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Powering Vanlife – Must Have Accessories for Off Grid Living

Article from REDARC.

Power is an essential part of vanlife, not only for keeping the engine running and using the occasional light, but for being able to have all the luxuries of home whilst on the road. Once you have your van power system setup, limited van space can often bring up the question of what accessories do I want versus what accessories will I actually use. Here at REDARC, we’ve put together a list of some of the top accessories we recommend to people looking to embark on their vanlife journey.

james barkman vanlife
Living in a van means making the hard decision between what is a want and what is a necessity


While solar power was once a luxury it is quickly becoming commonplace in almost any van setup and we can see why. Having an efficient solar setup means less time spent tethered to powered campsites and more time exploring the unknown. Having a solar panel connected to your battery charger means that whenever the sun is shining your auxiliary battery is being topped up, so you’ll never be stuck without power.

With solar technology becoming more and more popular, there is something on the solar market for almost any setup or preference including fixed panelsportable panels, and solar blankets. Our blog post on solar setups for beginners is a great starting point if you’re looking to fit solar to your van but aren’t sure where to start.

solar powering vanlife
Solar blankets are a lightweight, easily portable solar solution

Jump starter

When you’re living or travelling in a van one of the worst things you can wake up to is a flat battery. On the road this can mean long waits for expensive roadside assist when all you needed was a simple jump start. Having a portable jump starter is a simple way to avoid a situation like this. Jump starters work by quickly discharging enough power to turn your engine over and are small enough that they can easily be tucked away in a hidden corner of your vehicle. Having a jump starter also means you’ll avoid having to pull your second battery out and use that to start your vehicle.


While vanlife can often be relaxing there’s often nothing better than waking up in a beautiful location and starting your day with a good cup of coffee. A good cup of coffee is different for everyone but for us here at REDARC we can’t go past the Nespresso pod coffee machines. To get one of these machines or any household appliance working in your van you’re going to need a Pure Sine Wave Inverter.

Pure Sine Wave Inverters convert DC power from your battery to the 240V  AC power that your household appliance uses. This means you can not only run your coffee machine but blenders, microwaves, laptop chargers, the works! It’s a handy little piece of kit and means you can live your best vanlife and not have to give up any of the creature comforts of home.

using an inverter in vanlife
Using a Pure Sine Wave Inverter means you can power a range of devices that plug into a wall socket

12V Fridge

If you’re planning on spending extended time in your van a 12v fridge is a worthwhile update. Having to constantly buy ice for an esky can be a huge hassle and limit your ability to truly get off grid. A portable, 12v fridge enables you to keep fresh meat, vegetables, milk, and even frozen foods on hand and means you can really level up your camp eats.

12v fridges don’t cost the earth or require complex wiring and installation to get them and running, making them an easy upgrade. There are a few different options when it comes to powering your fridge, through a 12v cigarette lighter socket or via a dual battery system. Our blog post on how to power a portable fridge in your 4WD explains the different ways you can power a fridge on the road.  

vanlife on the beach
A reliable van power system can take you as far as your imagination

For more information on setting up your van power system check out our previous Powering Vanlife blog on how to design the perfect power system or our post on different solar setups for remote camping or to learn more about turning your van into a home, check out Max & Lee’s video on their build. 

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