Campervan storage is one of the most important things to think about when converting a van. And you never have enough storage... that is a fact. In this guide I will show you 13 of the most popular campervan storage ideas. In each section I will link off to a seperate blog on how to build that specific storage. By the end you will be well-equipped to build a stunning campervan with lots of storage space!
I'm Shane, I've been teaching people to convert campervans for years; I'm the author of Roaming Home; The Comprehensive Guide for Converting Your Van Into a Campervan,writer of The Van Conversion Newsletter, instructor of The Van Conversion Course over at Udemy. And full-time vanlifer for 4 years!
So let's jump in and learn about the 23 best campervan storage ideas!
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Designing Accessible Campervan Storage
Some of the campervan storage ideas laid out in this guide are very simple, some are more complex. But no matter what the campervan storage, we must consider ergonomics in our build. Poorly built campervan storage will quickly give you a sore back or neck!
So, here are the key dimensions to keep in mind when converting your van!
Campervan Storage Dimensions
Maximum shelf height: 1.8m
High shelf - This is too high for most vans
Book shelf height: 1.6m
Standard eye height
Lowest shelf above kitchen unit: 45cm above kitchen unit
Any lower than this and you start to obscure the view of the back of the worktop
Kitchen Unit Dimensions
Standard Kitchen unit height: 90cm
Standard Kitchen unit Depth: 60cm
Shelf above a kitchen unit: 1m above the kitchen unit
You can just reach a shelf of this height when leaning across a standard kitchen unit. This is usually the bulkhead storage which happily coincides with these dimensions
Campervan overhead lockers depth: 30cm
You can just reach the back of a shelf of this depth when leaning across a standard kitchen unit
Depth of a sliding drawer: 50cm
Standard depth of a sliding drawer
Depth of a wardrobe: 60cm
Standard depth of a sliding drawer
Crouching space in front of a low cupboard: 1m
Allow this space in front of a low cupboard
Crouching space in front of a low cupboard with open sliding drawer: 1.25m
Allow this space in front of a low cupboard with a sliding drawer
Before hopping into building campervan storage, it is essential that you mock it up on paper or with CAD software first! Here is a full guide on campervan design that will help you get started. I highly recommend Vanspace3D for designing your campervan interior - it's an awesome drag n' drop CAD tool specifically for van conversions.
Now that we've examined some of the ergonomics behind the key storage units, let's jump in and check out the 13 best campervan storage ideas!
Campervan Overhead Lockers
The first campervan storage idea in this countdown is the campervan overhead locker. Campervan overhead lockers can be found in most self-build van conversions. They fill up a rather awkward space, are very spacious, and look great!
I have two campervan overhead lockers in my build. Each overhead locker has three compartments.
I use the campervan overhead lockers to store books, toiletries, tech gear, and other miscellaneous items. In my opinion they are a must have!
BUILD GUIDE: Learn how to build campervan overhead lockers.
Van Bulkhead Storage
For weeks I tried to figure out what the heck to do with the bulkhead area in my van. A van bulkhead is the awkwardly-shaped cavity above where the driver sits. And then it came to me in a moment of clarity... Van bulkhead storage! It's a large area that is perfect for storing food and kitchenware.
I made a large van bulkhead storage, covered by two swinging doors. I'm really happy with how it turned out! It's another essential campervan feature!
BUILD GUIDE: Learn how to build van bulkhead storage.
A campervan cupboard / wardrobe is a nice storage unit to have in a van conversion. It can house your clothes, food, or whatever else you dream up. A campervan cupboard is pretty important to me as I have a lot of outdoor gear to store!
BUILD GUIDE: Learn how to build a campervan cupboard
Campervan Storage Boxes
I have two campervan storage boxes in my van - they form the benches on either side of the table. The table is on a pedestal and can be lowered to turn into a bed.
The boxes/benches are very spacious and house most miscellaneous items in my van.
The campervan storage boxes are two cuboid containers with a hinged lid. I used 2X2 carcassing timber to make the frame and clad-lined the frame. You can see how they are built in this guide to campervan beds.
