Gifts for RV owners and Vanlifers Holidays 2019

Gifts for RV owners and Vanlifers Holidays 2019

It’s the holiday season again and it is time to start buying gifts for those you love. Picking out personalized gifts for people you love can be difficult enough but in a world of minimalism and finding experience-based gifts, it can be difficult to know what to buy. If you are like my family they now have to try to buy for someone that lives in a van. Frankly, we don’t want for much and mostly that is because we don’t have room for much more. We love all of your thoughtful gifts but we simply have nowhere to put them. So if you have someone special in your life that is full-time on the road then these will be great gifts for RV owners and vanlifers! 

 


1) National Parks Pass

There is nothing more vanlife or RV life than heading to the National Parks. This is why purchasing a National Parks Pass for your road travel friend is a great gift idea. The National Parks Pass allows you entry to National Parks and 2000 Federal Recreation Sites. Not to mention it often will give you a discount on camping! Shawn and I bought one this year and it easily paid for itself several times over!

2) AAA Card 

When you have an RV or Van, having a roadside emergency is even more alarming. Not only is your home stuck on the side of the road but when you need towed or have an emergency it usually costs extra because of your size. This is why we have AAA for RV’s, which covers four tows up to 100 miles or one tow up to  200 miles of towing (which is super important because you never know how far from a bigger city your vanlife friend may be)

3) Jackery Battery Bank

When you are constantly on the road you know the struggles of keeping your electronics charged. Often I will only have enough solar to charge my battery once without worrying about depleting it. This is especially true in the winter when the sun is out for way fewer hours than the summer. This means that once I out of battery on my computer then I can longer work. This is why a Jackery is so handy. The Jackery is a separate system and has its own battery bank. You can save it for your computer or cell phones when your battery bank is depleted or if you have an RV then when you don’t have access to shore power. Your vanlife friends will think they have won the lottery if you buy them this gift, I can promise you that. 

4) Portable Chargers

Portable chargers are frankly good for any kind of traveler. They allow you to store battery power inside of a very portable and small device that you can then charge your cell phone with at any point. It’s great for long flights for travelers and for RVer’s and Vanlifers it’s great for those times when you don’t have enough electricity to charge your cell phone or when you’ve gone on a long hike and used up all of your power on pictures. Don’t let your friends go without a cell phone flashlight when it comes time to hike down in the dark. 

5) Solar Lights

Solar lights are by far one of the best gifts we were ever given. They are great because there have been so many times when we couldn’t use our lights or maybe wanted a more romantic setting and the lights were absolutely perfect. They charge from the sun so you don’t have to worry about one more thing draining your batteries. Since they have loops they have the capability to hang so you can get creative and put them anywhere you need light! 

6) Bluetooth portable speaker

Van’s and RV’s are notorious for having terrible music systems. They simply weren’t built for an entertainment center. In our sprinter, we can’t hook up our phones to our speaker system in any fashion which means no podcasts, apple music, or Spotify. We are left to listening to the three channels that come through when we are traveling through the mountains. This is why a high-quality portable speaker is so important. You can connect via Bluetooth or USB and are able to listen to your favorite podcast or Spotify playlist. The JBL Flip is known for its high quality and moderately priced speaker. 

7) Campervan Heater

Does your Vanlife friend or family member travel year-round? Then chances are there are times in the year when they get oh so cold! There is nothing better than being able to turn on your heater inside your van and stay warm like most home-dwelling humans. This is where the Mr. Buddy Heater can come in handy. The Mr. Buddy Heater runs off of propane and is a great little space heater when you are in a pinch.

The step-up is the Espar heater which fits underneath the front seat and connects to the diesel line in the van. Since it naturally vents out through the bottom of the van you are able to run it longer than the Mr. Buddy which needs to be ventilated and is not as safe of an option! Although this might be a gift you need to get approved I guarantee it will be the most used gift they have ever received! 

8) Gift Card 

Most people I know think gift cards are impersonal and hate buying them as a holiday present and look I get it. It takes about zero effort to purchase a gift card. In this digital 2-day shipping world, what gift isn’t easy anymore? For an RVer or vanlifer gift cards are absolute gold and we will not think less of you for giving us a gift that will save us when we run out of gas money or grocery money. You can’t go wrong with most gift cards but these are the ones I recommend the most! 

