You’ve probably thought about a bed, cooking area and even some storage space, but do you know what equipment and features you absolutely must have in your campervan conversion?
It’s worth taking a moment to think about what equipment and features you think you want and comparing that to what is standard or optional, and what degree of bespoke personalisation is available.
You don’t have to buy an ‘off the shelf’ camper conversion, so why not make sure it is the campervan you’ve always dreamed of.
Before you start visualising the van of your dreams, it is always worth checking what campers are currently on the market, our network of trusted dealers have many campers for sale that are available to drive away, check to see if there is one that ticks all the boxes!
New or used
A campervan is an investment in your lifestyle – and mental health – so you want to make sure it’s got the right equipment and features to suit your needs and budget.
Some converters give the choice of a new or used base vehicle. That means that even with a smaller budget, you could still have a used base vehicle with a new campervan conversion with exactly the features and equipment you really want on your camper.
Home from home
To make your campervan a home from home wherever you take it, let’s take a look at what equipment and features are most likely to be on your list of essentials, and some which are also desirable (but not necessarily essential).
Those ‘essentials’ might vary depending on how you’re going to use your camper. Is it for days out, weekends away or longer holidays? And how many people does it need to accommodate for travelling and sleeping?
Essential equipment and features
The standard specification of most camper conversions would put essential campervan equipment under the following categories:
At the very least, you’ll want a cooker and fridge in your camper’s kitchen, but there are variations to consider.
You’re going to want to make a hot drink while you’re away in your campervan, either a morning cuppa or a hot chocolate after a surf, so you’ll need a hob, but do you need one or two gas burners? Does it have a built-in lighter or do you need to remember a lighter? Most hobs also have a glass cover to provide worktop space when not in use.
A fridge might seem an obvious essential feature, but have you thought whether you want one that works on gas, electric, or both? Most are around the same capacity with an opening door, and some slide out or have lids, but can you still access it when the bed is made up?
Water for the sink is essential, but the location for the fresh and waste water is a feature that can vary. The simplest option is containers in the cupboard under the sink, or further back in the vehicle. These may have a limited capacity, and will mean going out to change them regularly, but it’s an easy and foolproof system.
The alternative is built-in water tanks, similar to those found on coachbuilt motorhomes. This frees up space in the cupboards under the sink, but they are harder to clean and may be more prone to freezing if touring in the winter (unless you can specify heated tanks). Also, if the filling point is on the outside of the camper, make sure this can’t be confused with the fuel filling point. That might sound obvious, but it’s happened to many Volkswagen California camper vans.
Definitely essential camper equipment if you plan on sleeping in it. A campervan’s rear seats always convert into beds, but they do vary, and always consider their safety (have they been crash-tested?). The other place to sleep is in the roof, although a roof-bed might not be standard, and the amount of room and ventilation available also varies.
As stated earlier, most campers have a rear bench seat that converts into a double bed. Look closer and see how quick and easy this procedure is, and which side you end up sleeping on (the seat fabric or the back of the seat – one side is probably smoother and flatter than the other – and check if seat belts are out of the way when sleeping).
If you want a larger bed, choose a camper conversion with a narrower side kitchen unit and you get a wider rear seat that usually accommodates three people (with seat belts). It is also worth considering whether you need ISOFIX attachments or not?
Look closely at how much thought has been put into maximising the amount of storage space available in the camper for all your clothes, electronics and any other equipment, and the quality of the woodwork and cabinetry, before you set your heart on it.
You’re bound to use every inch of storage available, especially on longer trips from home. As it’s your home from home, you’ll find you gradually keep more and more ‘essentials’ you’ll want to squirrel away somewhere, so the more cupboards the better.
Do you want to put everything away out of sight, or just need somewhere, maybe a few open shelves, to dump a weekend bag of clothing?
Is there a cupboard to store a portable toilet? It’s not a feature on everyone’s list of essential equipment, but for some, it definitely is.
A leisure battery is usually part of the standard equipment in a new campervan, but if you want something lighter and longer lasting, you might like to ask if it’s possible to have a lithium battery instead.
