Compass - Van Life Geek

Dashboard Navigation Compass at night - Van Life Geek

WINOMO Car Ball Dashboard Navigation Compass
This is a pretty big compass and many of the reviews say it's too bit. But the Vanagons (and vans & RVs in general) have a lot of real estate with its huge windshield and I think it fits just right. It has a small Dashboard Navigation Compass mounted in VW Westfalia - Van Life Geeklight inside, which I wired up so that it only comes on when I have my headlights on. It takes a little trial and error to get it calibrated correctly, but it's not too difficult. It's really nice to know which direction I'm going at a glance. It is effected slightly by the windshield wipers as they travel past it due to the metal.

  • Made of high quality ABS plastic material, which is corrosion resistant and environmental friendly
  • Adjustable mounting bracket and visible lubber line for easy direction reading
  • Just connect your compass’ cables to the power outlet in your car and it will power up the LED lamp attached, giving you so much help navigating in the dark.
  • Mounts easily to almost any flat surface with included EVA foam sticker or screws
  • This professional tools can be used for sea navigation as a marine compass or a boat compass. This Automotive compass can be installed as a dashboard compass for a car, truck or even bus.

Plano Sportsman Trunk Plano Sportsman's Trunk - These kick ass! They're well made and inexpensive. They are not completely waterproof, but I used some foam/gasket around the lid and now they're mostly, if not completely waterproof (but not submersible). I keep two of these on my rack, exposed to the elements and all is well! Come in two sizes... I got the large. Colors are black and olive. I got olive because it will absorb less heat, I assume.

Winnerwell Woodlander Deluxe Cook Package Winnerwell Woodlander Deluxe Cook Package - A wood stove you can haul around in your van! I love mine and use it year 'round. Not inside my van, of course, but outside. This is a slightly different version than what I have. Since it's stainless steel, it won't rust and doesn't need re-painting like all the cheap ones out there. There are several versions of this stove on Amazon, so just look around for the one that's right for you. Or just go to their Amazon Store to see all of them..

Fox Outfitters Quick Grill Medium: Folding Charcoal BBQ Grill Made from Stainless Steel
I really wanted a way to grill burgers and steaks while camping. Cooking over pine, the dominate wood source where I normally camp, is not very tasty. Of course, I needed something that is very compact for storage in the van and this turned out to be perfect since it folds flat. It comes with a storage bag and only takes a few briquettes to cook. I use the quick light briquettes so I don't have to carry lighter fluid. It fits great in my Trasharoo and takes up very little space..

Anpro Grilling Accessories BBQ Tools Set, 21 PCS Stainless Steel Grill Kit with Case
I got the Fox Grill (see above) and realized I didn't have any BBQ tools, so I found this set, which is way more than I need, but is surprisingly compact in the included case. I store it next to the grill in the Trasharoo. It is well made, has everything I'd ever need and the price is right.


Trasharoo Spare Tire Trash Bag - If you have a rear spare tire carrier, these are great. It's nice to keep the smelly trash outside the van! I also keep my water hose and tow strap in it, as well as work gloves, and other stuff. Available in several colors. Really nice addition!
I got mine from GoWesty with their Westy themed logo, but it's the exact same one at Amazon, less the GoWesty Logo. GoWesty Link
UPDATE: My Trasharoo finally succumbed to the Colorado UV rays after about 5 or 6 years. It's to be expected, but I would have liked a few more years out of it. I replaced it with another.

Fasmov Triple Warning Triangle Fasmov Triple Warning Triangle - I know my van will break down at some point, and these are a cheap way to stay a little safer on the side of the road. I haven't had to use them yet, but the day will come! I have taken them out of their nice little cases and they are easy to setup and look like they'll work great. Hope I never use them!

Flexzilla Pro Extension Cord Flexzilla Pro Extension Cord - Great quality extension cord. I use mine when I'm hooked up to shore power. It replaces a really thick and heavy one that came with the van. This one also stays flexible in cold weather, which is important for me and has a little light to let you know you're connected to power. Since it's so flexible, I've found it's easier to roll up than regular extension cords.