  • Kroger Gift Card- Kroger’s are all across America and your friend will not have a hard time finding a grocery store to spend their new money at! 
  • Amazon Gift Card– Even on the road Amazon is still a popular store to purchase from and you can buy almost anything on Amazon!
  • Home Improvement Store – When you live in your mode of transportation chances are you are constantly doing home improvement. This is why a gift card to Lowe’s or Home Depot is always a welcome surprise. When you have an emergency it is so nice to be able to walk in knowing you have the extra cash!

9) Books 

Books are a timeless gift that I frankly approve of for anyone on your list. Rv owners and vanlifers are not to be excluded from this idea and will likely approve of such a gift. However, since there is limited space and every book that they own is special and hand-picked I would recommend buying an amazon kindle gift card so that they can purchase the book they want and keep it in the cloud. Kindle can now be read on Android and Apple devices so no extra Kindle device needed! You can also pick out your gift purchase and send it as a gift if you have a book in mind!

10) 16 oz Yeti Tumbler

A part of living in such a small space is having a limited amount of things. This includes cups and is why most people on the road have one cup that they use ALL the time. I personally have a mug and a water cup. My water cup is the Yeti with a reusable straw. It is my absolute favorite cup as it keeps water cold for the entire day and the BEST thing is the Yeti’s fit in the Sprinter van cup holders! You might not realize what a big deal this is but for any van lifer who owns a sprinter then you know that the front cupholders on the dash are basically useless for most every cup except disposable coffee cups and THESE yetis!

11) Rumpl

Blankets are a very popular gift to give RVer’s or Vanlifers. I think for Christmas last year we got three blankets. Of course, we are always grateful for blankets but they do take up a lot of precious space and if they are not super quality or go with the decorations it can be hard to keep them. The Rumpl is one blanket I can guarantee your friend will not be trying to stash away. It is easily compressible and is warm just like a sleeping bag. It’s a great compromise in durability, practicality, and design. 

 

Bonus: The Original Rumpl Puffy Blanket is made with 100% post-consumer plastics which means you can feel good about the purchase. 

12) Weboost Wifi Extender

One of the most frustrating parts about living on the road is the lack of stability. When you own your own business or need to be connected to wifi or cell service you often have to sacrifice a beautiful location for practicality. This is where the Weboost comes in,  The Weboost takes your cell service or wifi service and extends it. It is able to grab the nearby service from cell phone towers and amplify your device. Although it is not the end all be all, I have used it in a friend’s rig and when I had no service and was unable to work the WEBoost made it possible for me to get work done. 

13) Road Atlas

Who takes a road trip with a road atlas? Surprisingly way too many people. Make sure your Road traveling friend does not go with an updated road atlas this year. A road Atlas will not fail you no matter how little battery or how little cell service you may have, and so it is the perfect gift for RV Owners!

 


So there you have it, a list of gifts for rv owners and vanlifers in your life! Do you think buying for vanlifers is difficult or do you love a challenge? 

Happy Shopping!

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holiday gifts for vanlifers
Top Gifts for RV Owners
Top Gifts for RV Owners and vanlifers
The Ultimate Vanlife Packing List

The Ultimate Vanlife Packing List

When you are first starting on your vanlife journey; maybe you are buying your van, building your van, or waiting for it to be built. No matter how you are beginning your journey, the result is the same, you need to start packing for vanlife. When you are prunning down your items and trying to figure out exactly which items you will need for your journey this vanlife packing list should help you as a basic guide. I have also created a downloadable PDF so that you can have a physical list you can check off to ensure you don’t forget a thing! 


Vanlife Kitchen Packing List

When it comes to packing up your kitchen, you need to reasonable. Think about what you like to cook and how you can cook it with the least amount of items. Often in a house, you will cook several items at a time. It’s not always this easy in a van and you might end up making more simple meals that only require one pot where everything can be cooked together. For Shawn and I, we typically only use one skillet and one pot if we are making rice or pasta.  For your accessories, you truly need to pair down. You don’t necessarily need a potato peeler, cheese grater, or even the citrus squeezer I listed below. Pick out your favorite accessories that you know you use often and then store the rest. If necessary pare them down and then as time passes make several sweeps through your kitchen drawer and get rid of the items you don’t utilize.  When it comes to your dinnerware this is going to come down to personal choice but my advice is to simply have 2 of everything. I would be lying if I told you that is what Shawn and I do but it’s still my advice. Shawn and I have 4 plates, 2 small bowls, and 2 big bowls. Chances are when you are serving people they will be vanners or travelers and will have their own items. However, we enjoy having the extra plates and it is worth taking up a little bit of extra room. It’s up to you to decide what you are and aren’t willing to sacrifice. 

