20 DIY Hacks Every Vanlifer Wish They Knew Before They Started Their Build

January 3 , 2022
20 DIY Hacks Every Vanlifer Wish They Knew Before They Started Their Build

A selection of the most ingenuous vanlife hacks you'll see on the road


by Rachelle Jazz


When space constraint fuels creativity.

Living in a home-on-wheels is basically a daily exercise in space-optimization and better organizing your daily life. Building a campervan is all about making the best possible use of space - and your footprint is far from everything you've got: you have to think about all the volume in your van, take advantage of all the available surfaces, hidden corners and dead spaces.

As we've seen the vanlife phenomenon explode in the past few years, we've seen more and more people come up with great creative ideas to live better on the road. It usually all starts with the question: "how am I going to store that on the road?". We've gathered some of our favorite vanlife hacks in this article, with the hope that you'll find some useful inspiration for your own build!

We hope you enjoy these creative ideas. If you decide to use any of these for your build, nothing would make their creator and us happier than being tagged on your creations so we can check them out! 

See you on the road,

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Hang it on your ceiling

The overlooked real estate

If there's one thing all vans have in common aside from being built on four wheels—it's a roof! And yet, it's rare to see people take advantage of it. If well built, your ceiling can hold a solid amount of weight and save up a lot of space in more precious places. Using straps or nets, you'd be surprised how much you can get out of your way.

Use elastic bands

Endless possibilities

Elastic bands are a fantastic asset when building a van! Whether it's to close off a space you still need easy access to, to hold your kitchen accessories to the wall or to keep your shoes in one place, it will never fail to do its job. Plus, it looks great, and it's cheap.

CHECK OUR FREE DIY TUTORIALS LIBRARY

Possibilities are endless. You've got some cool ideas, too? Add them to Simpler Ways!

DIY Spice shelf

DIY Spice shelf
View tutorial

DIY Insulated Curtains

DIY Insulated Curtains
View tutorial

DIY Ukulele holder

DIY Ukulele holder
View tutorial

DIY Fruit hammock

DIY Fruit hammock
View tutorial

Over-optimize your kitchen area

You'll be moving a lot of things around, so be smart about it

The kitchen area will arguably hold the most items in your van—stuff that clanks, slips or breaks. Stuff that gets lost at the bottom of a deep drawer. Stuff that gets dirty. Trust us on this one: use all the space available to you, so that every single thing has its own place, always. Or, like this cutting board coupled as a sink cover, think of double-uses, or lost spaces!

Magnets for all

Another great asset—store things on flat surfaces

Your house being made out of a metal, you have much more opportunities to use magnets to secure things around you than in a regular house. Glue magnets at the bottom of containers or on any flat surfaces to store more things! Another favorite are magnetic hooks—place them all around your van to attach your string lights, hang your caps etc.

More from our FREE DIY TUTORIALS LIBRARY

Possibilities are endless. You've got some cool ideas, too? Add them to Simpler Ways!

DIY Art or book display

DIY Art or book display
View tutorial

DIY Glass mug

DIY Glass mug
View tutorial

DIY Pet basket

DIY Pet basket
View tutorial

DIY Concrete succulent pots

DIY Concrete succulent pots
View tutorial

Optimize your rear and side doors

Imagine your outdoor living space

Your doors can play a much bigger role than just being open or close. Those panels are precious pieces of real estate! Add functionality to your doors by turning them into a small garage, an outdoor cooking patio or an extra piece of cabinet!

Think about using that roof

Turn your van into a mobile roof deck

Your roof is the largest continuous flat surface in your home-on-wheels. Even with your solar panels are on, you most likely have enough room left to build a decent deck. Check if your vehicle allows it first: don't rely on the roof itself, or on fiberglass hightops and other camper modifications that won't be able to take on such weight. Chances are, if you have rain gutters, you can fit a rack on them. Build that deck, you'll never regret it!

More from our free DIY tutorials library

Possibilities are endless. You've got some cool ideas, too? Add them to Simpler Ways!

DIY Soap holder

DIY Soap holder
View tutorial

DIY Wood carved spoon

DIY Wood carved spoon
View tutorial

DIY Perfume diffuser

DIY Perfume diffuser
View tutorial

DIY Coat hanger

DIY Coat hanger
View tutorial

Secure each of your belongings

PRevention is key

It's not enough to find smart places to store your things: you'll also want to make sure they move as little as possible, especially stuff that breaks or stains. People have come with many innovative ways to secure their belongings. If you've anticipated how every single thing you own could end up on the floor... well it won't! You could be on the bumpiest roads, none of your things will move an inch.

Vanspace 3D

Camper Van Design App

Vanspace 3D

THE EASIEST WAY TO BUILD A VAN YOU'LL LOVE
You'll learn to create professional-looking 3D van designs in minutes with vanspace 3D. Just drag and drop components, resize them, move them around and tweak the details until everything fits just right. 

COMPARE VANS, LAYOUTS & FURNITURE
Quickly compare your ideas side-by-side with accurate van templates and pre-built design components. Should the sink go next to the bed or the stove? Do you need the bigger van? Only one way to find out! 

STEP INSIDE YOUR VAN TO SEE HOW IT WILL LOOK
You can't feel what it's like to be in your van from a notebook sketch. Our first-person view transports you inside your van to see problems before you hit the road, helping you avoid bruised shins and costly rebuilds.

Drawers, reimagined

Create magic with Slide-outs

We never think about how amazing of an invention the drawer is! They've been around forever, and it's probably why we don't think of reinventing the idea. That was until people started building vans, were each cubic inch needs to be used. From entire tucked away kitchens to hidden cutting boards to slim spice racks—when well thought, slide-outs can become an incredible space-organizing resource!

Did we miss any cool hack?

Drop us your ideas in the comment section below or via our contact form, we'd love to hear from you!

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