The Ultimate Guide to Live The Best Van Life in the US

Published On: June 16, 2016Last Updated: September 12, 2023

Vanlife is innately minimalistic, as people there live in insanely small spaces. It is a new term for home + travel.

Vanlife essentially means living a life in a van. It’s like a mobile home you take everywhere with you. The freedom, ease, and adventure that come with the vanlife is the key factor that keeps it in trend for many years.

So, it is best suited for those who want a carefree, adventurous, and basic lifestyle. Plus, it is for the ones who want to explore and experience the world with just a backpack and some necessary stuff. Below is the ultimate guide to live the best solo van life in the US.

How to Choose The Best Car For a Comfortable VanLife?

Best Car For a Comfortable Vanlife

Selecting the right car for your van life journey is crucial to ensure comfort, reliability, and suitability for your needs. Whether you’re converting a vehicle into a camper van or purchasing a pre-converted one, this guide will provide you with essential factors to consider when choosing the best car for a comfortable van life experience.

1. Choosing The Right Van

There are many factors at play when choosing the right camping car or van. For example, budget travel plans, requirements, and lifestyle. So it is a wise thing to give it some thought before buying. Not every car is suitable for camping or living a van life. Here are some factors you should consider to choose the best cars to live in.

  • First, decide for what purpose you need the van. Do you love off-roading, or do you want a safari lifestyle? It will determine what specs you need in your car.
  • Think about how big you want your living space, storage space, and kitchen to be, and determine what car or van you need.
  • Budget is the most important factor.
  • Investigate the insurance prices associated with various van types. Certain vans may have higher insurance rates because of considerations like size, value, or customizations.

2. Van Conversion Essentials

Van Conversion Essentials

Van innately is not habitable. To make it feel like home, you would need the following essentials.

  • You can get a platform bed or consider installing a convertible bed/seat for comfortable bedding. To sleep well, pick a nice mattress or cushion.
  • You will need effective storage solutions. For that, use closets, shelves, and boxes to make the most of your storage space. Use vertical room, storage under the bed, and other clever ways to store things to make the most of the space you have. It is the whole point and thrill of living in a van.
  • Install a heating and cooling system that works well for the environment you will be in. You can choose from diesel, gas, portable electric, and air fans.
  • Other utilities like water supply, safety, security, lighting, and electrical system also make or break your dream of living an adventurous van life. So, it is better to add the necessary equipment to your campervan.

3. Necessary Equipment To Build a VanLife Journey

Necessary Equipment To Build a VanLife Journey

Before you embark on your vanlife journey, ensure it has all the vanlife essentials and equipment for a comfortable and functional living space.

Here’s a checklist of such mandatory stuff for you to work on so you can enjoy your carefree, nomadic life to the fullest.

  • Whether it’s for washing, cooking, cleaning, or personal hygiene, you need a proper van life water system. Consider installing a sink with a portable water container or storage system so you don’t run out of this basic necessity.
  • You must have charging devices and running appliances in your mobile vehicle. A reliable power source for their constant energy supply is crucial to avoid ruining the wholesome experience. Installing a solar panel system is the best way, as it’s both sustainable and convenient.
  • Safety and privacy are the two major concerns for people living on the road. Be careful while investing in your vehicle, and don’t forget to inspect the door and any other entry point for your satisfaction. Consider window coverings for privacy. You should also have fire extinguishers and a first aid kit to handle and overcome emergencies.

4. Some Must-Have Tools Essentials For a Van Life Journey

Whatever place you are going to live a fulfilling van life, there are some necessary tools you should have in your backpack.

  • Car emergency kit
  • GPS tracker
  • Extra lights
  • Batteries, chargers, and power banks
  • Waterproof gadgets like smartwatches, drones, and phones
  • Portable kitchenware like coolers, coffee makers, boilers, etc.
  • Foldable chairs and tables
  • Fire extinguishers

5. Understanding Van Life Etiquette and Sustainability

Understanding Van Life Etiquette and Sustainability

Vanlife is all about fun, exploration, and adventure until you are following the etiquette. Though many van lifers fantasize about living with freedom and adopting this lifestyle for lack of household responsibilities, you still have some towards nature and the land you’re living in.

Be mindful of your practices as they impact the local communities and environment. Remember that it’s not always about you.

  • ‘Leave no trace’ should be every van lifer’s foremost principle. Before moving on to your next destination, pick up all the trash from your camping site. Trash, organic waste, and wastewater should be properly disposed of.
  • Showing respect to the local communities is an attribute of a responsible van lifer. Don’t forget to check if they allow camping or not. Seek permission for camping and parking. Being familiar with the local laws and regulations is also important to avoid getting into unnecessary trouble.
  • Adapt to a van lifestyle that reduces the environmental footprint. You can do so by minimizing energy consumption to save energy resources and opt for reusable products. This considerate approach will make your van life experience more sustainable, and it will save money as well.

6. Navigating Challenges and Embracing the Lifestyle

Vanlife has its unique perks and challenges that can transform your adventurous trip and experience. Exploring diverse landscapes and enjoying nature closely also throws some challenges your way.

Here’s how you can prepare for the possible challenges.

  • When you’re looking for your travel destination, do proper research about the availability of campsites, RV Parks, or any other designated areas for camping. Make yourself well-informed of the local laws, avoid parking in or visiting restricted areas, and cooperate with the local authorities.
  • Consider weather changes during packing and prepare yourself for severe weather conditions. Sufficient ventilation, proper insulation, and investment in other heating or cooling systems make a huge difference.
  • Personal safety devices such as alarms, pocket knives, flashlights, and an emergency roadside kit must be accessible at all times.
  • While van life demands us to cut down expenses, it also presents numerous opportunities to earn money online while traveling with freelancing and remote jobs. It will support your road trips and fulfill your dreams of living a sustainable van life.

Final Words

For the people who want the freedom to work, stay and eat wherever they want in the world, van life is the best option for them. It has all these perks that will give them the sparky adventurous life that they want. But remember that every lifestyle has some challenges and struggles. This ultimate guide to living the best vanlife in the US will help you overcome them skillfully without getting worried.

About the Author: Waqar Tariq

Waqar (nick name is Vicky) loves to travel, explore new places and like to meet new people around the world. Full time journalist, blogger and writer.

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