Download Your Free Vanlife Packing List PDF! 


Clothing Vanlife Packing List

Your vanlife packing list wouldn’t be complete without looking into what clothes you will pack. The best advice I can give when deciding which clothes should stay and which ones should go is to think practically and quality. If you’ve ever been on a two-week vacation abroad then this process should look similar. Pack items that have multi-purposes and can be stored easily without wrinkling. Have a few nice shirts/outfits that can be worn on a regular workday and will look good if you happen to go out on the town. Layering is always important and doesn’t overdo it. You will quickly find your favorite clothing items and the rest will end up collecting dust. If you buy new items then try to buy one quality item so you don’t have to have multiples and it will last a long time helping you out with your vanlife budget.

Vanlife Bedroom Packing List

Having a comfy bedroom area is important for getting a good night’s rest which keeps your vanlife road trip a happy one. I personally enjoy having a comfortable pillow, soft blankets, and nice sheets. Plus cute bedding is important for all those vanlife photos you’ll want to take!

  


Vanlife Laundry Packlist List Items

 

Your Laundry room is getting a huge downgrade on this vanlife packing list. Our laundry room is now right behind the driver’s seat and is composed of our dirty laundry bag and laundry detergent. Don’t overcomplicate things when it comes to doing your laundry on the road.

 


Vanlife Cleaning items Packing List

 

The great thing about having such a small space is clean up is an absolute breeze! Even if we need to reorganize a few things, cleaning up the van takes a maximum of an hour and frankly, that’s only if we are deep cleaning it. You don’t need a ton of cleaners or vacuums to get the job done. We use an eco-friendly cleaning spray, a washcloth, and Lysol wipes when we feel it’s necessary to kill some germs.

Some van-lifers have a small handheld vacuum and love it. We bought a vacuum and found it didn’t work well enough to take up space and returned it the next day. Using a broom and hand washing the floor is so much simpler!

 


Vanlife Bathroom Packing List

 

Personal hygiene items probably take up more room inside our van than we would like. We love oils, face cleansers, and even have toothpaste for our dogs. This is probably one area I don’t recommend skimping on. Keeping clean in a van is tough enough and when you don’t have the proper tools you are making it that much more difficult. A top tip is to create an area just for your bathroom supplies with storage containers or built-in dividers.

To learn more about keeping clean on the road check out my post on Vanlife Hygiene.

 


Vanlife Electronics Packing List

Vanlife Electronics

Inside your van you may be surprised how few electronics you truly own. The truth is, since your van has limited space you only need one of each item and since it is so small it is much harder to lose things (minus cell phone chargers which disappear just like socks!). I have listed the basic items you will want to have while traveling in your van.

 


Vanlife Safety and Maintenance Packing List

 

If you are going to have a kitchen in your home then you need to have a few safety items. First off a small fire extinguisher and a carbon monoxide detector. It is a small price to pay to avoid a major catastrophe.

 


Vanlife Pet supplies Packing List

Don’t forget about your pet in this vanlife packing list! If you have a dog or cat then make sure and carry the basics with you so they are taken care of as well. The great thing is that there are storable items that you can purchase for your animal. For more essentials head over to Vanlife with a dog.

 


Download Your Free Vanlife Packing List PDF! 


That is a wrap for all the items that you should have on your packing list for the ultimate adventure! I hope this guide helps and that you have an amazing adventure!

vanlife packing list
VANLIFE PACKING LIST GUIDE
The Ultimate Guide to Vanlife Remote Work

The Ultimate Guide to Vanlife Remote Work

Are you interested in vanlife but aren’t sure how you will make money on the road? I have been working remotely for over two years now and have learned how many opportunities there are to make money online. There are so many ways that you can make money as a nomad including jobs that are not limited to working online. However, since working online gives you the most freedom, in my opinion I wanted to give you a cumulative list of all the different types of work there is available online. From a social media manager to building websites the sky is the limit when it comes to making money remotely. Below are my favorite vanlife remote jobs that I believe are the most accessible for the average person with the ability to work online!


