So you have your minivan camper all ready to hit the road. Or maybe you are thinking about living in a minivan camper. Whatever stage you are at, it is good to know some of the ins and outs. So let’s get into how to live in a minivan camper successfully.
You need to consider what kind of lifestyle you want from van life when choosing the right minivan camper.
Pick The Right Minivan Camper
You are going to want the right minivan camper if you are considering van life. What do I mean by that? Well for every person that will be a unique situation. You may want something that’s a little more roomy or maybe you want to be more stealth. For more information on choosing the right minivan camper go here.
Taking extra steps in building a great minivan camper, such as insulation, will make a world of difference when living in it.
Make Sure It’s Built Well
Okay, so now you have a minivan camper but have you checked off the list to make it functional and comfortable? Take a look at this list to see if you have missed anything:
- Is it insulated?-This makes a big difference when you are dealing with very hot or really cold temperatures.
- Do you have enough storage?– Having enough storage in your minivan camper helps keep it organized and tidy. Plus keeping your stuff out of sight looks better if someone were to glance into your window.
- Do you have window covers?-Again this helps with temperature control. This also helps when you are stealth camping.
- Is everything bolted down or secure?-If you did any type of carpentry work to your minivan camper make sure everything is secure. Stuff like the bed needs to be bolted to the ground so it doesn’t go flying forward when you hit the breaks.
- Did you make sure the mechanics are good to go?-Making sure everything works in your minivan camper will help keep future mechanical issues at bay.
You may have your own needs that you want in your minivan camper such as a kitchen. So it is always good to have a checklist or outline of what you want out of your minivan camper. For more information on how to build a camper van go here.
Maintaining your minivan camper will prevent costly and stressful mishaps in the future.
Maintain Your Minivan Camper
Preventative maintenance is key to having a happy and successful time with van life. That is for both the mechanics as well as maintenance on the inside. It will be less of a headache in the future and can save you a ton of money.
So it is a good idea to get to know your minivan camper. Work on it yourself, so you can fix things as they arise. Having a bag of good tools and extra supplies comes in handy as well.
Having an idea on how you want to live life in your minivan camper will help you settle into this lifestyle more easily.
Know How You Want To Live Van Life
Now you have got to ask yourself, “Where do I plan on living in my minivan camper?” There are many ways to live van life. Here are some examples:
- Stealth Camping in the City-This option is when you have to work in the city and you plan to stay there. This helps save you money since you don’t have rent, but can get stressful if you are new to it. Here is some more information on stealth camping.
- Traveling the Country-This way of living you don’t stay in one place for too long. You may stay a few days at a spot, but that’s about it.
- Following the Snowbirds-You follow the warm weather with this van life option. You may stay in a spot for a couple of weeks up to a few months as opposed to moving around all the time.
- Full Timer in One Area- You are basically commited to one maybe two spots. This could be at an RV park that may allow you to park your minivan camper or maybe on your own piece of property. You may have seasonal work at a campground that allows you to stay there while you work.
Staying at a State Park is one way to enjoy living in your minivan camper.
However you live in your minivan camper, there are options. Here is a list of places that are minivan camper friendly:
- National Forests-Usually up to 2 weeks in one spot then you leave that national forest for 16 days before you can stay there again. This option is free.
- BLM-Similar rules of the national forests apply to BLM land. This option is also free.
- State Land– You may have to get a permit depending on which state you are in. State land is also free to park your minivan camper on.
- State and National Parks-This option isn’t free and may require some planning ahead, but it is a good option with amenities.
- Campgrounds– Depending on where you are at you may have to pay or you may not. Usually the ones that are free have a time limit as to how long you can stay.
Walmart is a good overnight spot when travelling in your minivan camper.
For shorter, or moreso, overnight stays here are some minivan camper friendly places:
- Rest Areas-Usually found on your interstates and major highways.
- Truck Stops
You should always show some etiquette and respect when living in your minivan camper short term or full time at these places. Some examples are:
- Don’t trash the area.
- Leave it better than the way you found it.
- Don’t be loud or park in someone else’s camping area.
- Respect the rules to whatever area you are living in at the time.
Becoming a freelancer gives you the freedom to travel on the road.
