Full-time van life

Full-Time Van Life – The Best of Everything You Want To Know About

Full-time van life is living in a van, preferably, for us at least, a converted van.  Sure, you can throw an air mattress, a Yeti cooler, and a Coleman stove in a van and hit the road. If you’re going to live life on the road exploring and adventuring, why not do it in style and comfort?

The two of us have been living life on the road as nomads now since 2019.  We had the traditional 9-5 corporate jobs that didn’t fill us up with anything other than a paycheck every other week.

Wanting something more out of life, we couldn’t imagine spending the next 20 to 30 years in the house we had raised our kids in.  

full-time van life

Through a series of decisions, trial and error, and revelations, we decided that traveling around North America in a self-converted DIY Sprinter van was for us. Van

So, here we are.  Right now, we are sitting on a bluff in Maine overlooking a river as the fog wafts through the mountains.  Kona is asleep on the couch and Kinzie can’t decide if she wants to be inside of the van, or outside exploring.

Nat is working on one of our websites so that we can generate income to afford the traveling costs.  Me, well, I am sitting here talking with you all through my keyboard.

This is full-time van life! It’s the life we have chosen, and at least for now, we can’t imagine doing anything else. Full-time van life is everything we have imagined and more.

Why Would You Want To Do Full-Time Van Life?

We suppose the question here is, why would you want to live life full-time traveling in a vehicle?  Full-time van life is really no different than living and traveling full-time in anything.

The real question really becomes, why wouldn’t you want to do full-time van life?

It really doesn’t matter whether you are living and traveling in a van, an RV, a skoolie, or any other type of vehicle converted and designed to live in. Full-time van life is more about freedom and lifestyle than it is about the vehicle you are traveling in. 

You will have your own personal motivations.  It may be due to life circumstances.  Perhaps you need a drastic change in your life and this is the vehicle (no pun intended) to do it.

Many people are very attracted to the romantic notion of traveling full-time.  Social media has painted this fairytale-esque picture of life on the road as nothing but unicorns and rainbows. Full-time van life certainly is amazing, but it has its challenges as well.

follow 70 degrees

For us, we knew we didn’t want to be anchored to one geographical place anymore.  We wanted to wander, explore, adventure, and experience new places, people, and cultures.  

We both had traveled outside of North America more than we had traveled in our native country.  There are lots of interesting things, people, and places to experience. Full-time van life was just the answer for us.

What is your “WHY”?

This is really what it all comes down to.  Why do you want to live full-time van life?

What is your “Why?”  

Let me explain.

We all do things for a reason.  

There are certain desires, goals, or ambitions that drive us so intently that we have no other choice but to satisfy them.

We work our asses off to provide for each other, our pups, and our loved ones because we want to provide them with the best life possible.  Our “why” is that we want each other and our family to have a good life.

So, what is your “why” for wanting to live life on the road in a converted van or any other type of vehicle?

Is it to experience freedom as you have never experienced before?

Is it to experience a life of adventure and excitement like you have daydreamed about for so long?

Your reason or “why” is deep within you and only your reason matters.  It doesn’t matter what your family or friends think! What is your reason?

Your family and friends aren’t going to give you a sense of self-worth, accomplishment, independence, or comfort when you lay your head on your pillow at night and it is no one but you and your thoughts for company.  

Unless you are able to close your eyes just before falling asleep and can honestly say to yourself, “I am doing exactly what I want to be doing and exactly where I feel like I am supposed to be”, then you need to do some self-examination on why you aren’t living your best life for yourself yet.

Find your reason and allow that reason or “why” to fuel your ambition to actually and finally live that life you have dreamt about for too long now.

What Are the Essential Elements of Full-time Van Life?

Living a life of full-time van life nomadic travels in a van is much more than throwing an air mattress into the back of a cargo van and hitting the road with your GPS.

There are certain elements to a comfortable and satisfying life, especially when traveling full-time van life.

We all have our subjective needs as far as whether or not we have our Xbox and probably too big of a tv for a van.