Carbon Monoxide Smart Alarm Carbon Monoxide Smart Alarm - After way too much researching, I decided this is the one to get. It has a 10-year battery and a digital readout. If you are cooking in your van or using a non-vented propane heater, these are kind of non-negotiable. Mine actually went off the other day when I was heating up some water on the stove and didn't crack any windows.

SITERLINK Fire Alarm Smoke Detector, Mini Size 10 Year Photoelectric Smoke Alarm with Silence Function - Another link in the van safety chain. I really don't feel like burning up with my van when I sleep at night, so this gives me peace of mind. It's the smallest smoke detector I could find, and has a great mounting system for a van or RV. The 10 year battery life also appealed to me. We'll see who lives longer, me or the detector.

ECOOPRO Warm Weather Sleeping Bag ECOOPRO Warm Weather Sleeping Bag - This bag is tiny and very light weight. It compresses down to about the size of a water bottle. I use it as a comforter in warmer weather. Super value for a decent quality product. Stuffs back into the stuff bag fairly easily, too.

Caframo Ultimate Direct Wire 12V Cabin Fan Caframo Ultimate Direct Wire 12V Cabin Fan - This fan rocks! I think it's mostly used on yachts and boats, but works great in a van, too. The blades are soft, so no "cage" is needed. It's a little louder than I'd like, but pretty much all 12v put out some noise. I'll take a little noise over sweating like a pig.

Fan-Tastic 01100WH Endless Breeze Stand alone Fan Fan-Tastic 01100WH Endless Breeze Stand alone Fan - This is the fan I pull out when I really need some serious cooling. I rig mine up to the crossbar of the pop-top in my Westy with a bungee cord and can adjust it to blow directly into the upper bunk, directly to the lower couch/bed, or a combo of both. I've also recently rigged it up to the driver or passenger window as an exhaust fan.

12V Car Clip Fan
This inexpensive fan went beyond my expectations, as I wasn't expecting much at this price. I can clip it in many places in the van, making it very versatile. It also has a step-less fan speed adjustment and is really quiet at the lower speeds. At higher speeds, it moves a surprising amount of air. This is an excellent value.

Lunatec Aquabot Sport Water Bottle - a Pressurized Mister, Camp Shower and Hydration in One
I put this next to the fans for a reason. When it's really hot, I use this to mist myself down and aim a fan towards me and I become a human swamp cooler. It really works and I am instantly cooled down. I've never tried it in humid conditions, so your mileage may vary. I've also used it when I'm out hiking or hanging out when it's hot and just a mild breeze will make all the difference. I keep it in the fridge between uses (if I have the extra room) so I get a cold mist, which in itself is amazing. Just a few pumps and it's pressurized for quite a while. I spray it directly on my face and also use it on my shirt, sometimes letting it soak in. I'm telling you, it's heaven on a hot day. The nozzle is adjustable and it can make one hell of a squirt gun, shooting out a long, powerful, narrow stream. Kind of like a mini pressure washer, which is good for muddy boots, etc.

La Crosse Technology BC500 Alpha Power Rechargeable Battery Charger with Car Adapter La Crosse Technology BC500 Alpha Power Rechargeable Battery Charger with Car Adapter - This is the perfect battery charger for AA's & AAA's for van life. Each slot is independent, so you can charge just one battery if you want. Nice small size and comes with a 12 volt adapter. After going through several chargers, this one has been working flawlessly for several years. Comes with a 12v adapter, so no inverter is needed.

LED Wireless Mini Stick On Touch Light LED Wireless Mini Stick On Touch Light- These are great for cabinets in the van. I also have one by my sliding side door. Very inexpensive and good bang for the buck. These use AAA batteries, so no wiring is needed. Be sure to use rechargeable batteries, which work well with the charger above.

LED Closet Light,18-LED Dimmer USB Rechargeable Motion Sensor Closet Light
These lights are perfect for my various cabinets,which are normally very dark and make it difficult to find anything. These light up the moment I stick my hand in the cabinet and will shut off on their own after a short period of no movement. They have built-in lithium batteries and are recharged via USB. I can't recommend these enough!

