If the entire van-life factor was a scorching development earlier than the pandemic, worldwide journey bans have actually pushed its reputation to the boiling level. Some name it “van-life” whereas others call it “overlanding,” however by any title, it’s an effective way to see the nation.

However changing a van right into a camper that’s comfy sufficient for months on finish of journey isn’t straightforward. To take action requires the right gear and a well-built conversion. To that finish, listed here are just a few useful van conversion ideas together with recommendations for some standout van-life gear.

A first-person view of a tired adventurer enjoying the view of the sea from a van.

Select the Proper Rig

The standard of your conversion all begins with choosing the proper car. Whereas VW Buses and Sprinter vans have roughly set the usual for van-lifing, these are typically slightly costly choices to correctly convert, drive (i.e. gasoline), and restore. There are many vans, SUVs, and even hatchbacks on the market that may make strong conversion picks.

Select a rig that gives an honest quantity of area, strong reliability, and cheap fuel mileage. The Honda Aspect, for instance, has emerged as a surprisingly frequent van-life car because of its open, boxy area, excellent reliability and efficiency, and aggressive gasoline financial system.

Plan Your Construct First

Ensure you take into account what you need to pack alongside and the place you need to pack it earlier than you begin reducing wooden and screwing it collectively. Get too far into your construct, and also you would possibly notice that you simply’ve neglected area for one thing essential like your fridge or battery.


Talking of your fridge and battery, you’re going to wish energy. A couple of years in the past it was extra difficult to impress a van setup, however moveable solar energy mills have made it more and more straightforward. Jackery’s lineup of moveable energy stations fits a variety of budgets and energy wants, and the brand new Jackery 2000 Professional will pack loads of energy.

After you have energy, you may add in all of the home equipment, lighting, and gadgets you want. A fridge is arguably probably the most important equipment, taking up the function of your endlessly ice-hungry cooler. Dometic makes some superior powered coolers, with the CFX3 becoming most van-lifers’ wants (and area).

Recycle Supplies

Nowadays, lumber could be costly, so as an alternative of shelling out for all-new wooden, go searching for furnishings that may be repurposed. For instance, a desk purchased from a secondhand retailer can simply be reduce to suit a conversion, offering a tabletop and drawer area besides.

A glimpse into van life.
Matthew Micah Wright/Getty Photographs

Cowl Your Seats

While you spend weeks or months on finish within the driver’s seat, spills will occur. Preserve your upholstery clear by protecting it up. There are seat covers obtainable to suit the seats of most car fashions, however should you can’t discover one, take it upon your self to have interaction in a DIY stitching mission.

Connect a Patio…Type of

Even should you handle to assemble a supremely comfy camper, you’re going to need to spend time exterior. Relying on the place you might be, nevertheless, rain, intense solar, or mosquitos would possibly make that inconceivable.

Within the occasion of the primary two, a easy sunshade will get the job achieved. There are a lot of corporations that produce roll-out shades which are straightforward to affix to a roof rack. In case you’re battling mosquitos, pack alongside the Roadhouse Display Tarp from Slumberjack, which attaches to most automobiles to offer each shelter and bug netting.

A couple living the van life.
Eternity in an Prompt/Getty Photographs

Add on the Upgrades

And talking of a roof rack, a strong rack can vastly broaden your car’s capabilities, permitting you to affix cargo carriers, bike or kayak carriers, showers, sunglasses, and extra. OEM racks, nevertheless, are typically too fragile to rely on for any vital load. Yakima makes a number of the finest racks and cargo field choices on the market. Their LockNLoad System, for instance, is extraordinarily heavy-duty.

Don’t Neglect Cleansing

While you’re touring and dwelling out of a van, issues are inclined to get messy. The longer you go, the messier issues get.

Construct your camper in order that it’s straightforward to scrub. Which means you may entry the whole lot, and as a lot as doable is raised off the ground to make it straightforward to brush or vacuum. And get a car vacuum. There are one million of them on the market, and so they’re low cost, take up just about no area, and make it a lot simpler to maintain your van life from dirtying into disarray.

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