Van Life: 40+ Budget-Friendly Caravan Hacks, Storage Ideas, And Mods - geek spin

Van Life: 40+ Budget-Friendly Caravan Hacks, Storage Ideas, And Mods

Caravans are often towed behind cars, trucks, and buses by adventurers worldwide. They come in different shapes and sizes – with various models offering their own level of luxury and comfort. If you’ve ever had a trip in a caravan, you know how much fun it can be. Whether it is a trip with friends and family or an intimate adventure with a romantic partner, caravans provide their own unique experience. However, without sufficient space in the vehicle, you may not have the best caravan experience. We’ve put together some of the best hacks you can use to optimize your caravan’s space. They’ll help you cut down on items and habits that limit the available living space on your next caravan trip. Let’s get started!      

Storage on Small Hangers Around the Caravan

Small hangars have the advantage of fitting in many places on the caravan. You can use them as extra storage units for small items with the weight that the hangers can support. These hangers can hold bras, briefs, panties, and other underwear. 


You can use these hangers to dry small pieces of clothes after they’ve been washed. You can also place the hangers on the caravan’s exterior so that the sun can quickly dry wet clothing. Try to purchase high-quality hangers that will last you. 

Storage in Collapsible Bins 

The trash items from the caravan need to go somewhere. To avoid wasting space, it’s advisable to ditch rigid waste bins. Plastic waste bins, for instance, can’t be folded to save space. However, collapsible bins can be adjusted to fit in tight corners.    


You can get your collapsible bin in the color of your choosing. When the content of the bin has been emptied, you can fold it nicely into a corner till it’s needed again. In terms of killing two birds with a stone, collapsible bins are the perfect example.  

Floor Mats 

Whatever you do, make sure you don’t leave the floor mats at home. Pack a pair of quality floor mats (in your preferred color and design) for the great outdoors. It’s most efficient when you have one mat to lay in the caravan and another to position just outside the vehicle’s entrance.  


The purpose of the floor mats is to prevent people from tracking dirt into the caravan from outside. It wouldn’t be nice if you had to keep sweeping dirt out of the van all through your trip – no one would like that. 

Dish Drying Mat 

Unlike your spacious kitchen at home, the caravan kitchen is considerably smaller when compared. For this reason, it is crucial to avoid stacking some items in the vehicle. One of such items is a complete dish rack, which can take up a lot of space.

Instead of the dish rack, get a drying mat to drain plates and bowls on. The drying mat is made with an absorbent material that nicely soaks the water out of your dishes. After using the drying mat, you can remove the absorbed water by spreading it out in the sun or leaving it to air-dry by hanging.

Shower Door Magnet 

After taking a shower, you probably want to close the shower door. However, certain angled positions of the caravan can cause the shower door to slide open. What do you do? Get some shower door magnets that can be installed easily. Purchase quality products that guarantee a solid magnetic hold.

With the magnets installed, you don’t have to worry about how the caravan is parked. You can be sure that the shower door will stay shut after use. It’s also important that the sticky ends of each magnetic strip have a good grip on the door.  

Plastic/Wooden Containers and Boxes 

Another storage hack that’ll help save space is to keep small objects inside plastic/wooden containers. Instead of littering your caravan’s interior with various items, arrange them neatly in lightweight boxes and containers. 


If shelves are installed in your caravan, these smaller boxes and containers will help create some order in the space. For instance, one container can hold all of your spices. This will keep them organized and make them easily accessible. Other items with similar uses can be classed together and stored in the same box. 

Using Microwave for Item Storage 

When optimizing the available caravan space, you can sometimes use the most unlikely places as storage. Your microwave is an excellent example of such an unlikely storage space. It’s another great idea that can help you save space. Your microwave is there taking up space anyways, may as well take full advantage of it.

However, before storing anything in your microwave, you need to make sure that it isn’t something that would catch fire if someone ever switched on the microwave without warning. Avoid storing metal objects and items wrapped with aluminum foils in your microwave. 

Inverter Power Board 

It is crucial to have access to sufficient power outlets in your caravan on a trip outdoors. A power board can be easily constructed and installed to provide enough power outlets on your adventure. The power board can also be installed in a space-conserving way.

