Lately, it seems like the authenticity of #vanlife has been called into question and lambasted by many as a ploy to sell a falsely beautiful and carefree lifestyle in which people pull their vans onto beaches to enjoy campfires and lay in bed naked gazing out their back doors at magnificent mountain vistas. After living in our van for a year I'm going to give you the scoop on what (our) life in a van is really like.
It's kind of hard to believe that we've been living in our van for eight months. In some ways, it seems like we just moved in and in other ways, it feels like we've been living in it forever. I'm not going to pretend that I have loads of exciting stories to tell you, but I thought I'd share a few anyway.
Five things we've learned whilst living in our van that will make your life easier if you too decide to move into a van.
A second van life interview that answers questions like what we do when we have to pee during the night and how we manage to live in a hospital parking lot.
We've made some posts showing different steps of our FedEx Sprinter van conversion + what it looks like now that we're living in it, but we haven't shared any photos of what it originally looked liked. As such, I thought you might like to see the original compared to now as well as what it looked like in between as we moved through the conversion process. Also, it's officially our six month anniversary of living in the van!
A brief #vanlife interview regarding things like what question we get asked the most and what people assume when they hear we live in van.
Knowing we were going to be living in our Sprinter through a cold northwest winter meant making provisions for a heater. While the German made Espar diesel heaters tend to be the most popular, they also come with a pretty price tag. In order to save some money for other features we were interested in, we decided to go with a Russian made Planar heater. The following describes the steps we took to installing it in our van.
If you follow us on Instagram, you've seen that we have an oven and a range in our Sprinter. We didn't think people would think much of it, but we've received a lot of questions about the oven. As such, I asked my father (who installed the oven for us) to provide some details about the install and the following is what he sent me.
Frequently asked questions about living in a van.
A short video tour of the inside or our van.
We've been living in the van for two months, so I've decided to share what our life has been like so far. As expected, there have been ups and downs. Having no bathroom and living in a vehicle during the heat of summer have been the two biggest downs. Saving lots of money and having rad conversations we wouldn't have experienced otherwise have been the two biggest ups (for me at least).
Over the Christmas/New Years holidays we were finally able to find the time to install the flooring. When looking into the various options available to cover the floor of our van we came across so many choices that it seemed daunting at first. Upon further research and discussing flooring options with knowledgable family, friends and even patients at work we settled on vinyl planking.
One major project done! The solar panels are on. Our journey to making the Sprinter off the grid ready started with the purchase of a Renogy 300 watt monocrystalline solar kit, which included the charge controller. Shortly thereafter, we had a week off from work and decided a trip to California to visit Justin's parents would be a good idea because a) we like his parents b) his father is gifted in all things mechanical and has a large shop with lots of tools.
Well, it finally happened. We got a Sprinter van. Six months ago, my car got stolen from right in front of our house. It was a totally bummer, but it made us start seriously thinking about putting the money we'd spend to buy a replacement vehicle towards buying a used Sprinter van instead. We'd been contemplating getting a Sprinter for a long time, with plans to renovate it into a small home - Instagram has a way of convincing you that you can do anything.