Essential gear for living in a van

So you’ve started looking for a van now (or already got one) and started pursuing the dream of vanlife. Now you need to know what to fill it with. Living in a van means living in a minimalistic way in very little space, so it’s very important to make a strict selection of vanlife essentials, gadgets, space savers and outdoor equipment that you will need for your roadtrip.

This is the list of equipment we use on a daily basis. While every vanlifer is different and has his own priorities, it is important to make sury that you only bring the gear you will actually use.

Cooking and eating

Gas stove

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Our kitchen is fully built with Ikea furniture, while the gas stove itself is a Dometic combination cooker and sink that matched our closet perfectly. Since we are living in a Volkswagen minivan, space is even more of an issue than in most vans, so we decided to install only a small gas canister (Campinggaz R907). In addition we also have a small gas stove in case we want to cook outside.

Multi-pot set

A set that is useful and doesn’t take too much space. These were the requirements we were looking for. Decathlon Belgium sells mulit-pot sets for camping which come with removable handles.

Table & chairs

Interieur

We have a table in the van, as well as a camper table for outside. Both are foldable so they take in limited space when not needed.

Water reservoir

Waterinstallatie

Since we prefer to free camping instead of staying on crowded campsites, having water was a must. We have installed a 40 liter water reservoir for cooking, washing and drinking.

In the future we hope to install an extra water filter so we can fill it up with streams and lakes along the way.

Cool box

A small fridge (8l) for saving battery. Consumes about 45w.

Sleeping

Rock ‘n Roll bed

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Despite having a Dormobile that makes it possible to sleep in the roof, we have opted for the rock’n roll bed. Mainly because the bed already came with the van, and we didn’t have the bunk beds.

Another good reason why we sleep in the rock ‘n roll bed is because there is a DVD player that came with the van. This makes it great to watch some series or movies while snuggling together in our bed.

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DVD player above our bed.. Or just go to the movies in an outdoor

Electricity

Waterpump, indoor lights, dvd player, radio, charging our laptop, drone and smartphones… We needed electricity, that much was clear from the beginning. When we bought the van, all electricity came from the car battery. Not the best idea we thought. We started all over and purchased a Yeti 400 Solar Generator and a 100 watt solar panel that we attached to our roof with magnets.

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Indoor lights make our van cosy at night

We have several types of charging options: 4 220 volt electricity sockets, a 12 volt and even 2 usb stations. On rainy days, we can plug in our van on the electricity net on a campsite. So far, we haven’t needed it.

For emergencies, we have an extra powerbank as well.

Washing in a van

Outdoor Shower

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We have a shower cabin that folds like a pop-up tent, as well as an outdoor shower that can contain 8 liters of water. More than enough for taking a refreshing shower. We store the bag of water on our roof rack so the water can warm up with the sun.

Waterproof bags

Waterproof bags are useful for kayaking and … doing laundry. We fill them with water, throw in some soap and shake them around. It allows us to avoid campsites and crowded cities.

Storage ideas

Jeans wall

In the front cabin, we needed some storage as well since we love to have pens, notebooks, smartphones, sunglasses, etc easily accessible. We decided to make a jeans wall, a mosaic of old jeans sewed together with the pockets as astorage place for small items.

Hanging baskets

Since we have no drawers in our van, we needed something else to store some small items. We decided to go for small hanging baskets.

Boxes

We have one main closet to store all our kitchen equipment. Despite the fact that is relatively big, it’s hard to keep structure in it. We decided to use several boxes to make organizing a bit easier. We are still looking for other ways to keep things organized.

Touch of home

Hammock

No vanlife is complete without a hammock.

Books

As a writer I love books. Eventhough our options of storing items in our bus are limited, I wanted to have a few books during our trip.

DVD collection

Since we already had the DVD player with the van, we couldn’t do without a collection of cd’s and dvd’s. A dvd case was our best option to be space efficiënt.

Photos

Pictures make the inside look homely and it’s always nice to have the memories of friends and family and previous travels while we’re on the road.

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