Condor Tool & Knife 4x4 Round Shovel - After much research, I found this shovel to be the perfect balance of high quality, low price and small size. As we camp in National Forests, we're bound to get stuck every once in a while and a good shovel is indispensable. I also use it to dig a hole to pour my porta potti waste into... Only use biodegradable deodorizer and digestant and well away from any water source if you do this. I noticed this was the shovel Jed from Campervan Culture was using and is what gave me the idea to mount it where I did in an unused space in the back of the van.

Gerber Gator Combo Axe II - This is great for van life. Combination Axe and wood saw in one compact package. I use mine all the time and am very satisfied. The little wood saw is great for smaller tasks, but for bigger limbs, etc. I use the Sven saw listed below. Since the saw is stored in the axe handle, it takes up zero extra space.

Sven 21" Folding Saw - A true classic. There are times my tall Westy won't pass under a tree limb, or a tree has fallen across a forest road, or I need to cut a log to fit in my wood-stove. This saw solves the problem. Folds up nice and small and will fit easily in a nook and/or cranny in your van.

Tri-Lynx 00015 Lynx Levelers - 10 Pack Tri-Lynx 00015 Lynx Levelers - 10 Pack - It's so much nicer to have a level van when camping! These come with a case and have come in very handy. Camping in the Rockies, it's often impossible to find a level spot to park the van, so these are sort of necessary for me. I have managed to break one in half, but it was kind of my fault and it still works.

Hi-Lift Jack XT485 48" Hi-Lift X-TREME Jack
The Hi-Lift X-TREME is for the serious Hi-Lift user, offering the "top of the line" all-cast version (48" or 60" sizes) with a special top winch-clamp-spreader attachment that provides the ultimate in multi-use functionality.

The X-TREME Top Clamp replaces the top clamp-clevis of the standard Hi-Lift models and provides the ability to winch, clamp, and spread up to 5,000 lbs.

These are heavy as hell, though. But the price per pound is great!

Hi-Lift Jack ORK Off-Road Kit
  • The Hi-Lift Jack Off-Road Kit contains all the accessories needed for winching with a Hi-Lift jack all in one convenient bag. Use this kit to turn your Hi-Lift jack into an even more versatile tool.
  • Includes winch tensioner
  • Includes custom nose attachment
  • Includes eight foot tree saver strap
  • Also includes a pair of Hi-Lift gloves, necessary hardware and gear bag

Hi-Lift Jack LM-100 Lift-Mate
  • The Hi-Lift LM-100 Lift-Mate allows any Hi-Lift jack to lift a wheel or vehicle directly from the wheel
  • Greatly reduces the amount of travel up the jack bar required to lift the wheel to an adequate and safe height
  • 5, 000 pound lift capacity
  • Rubber coated hooks protect wheels
  • Rubber pad protects tire/wheel at lifting point on jack

Hi-Lift ORB Off Road Base
  • Alleviates jack sinkage on soft surfaces
  • Serrated teeth along one side helps scrape or level ground for base
  • Drilled hole in center of base for convenient storage on jack bar
  • Rugged construction for strength and durability
  • Compatible with all standard Hi-Lift brand jacks

Hi-Lift Jack HK-B Black Handle-Keeper
  • The Hi-Lift Handle-Keeper holds the Hi-Lift jack handle to the upright steel bar, keeping it in place when not in use and eliminating rattling during transportation and storage.
  • Crafted from rugged polyurethane material
  • Easily slips on and off for quick, no hassle removal when you need to use your jack
  • Unique design allows Handle-Keeper to be removed without taking off the top clamp-clevis

Gorilla Automotive 1721 Telescoping Power Wrench - Standard Socket Gorilla Automotive 1721 Telescoping Power Wrench - Standard Socket - This gadget makes removing tight lug nuts way easier with the extra length/leverage. Also comes in a "thin wall" version, so check to see which one you need for your van. You can give away your old lug wrench! Nice and small, too.