Unless you’re intending to camp off-grid the whole time, a mains hook-up will also be considered essential equipment. Check where the external connection is (some are more conveniently or discretely placed than others) and how many sockets there are inside the vehicle.
Some form of heating is considered essential on the more luxurious camper conversion specifications, especially as most of them can be programmed on a timer to come on when you need a touch of warmth.
If you’re only camping in summer, you might not feel you need it, but it extends your season for you, and will make your camper more desirable to the next owner when you want to change it in the future.
The fuel source for campervan heaters is usually a choice between gas and diesel.
Desirable equipment and features
Not as essential for all campervan users, the following ‘desirable’ features can offer considerable quality of life improvements for certain activities or lifestyles.
- solar power
- USB sockets
- outside shower
- roll-out awning
- bike rack
- Sat nav
- alloys and body kit
- flooring, upholstery & paintwork
How do you fancy being able to cook a pizza or make toast while in your camper? A combination oven and grill is certainly a feature that opens up more cooking options, but not offered in many camper conversions.
A solar panel on the roof of your camper is a piece of equipment that is very useful if you don’t want to stay and pay for a campsite pitch with a mains hook-up, and means you can camp off-grid.
Maybe USB sockets should be on the list of essential equipment as most people will need to charge an electronic gadget of one sort or another while away in a camper, or even if using it as a home office.
But take a moment to see how many USB sockets your camper conversion has, and if you can add anymore.
If muddy boots, bikes or dogs are part of your life when you’re away in your camper, then it might be worth asking if there’s an option for an outside shower. This will be in the form of a shower house fitted to a tank at the rear of the vehicle, but be prepared for cold water.
This is something else that many people might consider an essential piece of equipment for a campervan. Being able to roll-out a side awning for some shade or protection from the rain, is a luxury you’ll soon probably consider essential once you’re tried it. Fiamma and Thule are the most popular roll-out awnings, and are available with options to fit privacy screens, windbreaks or side panels to make a fully enclosed awning.
A bike rack is not only a convenient way to travel with your bikes, but the ones fitted on the rear door can also double up as a great place to hang wet towels and swim wear out to dry!
TV or projector
Fancy a movie night while you’re away? Or somewhere to watch the videos you’ve captured that day? If so, a portable TV or, better still, a projector to watch on the inside of the pop-up roof could be a very desirable feature.
These days, we don’t just want to know where we’re going, we also want to be able to mirror the apps on our phones so we can tune into our favourite playlists on Spotify or have our text messages read to us. Yes, retro-fit sat nav units have upped their game and now include links to Apple Carplay and Android auto, or Google maps and Waze. All very desirable features, don’t you agree?
Alloys and body kit
One of the first things on a lot of people’s wish list of features is a nice set of alloy wheels. They certainly add a touch of ‘cool’ to any campervan, and you may want to go one step further by seeing if it’s possible to add some body kit, like front and rear spoilers.
Flooring, upholstery and paintwork
It might not be as sexy as alloy wheels, but it’s a nice feature to be able to have a choice of floor covering in your new campervan conversion. If so, there’ll usually be the option of different finishes for the woodwork for the interior furniture as well as the worktops.
Our range of three camper models all feature a wide range of flooring, worktop and surface design finishes, so you can design your camper in your own style.
Another very desirable feature is the option to choose the colour(s) and material used for the upholstery. There are some very stylish combinations available.
And finally, there’s the exterior paintwork to consider and whether your converter offers the feature of a retro two-tone colour system. Tempted?
Too much choice?
Choosing your perfect campervan is an exciting task, and the end result will give you so much pleasure, which is why it’s important to try to get all the equipment and features you want.
Confused? Bewildered by the choice of equipment available? That is quite understandable, particularly if it’s your first campervan; so, maybe, the best feature for a campervan conversion is a manufacturer that can help you every step of the way.
Take a look at our Noah, Ricos and Kook models of camper conversion, and start designing your dream campervan today, once you’ve got an idea in mind get in touch with us and our expert van designers can help make your dream a reality.