Tips for becoming a vanlifer, from a veteran van lifer.
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
10 tips for new or perspective vanlifers. Ive been vanning for over two and half years. I complied a list of the 10 best ways to enhance your #vanlife
10. Do it cheap.
The point of this is to travel and adventure cheaply. If you're thinking about dropping 80k on a van. you're a moron. You are, at the most respectable; a yuppie jumping in a fad. If you have $80k to drop on a leisure vehicle, you can take 40 $2,000 vacations. That's a nice vacation every year for 40 years. In a hotel, with a toilet, and shower. I see so many used sprinters for sale that are beautifully converted, low miles, with all the standard van lifer options. Being posted by people that spent a year in it. Or had it for a year and took it on 2 trips. Don’t be one of those people. If you're just starting out. Do it as cheaply as possible. You don't even know what kind of vanner you are yet. Instead of fully kitting out your rig before you even hit the road. take time to build it as you need it. All you really need to get going, in my opinion are. Something to sleep on. An ice chest, a camp stove, and a tank of gas. Every dollar you spend on comforts is a dollar you lose on gasoline, or beer, or tacos. Instead of solar powered t.v’s and memory foam mattresses, just chuck a used futon in the back of van, a lantern, and some books.
9. Less is more.
Similar to money, space. The more room you have occupied in your rig, with whatever comforts or adventure gear you have, the less living space you have. Which shouldn't actually matter all that much since you're supposed to spend less time in the rig and more time adventuring. Which is another reason to not spend a lot of money on your rig. You're not actually supposed to be in it!
8. Get your poop situation sorted out.
This is probably the worst part about the lifestyle. Know where to go for proper throne time. Every time I decide to stay in an area for a while. I get the toilet situation squared away. I know proximity, times of availability, general high traffic times etc. I can give you a news traffic and weather report on any toilet within range. It sounds like a weird obsession, but I’ve been a full time vanner for quite some time now. Sitting on the throne at least once a day everyday. Access to good toilets makes this lifestyle much more enjoyable.
7. Cheap gas.
Get your go fluid cheap as possible. Gas is expensive. Vans are guzzlers. If you have three quarters of a tank, but see a sign for cheap gas. get a quarter tank of the cheaper stuff. I’m in L.A. as I'm writing this. There are stations selling gas for over a dollar difference in price, right around the corner from each other. Be smart.
6. Libraries > cafes.
They have more reliable wi-fi, less noise, more seats. if you need to stop in and check emails and charge up. Hit the library.
5. Security/Police are your friend.
We all dread that 3am knock from the fuzz, running our backgrounds, asking us who/what/where/why in the cold in the middle of the night. Trust me, if someone comes knocking at 3 am, you want it to be security or the police. Similarly, if you're not sure where to sleep, just ask. Ive actually gotten permission to sleep places they normally don’t let people sleep just because I went right up and asked. Its better to find out where you can sleep at 8pm then it is to find out where you can't sleep at 3 am.
4. Cast iron pan!
These things are awesome. There will soon be a post dedicated to them. If you see yourself cooking a lot. get one of these. their practically indestructible. Once you get the hang of using one, it will be your favorite pan.
3. beef is safer than chicken.
It seems like grabbing some chicken breast to throw the on the grill will be simple and easy. but when you’re far out there, with no running water, washing everything the chicken touched, and everything you touched after you touched the chicken becomes…risky. Did you touch that knife? how about the salt shaker? Door handle? Did I wash the top of the water jug that I used to wash the salmonella off of everything in the first place? Beef is actually safe to eat raw, and is served so as a delicacy. You're probably more likely to taint your beef with dirty utensils than the other way around.
2. Don't let your headlights get you into a situation your taillights can't get you out of.
1. If you're going to pee in jug, DO NOT plug the hole of that jug with your member. The jug you are peeing into is full of air. That air needs to exit the jug in order for your pee to enter it. If you completely plug that hole, that air will not exit, that pee will not enter. and you will receive a physics lesson. I call this, “the golden lesson.”