Campervan Kitchen Unit
One of the most important areas of your van is the campervan kitchen unit. Truly, it is an essential part of any build.
My campervan kitchen unit houses the following:
Fresh & waste water tanks
Secret storage compartment
Sink & stove
And a bunch of stuff that rests on top
BUILD GUIDE: Learn how to build a campervan kitchen unit
Campervan Storage Nets
Hanging macrame campervan storage nets are a super place to keep fruit and veg. They have a large storage capacity and look great! It's the fastest way to make your van take on a bohemian vibe.
Secret Storage Compartment
Living in a van, there is always a risk that someone might break in. A secret storage compartment is the perfect way to combat this - an excellent campervan storage idea. I leave things such as my laptop, passport, and other miscellaneous important items in there. There are many places you could put this in your van - some people opt to make a secret storage under the floorboards. I chose to make a small compartment above the gas bottle storage which is hidden behind some garbage bins.
Mason jars are a great way to storage dry food. They are spacious, space efficient, and look a lot better than a bunch of zip lock bags.
Some people opt to stick the lids to a surface and have the jars hang down. I personally have them free standing in my pantry cupboard.
Magnetic Knife holder
Does what it says on the tin. A magnetic knife holder is a very space-efficient way to store your large knives.
Having easy access to spices and herbs is a must in a kitchen! Spice racks make that possible. I have two spice racks in my van kitchen.
Campervan shoe storage
Shoes are one of the trickiest items to find room for in a van. Many people just end up throwing them in a bucket in the front of the van. But alas! There is a better solution. I installed some shoe storage right by the side door of my van. It fits four pairs of shoes and has been a total game changer! You can use a purpose built shoe hangar, or some coat hooks as I did.
Another option could be to buy some purpose-built shoe holders and hang them on the back door.
If you don't have solar panels on the roof of your van, a roof rack can be a fantastic use of otherwise unused space! It takes a bit of work to install but unlocks a world of possibilities.
Another option could be to simply install an extra large roof box. I had one of these on a previous van I owned and it was great! It gave me a lot of extra room inside the van, which is preciously needed.
The last of the campervan storage ideas is the cutlery drawer. A cutlery drawer is another essential in a campervan. There are two options for a cutlery drawer, you could buy a simple cutlery holder and rest it on a shelf (I did this), or you could build a DIY cutlery drawer.
Pull out kitchens (as shown in the image below) are also popular on smaller campervans. For this you would need heavy duty drawer runners.
I love my coffee, even more so when I can drink it in bed! I installed two cup holders on either side of the bed to help make my morning that little bit better!
A storage bar is so simple and yet so useful! I sling my hand towel over the storage bar in my van.
Bungee cord has infinite uses! One of them could be to hold all your jars in place. Things go flying once you set off in a van - so make sure everything’s secure first.
MOLLE door mount
MOLLE is an acronym for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. It is used to define the current generation of load-bearing equipment and backpacks used by a number of NATO armed forces. A MOLLE rack for your van can be an excellent use of space.
An alternative to a MOLLE mount could be to install some mesh bags on the doors (or inside) instead.
Kitchen roll holder
A cute box
Backdoor storage boxes
Many people have solar panels on their roof which may prevent them from installing a roof rack. Another form of exterior storage are back boxes (cargo boxes). They are huge and a really great place to store outdoor gear - an awesome campervan storage idea! You can purchase these cargo boxes from Aluminess - they are easy to install and super useful.
I built a DIY ski holder over the slixding door in my van. It’s a very simple build - just screw some brackets into the wooden support studs of your van.
And there you have it folks, 23 awesome campervan storage ideas!
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If you're looking for some guidance with your van conversion, you might be interested in Roaming Home; The Comprehensive Guide for Converting Your Van Into a Campervan. In the 380-page book (or ebook), you'll learn directly from me how to convert a van into your dream home - no prior experience needed!
Until next time,