10+ Affordable Upgrades for Converted Campervans

Converted campervans - white with door open and lady giving the thumbs up

10+ Affordable Upgrades for Converted Campervans

Buy or Sell Campers

Buy or Sell Campers

6 May 2023

We’re putting pedal to the metal on a one-way mission to ignite wanderlust and connect you with your ultimate roving home. Subscribe to get a weekly dose of vanlife inspo and expert hacks straight to your inbox.

Welcome to the world of converted campervans! Are you a wanderluster seeking freedom on the open road? Or maybe you’re tired of the daily grind and want to simplify your life? Either way, living or traveling in a campervan can be an exhilarating adventure. But before you hit the road, it’s crucial to ensure your van is comfortable and functional.

Fear not, we’ve got you covered.

In this article, we’ll reveal 10+ affordable upgrades to look for when shopping for converted campervans. Having these will transform your converted campervan into a cozy and practical home on wheels.

Keep reading to find out how you can make the most of your space, optimize your power source, and upgrade your comfort.

🚀 Best Upgrades & Accessories for Converted Campervans

The team at Buy or Sell Campers are full-time vanlifers and vanlife enthusiasts. These 10+ handpicked upgrades and accessories for converted campervans are guaranteed to supercharge your life on the road – quite literally in some cases!

Many of the best converted campervans will already have many of these must-have upgrades on board, others can be added retrospectively. Treat this article as a checklist when shopping for converted campervans! Hit over 80% and you are in ‘dream van’ territory.

Upgrading your converted campervan can be a daunting task. However, it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. There are several upgrades that are affordable and easy to install. These upgrades can make a massive difference in the overall comfort and efficiency of your rig.

Let’s hit the road… we’ve got a lot to cover!


Upgrades for Converted Campervans

🔲 Upgrade #1: Solar Panels
🔲 Upgrade #2: Portable Water Heater
🔲 Upgrade #3: Solar Shower
🔲 Upgrade #4: LED Lights
🔲 Upgrade #5: Side Flares
🔲 Upgrade #6: Portable Toilet
🔲 Upgrade #7: Backup / Reversing Camera
🔲 Upgrade #8: Swivel Seats
🔲 Upgrade #9: Awning
🔲 Upgrade #10: Coffee Maker
🔲 Upgrade #11: Dog Kennel


🌤️ Converted Campervans Upgrade #1: Solar Panels

Solar panels

Photo credit: Nova Conversions

Hey there, wanderlust seeker! Are you on the hunt for the perfect campervan? Well, don’t forget about the benefits of solar power! With affordable solar panels, you can ditch the noisy generator and inconvenient power hookups. Plus, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint while saving cash on electricity bills.

Once installed, these panels are a breeze to maintain and can provide enough juice to keep even the most thirsty converted campervans going strong. So, why not soak up some sun and power up your adventure with solar? Solar panels are a must have for life on the road.


💧Converted Campervans Upgrade #2: Portable Water Heater

A portable water heater is another great upgrade for converted campervans. It allows you to have hot water on demand, which is especially useful for showering or washing dishes. Portable water heaters are compact, easy to use, and affordable.

When checking out portable water heaters in converted campervans, there are a few key things to look for:

Size: Portable water heaters can be bulky. Check where it is positioned and think about how much space this leaves you with for storage etc. Some portable water heaters are smaller than others, and these may be preferred, but weigh up these other factors too…

Fuel source: Find out what fuel source it runs on – you’ll need one that suits your needs and preferences. Options include propane, electricity, or solar power.

Temperature control: The best converted campervans have water heaters with easily adjustable temperature control, so you can easily regulate the water temperature to your liking.

Safety features: Ensure the heater has safety features, such as automatic shut-off and anti-scald protection, to prevent accidents and keep you and your converted campervan safe.

Efficiency: When looking at converted campervans to buy, ask about the energy efficiency of the portable water heater – so it doesn’t drain your campervan’s battery or fuel source too quickly.

