Is the New Van Life for You?

Are you ready for the middle ground between tent camping and a full blown RV?



I remember too well a camping misadventure at a local lake one weekend many moons ago. The day had been perfect, warm and sunny, but when night fell, so did the rain. We were in a nice family sized tent with air mattresses. It was a dry peaceful evening. But somehow during that day I must have enraged the camping gods because we were suddenly caught in a deluge of Biblical proportions. After about fifteen minutes of the onslaught the once dry floor of our tent had become a class three raging rapid and the six inch air mattress only detoured the water for a a short time. After a mad dash to the parking area, the rest of the night was spent inside our dry van. Did I mention that was my last tent camping trip?

I recently saw a converted camper van for sale and this got me thinking, given the lady’s love for travel and adventure, maybe I should look into one. I wondered “
Is the camper van life for me?”

Here are the 5 reasons you should consider a camper van

1. They are relatively cheap.

You don’t have to start with an $80,000 camper. (That is cheap)

If you are handy there are hundreds of vans available and on the market almost everywhere in America. A retired delivery van will suffice in most cases and one without windows may be a better choice than a custom for privacy and security. This is a great way to join the van life and you can customize it to you specific needs.

You can start with just your tent camping supplies and a plain old van. You can rent or borrow one if you are not like a huge portion of Americans that don’t have one sitting in your drive. Just try it out. The close quarters are not for some but the low cost, ability to customize and drivability are all positive trade-offs and personally, having driven all manor of busses and trucks, a small or even an extended van is much easier to maneuver both in traffic and the camp grounds than the larger and more expensive counterparts. Plus you can use the van when you are not camping in it unlike a dedicated motor home that you can only use to take up 4 parking spaces in you yard or a paid storage facility.

Cannon Elph Charger

Lost Your Elph Charger?

This one works with most Cannon Elph Cameras and comes with 2 spare batteries!

2. Go Almost Anywhere

Since a van is relatively small, you can park in a lot places a motorhome can’t. Most public parking is available but be sure to follow the rules. Aside from parking in a friends driveway or a camp ground, you also can park street-side in most areas. (although a non-descript van in a residential neighborhood might raise a few eyebrows, most public parking is ok unless there is signage saying no. You can also share longtime stopover favorite of the motorhome crowd such as rest stops and Walmart parking lots. Furthermore, Walmart has most of your resupplies, a lighted parking lot and most are police patrolled. For a list of these available parking locations and reviews, you might check out ALLSTAYS.COM While the free section of this site is pretty good you will have to upgrade to get the full story on most locations. I would love some feedback on which sites you use while traveling.

3. Safer Than Tents

Ok, most people would never think of this, but I have a particular phobia. Though the likelihood of being eaten by a bear is low, it is never zero. With man encroaching on wildlife habitats we are more often confronted with hungry predators and more often the possibility of attack, especially at night, is growing. I feel much safer buttoned up in metal than lightly wrapped in nylon. Also food locked up in a vehicle is less likely to bring the critters because the smell of yummy human food and trash is somewhat muffled.

Mountain Directory Free Demo

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Mountain Driving Directory

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Since most road atlases do not include this specific data, many motorhomers will find one or both of these books useful in taking the surprises out of driving in the mountains.” Sherry McBride, Senior Managing Editor, Motorhome.

4. Dry

Let’s go back to that night of the flood. Yes, your van is water proof. That is a major plus in my book! Once you bed down the nasty weather short of tornados is pretty much excluded from joining you. With water shedding top vents and small ac units and other gadgets to stave off those sultry nights, Van life, should be comfy and safe.

Battery Operated Portable Air Conditioner Evaporative Air Cooler

  • Auto Oscillation: Adjustable 60/120 Degree Oscillation, support rotation from Left to Right like a desk fan, circulating air while enlarge cooling area up to 25 square ft, cooling your surrounding evenly, not just in only one direction
  • Rechargeable Battery and USB Charging: air cooler with Built-in 5000 mah battery, runs up to 9 hours, it also supports USB charging like via a power bank, you can place it anywhere: bedroom, office, nightstand, counter or even take it out for camping…no matter if there’s power source or not
  • 700ml Water Reservoir: evaporative cooler with Top-fill Water tank, easy to add water from the top and check the capacity from the bottom, if full-filled, lasts a whole night if set at low speed, so you dont need to add water repeatedly to keep night cool
Instant Cool down at max 47℉/8℃: Enhanced Powerful Motor sprays cold breeze within seconds, you can feel the cool moist air within 5ft, 3 wind speeds and 2 modes misting

5. Winter Camping Now Available

With a Camper Van instead of a tent, you camping season stretched to an all new level. With the addition of a portable camper heater, you can stay warn and cozy in any weather. Let’s be real, with a sleeping bag most van camping is bearable down to freezing. But to make it really comfortable, the addition of some heating device is preferred. When the thermometer drops below a certain point, camping loses it’s appeal for me. There are several options on the market to make up the temperature difference and with many camp grounds offering electricity, staying warm is easy as pie. Just pull up and run the correct extension cord to the outlet and your van has become a home away from home!

Here is a great walkthrough of the perfect Van Life Van with some travel hacks thrown in for good measure. Ready for a road trip?

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