Japanese Portable Travel Can Opener Japanese Portable Travel Can Opener - Most cans today come with a pull tab, but not all. Ro-tel Tomatoes, for example, don't have a pull tab. A person can't be expected to live without Ro-tel Tomatoes, so you need to open their cans the old fashioned way, and this is perfect. Really small and works great.

Lifeline 85-Piece Large Hard Shell First Aid Kit Lifeline 85-Piece Large Hard Shell First Aid Kit - Every van should have a basic first aid kit. Of course, I looked at a million of these before choosing this one. Nice and compact and won't get smooched.

Lewis N. Clark Folding Brush w/ Mirror Lewis N. Clark Folding Brush w/ Mirror - Living in a van is all about saving space. This brush has a great space-saving design and works really well for a long haired hippy like me, although it could use a way to lock it open. Even has a tiny mirror in the handle.

Smittybilt 2733 Tire Plug and Seal Kit Smittybilt 2733 Tire Plug and Seal Kit - One of these days I'm going to get a flat in, the middle of nowhere and my spare will be flat, too. That's my nightmare, anyway. I haven't had the need to use this yet, but if my research is any good, this is a great choice.

UCO 9-hour Candles, 10 Pack for Candle Lanterns UCO 9-hour Candles, 10 Pack for Candle Lanterns - If you use a candle lantern, you know how expensive the damn candles are. Here's a 10-pack deal. I go through a bunch of these, especially in the winter. I have one lantern that holds 3 candles and puts out a surprising amount of heat... see below.
Here's the 20 count pack

UCO Candle Lantern 3.5-Inch Candles, 20-Pack, 9-Hour Citronella
Have your candle lantern do double duty and help keep the bugs away. 9-hour citronella-infused, paraffin candles for use in UCO Candle Lanterns. Each 3.5-inch candle burns for nine hours, with a pleasant citronella aroma.

UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern UCO Candlelier Deluxe Candle Lantern - This puppy is great for nice warm lighting in the van. It also cranks out some serious heat, so it might be best used in the winter or outside the van. Check out this video about how you can use this lantern to heat your van/RV. Available in several color choices... be sure to see if one of the colors is less expensive.

UCO Original Candle Lantern Value Pack with 3 Candles and Storage Bag
I got my first one of these decades ago and I still have it. This is the original, single candle lantern and is a standard for backpackers and van lifers alike. This version comes with candles and a nice storage bag, making it a very nice value.

Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Camping Lantern - I was given the Lighthouse 400 as a gift, but I think it was replaced by this one, which looks the same but is upgraded a bit. This has become my favorite lantern by far. It's slightly pricey, but worth it, of course mine was a gift, so that's easy for me to say. It has many great features, but the one I really like is you can choose to only light 180 degrees. This is handy when you really don't want or need 360 degrees, like when I have it against the curtains. Coolest lantern ever!

Black Diamond 2015 Apollo Lantern Black Diamond 2015 Apollo Lantern - This is the best little lantern I've ever used. Folds up nice and small and the brightness is infinitely adjustable. Black Diamond is known for quality gear (especially in the rock climbing world) and this is no exception. I really couldn't be happier with this lantern.

Nightstick TAC-510XL Xtreme Lumens Polymer Multi-Function Tactical Flashlight - This is a fantastic flashlight. It comes with a cradle that can be charged with either 110 or 12v. I hardwired mine and mounted the cradle right behind the driver's seat for easy access. It's always charged and really bright... like a cop in your face bright. Boy, did I spend way too much time researching this type of flashlight, but I'm glad I did. Finding the right combo of brightness, price, 12v charging and mount-ability was the key. It has 3 levels of brightness and a cool/wacky strobe function that is supposed to disorient an attacker. Powered by a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery (included). It's waterproof, is 800 Lumens and has a beam distance rated at 205 meters. It's also shaped so it doesn't roll when you set it down, which is a feature all flashlights should have.

