Van Life Essentials: What You Need for a Successful Adventure

Experience the fruits of capitalism with The Goods, a series spotlighting products that can improve life. For two years, we lived in a 72-square-foot tiny house we built inside a van. Our van gave us the freedom to live rent-free across North America, making our home in picturesque high deserts, isolated mountaintops, secluded beaches, wineries, and even the streets of Manhattan. Whether you’re using your van for full-time living or just for weekend escapes, you can strip down to the essentials while also making a comfortable living space. A van is about the size of a walk-in closet and must serve as a workspace, a bedroom, a kitchen, and a bathroom, so every inch counts. If that sounds like the life for you, these are some products that can help you live the dream. Chris and Cristina Moody lived nomadically in a van for two years. They recently settled in Boone, North Carolina, where Chris teaches journalism at Appalachian State University. GETTING AROUND For our travels, we chose the 2017 RAM ProMaster cargo van. Keep It Cool With a Ventilation Fan You won’t be paying for campgrounds with electrical hookups very often, so you’ll need a low-energy way to stay cool. Cut a hole in the roof of your van and install a Maxxair Maxxfan ventilation fan. Insulation Without insulation, you’ll be living in a hot tin can. (No thanks!) Electricity If you want to go off the grid, you’ll need solar power. Refrigerator Midea chest freezer If you have a fancy budget, install a Dometic CRX 65U energy-efficient refrigerator and freezer that will fit perfectly in a van. Sleeping Van life might feel like a long camping trip, but you don’t always have to rough it. When Nature Calls Everybody poops. Organization Cooking Working on the Road Where To Sleep Fresh Water Self-Defense Keep it Stealthy Don’t Get Lost