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Home is Where You Park It: Tips on Making Your Van a Home

There are so many built out vans rolling down the streets and #vanlife is old news on Instagram. How do you turn your plywood stuffed, gorilla tape decked, van build into a home, unique to you? With six months under our now smaller belts (#vanlife will do that to you), we’ve learned a few things about how to spruce up your metal box on wheels.

Decorate + Personalize

In our opinion, the best way to decorate your van is with objects from your travels. We started with bare bones and now the van is full of memories from adventures. Sometimes seasonal (currently we have a gord on our dashboard), sometimes found, sometimes gifted. Whatever it is, have memories around you and the space doesn’t seem nearly as small.

Note tape to keep narwhal in place, and colorful gord in the background.

Organize + Reorganize

With a space so small you HAVE to utilize it all. When an object has a designated spot, and you go to look for it, and it’s in the space you assigned it, the day is incredible and nothing will go wrong. It’s glorious. Make sure cabinets have separators and walls so nothing is rolling around or knocking over while traveling. Keep cabinets closed with gear ties (like we use) or child locks. Put an organizer between the two front buckets seats to organize items you use daily while driving.

Expand + Relax

The space outside the van (your living room) is just as important as how you organize the inside. Travel with things that make being outside comfortable. Make your kitchen easy to use outside. Get comfy chairs, a hammock, and a big cooler for your brews. When you live in a van, nature is your real home, and you have the ability to make it as comfortable as you want. Plus, it expands your living space by one bajillion.

Stop backpacks and jackets from flying around with a simple bungee cord.

Secure + Secure Again

The frustration of driving around with objects falling out of the cabinets will ruin even the best of days. Secure your decorations, and use tape, zip ties, and bungee cords, anything to save you from the mess that happens on back country roads and unsecured cabinets. It’s unavoidable and at some point, your powder deodorant will fall from a countertop and explode and never come out of your howling wolf rug. Pick it up, zip it back in its case, and tuck it away. Secure and secure again.

Wind Down + Get Fancy

We have two night time rituals that make it feel like we’re not sleeping in a van at all! We burn small candles while we’re getting ready for bed, and run an essential oil diffuser. We don’t even do that when we’re living in a house. Find a few small rituals that make #vanlife feel like #meditationlife. Having them centered around bedtime works well because that’s a time when you have to be IN the van, instead of enjoying the living room you built for yourself outside (see Expand + Relax).

Make. Your. Bed.

An unmade bed in a van is an un-made van. Making the bed is two-fold.
1. It makes the van look clean.
2. The bed is the second floor in a van, and with dirty climbing packs and wet jackets being slung onto it, having the bed made is one more defense against having to wash the sheets. Worth it!

We hope these van tips help you to make your van-house a home. This is, of course, not an exhaustive list. Please comment with any suggestions for other #vanlife lovers!


If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La SportivaCrazy CreekNational GeographicRovR ProductsSea to SummitMountain HouseLifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.

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