home is where you park it
Chrissie & the tortoise of @brisbanegirlinavan
• My USB powered mini fan. Four days ago we had a day that was 44 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit) - so unbearable.
• The poptop - I can still get into most car parks but don't have to stoop when cooking on the stove and it creates a nice wind flow which cools down the van a lot. But I can pop it down when it's too noisy outside!
• Curtain pockets - come on, these are so damn handy! Especially for glasses wearers like me :)
• The slide out futon bed that I made after taking out the original dinette table. The arrangement of this piece gave me another foot of precious floor space during the day and a luxurious full size bed at night.
• Taking advantage of wasted space behind those thin cabinet panels is a little known hack. It's just a matter of identifying the available space, removing the panels and adding shelves.
• Those hanging shoe organizers made of cloth can be modified to suit so many storage needs. I cut one to the size of my bathroom door to hold all of my grooming and hygiene items. You can also cut them in pocket rows and secure to inside cabinet doors, bottom of beds, or walls for a variety of storage options.
Jesse, Lexi, poe & Patrick Swayze of @renonsense_man
• Dometic fridge - runs off the aux marine battery I installed.
• Pull out cook base for my camp-stove with storage for cookware below.
• Captain's swivel passenger seat. Makes cold or buggy nights (where you are forced to hang out inside) more comfy.
Melanie, David & Alice of @our.dharma.tribe
• Our stock tank/tub. I can't imagine life without it! 2 words: toddler and dogs. Both love to play in dirt!
• Wood stove - It would have been impossible to live full time in the bus in Alberta without a wood stove! It kept us toasty all through winter!
• Propane stove for cooking. While we made the Coleman burners work for a while I really enjoy being able to bake in our stove now. Bring on the muffins! :)
Melissa, Chris & Haley of @outdoors_is_free
• His and Hers countertop heights! Chris is 6'1" and I am 5'3" so we each have a comfortable working/cooking space!
• "Walden-paper" - we decided to use the book Walden to cover our walls. It's wonderful because every line holds inspiration, so you can wake up and make a cup of coffee and read a couple lines as it boils, and start the day off in the right headspace.
• Dual use water for sink/solar shower. We open up the back door and let the sun hit it so we can warm the water and rinse all while using it to wash dishes as needed!
• Wall mounted bike storage for traveling with multiple toys and storage under the bed/bedroom space in the truck so we can go super 4wd mobile when we want!
Mitchell of @mitchellparker
• My van has a proper mattress from a bed so it's not three pieces of foam that join together which I find good as I sleep better.
• Drawers that I have under my bed and at the back the draws at the front are for clothes and other things. I also have draws at the back as I still use it as my work vehicle.
• Wiki camper is the best thing—it helps a lot for finding places to sleep or just see things you didn't know were there.
Melissa & Jude of @pendleton_melissa
• Sunglasses! We had to ditch the sun visors due to mold and haven't found replacements, so sunnies are a must!
• Yoga mat! I always have a yoga mat in the van for impromptu yoga sessions anywhere we go! Doubles as a sunbathing mat.
• Dustpan! For such a small "living room", it sure can get dirty! I keep a dust pan in the van at all times to keep our Pergo clean!
• I also pack an insane amount of pillows and blankets because comfort is key. The more it feels like home the better!
Melissa & Manhar of @teachloveadventure
• Spending some time in Las Vegas or areas with casinos. Casinos don't care at all if you park and are all covered by security.
• Having a cell service that includes unlimited streaming data. My husband and I both love to snuggle in at night and be able to watch a game or a movie or even some other vanlifers on YouTube. Entertainment (and date night) game changer!
• Pine chips! Yes, the kind that you use for bedding for like guinea pigs. We have an emergency bathroom in which we use pine chips and baking soda and there is literally no odor and it is super handy to have while camping. Very eco-friendly!
Reece & Lauren of @travellingbarber
• When building our van we wanted to utilise the space efficiently so decided it would be awesome to have the bed transform, into not only a bed but a corner seat AND dining table!
• As well as being a cupboard at the rear of the van the "door" folds down to also be a kitchen work bench/cooking/food preparation area.
• Lastly a hammock! Every traveller needs one—perfect for those afternoon naps.
Suh, Simo, Zara & Porco Rosso (Red Pork)
of @larca4ruote (Ark with 4 wheels)
• My plants - I love to have flowers and edible plants, I'm from the mountains; I need a little vegetable garden to feel at home.
• The water tank with tap, we found it in the trash after two years searching for it! I need one like this because I can use it without electricity and it's really easy to fill.