Neatly create a power board in an accessible corner – and include surge protection to the setup. This way, you’ll be able to charge your phones and other gadgets on the go. You’ll also cut down on the amount of space that messy extension boxes and power units will take. 

Replace Hanging Bar with Hanging Rails 

If you aren’t trying to conserve space, your hanging bars would be fine in the caravan. However, you can replace that hanging bar with hanging rails when more space is needed. These hanging rails can be adjusted to store items efficiently. 


An advantage of the hanging rails is that they can be adjusted to fit tight spaces or stretched out to maximize larger areas. The rails will also provide hanging for many more items than the hanging bar.  

Create Extra Clothing Storage

Having enough storage space for clothes will be a blessing. You can create that extra space by taking advantage of the available room below bed bunks, tables, and shelves. The idea is to optimize whatever free area you can find. 


Grab a large enough drawer that is also compatible with the available space, and neatly fold your clothes. Having one or two of these make-shift clothing shelves will go a long way in keeping your caravan spacious and well organized.

Jewelry Hanger 

Smaller items are much easier to misplace in your caravan. To avoid losing your precious jewelry out in the wild, you should install a jewelry hanger in your van. This jewelry hanger will securely hold a good number of your stuff in an easy-to-access position. 

Source: Happy Wood Products / Pinterest

The jewelry hanger of your choosing should be easy to attach and detach from the wall. This is because it’s inadvisable to leave the jewelry up on the wall while the caravan is in motion – there’s a high chance that your items will fall off and get lost.

Toilet Brush Holder 

The toilet brush holder is often left sitting on the floor beside your water closet. However, to conserve space, you can hang it vertically against the toilet wall in your caravan. In that position, the toilet brush holder can serve multiple purposes.

Once the toilet brush holder has been installed vertically, you can use the brush handle to hold toilet paper rolls. The length of the brush should ideally hold two rolls of toilet paper. The setup is quite good because the tp is secure from getting loose when the caravan is in motion.

Sticky Hooks 

Sticky hooks are one of the most efficient space-saving items. Their ability to fit on various vertical surfaces makes them a must-use hack. Once installed, you can use them to hold a wide variety of items (so long as they can support each item’s weight).

The quality of the hook’s sticky end is also essential. If the sticky back is not sticky enough, it won’t be able to support any weight. However, even when the hooks are high quality, don’t overload them with heavy items. 

Fabric Laundry Bags 

Laundry bags usually hold your dirty clothes, or clean ones sometimes. If you use plastic laundry hampers at home, you shouldn’t bring them to your caravan. Plastic laundry hampers will be too rigid and unable to fit into tight corners. 


Fabric laundry bags are a better alternative to plastic ones. They come in different sizes to best suit your needs. More importantly, you can fold them nicely to fit into tight corners to save space. You can fit them beside couches, bed bunks, tables, etc. 

Damp Clothes for Children 

How do you conserve space without affecting bath time? There are ready-to-use damp cloths fortified with antibacterial components that can be purchased for kids. These damp cloths are used to wipe the body as a substitute for thoroughly bathing with soap. 


Having an antibacterial cleaning cloth will be very useful in your caravan. You should make sure that each child is allocated their own personal antibacterial cloth. The cloth should be left to hang on a sticky hook or hanging rack so that it can dry well after usage.

Waterproof Silicone Hooks 

Waterproof silicone hooks are a great addition to your caravan’s bathroom. They’re designed to withstand water and condensation – which makes them quite efficient. Their sticky ends hold well against the walls as long as they aren’t subjected to excess weight. 


You could use the hooks to hang children’s towels after use. Considering the smaller sizes of kids’ towels, the hooks should be able to hold their weights easily. Larger towels have to be hung elsewhere. If you aren’t satisfied with the current position of these silicone hooks, you can conveniently switch them to other places. 

Makeup Bag

Imagine the interior of your caravan littered with makeup items and toiletries – it wouldn’t be a pleasant sight. A makeup bag helps you keep all that stuff in one place. It also makes it easier for you to access your things without wasting time searching around.  

