10 Unique Items for Van Lifers
Ten Unique Items for Van Lifers
You finally bought that sprinter van, cargo van, or SUV and you're ready to convert it into your dream adventure mobile. Now what? How do you start outfitting it for adventures? Whether you are planning on a full time life on the road or just the occasional weekend trip, having the right gear makes all the difference. Or maybe you're looking for some cool overlanding gifts, we think these are some of the best gifts for van lifers. At Van Life Gear Company we've selected all our products based on our own experience of what works and what doesn't. Here's a list of things that we think are unique, functional, and just plain cool.
- First and foremost, if you are going to venture off the beaten path you need to make sure you can get back home when the time comes. For a dead car battery, jumper cables are fine but what if there's no one around to give you a jump? With a battery powered battery jumper you can be totally self reliant. It actually takes up less room than most jumper cables and as an added bonus you can the built in USB port to charge your phone or small electronics!
- Similar to the battery jumper a tire inflator could make the difference between a great weekend and an epic ordeal. Let me tell you a personal story on this topic. Several years ago a friend and I were in Utah climbing Castleton Tower. After a very long day of hiking and climbing we returned to the car to find one of the tires was completely flat. I had a spare but that was flat too. Tired and exhausted we went to bed and decided to deal with it in the morning. The next morning I walked about 2-3 miles, rolling my flat tire the whole way, until I could get to a main road and hitchhike into the town of Moab to get the flat fixed. I of course then had to hitch a ride back. This whole thing could have been avoided if I had just had a way to air up my tire. Even if it had a slow leak I could have driven to town to get it fixed. Add an inexpensive set of tire plugs and you can take care of most flats all on your own.
- If it is you and a partner or even if you roll around when you sleep a twin air mattress is the way to go. Most air mattresses are made for backpacking, they barely big enough to do the job. They are made to be light and compact. Car camping is a whole different ball game, a few extra ounces of weight and a few extra square inches of stored space are going to go unnoticed in your van. I've tried sleeping with two individual mattresses next to each other, they always move and separate. You might have also seen those big air mattresses that are 10 inches thick. Those are made for putting in the guest room when Aunt Judy comes to visit, not ideal for the back of an SUV or van where headroom is already limited. The Twin Air Mattress from Van Life Gear company is the perfect blend of camping utility and at home comfort.
- Most vans and SUVs don't have a tailgate, so where do you put your water jugs and where do you cook your dinner? Problem solved with a high quality camp table. This table folds up and stores easily, especially with the optional storage bag, but opens up to be a full on cook station with all the bells and whistles. It has a hard bamboo work top, a side pullout for your stove or water jug, hooks for hanging things, a net for storing things that aren't in use, and it even has a fancy hook for hanging your lantern. This table was thoughtfully designed and made with car camping in mind.
- I got my first pair of Luna Sandals around 2012 and I've loved them ever since. I've run ultra marathons in them, hiked to secret Hawaiian waterfalls, and just wore them around town. They are all around great for anything. I especially like them for a pre and post climbing shoe as they are quick and easy to put on and take off. Because they pack so flat I slide them into a pocket of my bag anytime I travel anywhere. Lunas strike the perfect balance between the comfort of a flip flop and the usability of a tech sandal without becoming too heavy or clunky. Elegantly designed and expertly made, there's a reason they are loved by beach bums, desert rats, and mountain adventurers alike. Many customizable options to choose from but my favorite is the Mono Winged Edition.
- For many of us our ride or die travel companion is the four legged kind. Keep them safe and taken care of with a medical kit made just for them. Made specifically to treat the injuries or nuisances dogs are most likely to encounter such as paw injuries or prickly things. This is a must for anyone traveling with dogs.
- We've all been there where you're trying to pour just a little bit of water from your water jug to wash your hands or trying to fill a bottle but you tip the jug a little too much and water goes everywhere. It makes a mess and it wastes precious water. The solution is cheap and easy, a rechargeable battery powered push button water pump. These are designed to sit on top of the spout of the clear water cooler type jugs but can be used with virtually any type of water jug. It will pump many gallons of water on a single charge and can be recharged using a micro USB cable.
- You ever try to wash your dishes while camping? It is nearly impossible to do. Unless you have a sink of course. You can fill it with warm water to wash your dishes or wash yourself. Once your done it collapses down flat to store just about anywhere. Even better, when collapsed the bottom of the sink doubles as a cutting board! A complete game changer for van life and car camping, this is a must for everyone.
- Speaking of cleaning up, when was the last time you showered? Dusty trails can leave us feeling well, dusty. Few things in life are as satisfying as rinsing away the dirt, sweat, and grime from a day or two in the wild. There are lots of hanging shower bags available, from our experience this one is the best. Not only does it hold a whopping 3 gallons of water but it can be pressurized by using the attached foot pump. So you can use it anywhere, without having to find a tree to hang it in.
- Vintage charm meets modern technology. These things are just plain cool. Made with a stamped steel body, these have the look and feel of an antique kerosene lantern but without the dirty smelly kerosene. The warm LED light can be adjusted to varying brightness. It is the perfect van life addition for people who value form as much as they do function.