By keeping these key factors in mind, you’ll be able to upgrade your campervan, or find a converted campervan with a portable water heater that meets your needs and keeps you comfortable on your adventures.


💧Converted Campervans Upgrade #3: Solar Shower

Solar shower

If you don’t have a portable water heater in your converted campervan, but you are looking for an efficient and portable hot shower solution… Look no further than the SS762 Summer Shower from Advanced Elements!

With its 4-layer construction and optimal heat retention, you can enjoy a hot shower anywhere you go, even when you’re off the grid. Simply fill it up and leave it in the sun with the clear side up, and you’ll have hot water in no time! Plus, its compact size and easy-to-use design make it a must-have for any van life enthusiast. The only downside? Its 5-gallon capacity may not be enough for longer trips or larger groups.

💡 Converted Campervans Upgrade #4: LED Lights

Converted Campervans with LED Lights

Photo credit: @messygenius

LED lights are an affordable and energy-efficient upgrade for any converted campervans! They use less energy than traditional light bulbs and last longer. You can find LED lights in a variety of colors and styles to suit your style.

Why are LED lights – specifically – good for converted campervans? It’s because they typically run off 12V, which best suits the power supply from your converted campevan’s battery. LED lights also have a longer lifespan than traditional lights and are more durable, making them a great investment for your converted campervan.

LED lights can be easily installed in a range of locations – beneath overhead kitchen cabinets, at floor-level, around the ceiling – within converted campervans to create a cozy vibe.


🚐 Converted Campervans Upgrade #5: Side Flares

Converted Campervans with Side Flares

Photo credit: Cruise & Coast Custom Vans

If you’re looking to upgrade your converted campervan experience, while still making the most of space, search for converted campervans with side flares. These are extensions that are added to the side of the van, creating more interior room for living and storage. They are typically fitted to converted campervans which have the across the van. You may know them as “van bump out panels”.

Side flares can be made from various materials, such as fiberglass or metal, and can be customized to fit your specific needs. They can add up to 12 inches of additional space on each side, giving you more room to stretch out!

But the benefits of side flares don’t stop at just extra space. They also provide improved ventilation and lighting, thanks to the addition of extra windows. And because they are usually made from lightweight materials, side flares don’t add significant weight to your converted campervan, which is important for maintaining fuel efficiency.

Overall, if you’re looking for a way to increase your living space in your converted campervan, side flares are definitely worth considering. They offer additional space, improved ventilation and lighting, and are a great way to customize your vehicle to your unique needs.

In terms of suppliers, Flarespace is highly recommended. Prices start from around $1,800 for a pair of Mercedes Sprinter camper side flares. Hence, if when looking at converted campervans, you see one with side flares, these are a valuable addition.


🧻 Converted Campervans Upgrade #6: Portable Toilet

Portable Toilet

Photo credit: Live a Little Vans

Listen up, ’cause we’re about to spill the beans on one of the most important hacks for your converted campervan: a portable toilet! No more searching for sketchy rest stops or holding it in until you find a decent bathroom. With a portable toilet, you can do your business right in the comfort of your own van.

Portable toilets for converted campervans come in all shapes and sizes, and there is the perfect potty for any budget! They are an absolute game-changer for life on the road. So, don’t forget to add this essential item to your van life checklist!

Some of the top brands for portable toilets for converted campervans include Thetford portable toilets, Dometic, and Nature’s Head composting toilet. These brands offer a range of options to suit different needs, including compact designs, various flushing systems, and easy disposal methods. When talking toilets, you’ll want to check factors such as capacity, size, and ease of emptying when viewing converted campervans for sale.

For more info and recommendations, check-out Campervan Toilet Talk: The Questions You’re Just Desperate to Ask.

📹 Converted Campervans Upgrade #7: Backup / Reversing Camera

Driving converted campervans can be challenging, especially when you’re maneuvering in tight spaces. Adding a backup camera can make it much easier and safer to park and reverse your van. If one is not already fitted on your rig, you can get a wireless backup camera kit that includes a camera and a monitor, which you can install yourself with basic tools.

