In 2022 we made our dream of living in a tiny home on wheels a reality! We’ve always said that pet sitting and van life would be the perfect nomadic balance, and while we’re still working on that balance every day, we’re happy to finally have a base of our own to live in between pet sits. Since we actively started transforming our van from its fresh-out-of-the-workshop state into our little nest, we’ve discovered countless items that have become our essentials for van living. Here we’ll run down just a few of them, and once you’ve finished reading, head to our Recommended Products page for more!


For extra security when we’re away from our van, we use this hefty steering wheel lock from Disklok. The award-winning design is police-recommended, and comes in a variety of sizes so you can use one on your vehicle no matter the size of your steering wheel. Wherever we park our van, we know it’s safe and secure from vehicle thieves and also acts as a visual deterrent – the hope is that thieves will bypass our van entirely when they see that we’ve gone to extra lengths to secure our home!

Ring security system

While we’re talking security, we spent a while researching different systems to find one that would work for us and our nomadic lifestyle – with no complicated contracts. We love knowing that our Disklok has secured the cab, while our Ring system secures the whole of our van! We feel such peace of mind since installing our security system, knowing that our home is being kept safe, and we have access to remote monitoring via the camera and phone app. It’s so easy to set up, and the handy app means we can check in on our home wherever we are.

Fire extinguisher

Unusually this is a product that we recommend but have never used, and we hope we’ll never have to!! We always keep this fire extinguisher in our van just in case the worst happens. We love that its small size means it doesn’t take up too much valuable space in our van, and it’s compatible for all fire types. We highly recommend carrying this extinguisher in your van so you’re prepared for any fire situation.

Auto-Vox V5 rearview mirror

When driving a bigger vehicle it can be hard to see behind you – even more so if you don’t have windows installed in your van’s barn doors! The wing mirrors on our van are great, but this rear view mirror and camera helps us to see what’s behind us, which is especially useful when reversing! It clips over the top of your existing rearview mirror, and the kit has built-in dash cam functionality for extra reassurance while driving.

Netgear Wi-Fi router

This portable Wi-Fi router gives us a dedicated internet connection in the van. We use it to access entertainment, upload content to social media and our blog and it also acts as a hub for our security cameras & Victron equipment. The router gives us quick speeds and allows multiple devices to connect to it, so it’s perfect for us both to use! When we cover all our windows in the evenings, the Wi-Fi signal can sometimes get blocked so we use this outdoor antenna by Poynting to boost the router’s reach.

Rechargeable USB fan

When the weather turned from warm to uncomfortably hot this Summer, we immediately invested in this small but mighty fan! Its size makes it handy for travelling as it doesn’t take up too much space, and we can easily use it in the cab or back of our van. Best of all it doesn’t require plugging in – it is completely wireless and recharges via the included USB cable, meaning you don’t have to keep spending money on fresh batteries. Its sturdy base and clamp means you can perch it on a tabletop or clip it higher up in your van at any angle, and the speed is fully adjustable! When the sun is beating down on our van, we whack this little fan up all the way and enjoy the cool air flow it creates.

Ridge Monkey pan

We LOVE this nifty little frying pan, and that it comes with a set of small cooking utensils that fit inside for space-saving storage. We cook almost everything in our Ridge Monkey – halloumi, sausages, toasties – and the fact that the design seals the pan means you get an even cook on food like fried eggs! It’s perfect for van cooking as when the top part covers the food, it prevents oil or sauce spatters from staining the inside of your home on wheels. When we make cheese toasties, we can easily flip the pan over for an even golden toast on both sides. Once you have one, you’ll wonder how you got by without it!!

Colapz water bucket

This is another essential that’s been made optimal for van life with its clever space-saving design. This collapsible water bucket is perfect for times when we just need a little top-up in our freshwater tank, or when we are just too far away to reach a tap with our hose! The bucket holds 8 litres of water and has a spigot for a controlled transfer into our water tank. When we’re done, the bucket twists down into a slender circle that we can easily store in the back area of our van, and the bucket comes with its own carry bag so we don’t have to worry about any surface water getting the back of the van wet.

Thule levelling ramps

We got away with not owning levelling ramps for quite a few months, instead spending time rolling backwards and forwards until we found level ground on camping pitches… In the end we knew we’d have to invest in levelling ramps one day, so we spent some time researching different brands to find ones that suited our needs. Thule ramps appeared time and time again as other van lifers recommended them as ramps that don’t crack under the pressure and weight of their van. Having used ours now, we can highly recommend them as sturdy ramps for levelling out a van on uneven ground at campsites and wild camping spots. We trust them to do the job every time – no more driving around searching for a level camping area!

OTTY pillows

Aside from levelling our van, having comfortable bedding is another important element to getting a good night’s sleep in our home on wheels. We discovered OTTY pillows at a pet sit back in 2021 and had the most comfortable night’s sleep we’d had for a long time. When we left the house sit, we invested in one each so we could always take a good night’s sleep with us no matter where we travel! We love that they are made up of foam pieces, so you can easily add or remove pieces to adjust the firmness of your pillow. This is also how we know if we’ve accidentally got our pillows mixed up, as they are individually tailored to our individual comfort preferences! They’re a game-changer for ultimate van living comfort.

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