How to Maximize Storage Space in a Camper Van

May 02, 2019 by Amanda Ellis, @WanderRedFox

#Vanlife holds a certain glamour. It also holds the need to store a lot of stuff. Luckily, maximizing space with integrated storage areas can be easy.

Conversion van companies sell furniture options that double as storage systems but tend to be specific to a type of van or truck. Instead, premade, DIY kits offer a more versatile approach while also saving money.

Whether you have a Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit or other type of off-roader, here are some storage ideas to get the most out of your weekend (or longer) living space.


Limited space is the biggest challenge of van living. One “room” serves as kitchen, living area and bedroom. Cabinets and shelving help cut the clutter.

Transform areas above designated countertops and appliances into cabinets. To make more efficient use of the space, install shelves or pull-out drawers within the cabinets.

Take advantage of overhead space, too. High roof vans can accommodate a shelving system above the driver’s cabin area.


Small plastic or fabric bins can greatly improve organization. While it may seem redundant to store smaller bins within larger storage areas like cabinets or shelves, a good organization system doesn’t just manage clutter; it also refines accessibility.

storage bins

Bins are handy for storing smaller items. (Photos: Amazon.com)

One large bin might hold a van’s kitchen cookware, but searching for a single object can become a headache, resulting in unnecessary unpacking and repacking. Divide gear by type and frequency of use for greater efficiency.

Keep everyday cookware in a bin that’s easily accessible and dedicate a separate bin for less used odds and ends. An organized bin system also allows for easy transport, like from van to campfire.


Make the most of all vehicle components for storage. Rear van doors are ideal for hanging shoe racks and tool kits. Shelf and cabinet doors can hide mounted trash cans and towel racks.

Organize pots and pans on pegboards, and replace space-hogging spice racks with spice gripper clips. Towel rod holders work great for holding pot lids on the back of a cupboard. Dish cradles and curtain tension rods help stack dishes and vertically organize other flat kitchen essentials.

dish cradle, spice gripper clips

Dish cradles and spice gripper clips hold items securely. (Photos: Amazon)

Wall-mounted dispensers store dry food and free cupboard and counter space. Snacks and dinner staples like nuts, cereal, rice and pasta are easily reached.


Maximize surface areas for more comfort. Remote workers need desk space, but a table or desk can waste a lot of space. Opt for hidden desks or stow-away tables.

pullout desk for van

A pullout desk can save space and create a handy work area. (Photo: American Van)

A telescoping table base or wall-mounted table saves space. A portable folding table can be set up outside. Install a pull-out desk if you’re a full-time digital nomad.


  • Magnets and bungee cords: These keep items in place during transport. Magnetic racks hold spices and other small items in place. Vertical bungee cords secure items on shelves, and wall-mounted magnetic strips keep items in place.
  • Airtight canisters: Canisters are easier to organize than Tupperware and come in various shapes and sizes. Airtight containers keep food fresher, and lids minimize spills.
  • Under-shelf baskets: These add more storage everywhere.
  • Hanging containers: Take advantage of vertical space by hanging as much as possible. Old coat hangers work as toiletry holders, while hanging shoe organizers make great towel holders. Shower caddies can do double duty as produce racks.
  • Collapsible products: Collapsible items can replace large essentials. A few ideas include a collapsible tea kettle, trash can or laundry basket.
collapsible tea kettle, trash can

Collapsible items like this tea kettle and trash can save space when not in use. (Photos: Amazon)

  • Bed storage: Space under the bed is prime real estate. For floorplans with a bed in the rear, consider slide-out drawers and shelves. Heavy-duty drawer sliders create extra room and can stash entire kitchen setups or bicycles.
  • Double functionality: One of the best ways to save space is to make sure everything serves at least two purposes. An ottoman is ideal for storing knick-knacks while doubling as a seat. The top of appliances can double as surface areas for meal prep, while doors with hooks and racks can serve as closet space for hanging hats, shoes and jackets.

Editor’s note: Trucks.com compiles information about vehicles, gear and gadgets, often through testing and interviews with experts. Our recommendations are made independent of the advertising being sold by our business development team. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.


Subscribe to our mailing lists

Choose one or more topics: