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Van Life Ideas: 12 Fail-Proof Essentials To Make Van Living Dreamy

Having a list of van life ideas handy definitely makes the dream feel like it could be a reality one day. 

We love taking road trips with our kids. Being able to show them different parts of the country and spend quality time together is very important to us. And, we’re always trying to put focus on meaningful ways to celebrate and spend time together.

Living clean means living simply and prioritizing experiences over possessions. What’s more simple than living in a van!?

But, how do you begin and what exactly would you need to make the van life feel like the van dream you have in your head? 

I’m so glad you asked!

Here is a list of van life ideas so you know exactly what the essentials are for this simplified way of life. 

Backpack

As you can imagine, space is at a premium in a van. So, the little things that you need access to throughout the day will likely be stowed in a bin or container and shoved away. Having a backpack will help you to keep those little things all in one place but, still easily accessible. Things like chapstick, a book, your hand sanitizer, etc. Plus, if you’re working remotely, you want to have an easy way to carry your laptop and charger to the nearest coffee shop for a few hours of work. 

Toiletry Bag/Packing Cubes

Living in a van means living (mostly) at campgrounds so you have access to water or, doing the whole cowboy shower thing. In either case, you want to be able to have your toiletries and clothing easily accessible. Having a small toiletry bag with your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc just makes things so much easier. Packing cubes are awesome because you can organize your clothes into daytime, nighttime, go to town, etc. You can treat each cube as though it were a dresser drawer. And, don’t forget the shower shoes!!

Cleansing Wipes

Whether you’re in between showers, your feet are filthy, or there is a spill in the van having a good supply of cleansing wipes is definitely going to help you. You could opt for the disposable ones or have a pile of cloth ones with a small container to keep the dirty ones in and then wash at a laundromat when you go into town. 

12-Volt Refrigerator

Yes, you could opt to just have an ice chest. But, then you’ll be dealing with where to buy ice and melted water in your carton of milk. Instead, invest in an energy-efficient refrigerator so you know that all of your food will stay fresh without the added mess of melted ice. This is one of those van life ideas that is optional but, totally worth it. 

Cell Signal Booster

If you work remotely, you will want to have a cell signal booster to ensure you have service. But, outside of that, just knowing that you can call for help or send pictures of your adventures to family and friends from anywhere is worth buying one of these little beauties. Van life ideas like this one aren’t a deal-breaker unless you’re a remote worker and need service everywhere. 

Camping Table

Flat surfaces are at a premium when you’re living in a van but, so is space. So, setting up a folding camp table outside of the van is the perfect solution! You can rest your food on it while you’re watching the sunrise in the morning or, a lantern at night while you’re reading and listening to the crickets

Camping Stove

Eating is a big part of the day-to-day that we take for granted when living in a house or apartment. But, when you living in a van, eating is much more of a production. So, having a small camping stove really helps to make the process easier. Whether it’s eggs in the morning or a burger for dinner, having a small camp stove is definitely essential. 

Collapsable Water Jug

Washing dishes, boil water for noodles, washing hands these are all things that you still want to do when living in a van but, you can’t exactly just turn the faucet on. On the other hand, having a load of water jugs laying around isn’t really an option because of space. So, this collapsible water just is one of the best van life ideas for making things so much easier. 

Camping Chairs

Of course, you need a couple of good collapsible camping chairs to make your outdoor living room more comfy. Sitting outside of the van and taking in the views makes van life all worth it. But, not if you’re sitting on the ground! Collapsible camp chairs are the perfect of van life ideas because they don’t take up much space while you’re traveling and are easy to set up and comfortable to sit in. 

Solar Shower

Unless you’re always staying in campgrounds, which can add to the budget, you won’t have access to a shower every day. So, investing in a solar shower helps to bridge the gap. In the morning, fill the shower and hang it somewhere that there will be plenty of sunshine. Then, when you’re getting things ready for dinner, the water will be warm and you can wash up after your fun day. 

Windshield Sunshade

Not only do these work great for adding privacy to your van home but, they’re also great for blocking the sun to make sure the inside of the van doesn’t get too sweltering hot. Plus, they fold up easily and don’t take up too much space while you’re driving to the next destination. 

Cigarette Lighter Charger

Being able to charge your computer, cell phone, and other portable devices is such a luxury inside the van life. Yes, you can set boundaries on how often you use them and how much screentime you have but, you want them to be working when you need them. So, having a charger you can plug into your cigarette lighter is a lifesaver. 

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