Source: Beach Go?ers / Pinterest 

Depending on your personal preference and needs, you can choose a makeup bag with many compartments. This will help you separate different items based on their similar features. You won’t have to worry about misplacing your things – since you already have them kept in one place. 

Rolling Up Towels and Linen

Folding towels and linen into shelves isn’t a bad idea, but rolling them is much better. If you haven’t tried it before, you should. It saves space and makes it easy to locate items. Rolling your towels is just as neat as folding them. 


Many people use this space-saving trick in various situations. You can make the linen or towel rolls as thin as possible. You’d be surprised to see how effective this storage method is. Feel free to apply it beyond your caravan trip. 

Storage Cubes 

To avoid wasting functional space (like the area underneath your bed), you can use storage cubes. They’re advantageous when it comes to utilizing free space. You should go for the ones made from fabrics – they’ll be foldable, easy to carry, and available in many custom sizes. 


You’re allowed to be creative with the items you keep arranged in your storage cubes. You’ll need to choose items that fit easily under your bed or whatever space you’re maintaining the cubes in. The cubes can be dragged out without any trouble when their contents are needed. 

12 Volt Fans  

When the caravan gets hot, it’ll help to have a cooling unit. Fans are an excellent choice for this purpose. However, you need to think about the weight and size of the typical standing or table fans. They’ll be too heavy and too large for the caravan. So what do you do?

Get a 12-volt fan for your caravan. They’re much smaller and weigh little. You can also install multiple units of 12-volt fans within the van– place them in strategic locations for the best cooling effect. You can install the fans on walls to conserve space. 

Reusable Cleaning Cloths 

There’ll be times when you need to do some cleaning in your caravan. Ideally, you’d want to use the complete cleaning sets (liquid soaps, paper towels, and the like). However, the need to conserve space won’t allow that. Instead, you should get some reusable cleaning cloths. 


The conventional cleaning items will take up too much space. You can fold the cleaning cloths or roll them up for compact storage. Make sure you purchase fabric made from long-lasting material – this way; you’ll be able to use the cleaning cloths on other trips. 

Using Oven for Storage 

Whether your caravan comes with an in-built oven or installed one yourself, it’ll still take up some considerable space. However, you can still utilize the caravan’s range as a storage unit. Whenever the oven isn’t in use, store items that can fit inside it. 

Samantha Lui/

There’s some good space in an oven, so it should be able to hold reasonably large kitchen items. For instance, trays for cutting stuff and baking can be kept in the range. This hack makes it easy to locate and access items stored together. 

Magnetic White Board 

You may want to keep track of your activities when on the road. The magnetic whiteboard is an excellent way to do this. You can easily take note of items you wish to purchase along the way and cross them off once they’re purchased. 

Source: ivalueeveryidea / Instagram

Get temporary markers to write with and easily clean off when you wish to write something new. Buy some pins or magnets to hold notes in place on the board. Depending on how much space you’re willing to sacrifice, select the best suitable board size. 

Screw-In Hooks to Hang Adult Towels 

To conserve space on your caravan, try replacing the standard towel rails with hooks. However, these hooks must be strong enough to hold adult bath towels without falling off. To ensure that your towels dry correctly, you need to position the hooks in airy spaces.

Because these hooks are screwed into the desired surface, they are strong enough to provide support for heavy towels. Place the hooks in positions that won’t cause any obstructions in the caravan. You should also be careful with where you screw the hooks into – you don’t want to damage the caravan’s walls. 

Shower Caddies 

What do you do with your hair gels, liquid bath soaps, and other toiletries? You arrange them in a shower caddy. Shower caddies come in different designs and colors. You can get one that blends nicely with the theme and colors of your caravan’s bathroom. 


The shower caddies of your choice should be able to hold all your bathroom items. It can have some hooks to hold small towels and cleaning cloths. The racks should also be wide enough to support soap bottles and more.