If you are looking to add a reversing camera to your converted campervan post-purchase, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, you’ll want to make sure the camera has a wide angle lens to give you a clear view of what’s behind you. You’ll also want to consider the resolution of the camera to ensure you can see the image clearly.

Another important factor to consider is the installation process – some cameras may require professional installation, while others can be easily installed yourself.

Finally, you may want to look for a camera with additional features such as night vision or parking assist to make your driving experience safer and more convenient. Overall, a good reversing camera can make maneuvering converted campervans a breeze, and help prevent bumps!

Backup / Reversing Camera

Looking for an easy and stress-free kit? Look no further than this Sniper Automotive Motorhome Twin Camera Rear View Reversing Kit with Mirror Monitor. It’s a complete kit, featuring a 12 Volt twin rear view camera system.

With excellent rear view vision, parking your camper, motorhome or RV will be a breeze. The twin camera provides a clear view of the rear as well as a downwards bumper/tow ball view, making it ideal for tight spaces and tow vehicles. The smart mirror comes with a built-in 7″ screen and easily clips over your existing rear view mirror.

You can choose which camera to view using the touch controls on the mirror or with the infra red remote control. Alternatively, by connecting a wire to your vehicle’s reversing light circuit, it can automatically switch to the rear view when you put the vehicle into reverse.

Plus, the mirror screen works as a normal mirror when the screen is off. All you need is a power connection, and optionally, the reverse switch wire for the automatic switching feature.


💺Converted Campervans Upgrade #8: Swivel Seats

Converted Campervans with Swivel Seats

Photo credit: Highland Vans

Swivel seats are a great addition to any converted campervans out there! They allow you to turn your front seats around and create a more open living space. They can also be more comfortable for lounging or working.

These swivel seats in a build by Highland Vans are a premium example, but they don’t need to be. Swivel seats can be affordable and easy to install, if they aren’t already included in your build.


⛱️ Converted Campervans Upgrade #9: Awning

Converted Campervans Awning

Photo credit: Oxbow Van Conversions

A retractable awning is a great addition to any converted campervans out there! Providing shade and protection from the elements,an awning on the side of your van can extend and retract as needed.

Some recommended brands for campervan awnings include Fiamma, Thule, and Dometic. When looking at awnings on converted campervans, consider the size and weight of the awning, as well as its ease of setup and durability. Look for an awning that is easy to extend and retract, with sturdy poles and high-quality fabric that can withstand wind, rain, and sun exposure.

Additionally, consider whether you want an awning with an additional screen or privacy walls for added comfort and versatility. With the right awning, you can enjoy the great outdoors while still being protected from the elements in your converted campervan.

Search converted campervans carefully – to buy one with an awning already fitted is a win! These cost upwards of $750 (fitting not included).


☕ Converted Campervans Upgrade #10: Coffee Maker

No need to be wired up to get your caffeine fix! Non-electrical coffee makers are a must-have for converted campervans, providing a simple and eco-friendly way to enjoy a cup of joe on the road.

With their compact size and lightweight design, these coffee makers are easy to pack and can be used anywhere, whether you’re boondocking in the wilderness or chilling at a campsite. Plus, they’re low maintenance, meaning you won’t have to fuss around with complicated electrical setups or worry about running out of battery power.

So, why not ditch the electric coffee maker and enjoy the simple pleasures of non-electrical coffee makers on your next adventure in a converted campervan. Based on our experience, these are the best coffee makers for converted campervans:


Bialetti Moka Express ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This classic stovetop device makes rich flavor espresso-like coffee using the old-school method that still works. It’s one of the best non-electric coffee makers for campervans, RVs & camping.


Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker ⭐⭐⭐

This is a great option for those who want a pour-over coffee maker that doesn’t require electricity. Unlike a stovetop coffee maker, this isn’t a standalone system. You’ll need to grind and heat the ground beans separately, and a disposable filter is required. We love this as a thing of beauty, but do wonder how long it’ll last in a camper van!

Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker

Flair Signature Espresso Maker ⭐⭐⭐

This is a super premium option for those who want an espresso maker that doesn’t require electricity. A good espresso maker, it will help you pour a flavour-packed brew in no time thanks to its pump-action mechanism.


AeroPress Coffee And Espresso Maker ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Get your caffeine fix on the road with the Aeropress – the perfect companion for converted campervans. This epic single-serve coffee and espresso maker is a vanlife fave, and doesn’t need electricity to brew up the perfect cup. With patented 3 in 1 brew technology, you can now enjoy a smooth, rich, and grit-free coffee with a full-bodied finish.

Say goodbye to average joe from fancy, expensive machines and hello to your new on-the-go barista. Plus, it’s super portable, making it easy to pack and bring with you on all your adventures.


Eureka Camp Coffee Maker ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Looking to impress your camping buddies with a freshly brewed pot of coffee? The Eureka Camp Cafe has got you covered! This coffee maker works with any outdoor burner system and can produce up to 2.5 liters of coffee in minutes thanks to Jetboil’s Fluxring technology.

The filter holder is easy to use, and cleanup is a breeze. Plus, it’s compact and nestable, making it a great addition to your converted campervan. The Eureka Camp Cafe is the perfect way to start your morning outdoors, with a steaming cup of joe that’s sure to please everyone.


🐕 Converted Campervans Upgrade #11: Dog Kennel

Woman and dog chilling outside a campervan

As any dog owner knows, our furry friends make amazing travel companions. But when it comes to converted campervans, it’s important to have a dedicated space for your pup to rest and relax. That’s where a dog kennel comes in, and it’s a must-have for any pet owner hitting the open road.

A dog kennel can easily be incorporated into your converted campervan design. Whether it’s built into the layout or simply a portable kennel that can be secured during travel, having a designated space for your dog helps keep them safe and comfortable. Plus, it can prevent any damage to the interior of your campervan from sharp claws or accidents.

But why bring your furry friend along for the ride? For starters, they provide endless entertainment and companionship during those long drives. And once you reach your destination, they’re always up for a hike or exploring new areas. Dogs can also provide a sense of security and safety, especially when camping in remote or unfamiliar areas.

When it comes to selecting a traveling dog kennel, there are a few key features to keep in mind. It should be sturdy and secure, with plenty of ventilation to keep your pup comfortable. Consider the size of your dog and choose a kennel that allows them to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. It’s also important to choose a kennel that can be easily cleaned and disinfected, as accidents are bound to happen.

For more tips about traveling in a campervan with a dog or other pets, check this out: Vanlife with Pets: Over 20 Tips for Van Life with a Dog or Other Pets

📚 Key Takeaways

Upgrading converted campervans can be a fun and rewarding experience. These 10+ affordable upgrades can make a big difference in the overall comfort and functionality of your campervan. They are a checklist of things to look for while shopping for converted campervans, or are easy to add after buying – they won’t break the bank!

Remember, wherever you are on your vanlife journey…

  • Buying a basic campervan and then upgrading it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated!
  • Solar panels, portable water heaters, LED lights, coffee makers, and portable toilets are all affordable upgrades that can make a big difference in the functionality of your campervan.
  • Backup camera, swivel seats, side flares, and awning, can also improve the comfort and functionality of your campervan.
  • There are many affordable options available for each upgrade, so do your research and choose what works best for your campervan. Or, better still, choose one with as many of these factors from the get-go – if your budget allows!
  • With these 10+ affordable upgrades, converted campervans can be transformed into the ultimate home on wheels.


🤓 Read next:

10 Must-Have Accessories for Your Converted Van

Read this next


Register to receive our newsletter, bringing you exclusive offers and the latest news.

Sell your Van in 7 days

Built by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts, Buy or Sell Campers is the ultimate place to browse hundreds of camper vans for sale nationwide. Drill down into van-specific features that make all the difference in finding your perfect camper van. 

Selling your camper van? We can help with that too. Instantly gain exposure to thousands of van buyers across the Country!

Why Buy or Sell Campers?

With over 200k followers, tapping into our social media guarantees mass exposure for your rig.