Thetford 92859 Porta Potti 260B Portable Toilet Thetford 92859 Porta Potti 260B Portable Toilet - Does a van life geek shit in the woods? You bet! This is a great size toilet for van dwellers and works really well. 12.2" x 13.4" x 15"; 2.6-gal. fresh water tank; 2.6-gal. waste water tank. Use biodegradable deodorizer and digestant if you plan to dump in a hole in the forest. See the ottoman below for the perfect storage solution. .

Folding Storage Ottoman with Tray - Bed Bath & Beyond Folding Storage Ottoman with Tray - Bed Bath & Beyond - It took me forever to find this ottoman! I needed one that was just the right size to store my porta potti and this one is just right. Most of these ottomans are about an inch too small to fit the toilet, but this is the perfect size. I couldn't find anything on Amazon that worked, but found this one at BB&B. Makes a great foot rest and extra seat, too. Comes in 3 colors and I chose brown to match the interior of my van (not turds!) Tip: take toilet out of ottoman before using it! (But you knew that, right?)
Bed, Bath & Beyond Ottoman Link

Focal Tweater mounted on the dash of a Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

Focal Speakers mounted in a Vanagon Westfalia SyncroFocal Access 165 A3 6.5-Inch 3-Way Component Speaker Kit - Hands down, the best speakers I've ever heard in a vehicle. I'm on my 3rd Westy, and therefore my 3rd sound system, and this time I think I got it pretty darn right.

These are a little on the expensive side, but boy do they sound fantastic. Having component speakers with dedicated crossovers really makes a difference. I have the crossovers mounted under the front seats. The tweeters are mounted with Velcro on the front corners of the dash, as close to ear level possible. The other speakers are mounted in the doors, which required a minor modification to the doors to make them fit. I can't tell you how much I love these speakers!!!!

Extreme Max 3006.7345 Dry Tech Waterproof Roll-Top Duffel Bag, Extra Large (110 Liter) Extreme Max 3006.7345 Dry Tech Waterproof Roll-Top Duffel Bag, Extra Large (110 Liter) - If you need to carry extra gear, clothes, shoes, etc. outside of your van, like on the roof rack, like me, this is a great bag that is completely waterproof. I looked at a zillion of these bags and this one, I found, to be the best rated and still at a reasonable cost. I keep a lot of my "off season" clothes in this bag. I got the clear version because it was a little cheaper at the time.

Q Industries 12 Volt Air Compressor, Portable Air Pump, 12 volt, Tire Inflator Q Industries 12 Volt Air Compressor, Portable Air Pump, 12 volt, Tire Inflater - After doing a ton of research on air compressors, I discovered this beauty. Also known as the SuperFlow MV-9012 Air Compressor, this has a great reputation and has served me well so far at a relatively good price compared to others out there.

Shurflo Faucet Shurflo Faucet - a huge improvement over the original Westy faucets and would work great for any van with a sink and a water tank. I love the adjustable output, from a trickle to big flow. The engineering in this product is pretty cool, let alone the function. It can swivel into almost any position.

Optional Screen Room

ARB AwningARB Awning - This awning is great for extra living space outside your van. Works great for shade and rain protection. I have the 2500 size, but it also comes in a few sizes. Another great benefit to this awning are the accessories. I have both the Screen Room and the 3-Wall Tent. I have proven this to be a tough awning, however I also learned that in extreme wind, you can bend the poles. Fortunately, the poles were less expensive to replace that I had imagined, so if you screw up and leave it up during a wind storm, it most likely can be fixed.

5Pcs Spring Loaded Stake-downs
Are you rockin' an awning or maybe just have a tarp attached to your van? These little spring devices are great for using in-line with your tie downs to help absorb the shock of the wind and keep your awning from being damaged. I use these now that I've already experienced the damage wind can do and they're a great step in avoiding problems. Great deal for five, too.

ARB EZ Deflator ARB E-Z Deflater - This really comes in handy when you're off road and need to let a little air out of your tires for greater traction.