We are talking about the bare essential elements for full-time van life that make living and traveling in a van a choice rather than a circumstance.

Let’s look at those essential elements of full-time van life.

Cash Flow

While full-time van life is much less expensive than carrying a mortgage or renting a house or apartment, especially in today’s real estate market, there are fixed expenses you need to be aware of and prepared to meet.

Traveling costs money in the form of fuel, food, and vehicle repairs.

Have you paid attention to the cost of fuel these days?  Even when diesel was less than $3 a gallon a year ago, it was still expensive to travel and move around all of the time. 

Besides paying for fuel, you are going to need regular fluid changes, tires, and occasional repairs. 

Oh yea, do not forget about insurance to protect the investment of your tiny house on wheels.

Want to know more about how to ensure your van? We wrote an in-depth post on insurance. Read it HERE. Just substitute the word “van” with “skoolie”.

How much you budget for each month will all depend on how much traveling you do, whether you boondock or stay on campgrounds, and of course how much you eat, where you plan on eating, and your entertainment expenses.

Full-time van life is not a cheap lifestyle, but you don’t have to be a millionaire to experience it either.

Basic Needs To Survive For Full-Time Van Life


Chances are, you are only going to be holding about 40 gallons of fresh water at the most at any given time.  Having fresh water is the most basic of our needs for full-time van life.  Traveling without a supply of fresh water to meet your weekly or at the very least, daily needs are just something you are not going to want to deal with constantly.

Having to plan and strategize on where to get clean drinking water on a daily basis will burn you out and drive you back to sticks and bricks quickly. This is a huge obstacle for some of our full-time van life friends. Many of them wish they had planned and accommodated a bigger freshwater tank.

Proper Shelter

Yes, we know you have your van and it is a beautiful build that would make anyone proud of it.  Full-time van life means you are constantly exposed to the elements.

However, while you are living and especially sleeping in your van, are you warm in the colder climates and cool enough in the warmer climates?

If you are not, then you need proper shelter to stay warm and stay cool.  Otherwise, you need to change locations where you do not need to constantly regulate your body temperature.

Chasing 70 degrees is not as simple and easy as it sounds.  Besides how achievable it may seem by looking at a weather app or almanac, it is not very realistic or practical.  

This is how we have been chasing 70 degrees. Is chasing 70 degrees realistic?

Common Sense and a degree of Situational Awareness.  

When you are out in the world, on your own, or even with your traveling partner, there is you, and there is the world.  Substitute the word “world” for “society”.

Take a look around you and take a sneak peek at the news.  The world, a.k.a. society, is not a very nice or forgiving place.  Unfortunately, there are some ugly, mean, and cruel people that live among us. 

I know, I know, part of the reason most of us have chosen this lifestyle in the first place.

Having common sense and situational awareness will keep you out of some precarious situations if you trust your gut while living the full-time van life.

Remote Income For Full-Time Van Life

Depending on how you plan on traveling will dictate how you can begin to plan on making income.

There are a few different ways to make money while living and traveling full-time van life in your van. 

Work Gigs:

Making money by picking up and working seasonal work gigs is a great way to make some decent money in a relatively short amount of time.  There are some popular seasonal work gigs amongst the nomad community.

Sugar Beat harvest in the Dakotas and Minnesota in the Fall.  Amazon distribution centers in November and December.  Pumpkin and Christmas tree stands literally everywhere.

These types of seasonal gigs are perfect for full-time van life. Travel from one gig to another all year around.

Remote Income:

If you are already working for a company and working from home or remotely is a possibility, then that is a great option for you.

If you are not working for someone else, then you can do your own gigs while traveling.  All you have to do is figure out what skills you have and how to monetize those skills.

Regardless of how you make money, unless you are independently wealthy, you are going to have to generate some income to fuel this lifestyle. As we said, full-time van life is not cheap, but you can certainly afford it with a job.

Cell Service/Wifi

Having a cell phone and or wifi service is critical for full-time van life, especially if you are working remotely to support yourself while traveling.  

