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10 Things Every Camper Needs For Van Life

van life
Van conversion by @beansofnebula

The Essential Van Life Gear for Camping

Before ditching your house for the mobile lifestyle, make sure you stock up on these essential van life items for your mobile dwelling.

1. Power inverter

A power inverter can convert your van’s DC 12V into 110V AC so you can charge your phone, laptop, or other devices. This device is especially handy if you are living off the grid and van camping without hookups.

Bonus: Battery pack for emergencies

For those unexpected emergencies where you need to charge a device or plug something in, consider investing in a battery pack. You don’t want to end up with a dead van battery and a dead phone in the middle of nowhere.

2. Wool blanket

Stay toasty warm by adding a wool blanket to your mobile dwelling. Wool has the amazing ability to keep you warm even if it’s wet, making it an essential item.

According to Shepard’s Dream, “Wool is self-cleaning and resistant to mold and mildew. It is also naturally fire-resistant.” These reasons make wool a good choice for van living.

Keep in mind that self-cleaning wool and antimicrobial bed sheets are no excuse to not be regularly washing your bedding. Philip Tierno, a professor of pathology from NYU Langone Health says “Washing [your sheets] at least once a week is ideal.”

3. 24-hour gym pass

A 24-hour gym pass is essential for van lifers. According to Outbound Living, 28% of van life respondents use the gym for showering.

4. Stovetop or burner

A must-have product for van life is a stovetop or burner for cooking. There are a couple of different fuel sources to choose from including propane and butane.

van life - cooking
Photo courtesy of @beansofnebula

5. Microfiber towels

Microfiber towels are extra absorbent and fast drying. Because they are fast-absorbing, you will spend less time drying off – bonus if you are showering at the gym or somewhere public! They also take up less space than normal towels so you can fit more per load when you are doing laundry.

6. Laundry detergent sheets

Speaking of laundry, have you seen these laundry detergent sheets? These are amazing not just for van life, but any tiny living set-up. Instead of lugging around a jug or box of laundry detergent, these convenient sheets are easy to store. Plus they won’t spill.

7. Insulation

This essential item is for before you even hit the open road. Make sure when you are building your van conversion you do not skimp on the insulation.

Having high-quality insulation will keep your van cool in the heat and warm in the cold. Mark from Australia goes through the insulation process in-depth in this article.

8. Rivet nut tool

Another essential for your van build is this rivet nut tool. Rebecca @beansofnebula, a now-retired van lifer who did her van conversion on her own, says this tool was a necessity for the conversion.

Basically this tool allows you to attach anything to the sheet metal of your van.

9. Coffee maker

According to statistics, 63% of people age 23 to 39 are coffee drinkers. And according to USA Today, millennials are embracing the new way of life: van life. But that doesn’t mean they are giving up on things they love.

So an essential item to go on the road is a coffee maker. A hassle-free solution to making your cup of coffee is the AeroPress. This device is light-weight, compact, and portable – perfect for van life. Another popular option is the pour-over coffee maker.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CLISNNKhvhr/

10. Window coverings

The last essential item for van life is window coverings. Window coverings will help prevent prying eyes from seeing into your tiny home.

There are a couple of options to choose from (depending on your needs and budget). For a simple solution, try these DIY window coverings, or just throw up some curtains on a simple rope system.


There are 10 great essential items for van life. What are your must-have items? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or share them with the RV community on iRV2 Forums.


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