Shoe Organizers    

Lack of shoe organization can easily contribute to insufficient space in your caravan. You shouldn’t leave your shoes lying about – instead, find a way to arrange them neatly. Besides, having your shoes scattered everywhere increases their chance of being stepped on and dirtied. 

Source: Camping World / Pinterest 

You can quickly locate your shoes when you need them with shoe organizers. You won’t have to waste time searching for the other half of a pair of shoes. You can get shoe organizers in the color of your preference. Install the organizers in a position that is comfortable for you to reach. 

Sticky Hooks for Toothbrushes 

Don’t leave your toothbrushes lying about carelessly. We should keep personal items like toothbrushes hygienically. With sticky toothbrush hooks, you can safely position your toothbrushes away from dirt. You can install the hooks just above the wash hand basin for easy access. 


Depending on how many toothbrushes you want to hang, make sure you get enough hooks. The hooks shouldn’t be kept in a place where water would splash on them and compromise the adhesiveness of their sticky ends. You can also get some extra hooks – you never know when you’ll need them. 

Fabric Containers

Another good storage method is to keep items in fabric containers. One advantage of fabric containers over plastic ones is that they aren’t rigid – you can still squeeze them into tight corners. You can sort items based on similarity into the fabric containers for storage. 


Depending on where you wish to keep the fabric container, you can get one with or without a handle. The handle works for when you want to hang the container on a hook. You can fit the container on the ground beneath bed bunks or tables if you don’t have a hook.

Optimize Pantry Space 

Ordinarily, the pantry provides you with space to store some items. However, the pantry area usually has some unutilized space. To stop this space from going to waste, you can purchase some accessories that will provide you with extra storage. 


With extra pull-out drawers and internal shelves, you can make practical installations in the pantry for space optimization. When making these additional installations, make sure you don’t clog the pantry space to make moving about inconvenient. Undershelf hangers or multiple-tier shelves are great space savers.

Storage in Magazine Racks 

If you have some spare magazine racks, bring them aboard your caravan. Typically, these racks will hold magazines, but you can use them as storage for much more. Get the number of magazine racks you’ll need and install them in convenient places. 


The installed magazine racks can hold different items – like chocolate bars, toothpaste, cookies, biscuit boxes, and more. Feel free to be creative with what goes in the racks. Also, based on what you wish to store per rack, you can install them in different areas of the caravan (kitchen, bedroom, etcetera)

Stacking Bowls, Pots, and Containers

If you stored all your pots, bowls, and containers individually, you’d be taking up a lot of space you don’t have. Instead of individual storage, you can save space by stacking multiple items together. Class your pots together and arrange them by stacking into each other. 


Use this same stacking method for your plastic bowls and containers – using the largest ones as the stack’s base. With this space management technique, you’ll enjoy more space in your caravan. Random pot or bowl sets may not correctly fit into each other when stacking – try purchasing matching sets instead. 

Space Optimization With Sink Cover 

If you’ve never considered getting a cover for your sink, you should. Purchase a piece that will adequately cover the sink and sit firmly in place. Doing this can help you get more use out of that sink area. It is a great way to use all the space you can.   


With the sink area covered, you’ve successfully provided yourself with an extra surface to keep items on. The sink cover can also serve as a platform to cut / chop stuff on. Before you chop your food items on the sink cover, make sure you’ve rid it of dirt.  

Caravan Air Conditioning 

Do not get carried away by your desire to save space. It’s paramount to have an air conditioning system in your caravan – although it may seem like you’d have more room without the AC unit. The absence of air conditioning will leave you subjected to uncomfortable heat.   

Source: Michael Hession / New York Times 

When your caravan is too hot, you’ll be uncomfortable – this defeats the purpose of going out on a caravan trip. You want to make sure that you’re comfortable all through your trip, so get a caravan with an in-built air conditioner (or get one installed in it). 

Single Grey Water Outlet 

When it comes to your caravan’s plumbing, you can save yourself some trouble by installing a single grey water outlet. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you can add this installation to your list of DIYs on the caravan. Otherwise, your best bet is to contract this installation to a professional plumber. 


Without the single greywater outlet, you’ll need to connect different individual hoses into each caravan water outlet – this is both a waste of materials and time. You can customize the water outlet in a color that matches your caravan. 