Besides having the ability to connect to the internet for work and entertainment, it is a safety tool as well.  Especially if you are traveling solo.

There are many options for internet on the road.  It’s just a matter of your budget and your needs.

There is always the option of getting a hotspot from one of the major cell phone companies.  There are also many contract cell phone and mobile internet companies you get purchase data plans.

These are just a few.

Now that StarLink is available to RVers, that is quickly becoming a hot ticket item.  In fact, we are planning on purchasing ours in the next few weeks.  

We have used at least 5 different mobile internet companies, including a Verizon hotspot and a T-Mobile hotspot. 

The ones that are not one of the three major companies use their towers, but you are tiered down from their primary or preferred customers.  In other words, if that tower area is at capacity, your speeds are going to be so slow, that you might as well not have service at all.

Off-grid (solar)

Having the ability to turn on lights, power a refrigerator, or charge your phone or laptop anytime you want is an immeasurable comfort while living and traveling full-time in your van.

We have done both and we can address this from first-hand experience.  Traveling to a destination without power, you have to consider things like keeping the items in your refrigerator and freezer cold enough not to ruin them.  

If you need to stop and rest or sleep, you’ll be doing so without electricity or fans to keep the air moving inside of your van. Full-time van life without electricity is not fun!

If you do invest in the proper amount of solar and batteries for your electrical needs, it will not matter whether you are parked in the desert, forest beach, or on a relative’s driveway.  You know you have adequate electricity to run all of the appliances and lights you need to comfortably and conveniently live.

Where to Park

Are you going to be parking on friends’ or relatives’ land?  Stealth camp or boondock in an urban area? Maybe your plans are to park at places like National, State, County, or private campgrounds.

The point is, that parking is not as precarious as many people make it out to be.  Sure, it takes some planning and preparation, but it shouldn’t be as stressful as people make it out to be.

When driving a long distance from one destination to the other, there are a few options that are as easy as pulling into a parking space, turning off the van’s engine, and crawling into bed for a good sleep.

A few places we have found to be easy to park and sleep overnight without the fear of that dreaded 3:00 am knock on your window from the local police to tell you overnight parking is against the law.

The fact is, full-time van life requires you to park overnight sometimes and someplace you are not familiar with. We have identified some true-blue places for safe, secure overnight parking for full-time van life.

Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel is well known as an RV-friendly sleepover spot.  Besides offering a safe, relaxing place to spend the night, there is the option for a great breakfast to get you started the next morning.

Cracker Barrel is a full-time van lifer’s best friend!

Truck Stops

Truck stops like Flying J, Pilot, and TA have served their purpose for a fill-up and a few hours of rest from time to time in the last three years.  Not usually one of our favorite sleepover spots, mainly due to the noise, but it has served us in a time of need.

Truck stops are full of transient people. Also, a know breeding ground for human trafficking. There are many better options for full-time van life parking.


Buc-ees is a new one for us.  I like that it doesn’t accommodate 18-wheelers.  It is open 24 hours and the parking lot is big enough to park where there isn’t a whole lot of traffic.  

This is a great stopover to get some quick rest for full-time van lifers. Besides all of that, the food is freaking delicious here!


Hotel parking lots have been our little secret for the past couple of years. We try to find hotels where there are two or more in a cluster that share the same parking area. 
Easier to “disappear’ in the parking lot.  In a van, we kind of disappear anyway.  Full-time van life overnight stealth parking was never so easy as this.

Harvest Host and Boondocker’s Welcome

If you have a membership to Harvest Hosts or Boondockers Welcome, then you always have a safe, dedicated place to park and sleep with relaxing confidence.

For us, this is almost a full-time van life necessity. Not only does it afford us safe overnight parking and camping, but it allows us to meet some great people and patron some great family owned businesses.


Casinos are a great place to park and sleep overnight without worries of the dreaded, “knock knock knock” in the middle of the night.

Most casinos even encourage overnight RVers and full-time van lifers.  They have dedicated RV parking for such guests.  