Vanlife Remote Jobs 

There are many kinds of jobs you can have to sustain your life on the road. However a remote job is a very specific kind of job. A remote job means that you are able to complete your work from anywhere in the world, whether it be a National Park, the middle of San Fransisco or the Beaches of Carolina. 

A remote job gives you a freedom that most other jobs simply do not. There are many many kinds of remote jobs and it is up to you to find one that fits your skills and passions. Below are the top remote jobs out there that are great options for vanlife remote work! 

 

1. Full-Time Remote Jobs

 

This one is my favorite. More and more often companies are beginning to allow their employees to work remotely. You don’t need to come into work and you can work from anywhere as long as the work is getting done. The first step is to talk to your current company to see if working remotely is an option. I know several vanlifers who spoke with their company and they were able to work it out so they could work from the road! It is so surprising to find how many companies are hiring remote workers and what fields they are in.

Virtual nurses, accountants, engineers, marketing, real estate, seriously the list goes on and on. Are you saying to yourself (not in my field)? Google “your field” + “remote”, you are likely going to be shocked to find how many opportunities you didn’t know existed! 

Need more help than that? Check out Remote like me ran by Taylor Lane. She has a course that is dedicated to helping you learn how to get a remote job.

 

2. Social Media Manager

 

Do you love all things social media? Are you constantly online and understand the ways of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook? So many companies need your help! You would be surprised how many businesses lose out on potential sales because they aren’t marketing to their online customers. Their customers are online looking for them but they aren’t reaching out. Help them!

Unsure on whether you have the experience or need a little more education? There are so many incredible courses on becoming a social media manager that will give you the confidence you need to put yourself out there.

My all-time favorite course is the Bucketlist Bombshells Tech course. This course lays out exactly what you need to do to become a Virtual Assistant. From social media management, email marketing, blog management, website design, website management- Shay walks you through each job step by step so you will have the knowledge and resources necessary to work with clients that need you!

 

3. Website Designer

 

Have you built a website before? Maybe you started a blog or even a website for potential employers to see. I know I did and that was 10 years ago! You will be surprised at the number of people that need a website but have no idea how to put one together.

Not every business can afford a $10k-$30k website and they need people just like you to bridge that gap for them. There are so many easy ways to build websites now including Squarespace and WordPress that make the process much simpler than it used to be. You don’t need to know a ton of coding to begin. Again there are so many courses out there that will walk you through step by step to get started. The great thing is the BB Tech Course walks you through website design as well.

 

4. Virtual Assistant

Digital entrepreneurship is BOOMING. There are so many entrepreneurs out there and they are KILLING IT. The thing is eventually they need help. They need someone to do the day to day tasks that they simply don’t have time to complete. Answering emails, scheduling clients, email marketing, sales pages, strategy and simply someone to help with the load. They need a virtual assistant. Most people I know often have worked an office job or marketing job that has already given them so many skills that they don’t realize are SO SO valuable. You often have the knowledge to help people and you had no idea! Becoming a virtual assistant doesn’t have to be difficult and there are so many courses available to help get you started!   

5. Graphic Designer

 

Do you love making designs? Graphic design is an amazing field to get into as you don’t need to be based anywhere. You can easily work from your computer and get clients as a digital nomad. With the rise in entrepreneurs that means more people that need your help! From branding, design, logos, pamphlets and more these are things entrepreneurs might not have the eye for, but you do!

You do not have to go to school to be a graphic designer. There are different levels of experience and so many designers have learned from a course or from simply teaching themselves and now make a full-time income. Since being a graphic designer is so flexible it is a great option for a vanllife remote work job. 

 

Top Vanlife Apps

6. Blogger 

Yes, you can make money blogging. Yes, it can also be super difficult but it can be done. The trick is to niche down and write about what people want to know in that niche. From there you have affiliate links and even ads on your site to help it run. Not to mention the possibilities of working with brands who will pay you to post for them! It is another fantastic vanlife remote work option as you are less likely to have hard deadlines and if you find yourself out on the road with no signal you don’t have to stress about letting your client know you won’t make the deadline in time! 