Protecting the Caravan from Dust 

When the caravan remains stationary for long, dust will likely collect both on its exterior and interior. When this happens, you’ll have a lot of work to do next time you’re planning a trip in the vehicle. With this in mind, you need to prepare ahead for your next adventure. 


Once the caravan has been parked, cover it up with a tarp that matches its size. The dustproof and waterproof cover should protect the upper area and sides of the caravan. However, dust may still get in from the vehicle’s bottom. Use strong tape to block off all other exposed areas. 

Storage in Potato Boxes 

Potato boxes aren’t meant only for storing potatoes. When there’s extra space for a box or two in your caravan, you can store other food items in the boxes. The potato box is perfect for fresh food items that need to be exposed to air. 

Source: Koyumeya / Instagram 

Potato boxes are rigid, so you can only make use of them when there’s extra storage space somewhere on the caravan. When there isn’t enough space on the van, it isn’t advisable for you to use a potato box for storage. 

Dedicated Drawer for Cups 

Having a drawer for only cup storage is another space-saving hack. Instead of having your cups randomly placed all over the kitchen, pick out a single drawer that will be dedicated to keeping drinking glasses and mugs. We also strongly suggest getting travel mugs that are great for on the go.


If your caravan doesn’t have pre-installed drawers, you should install some. For those with already installed drawers, pick out a low enough drawer for little children to easily access. Having all drinking wares in one place gives your kitchen a neater appearance. 

Pantry Containers 

When you want to make your pantry well-organized, pantry containers can really help. They come in different sizes and shapes to best suit your space and style. You can use these containers to sort items in a really lovely way. 


You can put cookies separately in one container, condiments in another, and so on. You should consider the storage capacity of your pantry before coming aboard the caravan with a certain number of containers. A quick measure will allow you to best plan your space.

Use Your Fry Pan as a Toaster 

The fry pan toaster hack is an interesting and effective one. Imagine loading your caravan with both a frying pan and a toaster – you’d definitely be taking up more space that way. Instead, ditch the toaster and allow the frying pan to serve multiple purposes.

In this scenario, you can use the frying pan to fry foods and toast whatever needs to be toasted. It would be best if you got a non-stick frypan to have the best experience. You may wonder if the frying pan will be just as effective as a toaster – you’ll likely be surprised at how good it can be. 


Instead of having collapsible BBQ tables on your caravan, replace them with the BBQARM. The BBQ table takes up more space when compared to the BBQARM – Which defeats the idea of saving space on your caravan. 


The BBQARM isn’t a temporary installation, and it looks nice when installed on the caravan. The installation provides you with a table for multiple purposes. It performs the functions of a BBQ table without taking up as much space. 

Empty Tissue Boxes 

After finishing the content of your tissue boxes, you can upcycle and reuse those boxes as make-shift shelves and storage containers in your caravan. Lightweight items like makeup brushes, lipstick, and other cosmetic objects can be kept in the emptied boxes. 


Feel free to be creative with the tissue boxes. You can combine them in elaborate designs and stick them to the caravan’s walls like shelves. You can decorate the boxes however you like to blend well with the vehicle’s interior theme color. 

A Smart Television 

If you love having your downtime by watching shows, you’d probably enjoy having access to a TV in your caravan. Take into consideration the fact that cable TV reception may not be available where you’re going. In such a situation, your best bet is online streaming.  


You may think that your smartphone will be enough for online movie streaming, but do you really want to sacrifice the large display of a TV for the smartphone display? Get yourself a smart TV that can connect online and give you access to various streaming platforms of your choice. 

Storage in Outdoor Cupboard 

You can turn to its exterior when you’ve fully optimized space on the caravan’s interior for more storage options. How do you do that? Install an outdoor storage cupboard. You can make the cupboard in different sizes – depending on your needs.

You can keep different items in the installed outdoor cupboard. However, it’s not advisable to store food items in a closet like that. Food items should remain safely stored in the caravan. Things like brooms, lanterns, torches, and more can be kept in the outdoor cupboard.