We have spent our fair nights in the casino parking lot.  Besides, if you have a few bucks, go inside and play some slots or a few hands at Black Jack.  

When push comes to shove, you get stealthy as possible and try to blend in like any other car or van and get as much sleep and rest as possible.

How to Be Stealthy For Full-Time Van Life

Being stealthy is kinda fun and exciting.  Especially for those of us who are full-time van lifers.  

Being sneaky and trying to get away with something you know you shouldn’t be doing is an adrenaline rush.  It’s the stuff that keeps you young.  

We sometimes think of it as a game.  A real live Hide-n-Seek if you will.  Everyone knows that hiding is the best part of hide-n-seek.  

Seriously though, sometimes life doesn’t present you with the right or best options for overnight parking.  So, you have to find a spot, stay quiet, and get as dark and inconspicuous as possible.  Stealth camping and parking are a reality for full-time van life. The more you do it, the better you become at it.

Here are some proven tips for being as stealthy as possible when urban boondocking for full-time van lifers.

#1. Black out all of your windows if you are going to have interior lighting.  Not only will this eliminate light and a giant clue that someone is inside the van, but it will also insulate some of the noise that may come from the inside as well.

#2. If you can get away with it, do not travel with bikes on the outside of your van.  This is a sure clue that someone is traveling and likely inside the vehicle.  Besides that, it is a magnet for degenerates who may be inclined to try and steal your bicycles.

#3. If weather and climate permitting, avoid using your rooftop fans.  Although they are relatively quiet, they are an indicator that someone is inside regulating the temperature.

#4. Keep your pets quiet.  Dogs and cats can make excellent van life-traveling companions, but in the wrong setting, they can be a dead giveaway that you are “hiding” in your van.

#5. Try to make your van look as inconspicuous as possible.  Maybe put a clipboard on the dash.  A hard hat and a reflective road vest are on the seat back.  If your van looks like a typical “work van” then it is less likely to draw attention from anyone suspecting you are stealth camping.

Those are just a few helpful and proven tips to allow you to stay stealthy when overnight boondocking somewhere you may not be welcome to do so.

Staying Safe For Full-Time Van Life (Situational Awareness)

We mentioned this briefly already when talking about Van Life Essential Elements. 

Situational Awareness may be the difference between you leaving your current location for the next adventure, you being a victim, or a headline on the local news channel. 

Unfortunately, not everyone holds a competent level of common sense or even knows what situational awareness is.  

Situational Awareness is the perception of environmental elements and events with respect to time or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their future status. 

If you are driving down the road and see a crowd of people holding signs, blocking the road, and acting like fools, common sense would dictate you avoid the road ahead and detour.  (situational awareness)

When dining in a restaurant, the first thing I do is locate all of the possible exits and entries.  Choose a table farthest away from the entrance, and always sit facing that entrance.  

I have a clear vision in the event I need to exit the building in any type of emergency, and a clear vision of anyone entering the room. (situational awareness)

To stay safe on this van life journey we have all chosen to embark on, we must be prepared and mentally ready for any unknown circumstance.  

Staying safe starts with listening to your “gut” when something, somewhere, or someone just doesn’t feel right.  

Never question yourself.  Never second guess or convince yourself you are just being paranoid or stupid.  

We all have the 6th sense ability to know when something isn’t just right in any particular situation.  The difference is, that some do not heed that sense and ignore it.  

Traveling with Pets (Dogs)

Since heading out on the road as full-time nomads, we have had the pleasure and honor of traveling with three amazing dogs!

When we first started out in our skoolie, we had Bandit and Kona.  Neither dog ever had any ambitions of full-time traveling.  Bandit loved his backyard and making sure all of the birds, dolphins, manatees, or alligators stayed well clear of his dock.  He was, The Dock Captain. A damn good one at that!

Kona, just wanted to be close to momma (Nat) whenever he could.  They turned out to be the most excellent skoolie dogs.  

