If you want to live out of your van, you’ll need to stock up on accessories and portable pieces of equipment that will turn your vehicle into a comfortable living space. Modifying your van into a camper can be a large undertaking, so it’s best to set a budget for the project. The cost to convert the space ranges from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the make and model and how involved you want to get. Once the job is complete, expect to spend around $800 a month on gas, food, campsite fees, tolls, and anything else you might need to live on the road. So, what do you need to modify your van? From diesel truck parts to water systems, you’ll want to add these van life essentials to your shopping list to prepare for the ultimate adventure:
Your van will be your main source of shelter, so be sure to treat it with care. If anything happens to your vehicle during the trip, you should be ready to fix the issue on the fly. Bring along some car maintenance essentials like oil, coolant, antifreeze, and fuel additives for starting the engine in the winter. Stock up on diesel truck parts to keep everything you need on hand. You’ll also need a set of tools to change the tire or replace a bad part.
Has your vehicle been inspected by a professional before you depart and continue to monitor the vehicle throughout your journey? Certain parts are known to fail on diesel engines, including the exhaust after-treatment system, the turbocharger, and the fuel injectors. A small problem with any one of these parts will sap your fuel efficiency. The oil in the injectors needs to be pressurized for the injector to fire, which sets off the combustion process. Find replacement diesel fuel injectors to prepare for the long road ahead.
Emergency Repair Kit
Stay organized on the road with an emergency repair kit. It should come with everything you need to troubleshoot your vehicle when things go wrong, including cables for jumping the battery, a spare tire, a jack, tools, a flashlight, and extra batteries. You never know when you might run into trouble, so it’s best to be prepared for the worst.
Safety and Security
Safety should be your first priority when living out of your van. Campsites and other public locations can leave you exposed to theft if you leave your valuables out in the open. Be sure to secure your vehicle when parked. Consider adding a remote alarm/locking system that will scare away anyone trying to break in. You can also attach a GPS tracker to the underside to keep tabs on its location. Install a safe or lockbox in the living space. Store your valuables, including your wallet and portable electronics, in the box for safekeeping at night.
The battery that powers the electrical components in your vehicle has its limits. You can’t use it to charge everything you need to live on the road, or you run the risk of overloading the battery. Add another power system to the living space that you can use to charge your phone and power appliances. Compact solar batteries recharge naturally during the day. Mount the panels on the outside of your vehicle and install an outlet by your bed for easy access.
The air ventilation system in your van won’t work when the engine is off. It’s best to fill the living space with a steady stream of fresh air to increase the air quality. Your car can easily fill with dust, dirt, and gases when using portable generators, making breathing difficult. Install a car ventilation system in the window to sleep easier at night. You can also attach a carbon monoxide sensor to avoid putting your health at risk.
The downside to living in a van is that there aren’t a lot of places to use the bathroom. Most van lifers carry around a portable toilet with a secure, smell-proof lid. It’s not exactly luxurious but it gets the job done. The bucket should be lightweight and easy to transport, so you can give yourself some privacy in the woods.
It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re having fun in nature or spending hours behind the wheel. Keep plenty of fresh water on hand to stay healthy and clear-headed on the road. But you don’t have to buy all your water at the local Walmart or 7-Eleven. Bring along a portable water filtration system in case of emergency. It will remove the dirt and debris in the pond, lake, and river water that might otherwise make you sick.
You should have everything you need to live comfortably out of your van. The interior should be organized with designated spaces for all of your equipment. Make your dream of living out of your van come true with this must-have survival gear.