Van Life: A Complete Guide to Living in a Van full-time 2023

van life essentials 2023

In recent years, more and more people are choosing to leave behind the traditional nine-to-five lifestyle and opt for a life on the road. This lifestyle, known as van life, involves living in a van and traveling around the country. If you’re considering taking the plunge and embracing the van life, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started.

What Is Van Life?

Van life is a lifestyle choice that has been growing in popularity over the past decade. It involves living in a van, usually a converted camper van or van conversion, and travelling around the country. It’s a great way to explore the world, see new places, and experience new cultures. It’s also a great way to save money on rent and living expenses, as you’ll only need to pay for fuel and food.

Van Life pros and cons


Low cost of living: vans can be much cheaper to live in compared to renting or owning a home

Mobility: vans allow you to easily travel and explore different areas

Simplicity: van life can simplify your possessions and lifestyle

Freedom: vans offer a sense of freedom and independence


Lack of privacy: vans can be small and may not offer much privacy

Limited space: vans have limited space for storage and living

Difficult in inclement weather: vans can be uncomfortable in extreme weather conditions

Limited amenities: vans may not have all the amenities of a traditional home, such as a full kitchen or bathroom

Legal issues: living in a van full-time may not be legal in some areas, or may require you to constantly move to different locations.

Getting Started

If you’re considering the van life, the first step is to decide which type of van you want to live in. You can either buy a pre-owned camper van or build your own van conversion. If you choose to build your own, you’ll need to consider factors such as insulation, electricity, and storage.

Once you’ve chosen your van, you’ll need to outfit it with the essentials. You’ll need basic furniture, such as a bed, table, and chairs, as well as storage for your belongings. You may also want to invest in solar panels for electricity, and a cooking area.

Living in a Van

van life-How to pitch a tent on the roof of a car?

Living in a van is not as simple as it seems. You’ll need to be very organized and disciplined in order to make the most of your space. You’ll also need to be prepared for the fact that you won’t have access to many of the everyday amenities that you’re used to. If you're planning a van trip, you're probably looking forward to a great time with family and friends. But before you can enjoy your time on the road, there are some important things you'll need to take care of. From packing essentials to making sure your vehicle is in good condition, here are some tips to help you prepare for your van trip.

Here are the top 10 van-life essentials:

1: Sleeping accommodations: A comfortable bed or sleeping setup is essential for a good night's sleep. This could include a foam mattress, sleeping bag, or inflatable mattress. Pillows and blankets will make sure you stay warm and comfortable while you sleep. 

2: Cooking supplies: You will need a way to prepare meals while on the road. This could include a stove, portable grill, or microwave, as well as pots, pans, utensils, and dishes.

3: Storage: Adequate storage space is important for keeping your van organized and clutter-free. This could include storage bins, drawers, and shelving.

4: Clothing and personal items: Don't forget to bring along clothes for all seasons, as well as toiletries and personal grooming items.

5: Weather protection: It's a good idea to have items on hand to protect you from the elements, such as rain gear, warm blankets, and sunscreen.

6: First aid kit: A basic first aid kit is a must-have for any van trip. Make sure you have a first aid kit in case of an emergency.

first-aid kits

 A basic first aid kit should include the following items:

  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Gauze pads and rolls
  • Medical tape
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Antiseptic wipes or spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Anti-inflammatory medication, such as aspirin
  • Insect bite relief medication
  • Antihistamines
  • Sterile eye wash
  • Instant cold pack
  • Latex-free gloves
  • CPR breathing barrier (such as a face shield)

You may also want to include any prescription medications that you or anyone in your group is currently taking. It's also a good idea to familiarize yourself with basic first aid techniques before embarking on your van life journey.