When we sold the bus and converted our van, Bandit went on to cross the rainbow bridge and join Rosco, Rip, and our other long-lost but not forgotten pack animals.  

It was just Kona to join us on our van life adventures.

Vowing at that time to never leave Kona alone while we adventure, swim, kayak, cycle, go shopping, or anywhere else.  

We purchased a backpack for hiking and bicycling for Kona so he could join us on anything we did.

Purchasing a lifevest for Kona so he and we could kayak down a river in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was a memory we will always have.  

Kona has his very own carrying sling that we put him in when we went shopping in any store.

He stays with us where ever we go.

If he is not allowed to go, we do not go.  Period.

Now that we have Kinzie, it complicates things a little bit.  She is too heavy for a backpack at 38 pounds.  So, if she can’t go, none of us go.  

full-time van life

Traveling with pets is not a complicated thing.  Sure, you have to adjust your lifestyle a little differently if you weren’t traveling with pets.  For us, it is not even a compromise.  

They are our pack.  All for one and one for all!

Here are a few proven tips to make your pet enjoy their van life adventures as much as possible.

#1  Have A Dedicated Lounge and Bed For Your Pets.  

Pets need their rest and relaxation just as much, and maybe even more so than we do.  Having their own bed is good for their mental security as well.  Dogs are natural den dwellers.  Cats like to perch.  

Design your van build to accommodate your pet as much as you do to accommodate your own needs and desires. Full-time van life is just as much about them as it is about you.

#2  Take Breaks While Driving and Allow Them To Stretch Their Legs.

Dogs and cats are animals who like their routines.  That’s a funny statement on the surface when considering van life and routine.

We still have our routine while parked and camping though.  Be sensitive to your pet when driving long distances.  Stop often enough and allow them some physical and mental stimulation so they do not get bored and possibly depressed.

#3  Keep Their Diet Consistent 

Find a good quality as natural as possible food for your pets that you can find easily.  We used to feed our pups Performatrin Ultra.  Good food, a little expensive, but worth it.  

The problem became that we could only buy it through Pet Super Market.  Their stores were only in the south and we could not order it through Amazon.

So, we ended up changing their diet to Science Diet.  High-quality dog food is still expensive, but worth it and we can purchase it all over the United States.

We wrote a more in-depth post on full-time van life with a dog. Hope it is a good source of information for you!

#4  Be Sure They Have Clean Waters Always

Having clean fresh drinking water always available will ensure they stay hydrated.  This is so important for their overall health.  It’s easy to overlook something so basic.

As small as a van may be, be sure to always have a water dish where they can get a quick drink anytime they want it.

We can’t count the number of times we have kicked, flipped over, or stepped on our pups’ water dish. 

Seriously though….it’s almost a daily occurrence.  

It’s important enough that we do not let that distract us from always having water for them though.  

#5  Leash and Collar Always

This may seem a little over the top, but never let your pups outside without a leash and collar.  Especially so in an urban environment where other dogs and vehicles are commonplace.  

The collar should have your name and phone number permanently attached to it in the event you get separated from your pet.  

When boondocking in the wilderness, never let small animals roam freely.  One of our friends recently lost her little pup of 12 years to a coyote in Joshua Tree National Park. 

Tragedies can be avoided with a little care and diligence to safety.

There is so much more we would talk about on this topic.  These are five good tips for traveling with pets.

Isn’t A Van Too Small?

It is a very subjective question with varying subjective answers.  

How small is too small?  Part of that answer may depend on your personal needs, comfort level in a confined space, and your own subjective opinion.  

Whether you have a short, medium, long, or extra-long wheelbase, you are still confined to a relatively small living space.  Put in a bed, cabinets, kitchen counter, etc., and your space is reduced significantly.

So, yes, living and traveling in a van full-time is small, but for us, it isn’t “too small”.

That being said, we do not believe we would want to go any smaller while living and traveling full-time.  

Here are a few tricks to make your van seem and feel bigger than it actually is.

