No matter where you travel, with a van or camper you always have your home with you. But space in such a vehicle is very limited, so you need a few practical and helpful vanlife gadgets for the ultimate life of freedom.
Uli and Juri upgraded their Caddy "Gustav" in 2018 and have been on the road in Europe and Germany ever since. They share their microadventures with the rest of the world on their blog. Despite the small living space, the two made themselves really comfortable in their minicamper. Only one thing was still missing from their camper equipment: a very small, but very fine composting toilet. Fortunately, we were able to fulfil this wish for them with the PiccoLoo.
Despite their newfound happiness, Uli and Juri set out on a new adventure in 2021 and set about expanding a larger van. In their new video, they reveal which solutions they have installed in their Opel Movano and what is really important to them in terms of camper equipment. Here you can read all the information again.
Vanlife Gadget Number 1 - Under a lot of pressure
Uli kicks off the topic "The best vanlife gadgets" with a clever add-on for wall cupboards:
"There are an insane number of things I love in our camper, but one of them is this: Cool, isn't it? These are gas pressure springs that hold the flaps of our wall cupboards up, which means it's super practical when you want to take things out, but of course you also want to put them away again. Of course, you have to make sure that they are properly closed, otherwise sometimes they just go up during a journey. It's happened to us several times.
A gas spring has its own active inner life. But don't worry, even if it is actually filled with compressed gas, nitrogen to be precise, nothing can explode. You can buy the practical flap supports on the Internet or in DIY stores for about 10 euros per set.
#2 of the Must-Have Camper Equipment - Well connected is half surfing
We continue with Juri, who introduces us to his favourite vanlife gadget in the technology section:
"So dear ones, I'm more in charge of the technical parts here. One of our favourite gadgets is in this practical bag, and it's a W-LAN router. Why, why, why, it's simple: such a thing has a) much better reception than your mobile phone and especially in connection with a SIM card, we have the one from Funk, which only costs 1 Euro a day for unlimited data use, it's a really smart thing. There's also a LAN connection at the back, so you can connect an external hard drive or a printer or something.
So for those of you who work in the van from time to time, I can really recommend this and the cool thing is that it works with a battery. But you can also remove the battery completely and use the mains adapter. This means that in November we will completely cancel our WLAN at home and only have one of these things and when we're on the road, we'll just take it with us. We can highly recommend it, it's fun and you can see on the display how much data you've used, and I think you can somehow connect up to 20 devices or so to the WLAN. Anyway, it's a cool story and you know how it is when it's a rainy in the evening, you also like to watch something, no more stress at all with this."
The useful vanlife gadget costs around 300 euros. But be careful, the mobile phone tariff mentioned is not necessarily suitable for abroad. The router can be safely stored in a smart bag, which can also be bought online for a few euros.
Our favourite vanlife gadget #3 - Mobile relief made easy.
And speaking of fancy and useful, now Uli introduces our personal highlight. What could that be?? ;)
"One of our Top 5 is in here. And that is our Kildwick dry separation toilet. We have the PiccoLoo here. We were very dissatisfied with our actual toilet solution in the Caddy last year, and because we didn't find the right one for us, we were able to approach Kildwick last year and work with them to develop a small, even smaller, dry separation toilet that fits perfectly in every mini camper. Because we are so happy with it, it was of course allowed to move into our significantly larger camping solution."
Even though the new van is now much bigger than the mini camper, our PiccoLoo still looks great. But of course we could also understand if they would now switch to the larger EasyLoo with the big 9.5 litre urine container and 16 litre solids container.
Tip number 4 - Washing up in large format
Sometimes bigger is simply better and, above all, more practical. That's why Uli and Juri choose a larger-than-average sink for their camper van equipment:
"When we designed this van, I think we drove Christopher half crazy with this huge sink. But we really wanted to have a big sink, because we think that these small sinks in the vans are just not suitable for really washing up in there. For brushing your teeth, sure, but often you can't get a pot in there. Then there are these things that look nice, that stand on top, some kind of wooden bowls or something. It looks stylish, mega cool, but it's just really impractical.
And the challenge, of course, when you choose a household sink like that: All the connections don't fit, you really have to be a bit creative, but we managed it and now we have this really cool washbasin, which we can also use as an outdoor shower. We can turn the head so that there's a shower function and there's so much space in there that every pot and every pan fits in easily, and we've already done laundry in there, washed ourselves in there of course, we don't have a shower in here, and we wouldn't want to do without this. Even though it takes up a lot of space, but that was definitely a right decision."
Vanlife Gadget #5 - for unlimited cooking fun
If you have to do a lot of dish washing, you probably also like to cook. That can be a real challenge in a small van or camper. That's where creativity is needed. Especially when a large part of the work surface is already taken up by an incredibly beautiful sink. In the last tip, Uli reveals her mobile solution:
"The next Top 5 has to do with our kitchen, of course. All of you who have been following us for a while know that we love to cook, and of course you always need space and storage for that. That's why we have some of the storage space here. [Here Uli points to a board parked in front of the bed]. On the one hand, it's practical to have the cooler protected, so that even during the journey, perhaps in the event of an emergency stop, our large cooler is protected and can't fly out.
We have the further advantage that we can pass between the driver's compartment and our living area and we have a flexible kitchen solution. [Now the board extends the work surface in front of the driver's door]. It's super practical to just take this out and extend our kitchen with it. Everything now sits bomb-proof here. We have space to chop, to cook, and of course to do the washing up or just put things down."
Great! We'd love to come over for dinner!
That's it for the practical Top 5 Vanlife Gadgets from Uli and Juri!
Thanks to both of them for so much inspiration and joie de vivre. We are very happy to have so many creative people in our community.
In the future we want to introduce you to many more interesting members and share their (building) projects here.
We're sure you'll be able to read more about functional and useful camper equipment.
Subscribe to our newsletter right here so you don't miss anything.