Optimus Tracker Twin Magnet GPS Tracker Case - Waterproof - Neodymium Magnets
This little case is designed for a GPS tracker, but can also be the perfect spare key holder. Nothing is worse than losing your keys when you're out on a road trip. This will hold many keys and then be hidden out of sight on your vehicle. The magnets are extremely strong and will hold your keys or GPS tracker to the metal in even extreme conditions, like four wheeling. This has saved my ass more than once when I've locked my keys in the van.

MTM Survivor Dry Box with O-Ring Seal

MTM Survivor Dry Box with O-Ring Seal - I have both sizes and think these are great. Mainly because of the low price, but also because it's built really well. Comes in two sizes and you can put a padlock on them. I wouldn't trust it to be submersible, but for a weather proof little box, it can't be beat. It has some gimmicky factors, like the compass and reflective "mirror", but overall, at this price point, it's fantastic. It comes in Orange or Forest Green.

Cobra 75WXST 40-Channel CB Radio Cobra 75WXST 40-Channel CB Radio - Breaker, breaker! I hardly ever use this, but it's there if I need it. Somewhat nostalgic, too. This is a compact unit, where the main guts are in the handset and the other part is under my driver's seat. Takes up very little room and it's kind of cool. I am able to pick up the weather channels even in remote parts of the forest.

ALFA Network WiFi CampPro

ALFA Network WiFi CampPro

ALFA Network WiFi CampPro 2v2 (Version 2) Universal WiFi/Internet Range Extender Kit
How do I get internet on the road? Frankly, I usually use my Jetpack for internet when there's a good cell connection, but when there's no Verizon cell coverage where I happen to be, I use this CampPro system. It really pulls the signals in from a pretty good distance. I can sit in a Taco Bell, McDonald's, etc. parking lot and have a good connection. Libraries are a great choice and seem to have better speeds and some even have repeaters in the parking lot. Once I was camped at a KOA (very rare for me - I prefer free National Forest or BLM) and could barely get their WiFi. I used this and the service became quite usable.

I have the antenna mounted on my roof rack, with a ratchet mount that adjusts the angle to compensate for when my top is popped. With this (modified to fit the antenna) mount, I can also lay the antenna flat to keep my height reasonable and avoid tree branches when off-road, although I usually have the antenna pointed backwards as opposed to the picture on the left, to avoid snagging it on a tree or something. Although the CampPro comes with a small router, which is great if you want several devices to share the connection, most of the time I just connect the powered antenna via USB directly to my laptop and choose the alternate antenna in the WiFi settings menu, which the computer sees no problem. When switching to this antenna, it's fun to see the list of WiFi choices expand dramatically compared to what the internal laptop antenna sees.

Beware of Dog Car Window Vinyl Decal Sticker
I think of this decal as a form of security. Whether you have a dog or not, people will think twice before breaking into your vehicle if they think there's a chance a protective dog might be inside. In my case, when I did put this decal on several years ago, I had a Pitt Bull inside much of the time and I think he would have tried to protect the van as part of his territory.

I recently adopted a small Australian Cattle Dog and am glad the sticker is for real again. By the way, this 6" sticker has held up extremely well and still looks new.

Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide
If you ever plan to do a bunch of hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, this is the book to have. Hands down, the best hiking guide book for Rocky. No contest! The author is a legend and has personally done all of the hikes. She also holds the women's record for climbing Longs Peak and I was privileged to climb it with her once.

The complete experience of hiking Rocky Mountain National Park has finally been captured in one comprehensive volume. All 400 named features in the Park are explored and two-thirds of this book covers off-trail hikes not commonly found in guidebooks. Extensively field-checked and accompanied by striking photography and USGS maps, this amazing collection draws upon Foster's over 7,000 hours of backcountry expertise. From casual strolls to class 4 climbing, no other book has tackled the entire park in such an in-depth and exciting way.


The Stuff I Recommend...

Everything on this list is stuff I own and have used. I have only put items on this list I feel comfortable recommending and have excluded many items I own that I'm not real happy with. If I list it, it's the good shit!