Richard & Mary’s Favorite Camping Gear for Van Life

Dec 7, 2021 | Best Camping Gear

Richard & Mary’s Favorite Camping Gear for Van Life

By Campendium

A couple standing in front of rocks and trees.

We are Richard and Mary from Arizona. In 2019, we began a six-month project to convert our new 3500 ProMaster van into a comfortable camper van. Much of the equipment and camping gear were purchased from Amazon to complete our beautiful vacation home on wheels. We have been traveling part-time and hope to someday visit all 49 states and Canada. Sometimes our adventures take us to remote boondocking vistas, while other times we enjoy the rustic campsites in our national parks and forests. But, wherever we go we have enjoyed our wonderful camping experiences and our new camping gear. Here are some of our favorite and most trusted gear that makes our camping trips adventurous, fun, and safe.

A bottle of wine and two stainless steel wine glasses.

Stainless Steel Wine Glasses

After a long day of exploring and hiking we love to relax at our campsite with a bottle of Amarone wine. These 12-ounce wine glasses are the perfect way to enjoy our favorite vino. The FineDine stemmed goblet wine glasses are durable and insulated to keep our wine cool and enjoyable. The glasses also come with spill-resistant sip lids – great for those days when there are a few insects swirling around our wine glasses.

Two reclining camp chairs out in the woods.

Lounge Chairs with Pillows and Cup Holder Trays

With these perfect campsite lounge chairs, we just easily glide back, adjust the pillows, and relax in a comfortable position to enjoy the amazing scenery all around us. The cup holder trays place our favorite refreshments and snacks at our fingertips and can also hold smartphones and tablets. These chairs are durable, lightweight, and compact for easy storage in our van. We chose the grey color to match our camping van, but these chairs are available in 9 additional colors. 

A camp stove with the lid open on a table outside.

Coleman Hyperflame Propane Stove

This is our favorite outdoor cooking stove. We love the wind-resistant burners and the even cooking surface. This Coleman stove also operates efficiently at high altitudes, which is a great plus for our adventurous camping locations in the mountains. It has a quick start ignitor, it’s easy to clean up, and it’s lightweight with a sturdy carrying handle. We cook nearly all of our meals on this stove – from egg omelets in the morning to chicken alfredo in the evening.

Two blue plastic water jugs next to a spigot.

2.5 Gallon Water Container

These containers make it very convenient to transport water to our campsite with their comfortable easygrip handles. We purchased 8 of these containers for long boondocking trips. They’re made of durable material, stackable, and easy to pour. Most of all, I appreciate how easy it is to carry these water containers compared to a bulky 6-gallon container.

A camouflage camera strapped to a tree trunk.

Meidase P40 Pro Trail Camera

Just for fun! This trail camera is great for discovering nighttime wildlife visits to our campsite. It’s easy to operate, has great setup instructions, and operates with batteries. While we are peacefully sleeping at night this camera is capturing wildlife that may roam through our campsite. This night vision camera is well worth the small investment for capturing exciting wilderness activities and sharing those images with family and friends.

Two black walkie talkie on a rock.

Midland 50 Channel Two-Way Radios

We take our Midland two-way radios with us on long hikes in the wilderness. The NOAA weather scan and alert is very helpful for alerting us to approaching severe weather. The walkie-talkie aspect is very helpful when I trek off alone to do some landscape and nature photography while keeping in touch with my wife. This is a must-have tool for safe and fun hiking adventures.

A weather radio placed on a down tree trunk.

Emergency Weather Radio

This NOAA weather scan radio is great for determining the weather forecast so that we can plan our day. We receive advisories of approaching severe storms, flash flood warnings, or forecasts of sunny skies and cool temperatures for a great hiking day. This device has a built-in flashlight, SOS signal light, and an ultrasonic dog whistle for search and rescue dogs. It also has solar charging, crank charging, and backup battery power to keep it operating for hours. This is a great essential camping tool and we use it often while boondock camping.

An axe tossed into a log.

Camping Hatchet

This is another one of my fun camping gear items. I use this handy Lexivon hatchet almost every day while camping in the wilderness. I enjoy gathering dead and down firewood when permitted, cutting the logs, and then easily splitting the wood with this durable hatchet. It’s lightweight, well-balanced, and precise for splitting wood or chopping wood into chips to start a warm evening campfire. Gathering, splitting, and chopping wood is great exercise for maintaining a healthy body and mind, as well as feeling like a frontiersman.

Black square rodent repeller with a green light on.

Underhood Animal Repeller

We feel secure in a campground or wilderness campsite using these ultrasonic rodent deterrents in our camping van. These battery-operated defense mechanisms help keep rodents from chewing the vehicle wires, thus preventing towing charges and expensive vehicle repairs. These are easy to install and occasionally require replacing the AA batteries. 

A rectangular jump starter clamped to van batteries.

2000 Amp 12 Volt Jump Starter

We hope we will never need this device while boondocking in the wilderness. But if we do need to jump-start our vehicle we will be well prepared. This NOCO Boost HD also has a built-in LED flashlight and connections for 12-volt portable power to conveniently recharge smartphones, tablets, and other USB devices. We definitely feel safe and secure knowing we are prepared for the unexpected events of remote camping life.

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