#1 Passenger Seat Swivel

This is a game-changer folks!  We lived and traveled in our van for almost a year before we got a seat swivel.  

Now that it is installed, our van seems so much BIGGER now!  It is so much more comfortable and easy for both of us to sit, lounge, eat, work, and just hang out together when we are either forced (due to weather) to be in the van.  

#2 Pull-Out Bed

Our bed goes from a single or twin-size bed to a queen-sized bed in about 30 seconds.  

We slide our bed with overlapping wood slats to compact it into a twin-sized mattress when we are not sleeping.  

This saves us 21 square feet of space.  While that may not seem too impressive, when you live in 65 square feet total, this is almost a third of your home.  

#3 Live Outside As Much As Possible

On any given day, when the weather is cooperating, we spend a majority of the day outside of the van.  

In fact, Don is working outside of the van as he creates this post. 

We have two awnings, an outdoor rug, and comfortable portable camping chairs.  

We have our morning coffee outside.  Eat most of our meals outside.  Don does a majority of his writing outside while Nat does a majority of her computer work inside.  

We love spending more time outside of the van.  When we need to be inside of the van, it is big enough, comfortable enough, and functional enough.

Is It Safe?

Van life is as safe as you want it to be.

  • Don’t go places that have a high crime rate or make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Never advertise your location and travel itinerary on social media channels, including Youtube.
  • Don’t make it obvious that you are a solo traveler, regardless if you are a man or woman.
  • When camping remotely, be sure to let friends and family know where you are and your next destination. 
  • Have a check-in system with a friend or family member.  If you don’t check-in, they can start to try and contact you or locate where you are.
  • When camping remotely, be aware of venomous snakes, spiders, and scorpions in the area.  Be cognizant and have a sense of your surroundings.
  • When hiking in the wilderness, understand and know what predatory mammals you may come across and how to handle any unforeseen encounter.
  • Be aware that not only bears, wolves, and cougars are dangerous wildlife.  Moose, buffalo, and stag deer, elk, and antelope can get very aggressive during rut season.
  • Drive the speed limit or below the speed limit.  
  • Always check your tire condition and tire pressure.  Blowing a tire, especially a front tire, as you are driving 65 mph down the highway can be catastrophic.  

Staying safe while living and traveling in your van is not an arduous task.  It does require a dedicated and unwavering resolve to keep yourself out of a bad scenario or situation.

Be smart and always think about your situational awareness!

Don’t You Get Lonely?

Van life can be isolating at times.  Especially if you are spending a majority of your time in the National or State Parks systems.  It can be especially isolating if you are a solo traveler.

  • Attend social gatherings such as Skoolie UP, Van Life meet-ups, etc.. occasionally.  Putting an event like this on your social and travel calendar gives you something to look forward to and will relieve some social isolation anxiety.
  • Caravan with other nomads.  You don’t have to caravan with them full-time, but do destination trips once in a while or meet up with a fellow nomad friend somewhere once in a while.
  • Use Facetime, Zoom, or some other video chatting software.   Staying in touch and giving yourself a sense of community and interaction with a friend or family member.

Let’s all be honest.  Most of us chose this lifestyle because we kind of like being alone and somewhat isolated.  When we get the urge or have the need for some “social medicine”, it is easy to reach others, and drive somewhere to meet up with like-minded friends.

Having the ability to retreat into the wilderness to where ever and or however long we want to.  Making lifelong friends all over North America including in Mexico, Canada, and Central America. 

We know if we want to hang out with some friends, it is only a matter of a phone call, a little planning, and a drive to that destination. 

Staying Cool

There are a few simple tricks and tips to staying cool while living and traveling in a van. Sometimes, the weather in your area plays tricks on you.  Mother Nature has a twisted sense of humor sometimes and catches you off guard.

Here are some of our tricks and tips on staying cool when the temperatures get a little too warm.

  • MaxxAir Fans and screened windows.
  • Run the Airconditioner a little bite
  • Spray bottle to mist yourself with (isopropyl alcohol mixed with water)  (peppermint and lemongrass essential oils are a great idea as well)
  • You’re in a van, drive to a cooler environment!

