As passionate van campers ourselves, and a business that’s constantly hearing back from it’s customers about their experiences, we’re well aware of many considerations which anybody considering a stint of van camping will want to take into consideration. On today’s Vanlife blog, we’ll be sharing some of these vanlife tips, and talking about the sort of unexpected things that may surprise people embracing the vanlife. 


1. Space, Space, Space

This one may not be a total shocker, but many underestimate how efficient with your space you must be. In many ways, this is actually a good thing, as it makes you narrow everything down to the essentials. This can be a great opportunity to glimpse how little you actually need in life, and inspire you to downsize the rest of your life, or simply to experience what it’s like to go minimalist for a week or two. You’ll also want to incorporate planning and organization skills, to keep your little space orderly. 

2. Don’t Fear the Rain

While you might normally see a rainy day on a camping trip as something to be avoided or lamented, when you’re van camping, it actually can make a rather pleasant opportunity to stay in and read, play board games, or simply bond with your campmates. Since some models come with awnings or doors that can be opened without letting the rain in, it can make a nice restful time to gaze out onto the wild from your dry comfort, and reflect. 

3. Minimalist Meals Can Be Healthy Too

While you might be tempted to stock up on frozen pizzas or burgers with only your little kitchen for cooking, there are actually many delicious and healthy meals that are reasonably minimal and easy to make in your van, for instance a variety of salads, chili, soups, or pasta dishes. Don’t assume because you have a small space that you have to eat junk food, you can eat quite well on a vanlife diet

4. You Don’t Always Have to Be In the Woods

While van camping mostly involves getting in touch with nature for most people, there are also a variety of situations where you might want to van camp in civilization. For instance, if you are wanting to attend urban events, or music festivals. It doesn’t even have to be one or the other, you can spend part of your nights in the parks, and then camp out in town around events, or even in a WalMart parking lot when it’s convenient after a long drive, for instance if you’re arriving to a campsite after dusk and you don’t want to try to find a campsite. The key concept here is be flexible and open-minded, and of course aware of the legality of your parking. 

5. Getting Sick While Camping is Lame, but Less Lame in a Van

Another surprise that can occur while van camping is that someone can come down with a bug, and while this isn’t the ideal situation, it’s important to know that being sick in a camper van is infinitely better than being sick in a tent, and more exposed to the elements. The van provides a safe space for the sick camper to curl up with a blanket, have access to tissues and other comforts, perhaps watch movies or read, and generally recover. 

6. Don’t Forget the Extras

While you do have to be efficient in your packing for your vanlife adventure, there are a few things that it’s always important to keep stocked to surplus. These include your gas for cooking, water, toilet paper, paper towels, and wet wipes.

7. Planning and Routine

Much like making the best use of your space, making the best use of your time is also key for van camping success. Of course this will depend to some extent on your particular goals and itinerary, but you should at least know a couple of days out what your schedule for each day will look like, and also have a long-term overarching plan for what you hope to accomplish during your trip. The last thing you want is for the end of your trip to arrive, and to feel disappointed that you didn’t see and do all that you had planned, because you weren’t able to stay organized on your van camping trip.