How To Make Money Living On The Road
It may seem intimidating giving up what you knew as security in a 9 to 5 job. There are ways around that when living in a minivan camper. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Become a Freelancer- This covers a broad range of jobs from writing to making videos to being a virtual assistant or making website designs. There are many options when it comes to being a freelancer and it can work well with van life.
- Working Seasonal Jobs-These jobs are usually when tourist season is in session in certain areas. Some examples would be a campground host, marina work, jobs at ski lodges or resorts.
- Renting Out Your House-If you own real estate it can be a perfect way to make a passive income. If you don’t want to deal with the duties of a landlord then you can hire a property management company. They handle everything so you don’t have to.
- Stay at your 9 to 5-If you don’t mind stealth camping and living in the city then don’t quit your day job.
This is really an individual choice and you have to find what works for you. Here is some more in depth information on working on the road.
Digging a latrine is a way to have a bathroom when boondocking with your minivan camper.
No Toilet….. No Problem
When living in a minivan camper you may not have the amenities like an RV would. So let me explain how you can successfully have all these things in a minivan camper. Here are some tips and tricks when you are without a toilet:
- You can always stay at campgrounds or RV parks that provide a bathroom.
- A portable toilet is a great option if you got the room in your minivan camper.
- Digging a latrine. This goes for when you are boondocking in National Forests or BLM. Usually there are no bathrooms, so get yourself a good mini shovel and start digging. You want to be about 200 feet away from water sources. The hole should be at least 6 to 8 inches deep. Make sure to dig it in a private spot and far away from any campsites. Bury your waste after each use.
- For you ladies reading this, consider a Lady J. It is a funnel that allows you to urinate standing up or in a bottle. Also digging a small hole only to urinate in will help keep it from splashing up onto you.
Most minivan campers won’t provide you with a shower so choose an alternative like a solar shower.
Alternatives To A Shower
Now let’s move onto the shower shall we?
- A solar shower works wonders and can get really hot. Make sure to hang it up in a private place or maybe purchase a pop up privacy tent.
- Again places like campgrounds or RV parks can provide you with showering amenities.
- A gym membership is a good option if you want a workout and a shower while living in a minivan camper. This option you would have to be near civilization.
There are many ways to cook without a kitchen such as solar, a mini stove or by fire.
Oh Where Would You Cook?……
No room for a kitchen in your minivan camper? No worries. Here are some good options:
- A mini stove provides you with a quick alternative to hot drinks and food. A mini stove is also good when you have limited storage options.
- Solar Cooking is good for areas like the Southwest. You can buy an already made solar oven. Another option is to use a piece of reflectix and set your food or water out in the sun.
- Cooking food with fire. This option is not my favorite but used with caution it can provide you with hot food and beverages.
Don’t forget about your pots, silverware and bowls. Having a big bowl or tote can be used to wash your dishes. Make sure to dump your grey water in a hole and bury it. Here is some more information on how to cook without a kitchen on the road.
Utilizing your camping area can help make living in a minivan camper more tolerable and spacious.
Utilizing A Living Area
A living room is usually not possible if your bed takes up most of the area in your minivan camper. You can either make sure to design a living room when building your minivan camper or utilize your camping area as your living room.
If you have the room consider a family size tent if you want more privacy outside of your minivan camper. This also helps from you being cooped up during rainy days as well. You can also have a tent that attaches to your minivan camper. Just make sure to find one that fits your vehicle.
Handwashing clothes and hang drying them provides you with an alternative to a washer or dryer.
No Need For A Washer or Dryer
There are some options when it comes to washing your clothes and living in your minivan camper. Here are some choices:
- Going to a laundry mat in town
- Some campgrounds or RV parks may have a laundry room. So if you are the type who would rather have all the amenities, look into a good campground or RV park.
- Hand Wash your clothes. Get yourself a bucket or tote, some water, soap and get to cleaning. Use some paracord and clothespins to dry your clothes in the sun.
- Occasionally using a rest area or park bathroom to wash small items is fine. Do not make a habit out of it. Use this option for quick washing emergencies.
Most importantly, be safe and have fun living in your minivan camper. Play around with different options. This lifestyle can provide you with more freedom and cheaper options. So enjoy your journey whether that be traveling the country or saving up for a goal in a city.