• The big windows that we have. All of the front part of the van has windows and.. also a big, big one in the roof, above the kitchen.
Dustin, Noami & Irie of @irietoaurora
• Rooftop cargo box - basically our attic storage. This is where we keep all our hiking gear, camping equipment, anything we don't use everyday in the van.
• Solar shower - we're pretty good at finding showers on the road, but our 5 gallon solar shower bag has saved us on several occasions when we had no other option.
• Fridge - this has been a game changer. The ability to keep food cold (not to mention beer) without the need to add ice every few days is something we could not imagine living without.
Dan & Stormin' Norman of @hawkyhawker
• Foraging guides. For me van living is about the access it grants to wild, open, rural spaces. Getting away from urban areas and reveling in those natural, wild spaces. Keeping costs down, engaging with these beautiful spaces and eating well along the way.
• Carbon Monoxide alarm. This one could literally save your life!
• Find the others! Some of the best memories and times spent in the van have involved camping out with other vandwellers. Old friends and new there's nothing like sharing the experience with others.
Jeff & Lucy of @lifestyleoverluxury
• My heater! This is definitely at the forefront of my mind after this past winter. It was the coldest winter in thirty years here on Vancouver Island and this saved my ass.
• My little indoor burner. Originally I had a grill that rolled out on drawer tracks when you open the back doors. It was awesome in summer when you're camping but when you're in civilization, and/or its minus ten out, indoor cooking is key!
• This may seem silly but my sink! I originally didn't have one and it was such a pain in the ass to stack dirty dishes. I rented a jigsaw and cut a hole for a sink the desk top. I then installed a salad bowl (couldn't find a sink to fit) with a drain I glued in the bottom. MacGyver!
donny of @happylittlehiker
• Couldn't live without my little Aircon - very necessary for when it hits 47 degrees (115°F+) here in summer!
• The sliding doors to the cab/fridge box was a nice little hack that I use more than the actual side door.
• And I need a decent workstation for my app programming on the road :) Desk takes up hardly any room!
Tara, lola & crimson the clitmaster aka poppyseed aka poppy of @teee_kup
• I busted into the dead space in the sliding door and made a storage for jackets using CO beetle kill pine and elastic straps.
• Turned on bed - 12V electric throw blanket spread across the foot of the bed, under the fitted sheet. Turn the bed on before getting in, then slide your footies into a warm heavenly burrito, without overheating your core.
• Car seat for my little dog, Lola. Keeps her crag dust/mud from getting all over the vehicle. Holds her snacks and a water bowl for access during long drives.
• Hitch rack for my Piaggio LT 150 scooter
Anthony & Sedona of @headtotheroots
• Putting in the hardwood floor. It was rug when I bought her and that would have gotten gnarly, fast. I can sweep out all the earth that makes it into the van with ease.
• I have the hobbit-like kitchenette. It used to be the standard Westfalia mini fridge unit, but it was 35 years old, gnarled up, and not spacious. The new kitchenette has plenty of space for my food and camp gear.
• Last thing I value a lot in the van is all the little road treasures that have been gathered and created along the way - like photos, posters, plants, feathers, and what have you. These are the things that make our homes our homes. I love it!
George & VANessa of @van_essa_life
• The hammock - great to have an extra place to layout inside or in the summer. Hangs from the outside of the van.
• The wood burner, - a great little stove from Glastonbury burners. Perfect for keeping the chill out during winter and cooking all sorts on the hot plate.
• Polycarbonate roofing to allow as much light in as possible but retain the warmth at the same time.
Monika & Belugi of @vegfalia
• Hulahoop Rack to hang my clothes/rags to dry and whilst driving because you could adjust it any way around the circle rather than one way from the one pop-up rod.
• Westylounge - the Westfalia seat can not only be used for a seat, but pops up perfectly for westy lounge!
• Yoga Mats - by using the same holes from Westy but installing velcro strip to hold yoga mats in the place where I'd like them to be!
Rob of @this.wild.dream
• Down boooties! The best warm socks on earth. It gets cold, your feet normally get cold first. Down sleeping bags or comforters are the best right? So why not have down sleeping bags for your feet?
• Spray bottle filled with soapy water (Dr Bronner's) for cleaning dishes quickly, efficiently and friendly. A clean van makes a happy van.
• My photo album. I realized last year I didn't have a lot of photos from my 8 years in the Navy. This struck me hard. So much happened in that time and why did I not save or document it better? Now as I travel I am constantly adding photos to this album. The people and places forever captured in an album. Something so simple yet so meaningful.
Go back to Part One...because you just can't get enough.