If you're looking to live a life of freedom inside your campervan, it's quite a transition to undergo. Not to mention, figuring out the things you need can be a tricky process. Living inside a van can be uncomfortable if you're not efficient with your use of space. Some items can also be a real help to improve your control over warmth, food and hygiene to stay happy on the road.
Here are my top five things I couldn't live in my van without.
To be quite honest, this vacuum has changed my life! You wouldn't believe how fast a small space gets dirty. Especially one that has consistent foot traffic directly from the outdoors. This thing is amazing. I get about 8-10 vacuums on one single charge. When I need to charge up, I simply plug it into my inverter for 20 minutes and voila, fully charged! Before I used this telescoping broom but I broke two of them within a year. I say, definitely spend the extra money and get this vacuum instead. If you want more suction, pick up this Makita cyclone vacuum attachment. Not only does it create more suction but it holds way more dust, dirt and dog hair. It also makes cleaning the filter a less often chore.
I don't even know what I did before I owned this incredible invention... Oh wait, yes I do. I was constantly picking dog food up off the floor and scrambling for a towel to dry up spilled water. Literally, every time I drove the van, *CRASH* the dog bowls would go flying. This bowl however, has fix all my problems. It comes with rubberized feed so it stays in place and is easy to clean. Now brace yourself, here is the best part: any water that spills, whether it be from driving or messy slurping, gets caught in the drainage holes built in the base of the tray. It stays there until you have a second to dump it instead of on the floor. Why wasn't this thing invented sooner!?
When I started vanlife, I didn't think I would need a stove since most of my food could be cooked on a skillet. But every so often, I would want to make something like cookies or pizza or french fries! Enter: the Omnia Stove Top Oven. This thing is quite genius and has many accessories you can get like a silicone insert for making things like muffins or bread. My stove is propane which burns hot but once I got my settings dialed in, I was onto cooking some cinnamon rolls.
This banana hammock seems like a basic need that doesn't need any explanation, which would be the case if I used it for what the title says. I have a slightly different use though. I find that bread storage isn't something I thought about when building my van. And to be honest, I don't think most van builders think about it either. I've tried putting bread in drawers, cabinets and on my dash. Nowhere is safe. It usually ends up getting smash. Now that I store my bread in this hammock, not only has my bread safe, a fresh slice is just an arm reach away.
Heat is an item that some live without. Those who stay in warmer climates like those in southern California for example. However, I usually spend most of my time in the Pacific Northwest where it is rainy and cold 70% of the year. When I first started my journey, this Mr. Heater Buddy kept me warm more times than I could count. It's incredibly safe too. You MUST have a carbon, smoke and propane detector installed in your van but this unit takes it one step further. It has a built in oxygen depletion sensor. So if you forget to crack a window while using this thing, the heater will turn itself off before it uses all your oxygen. This year I installed a diesel heater which is pretty awesome but I still keep this on board as a backup.
I have already lived full time on the road for over two years so take it from me; these vanlife essentials are a must for your campervan conversion. Let me know what YOUR must have items are in the comments below.
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Photo: @juliette.orlans - Instagram