Budget-Friendly Camper Van Modifications that Won’t Bust Your Wallet

/ / Car Accessories
People hanging out with camper van

When driving on the interstate, it’s hard not to notice all the van life travelers and camper enthusiasts, especially as the warmer weather is setting in, and you may find yourself wanting one of your own. One of the fun aspects of going the camper van route, though, is adding your own spin on the vehicle. However, if you watch a lot of YouTube videos of people adding modifications to their van, you’ll probably notice that it can get pricy relatively quickly, especially if you’re gutting the inside and rebuilding from scratch.

That doesn’t mean that you have to put your life savings into your rig, though. Once you’ve acquired a camper van within your price range, there are additions and changes that you can make that won’t break the bank, along with essential van accessories to make yours more comfortable. Based on personal recommendations and high ratings from other buyers, here are five affordable camper van modifications to consider to personalize your rig. A more detailed explanation of this methodology will be explained at the end of this article.

Living in a Bubble Van Door Mosquito Net

Three vans with mosquito nets on back door

Being in a camper van means you are closer to nature, and more than likely, you’ll have some interactions with bugs — even if it’s just at a rest stop on the interstate. Vans tend to come with very large doors as well, so trying to get in and out of the open spaces without a mosquito coming in with you is a difficult task. With a 4.6 out of five rating on Amazon, the Living in a Bubble store sells several sizes of mosquito nets for both a van’s rear and side door. The netting is made out of tear-resistant polyester and has 1-millimeter holes, so even the tiniest of bugs can’t penetrate it. However, even with the small holed netting up, you’ll still be able to see through it.

It’s also incredibly easy to install. One reviewer explained that it comes with little magnets to attach to the body of the van, and they didn’t have any trouble finding places to stick it. Others stated that it took them under a minute to install. Best of all, it’s not a permanent modification. When you’re done using the mosquito net, take it down and stick it back in the bag it comes in.

Maxxfan Deluxe

Maxxfan installed in van's roof

Most camper vans come with a sliding side door and a back door to open the living space up, but when you’re hunkering down for the night, you won’t want to have them open for safety purposes. Closing all your windows and doors can cause stagnate air, though, and that can be uncomfortable to sleep in. If you install a Maxxfan Deluxe to the roof of your van, though, you’ll be able to push air around and even pull hot air from out of your van. On Amazon, the Maxxfan Deluxe comes with a 4.5 out of five-star rating from over 1,000 buyers and is also a personal recommendation to make camper living more comfortable.

It comes with the reversible ability to intake or push out air with 10-speed options and a remote to control it from the comfort of your bed. Additionally, according to the Maxxfan company, it is the only fan with a built-in rain shield so that you can use it in all types of weather conditions, and from personal experience, we can confirm that it works great in rain and even wind storms. We would also recommend getting the smoke option for the guard color to stop any sun rays from beating into your living space.

Obeaming 12V LED Ceiling Dome Light

Ceiling light within van kitchenette

When building out your van, you’re going to want to put lights in, and more than likely, you’ll be leaning towards installing LED since LEDs tend to be better than incandescent lighting. With that being said, what kind of lights should you choose? More than likely, you’ll end up with more than one kind, but for more accent lighting, Obeaming 12V LED Ceiling Dome Light is a great style choice. It comes with a 4.7 out of five rating from over 200 buyers, many of whom installed the lights in their van or RV.

These lights have a slim design, so they’re low profile against the wall and cabinets. Installation is incredibly easy as well, connecting the copper wires and then screwing in three screws. Additionally, it has a dimmer switch, so you have full control over the amount of light being dispersed, which can go up to 400 Lumens. You can also switch the white light to blue for a more peaceful ambiance.

Joolca Ensuite Mounted Single Shower Tent

Shower tent attached to a truck

If you’re looking for a way to preserve space in your camper van, you can opt out of installing a shower. Whether it’s digital nomads traveling around the country or a family camping off-grid for the weekend, many van owners have found that simply showering outside works just as well. However, you’ll need privacy to be able to take a proper shower. With a five-star review from 43 buyers on the company’s website, Joolca Ensuite Mounted Single Shower Tent acts the same way as a mounted awning to the side of your camper van, but when you open it up, an elongated tent unfolds big enough to comfortably shower in.

To use it, all you have to do is mount it to the van, unzip the cover, and the tent unravels and unfolds in seconds. You can then stake the corners down, or if there’s no wind, keep it as is. All of the framework is made of aluminum, so it’s incredibly light, while the fabric is considered heavy-duty, making it durable as well. For the roof, you have the option of retracting it for open space to let the sunbeam in, or you can close it to help keep the water’s heat from escaping. Through Joolca, this tent costs $300, which may seem expensive, but compared to the cost of building out a bathroom in a van, it’s definitely the more affordable option.

McMacros Wall Mounted Floating Folding Table

Hanging table with food on it

The typical camper vans don’t have a ton of space, so it would be smart to add modifications that work with the space, not take it away. The McMacros Wall Mounted Floating Folding Table is a great option to have as a table mounted to an interior wall of your van where it would be the most useful and still be out of the way when you don’t need it by folding it flat against the wall. It only weighs 7 pounds, so it won’t be too heavy to add to your van, but it’s still a relatively strong piece of furniture with the ability to hold up to 50 pounds.

This floating table received 4.5 out of five stars from over 1,100 buyers. It’s described as incredibly sturdy and easy to use. All you have to do is push in the lever, and it folds down. However, some have said that the table does look a bit cheap, but that can always be fixed with a bit of DIY work. When you’re modifying a van, adding personal touches is usually on the to-do list.

How we chose these affordable camper van mods

A couple laying in bed in a camper van

These products and ideas were selected based on the vast knowledge of the camper and van life lifestyle and understanding what kind of modifications are worth the time and energy to implement into a camper van. Additionally, high ratings and useful reviews from buyers were taken into consideration. Each of the products has at least a four out of five-star rating and is under the price of $300. On average, the typical cost of converting a van can be between $10,000 and $100,000, so with that in mind, these products could be considered affordable while also being useful for a full-time and part-time van lifer.

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