7: Emergency supplies: Emergency supplies are items that you might need in the event of an emergency or unexpected situation. Here are some examples of items that you might want to include in your emergency supply kit:

  • Solar power station: A portable generator with solar panel can help you keep your electronics charged while living off the grid. Solar power stations can be a useful addition to a van, especially if you plan on living in the van or using it for extended periods of time without access to electrical hookups. Solar power stations allow you to generate your own electricity using the sun's energy, which can be used to power various electrical devices in your van, such as lights, appliances, and charging devices.
  •  portable power station for long trip van life
  • Tool Kit: Having a tool kit will come in handy if you need to make repairs.
  • Flashlight: Having a few flashlights will come in handy when you’re out camping.
  • Emergency whistle
  • Portable radio
  • Multi-purpose tool (such as a Swiss Army knife)
  • Rope or paracord
  • Emergency blanket
  • Firestarter (such as matches or a firestarter tool)
  • Water purification tablets or portable water filter
  • Non-perishable food (such as granola bars or dried fruit)
  • Cash (in small denominations)
  • Personal identification documents (such as a driver's license or passport)

It's a good idea to customize your emergency supply kit based on your specific needs and the types of emergencies that are most likely to occur in your area.

Maps/Navigation: A GPS device or map can help you find your way to your destination.

8: Water containers: Make sure you have enough containers to hold clean drinking water while on the road. Having plenty of water jugs will make sure you stay hydrated.

9: Personal protection: Depending on your destination, you may want to bring along personal protection items such as pepper spray or a personal alarm.

10: Navigation/map: A GPS device or map can help you find your way to your destination.(Make sure you have up-to-date maps of the area.)

24 Van-life things to be prepared for staying comfortable while living in a van full-time:

Living in a van full-time can be a freeing and rewarding experience. However, it can also be difficult if you’re unprepared. In order to make sure that you stay comfortable while living in your van, there are certain items you should have. Here are 24 van-life things to make sure you’re set up for success.

1.Refrigerator: If you’re planning on eating perishable food, you’ll need a refrigerator.

2. Shower Supplies: Make sure you have a shower bag with soap and shampoo.

3. Toilet Paper: Stock up on toilet paper so you don’t have to worry about running out.

4. Trash Bags: Trash bags are essential for staying clean and organized.

5. Fire Extinguisher: A fire extinguisher is essential for safety.

6. Portable Chargers: Portable chargers are great for keeping your devices powered.

7. Tent: Invest in a tent for extra sleeping space.

8. Sleeping Bag: A sleeping bag is essential for staying warm and comfortable.

9.CameraCapture all of your adventures with a camera.

10. Camp Chair: Invest in a camp chair for extra seating.

11. Camp Table: A camp table is great for meals and other activities.

12. Camp Lantern: A camp lantern is essential for lighting up the night.

13. Towels: Don’t forget to pack a few towels for cleaning up.

14. Bug Spray: Bug spray is essential for keeping pesky insects away.

15. Sunscreen: Sunscreen is important for protecting your skin.

16. Hat: Don’t forget to pack a hat for extra protection from the sun.

17. Sunglasses: Sunglasses are great for keeping the sun out of your eyes.

18. Entertainment: Pack some entertainment for those long days in the van. Books, Outdoor Games..

19. Binoculars: Bring binoculars for exploring the area in more detail.

20. Ham Radio: A ham radio is great for keeping in touch with people.

21. Laptop: Invest in a laptop for work and entertainment.

22. Extra Cell Phone: Make sure you have an extra cell phone in case of an emergency.

23. Extra Fuel: Make sure you have extra fuel for your generator and camp stove.

24. Grease: Grease is essential for maintaining your vehicle.

These 24 van-life essentials will make sure you stay comfortable while living in your van full-time. Make sure you have these items packed before you hit the road. With these items, your van-life journey will be one to remember.

You’ll also need to be mindful of the laws and regulations in the areas you’ll be traveling through. Many places have restrictions on where you can park your van and how long you can stay in one place. You’ll need to plan your travels accordingly in order to avoid any problems.


Van life is a great way to explore the world, save money, and experience new cultures. It’s important to do your research and be prepared for the realities of living in a van before taking the plunge. With the right preparation and mindset, van life can be a wonderful experience.

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