The Best Van Life Essentials to keep you happy and healthy on the road!
Whether you’re traveling in your van full time or just going out for a weekend here and there, we have some tips on the best van life essentials that will help you Find Your Outside™.
Everyone has different preferences for what they deem as must-have van life items. The only truly required essentials for van life are the desire to explore and stay safe along the way! With that in mind, some additional items listed below will help you get out on the road safely and comfortably.
We use our phones for nearly everything these days. If you thought you relied on your phone before, you’ll quickly learn that when living van life, your phone is your lifeline and a must have van life essential. If you have one quality piece of electronics and technology, it should be your phone. We suggest substantial memory storage so you can download offline maps and have plenty of room for photos and video when you’re between Wi-Fi for uploading or transferring to an external hard drive.
There are many helpful apps available for van lifers. Check out our blog post on the 10 Best Van Life Apps for Van Life, and be sure to download them before you hit the road!
We are fans of WhereSafe, a GPS tracking system you can mount to your vehicle. It’s great for sharing your location safely with friends or family and a great safety precaution in case your vehicle is ever stolen.
If you’re not ready to splurge on a GPS tracker for your vehicle, at least be sure to have an emergency contact who knows your general plans. Just like when you go for a day hike or backpacking trip, you should always tell someone where you are going and your general plans. Some people choose to share their Google location with select contacts.
Exploring typically means stumbling across some roads that are less than ideal to drive on. Always keep some basic recovery tools on board with you, just in case you need help in an area where no one else is around.
We highly suggest investing in roadside assistance for that extra peace of mind. Double-check that the service you select will assist your vehicle. We’ve heard horror stories about someone calling roadside assistance only to find the plan they chose doesn’t cover RVs. We’re big fans of Roamly, since they offer insurance for van conversions, including many DIY builds, and offer roadside assistance with their policies. AAA is probably the most popular option if you only need roadside assistance.
Depending on where you plan to explore, a cell signal booster can help you when you need it most. Small boosters simply stick to the top of your vehicle with a magnet when in use, or you can purchase a more robust version that you mount permanently to your RV. WeBoost is one of the most popular brands with various products to meet your needs.
Remember that a cell signal booster won’t give you cell service where there is none, but it can make a poor, unusable signal strong enough to text or make calls with.
Always carry a basic first aid kit with you. You can pick up a pre-made kit at any pharmacy or outdoor recreation store. If you prefer a DIY method, here’s a great list of suggested items to get you started! Ensure sunscreen and bug spray are in your kit for preventative measures.
A flashlight is a no-brainer for any vehicle, but you’ll be surprised how often you will use one while living van life. Even during daytime hours, you’ll be using one to peer into small cabinets or containers looking for that long-lost item you know you packed somewhere. A headlamp is great for when you’ve hiked out to the perfect sunset spot and then walk back to camp after dark.
One absolute camper van essential is cookware. If you plan on cooking most of your meals in your van, splurge on the higher quality cookware and a good camp stove. If you’re more of a morning coffee and granola bar kind of traveler, a simple Jetboil might meet your needs.
When you’re out on the road long-term, there will be days you’re in your van all day. Either the weather turned unexpectedly, or you just need a break from that all-day adventure the day prior. Your “day at home” will be much more enjoyable if you have a fun hobby to keep you busy. These van-dwelling essentials could be as simple as coloring books and a kindle with books downloaded ahead of time. Maybe you make jewelry or paint.
If you have a smaller van and don’t want to be cramped up all day, there are many types of coworking spaces nationwide that you can take advantage of. From pottery studios to garages, you can rent about any space to meet your needs. You’ll just have to do a little Google searching in whatever area you’re in to see what’s available.
Emphasis on comfortable. You won’t regret it this van life essential. You’ll spend hours in it around a campfire, watching sunsets, drinking coffee, and visiting with new friends you met on the road. A comfortable camp chair is a must-have item for van life.
What are your essentials for van living? We love hearing about products and tools that make living van life easier and more fun. Tag us at @explorevanx on Instagram with your must-have van life items, and we’ll reshare your post! Now get out there and Find Your Outside!™