Are you someone who loves adventure and travel? Van camping should be on your bucket list. Compared to the traditional way wherein you’ll stay in a campground, van camping offers you the world as your campsite. You can visit as many designated campsites or hiking trails as you want. You can stay at public parks that allow van camping or just parks that need a beach.
Apart from those, van camping gives you a safer place to sleep in and wake up to. A van offers better protection against weather compared to a standard tent. And if you’re the kind of person who’s always looking for a hassle-free and accessible adventure, camping in a van is your best bet. If van camping sounds interesting and fun to you, we’ve listed a few steps you can follow to make it happen.
1. Condition your van
Regardless if you’re using a custom-built vehicle or your van as is, it’s necessary to check if it can survive the trip. If you’re not too handy on such tasks, it’s best to have a professional auto technician or mechanic inspect them. Visit a local auto shop that uses a car tire balancing machine or get one that’s for sale to ensure that your car’s tires are positioned correctly and can survive long drives. Checking the alignment and balance of the tires is the first thing you need to do, especially if you’re using an old van.
Aside from the tires, mechanics can also look at your vehicle’s essential fluids and filters and decide if anything needs a replacement. Most auto shops readily include tire balancing and fluid check on their tune-up services. Some of the tasks you can do yourself include testing the lights, from the hazard lights and blinkers to the headlights.
2. Plan your meals
This may sound like an old-school tip, but meal planning is a lifesaver. Whether you’re camping alone or with a friend, you can save money and time if you do a little meal prep. Doing so will prevent you from eating peanut butter sandwiches for three straight lunches. Before deciding on the meals, consider your food storage. Will you be using a cooler or a mini-fridge?
Also, it’s best to opt for dishes that you can easily prepare over a fire, such as baked potatoes or roasted veggie skewers. Stock on some staple breakfast ingredients too. You might want to head to a local grocery store before starting your trip and buying everything in your meal plan. Exploring secluded beaches and national parks might make you miss out on some essential ingredients.
3. Find ways to get cozy
Comfort is a crucial thing to plan for when van camping. Sure, you’ll be spending most of your time discovering new places and making exciting outdoor memories. However, you need a cozy place to relax and rest, which is your van. First, get some mosquito net that you can set up on open doors and windows.
You’d also want to buy or build a DIY awning using a paracord, PVC pipe, and tarp. This can give you more shaded areas to protect you from the sun and rain. Most importantly, the parking spot you choose plays a crucial role in improving your comfort when van camping. Find sites that allow overnight parking, and have a bathroom and electric and water hookups. Other things you can add to make your van more comfortable are installing a solar shower, foam tiles, and a hand-washing station.
4. Get organized
Since you’ll be camping in such a small space, keeping things organized is pretty important. If you’re doing a custom van build, list storage is your top priority. You can create a platform bed or some fold-away and multi-purpose structures like pop-up shelving or storage that doubles as seating.
On the other hand, if you’ll be using your van as is, you need to be more resourceful in storing and organizing your essentials and gear. You can use transparent Tupperware bins to keep your clothes, underwear, and kitchen or cooking tools. You can also use them for storing dry food and other backpacking gear; correctly label them for easy access. Avoid overpacking as it can only make your van more cramped up and messy.
Van camping does eliminate all the hassle that comes with setting up on a campground. You can use that time to explore the hiking trails, walk around the place, and relax on the campfire. And the best part? You can camp at almost any site or city you choose. It gives you more opportunities to travel, explore, and experience more.