The difference between an ok van life experience and an awesome van life experience comes down to having the right gear and access to the best knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you live in your van full-time, use it for long getaways, or do short day trips when you have a chance to get away, loading your van up with the best accessories takes your experience to the next level.
From modular deck panels and van awnings to innovative ways to mount solar panels and store extra gear, Orion Van Gear has the best roof rack accessories to make your van life even more thrilling for 2023. This post gives you details on the top five accessories that you can easily attach to your van roof rack in 2023 to maximize your van experience.
1. Modular Roof Deck Panels
One of the easiest upgrades to your roof rack is installing modular deck panels. Orion’s deck panels for Sprinter vans offer a variety of panel sizes to allow you to create a roof deck regardless of your current roof configuration. With a modular design and simple installation, you can easily work around air conditioning units, fans, and solar panels so you can customize your van roof to include a full or partial deck.
Having a roof deck doubles your living space. Just like a deck is an extension for a permanent home, a van roof deck gives you another place to casually hang out, take in the views at a better elevation, or get some work done. To get the most out of van life, you have to use every square foot possible, and the roof is no exception. Orion's modular roof deck panels are an easy way to create extra living and storage space integrated into your van that you’ll love to use often. Each panel standard with L track compatible mounting systems and all hardware. See the picture below for a Sprinter 144 with a Stealth+ Roof Rack outfitted with 5 different panel sizes around a front Maxxfan and rear AC Unit.
2. Fiamma F45s Awnings
When the weather is a bit wet or the sun makes relaxing outside your van a bit uncomfortable, an awning makes all the difference. Just like having a roof deck adds to your van’s living space, an awning can do the same as well as provide much-needed shade and protection from the elements. Fiamma F45s awnings easily attach to your van roof rack and give you an easy way to set up some shade or a protected outdoor space.
The Fiamma F45s awning isn’t your typical awning either. You can be confident that it will close perfectly every time and offer both sturdy as well as safe operation. With a low profile, the awning takes up very little space when not in use but offers that much-needed extra space outside of your van when deployed. If you think an awning is a luxury, remember that as much as you enjoy living or traveling in your van, a huge part of van life is enjoying life outside, too. When you can double your living space simply by adding a highly functional awning, you can see how an awning is vital for van life.
3. Side Ladder
Just like an awning, a side ladder is a must-have accessory no matter how much or little you use your van. Whether you have to clean solar panels, pack or unpack gear from your roof, or simply want to utilize that roof deck you just installed, a side ladder gives you a safe, quick way to reach your roof.
Whether you have a Promaster or Sprinter van, Orion has a side ladder that can work for your needs. From ladders that work with flares, ladders that can be positioned in a variety of spots, and ladders that maximize space by curving around a wheel well, you can find the perfect ladder for your van. Lightweight and functional, these ladders install easily to your van roof rack, giving you safe and easy access to your roof.
4. Flush Mounted Solar Panels
Even if you want to disconnect from the craziness of life through your van, everybody has gadgets to power that they just can’t live without, and you also probably spend plenty of time wondering what state of charge your batteries are in. So whether you want to be off-grid or need to stay connected for work, van solar panels give you the flexibility to live life the way you want to.
If you’re wondering whether solar panels are worth getting, consider how renewable energy through the use of solar panels can liberate your van life. First, once you install your solar panels, you have a reliable power source you can trust. From your fridge to your lights to your laptop, you have a consistent power supply that requires little maintenance aside from cleaning. Plus, you don’t have to worry about finding or paying for shore power when camping, which means you can extend your camping possibilities to simple boondocking and off-grid locations.
The flush-mount solar panels from Orion not only mount simply to your rack’s crossbars with included hardware but they also don’t interfere with the vans aerodynamics. You can customize your configuration to best fit your electricity needs and match them with roof deck panels for a fully flush roof profile.
5. Surf Poles and Hooks
You don’t have to live near a body of water to understand how fun surfing or paddle boarding can be. In fact, paddleboarding has become a huge trend for campers and weekend warriors who can easily access a body of water for touring or sport. But storing and transporting your board can be a headache if you don’t have the right equipment.
Don’t worry, Orion has you covered. If you already have a ladder connected to your roof rack you can use a set of universal surf hooks and one board pole to conveniently carry your board with you wherever you travel. If you don’t have a side ladder, just grab an extra board pole, which can be attached to your roof rack, and head out to surf or paddle board all you like, confident that your board is securely stowed away. We recommend lockable tie down straps for securing your boards to the hooks. When not in use Orion’s universal surf hooks easily pivot 90 degrees so they don’t stick out.
Regardless of how you live your van life, these top five van roof rack accessories easily install directly into your van roof rack to make your van life an even greater experience throughout 2023. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out the products Orion Van Gear has to offer and start upgrading your van life before you hit the road this year.