After 6-months and 40,000 miles, I am sitting down to share some thoughts around my time on the road as a solo van lifer as well as sharing some of the items that have made living out of my DIY transit van build a little more functional. Every van lifer or car camper or truck camper will have a different story to tell you. These are some of my thoughts based on my experiences :)
I hope something useful for your own van life traveling pops out for you.
This little broom has kept the van clean for the last 6-months! I am almost always doing a quick sweep out of the entrance area because this little guy makes it so easy.
I also use the broom to brush my feet off at the beach or my skis and boots off after skiing, which really helps keep sand, dirt, and snow outside the van!
I was quite hesitant to bring a welcome mat with me when I first started traveling around in the van. It seemed like it would get in the way and seem silly in the small space inside the van.
Boy was I wrong! This is one of my favorite little unexpected things I use constantly in my van life. Not only does it provide an area on which to step when entering the van (thereby keeping most dirt in one place), it also serves as a little extension of the van at the beach or in a parking lot when I want to stand outside the van barefoot (while changing etc.) but don’t want to stand on the pavement / sand! I love it.
Boy has this been a game-changer…
After the second 115-degree summer crossing of the Arizona desert during which I simply had to accept how sweaty my butt-cheeks were going to be the entire time…I finally tried to find a solution.
And here it is! This seat cover runs off the USB port on the console of your car and has both heating and cool capabilities. Amazing. A must-have in my opinion.
Many of you have seen Foresty Forest use his crockpot to great success in his little van life journey. The idea of being able to cook meat and other foods WHILE DRIVING and therefore both saving the energy used (since my isolator is charging my batteries while I’m driving) AND saving time by cooking while driving convinced me to get my own crockpot!
I got this specific crockpot because it has a rubber edge on the lid, a locking mechanism, and the dimensions allow it to fit in my sink. I have been using it for a few thousand miles now and never had an accident / spill!
I have a heater in the van…but sometimes even having a heater can’t quite take the chill out of the air in the van. That is why having a few of these wool blankets (fully washable and dryable!) around makes all the difference. I love my wool blankets and wouldn’t set out in cold temps without them.
Item: Sirocco Elite II Wall fan for white noise as well as odor redistribution as well as hot body cooling…you get the idea
This little fan…wow, what a difference it has made.
The fan is very energy efficient and quiet. It is set on a gimbal allowing it to blow in nearly any direction I need and the energy use is so low, I often will run it all night knowing it will barely use any power.
Not only does it help with cooling down and moving air around in the van (a good thing to be able to do to avoid odor buildup), it also has become my white noise machine for being able to sleep well in the van when sleeping in parking lots or areas where there is activity outside the van (nearly every place).
Item: Traction recovery tracks
I get stuck fairly often in the van…being able to throw down your own traction recovery tracks and get yourself out of most situations is a must in my opinion. Without these guys, I would have to be finding other people to pull me out or finding other people with their own traction recovery tracks.
Getting stuck is pretty easy when your home weighs 6500 pounds!
Item: Leveling blocks
Sometimes you just can’t find a relatively level place to park the van for the night, in those cases these leveling blocks can make all the difference!
I only use them here and there (preferring to find ways to actually park levelly without revealing to the world that I am sleeping inside the van by setting up the blocks), but when I do use them, they make all the difference!