Staying Warm

Conversely, sometimes it gets a little chillier than you thought it would be in the area you are currently camping.  Here are a few tricks we have learned, the hard way.

  • Down Comforter
  • Dress in layers (wool and silk are your friends)
  • Little buddy propane heater
  • Diesel heater if you have installed one
  • Your engine heater (run the van for a little while)
  • Candle.  (be sure to use extra caution when using any kind of open flame in your van!  Never leave an open flame unattended, especially with pets in your van)
  • 12v electric blanket

We have been caught in three feet of snow before when we didn’t think the temps would fall below 45 degrees.  When it does get cold, don’t panic, there are ways to safely and efficiently warm up quickly.


Showering or better yet, having the opportunity to shower, is a big concern for people who like the idea of full-time van life, but have yet to do the research or determine if it is the right lifestyle for them or not.

Even if you do not have your own indoor or outdoor shower equipped for your build, there are some reasonable and convenient options for staying clean and fresh throughout the week.

Before we hit the road full-time in 2019, both of us would take a minimum of one shower per day.  Depending on what we did throughout the day, we may take two or even three showers in a day.  

Why not?  The shower was convenient and even though we paid for our use of water, it was relatively inexpensive.   We had been conditioned to not even think twice about our freshwater usage.  

Now, we shower once or twice a week or as needed. Our shower is located in the back of our van.  33 gallons of fresh water available with hot water and a multi-function shower head.

For those that do not have the freshwater capacity or a shower installed in their van, there are some viable options to keep your personal hygiene in check.

  • Public showers (when you are desperate for a shower)
  • Truck Stops (costs, but surprisingly clean)
  • Planet Fitness (great value and all over the country)
  • Body wipes (expensive, but effective in a pinch)
  • Freshwater lakes, rivers, or stream baths (be sure to use biodegradable soaps so as to not harm or affect the wildlife)

Don’t let inconvenience keep you from taking care of your personal hygiene.  You will thank yourself and others will thank you too!


We all realize that living and traveling full-time in a van is not conducive to having a washing machine in your van.  

Not that it hasn’t been done with a small portable 2 or so gallon washing machine.  It just really isn’t very practical or realistic considering water usage as well as electricity usage.

There are some alternatives to spending an afternoon in a shady laundromat and spending $30 dollars in quarters to wash your underwear and pillow cases.

  • Washing Bag

We have been using this clothes washing bag for over a year now.  Yes, it is small, but it is very compact, effective, and uses very little water.  On top of that, it gets our clothes clean and smelling fresh again.

  • Old-fashioned washing board

Washing your clothes with a washing board in a creek may sound a little “Appalachian” but it is still an effective, economical, and reliable way to wash your clothes.

  • Laundry Service
    Now, this is going to cost you a penny or two, but dropping your clothes, towels, sheets, and comforter off at a laundry service is an easy and fast way to get a substantial amount of laundry done quickly and effectively.

Wrap Up To Full Time Van Life

Full-time van life.  The life of the fit, beautiful, sexy, and privileged.  

At least, that is the image Instagram, Youtube, and other similar venues may have you believe.

Van life can be all of those things, but it is not just all of those things.  We are a mid-50s couple with two dogs who have decided to live our best years while we are still mentally and physically able and motivated to do so.

Full-time van life is much more complicated and challenging than most people would have you think.  It seems as though, many people want to create a fantasy of what being a full-time nomad in a van conversion is like in reality.

Don’t misunderstand us, we could not imagine a lifestyle any different than living and traveling in our DIY Sprinter conversion.  Full-time van life is definitely the life for us!

That doesn’t mean that it is rainbows and unicorns all of the time either.

You learn what works and what doesn’t work.  The longer you live this lifestyle, the easier and more efficient it becomes if you work at it.

That is the key though.  Learning what does and doesn’t work for you is the key to a happy and long full-time van life journey.

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