In our 2003 Mercedes Sprinter we’ve purchased various items to make our #vanlife more comfortable. Here’s a little selection of things we’ve bought and some of the reasons why.
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Here are some short links to the content below if you want to jump ahead:
- Heating and Cooling
- Fridge Freezer
- Solar Panel
- Cooker and sink
- Electric Hook Up
- Headlamp Deflectors
- Van Height Stickers
- Dog Seatbelt
- Water Carrying / Storage
Heating and Cooling
If you’ve ever experienced the Highlands of Scotland in April, you’ll realise that investing in a heater for your van is a GOOD idea. Freezing our butts off made us realise that our next investment should be a heater.
We shopped around and realised there are lots of options for various budgets. We settled on the Planar 2kW heater kit as we felt that it was good value for money and reliable. Plus we found a local company that could supply and fit it for around £750 all in.
This little unit is fitted to the underside of the van and draws a tiny amount of diesel from the main fuel tank (100 to 240 ml per hour). The fuel is combusted to heat cool air drawn from outside, then the warm air is pumped into the van. When its on, it draws 10-29 watts of power which is approximately 0.8 to 2.4 amps per hour.
So far, we’ve had two fridges in our campervan. We started with a 20 litre CampinGaz ‘Friborg’ 12V/240V fridge which was okay to start us off. It didn’t have a freezer compartment and it was difficult for us to switch between 12/240V. Also, it wasn’t very efficient so we had to be careful when running it off our leisure battery.
Our upgrade is featured below. We went for a Dometic CRX50 compressor fridge. It has a 45 litre capacity and a mini freezer section. Dometic describe this fridge as ‘seriously efficient’ and ‘intelligent’ thanks to its built in electronics. Plus you can choose to run it as as fridge only, freezer only or both! As for power, it runs on 40 watts which is approximately 3.3 amps per hour.
Getting a solar panel was essential for us as we enjoy wild camping so don’t always want to rely on a 240v supply. There are so many solar panel options to choose from and we found the Bimble Solar website to be a useful resource. We also had great advice and installation from Owen at Campervan Conversions & Electrical in South Wales. In the end we opted for a 110w MiPV panel – super light weight and fits flush to the roof of the van. Cost was around £350 supplied and fitted.
Cooker and Sink
We plucked for a Smev 9222 sink / cooker in our van as it was the one best suited to our kitchen layout. It has a cold tap that links through to our rear water storage in our garage. It’s been perfect for our needs, highly recommended! Click the photo for a link through to this item on Ebay.
Although we’ve got an inside space for our toilet, we haven’t got a ‘wet room’. So if we want to take a shower we either overnight at a campsite or use this little piece of kit. It’s pretty inexpensive and runs off 12v. We use it outside with the rear doors of the van made into a little private shower area! Click on the pic which links to the item on Ebay.
We shopped around a lot for reasonably priced 12v lighting and found these. They’re nice and bright but not too overpowering. Plus they draw very little power from our leisure battery when they’re on; 3 watts which is about 0.25 amps per hour. Highly recommend these.
Electric Hook Up
We’ve got a 25m electric hook up cable and bough this adapter for our trips to France. This means that we can use hook up at French campsites with no issues.
Our Mercedes Sprinter is about 7m long. The mirrors are already quite big, but we’ve found that these blind spot mirrors make a big difference; especially on motorways and dual carriageways.
If you’re thinking about driving in Europe, then there are lots of essential things that you need to have. One of them is headlamp deflectors to adjust the beam of your lights. This prevents you from blinding other drivers. We usually buy these below. For a full list of recommended items for European driving, check out the RAC website.
Van Height Stickers
Ever worried about driving into a low bridge or low car park with your campervan? We’ve found these stickers really useful for avoiding any height restrictions.
Our doggo LOVES coming on campervan adventures. We’ve got her a harness which we clip onto this seatbelt adaptor below so that she’s nice and safe.
Water Carrying / Storage
We’ve got a 25 litre water tank in the rear of the van which our sink is hooked up to. But for a bit of additional water storage we bought one of these flat pack items. Very handy!
We shopped around for an awning for quite a while. It was something we wanted so that we could protect the door from both rain and sun. We settled on a second hand Fiamma awning exactly like the one below. They’re quite expensive to buy new, but they last forever and the Fiamma brand is highly recommended.
We’ve signed up to a mobile dongle wifi contract with Three. We currently get 20GB a month for just £9. It’s set up for international roaming which means that we can also use it in Europe. It’s a fantastic little device which is really useful for internet on the move! Click the image to explore the Three website for their mobile wifi options.