Van life: 6 Hacks to Make Van Life Awesome

Van life, a term that has become synonymous with freedom, adventure, and a hint of rebellion against the conventional, has experienced a massive surge in popularity over the past couple of decades. Picture this: It’s the early 2000s, and the advent of the Sprinter-style van is beginning to turn heads.

These vans, with their spacious interiors and robust engines, marked a departure from yesteryear’s cramped gas-guzzlers and opened the doors to a new world of travel and living. Fast forward to the present day, and van life has evolved into a full-blown culture.

The interiors of these homes-on-wheels have transformed from basic setups to compact, sophisticated living spaces equipped with modern technology and home comforts.

The Covid pandemic, a period that reshaped our perception of living and working spaces, further fueled the van life movement. Individuals and families, reevaluating their lifestyles amidst lockdowns and remote work, found solace and adventure in the freedom that van life offers. With this shift, there has been an explosion of products and services specifically designed to make van living not just feasible, but comfortable, convenient, and sustainable.

Let’s dive into some game-changing van life products and services that are revolutionizing the way nomads live on the road.

1. Vehicle Cell Phone Signal Booster

  • The weBoost Drive Reach increases your cell signal strength when you’re far from reception. When your home is constantly on the move, staying connected can be a real challenge. weBoost is the best-known name in cell range extenders, and their products are rugged and powerful. Whether you’re a digital nomad meeting deadlines or just wanting to stream your favorite show under the stars, weBoost amplifiers ensure that a weak signal never gets in the way of your van life adventures.

2. Solar Power Systems: The Heart of Off-Grid Living

Harnessing the power of the sun, solar panels have become almost synonymous with van life. These systems not only provide a sustainable source of energy but also ensure that your batteries stay charged, powering everything from your fridge to your laptop. A solar system consists of solar panels and a solar generator, or battery module. The market is crowded with high-quality contenders, but there are some less reputable companies trying to make a buck off vanlifers — so do your research!

Here’s a list of some reputable vanlife solar systems.

  • Goal Zero Yeti Portable Power Station: Goal Zero is perhaps the OG solar system company, having been around since the early days of the vanlife revolution. The Yeti is a great option for powering your electroincs, whether your out overlanding for weeks on end or parked at the in-laws for a long weekend. The Yeti boasts a powerful 6000 watt output, and this system could keep a family juiced up for weeks at a time, assuming the sun is shining. This is a powerful unit that can back up an entire home and power electron-hungry appliances. Recharges from empty in 18-36 hours using the supplied solar panels. Wheeled construction makes this heavy unit portable… -ish.
  • Jackery Solar Generator 1000: This 1000 watt system from Jackery is perfect for a couple out overlanding for a week or even longer. You can charge the battery up in 8 hours using the supplied solar panels, or 5.5 hours using your home AC outlet.
  • Ecoflow Delta2 Solar Generator: This is another 1000 watt system. Ecoflow has been specializing in vanlife solar generators for quite a few years and has a reputation for quality. They also make the Ecoflow Wave, a revolutionary air conditioner for your van, perfect for summer glamping.

The latest models are more efficient, lightweight, and easier to install, making them a crucial component of modern van living.

3. Compact Multi-use Kitchen Gadgets

Space is a premium in van life, making multi-use kitchen gadgets an absolute must. Imagine a device that can be a pressure cooker, slow cooker, and even a yogurt maker, all in one. These kitchen heroes not only save space but also reduce the hassle of cooking in a confined area, making meal prep a breeze and more enjoyable.

4. Portable Water Filters and Purifiers

Access to clean water is a fundamental need, and for van lifers, portable water filters and purifiers are a game changer. These systems range from simple filtration bottles to more complex setups that can purify water from almost any source, ensuring you always have access to safe, clean drinking water.

5. Space-saving Furniture and Storage Solutions

Innovations in furniture and storage solutions have been a boon for van lifers. Convertible furniture that serves multiple purposes, like a sofa that turns into a bed or a table, maximizes the limited space. Clever storage solutions, such as under-bed compartments or overhead bins, keep your living area uncluttered and organized.

  • Fortem makes a storage organizer that is perfect for cars or trucks… or your van! Store tools, spare water, first aid supplies, or sports equipment in a handy spot to keep it from rolling around in your rig. This organizer could also double as a makeshift kitchen pantry.
  • The Uleeka car backseat organizer attaches to the back of your seat, a great place to store essentials like toiletries, sunblock, dog treats, and snacks for the road.

6. Advanced Security Systems

Safety is paramount, and advanced security systems tailored for vans are now more accessible. From GPS trackers to sophisticated alarm systems, these technologies provide peace of mind, whether you’re in the van or out exploring.

  • SimpliSafe 5 Piece Wireless Home Security System: This security system costs under $100 and can be powered by your van’s solar-powered battery system. SimpliSafe offers optional 24/7 monitoring, keeping you safe wherever you happen to park.
  • Rewire DB2 Vehicle GPS Tracker for Cars: What would happen if someone made off with your home on wheels? Track your vehicle wherever it happens to be using this easily concealed GPS tracker, which you can track using your phone.

Charting Your Van Life Journey: Resources to Explore

Embarking on a van life adventure can be as daunting as it is exciting. Thankfully, a wealth of online resources is available to guide you on this journey. Here’s a list to get you started:

  1. VanLife Forum: A community-driven platform where you can share experiences, ask questions, and get advice from fellow van lifers.
  2. YouTube Channels: Numerous vloggers document their van life adventures, offering practical tips and inspiration.
  3. Blogs and eBooks: From ‘how-tos’ to travel diaries, these written resources are invaluable for both newbies and seasoned van dwellers.
  4. The r/Vanlife subgroup on Reddit is filled with valuable advice and tips from vanlifers who have been there and done that.
  5. Social Media Groups: Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are filled with van life communities where you can connect with like-minded individuals.
  6. Van Life Meetups and Conventions: These events are fantastic for networking, learning from experts, and seeing the latest van life innovations.
  7. Hobotech is a quirky YouTube channel and blog site that dives into the weeks of boondocking, overlanding power systems, and RV tips and tricks
  8. Faroutride is a couple of Quebecois who have mastered the art of vanlife and have shared their experience, with detailed how-to guides and parts lists for creating your van from the ground up.
  9. Ourkaravan is another example of a vanlifer who has done it themselves and is happy to share their experience. Filled with detailed how-to info for the DIY vanlife enthusiast.

In conclusion, van life technology has not only made this lifestyle more attainable but also more enjoyable. From staying connected with weBoost to ensuring a good night’s sleep with compact bedding, these advancements are making the road less traveled a home for many.

As you embark on or continue your van life journey, remember that the road is not just a path to new destinations, but a gateway to a new way of living. So buckle up, the adventure awaits!

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