 

7. Freelance Writer 

Speaking of writing you can make money writing from your computer. Other than blogging there are tons of websites that pay you to write. It’s not the easy industry to break into but it can be done if it’s your passion. From freelance writing to full-time writing jobs you have the ability to make money from your writing skills. Many larger companies are hiring full-time bloggers or part-time freelancers!  If you are uncertain where to start, check out How to Be a Travel Writer  

8. Life or Business Coach

This is a field I did not understand before I became an entrepreneur. You’re telling me someone is going to help me through life? I thought it was crazy talk and I scoffed at the idea. Well, tell that to the people that are bringing in millions a year with their courses. NOT EVEN KIDDING. Life and business coaching are so needed in the entrepreneurial world. It is TOUGH constantly putting yourself out there and feeling rejected and depleted. Coaches help you bridge that gap. They help you get over the things that are standing in your way from getting your amazing work out there for the world to see.


Vanlife Remote Work Courses

Still feeling unsure of how in the heck you are ever going to make money online and travel the world? Or maybe you are starting to feel that all this is possible but really none of the above apply to you. Below are my favorite courses offered by my favorite people. These are entrepreneurs that are out there kicking butt and giving the world everything they have to offer.  

1. The Bucketlist Bombshells

How to start your own online business

Did I mention I love these ladies? Without these courses, I might still be spinning my wheels, unhappy and unfulfilled. They have the biggest hearts and have changed the lives of so many ladies. They have three courses to get you started: Design Skills Sales Page, Tech Skills Sales Page, and The Work + Travel Course. 

Each course deep dives into the skills necessary to be a graphic designer and Virtual Assistant (which entails so much more than you would think). The WTC is a great course to help someone who wants to launch their own online business but has no idea where to start. The WTC includes a step by step screencast to help you build your website, how to find clients, how to price your packages, productivity tips, digital nomad advice and seriously so so much more. These courses are worth so much more than what they charge!

Want to hear more about the Bucketlist Bombshell courses? Read my full review here!

Check out all of the Bucketlist Bombshell courses!

 

2. Remote Like Me

 

As I mentioned above there are a ton of vanlife remote work opportunities out there outside of the typical online job. There are Virtual nurses, accountants, engineers, marketing, and so many more job opportunities out there that won’t leave you chained to a desk. You don’t have to give up your insurance and benefits to be free and travel the world! The problem can often be finding those jobs and even if you do find them how to begin to be competitive in that world.

This is where Taylor the owner of Remote Like Me comes in. She has a course dedicated to teaching you how to land any remote job. It covers where to find remote jobs, resume examples, worksheets, and so so much more. If you still love the idea of working with a team and being apart of a company culture but want to travel the world then the course is the one for you. Taylor teaches you all you need to know so you can land your dream remote job.

To get started she offers a free Masterclass on her  4-step proven process to go remote that she usually keeps secret for her private clients and members. She explains, “During this one hour class, you’ll learn details on finding and landing a remote job from any country in the world so that you can finally live the lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Finding legit remote-jobs, applying to stand out, acing the interview, networking, and more!”.

 

3. Superstar Blogging

Supertar Blogging Logo

If you want to be a blogger but have no idea where to start then consider a course on being a professional blogger. When I started 5 years ago I joined Travel Blog Success a course similar to Superstar blogging. I have since taken Superstar Blogging and I highly recommend it. It is a great way to step by step to build your blog and grow it into a business. It takes you from picking your blog host, theme, plugins to SEO, writing skills, and tech support! 

 

4. How to Become a Travel Writer

 

Do you love writing and want to travel the world? Check out another course by Matt Kepnes. This course will dive into your writing skills AND how to land assignments. How to become a travel writer is a great option for those of you with a writer’s soul who (like me) regrets not studying writing in college. I haven’t taken it yet, but it is for sure on my list!

Check Out All of Matt’s Courses

 

Super Star Blogging
Super Star Blogging
Super Star Blogging
Super Star Blogging

  So that is it for friends, my list of all the best Vanlife remote work opportunities! These remote jobs are a way to get started on your dreams on traveling the world and living life! Tell me what you think, is there anything holding you back from traveling the world after reading this list?
The Best Vanlife Shower Options

The Best Vanlife Shower Options

This is just a picture, don’t actually bathe in a hot spring please.


Do You Need a Vanlife Shower? 

When building out your campervan you need to decide if you need a shower in your campervan. Depending on the size of your van it is completely doable to add a small bathroom with a toilet and shower inside of your conversion van. You have the option of adding a shower inside of your van where it is built-in or you can have a portable shower that you utilize outside of your van.

When it comes to which shower you need it is up to you to decide what is important to you. You need to take a realistic look at what activities you will be doing on the road and if a shower is something you would use often. If you plan on doing a lot of outdoor activities such as surfing, hiking, snow sports, climbing, etc. then it might be worth your time to add an indoor or outdoor shower.

 


Types of Vanlife Showers for Your Campervan

©Katie Larsen uses an attached solar shower as her Vanlife Shower of choice. To see more check out her Instagram!

Portable Vanlife Shower Options

One of the most common vanlife shower options is a portable shower. This means that your shower can be stored inside your van somewhere and you have the option to take it out when you are ready to use it. There are several different portable shower types from solar to electric pump showers.

The most popular that I have personally seen in the vanlife community is the solar shower. It is easy to store, use, and makes the most sense as you don’t need a heater or electricity. With both shower types, however, you have to warm up your water with the sun which means in the winter, it can be more difficult to shower. Not to mention in the winter you probably don’t want to be showering outside anyways! 

 

Solar Vanlife Showers

A solar shower is made up of a shower bag which holds the water, a hook to hang the bag and a hose which through gravity will allow the water to flow out of it. Again this is one of the most popular vanlife shower options I have seen on the road. It’s budget-friendly, packs easily, and is a great option for those summertime road trips when you won’t be seeing a real shower for weeks at a time.

Foot Pump Pressurized Portable Shower

A great option for taking an outdoor shower is a foot pump or hand pump portable shower. One of the top brands is the Nemo Helio Portable Pressure Shower. To use you simply set the bag full of water in the sun and then use the foot pump to pressurize the water. Users claim it takes about 10 pumps for a few minutes of water. A tip from users is not to overfill it with water so that it has air to pressurize properly and so your water pressure will be stronger.  

Battery Powered Handheld Portable Shower

Similar to the electric shower pump, you still utilize a bucket of water and it you charged it via USB. This is a great option if you don’t have a ton of room and already have a bucket for your regular trash can.

 

 

 

Solar Roof Rack Shower

Another popular option for vanlifers is to add a solar shower to your roof rack. The water is stored inside the tube that is connected to your roof rack. The water is heated and pressurized by the sun. It’a a great option for those with a roof rack. You can purchase one pre-made or there are DIY versions with PVC pipe that will cost you around $100! 


Built-in Vanlife Showers

If you are someone who is outdoors a lot or want to have the privacy of your own full bathroom then consider putting a shower into your van build (or buying one with a shower). A build in vanlife shower takes a lot of thought beforehand and you need to consider your space, not only for the shower itself but for the fresh water/ grey water tanks and a hot water heater. 

For a full understanding of what it looks like to put a water heater into your shower watch this video from van builders Vanessa and Adam


Campervan Shower Alternatives & Tools

The great thing about living on the road is that you always have options. Shawn and I don’t have a built-in shower or a portable shower. Instead, we utilize our planet fitness gym membership which is nationwide and allows us to shower in most cities on the road. Below are great options for public places to take showers on the road. 

Public Showers

On the road, you will have a few different options when it comes to finding public showers you can use for free or for a fee. 

Gym Memberships: Gym memberships are a great way to get your exercise and shower on the road. There are a few gyms that are nationwide and are under $40 a month which is pretty reasonable for unlimited showers and workouts. 

 

The best gyms for Van Lifers: 

 

  • Planet Fitness seems to be a popular choice among van-lifers and it’s pretty easy to understand why. At only $20 a month with unlimited nationwide access, it’s really a no-brainer. They have 24-hour access and 1600 nationwide locations. When you sign up for the nationwide access you are also getting the VIP membership which gives you free usage of the hydromassage which is great for relaxing after a day of driving…I mean working out. If we were really on a budget then we could have only gotten one membership and used the guest pass. Planet Fitness allows you to bring a guest with you every time you visit the gym. We really value our alone time and decided it was worth our sanity to have our own passes.
  • Gold’s Gym. Shawn really was pulling for Gold’s Gym for a bit. They have daily exercise classes, better lifting equipment, and are just a little bit nicer of a gym. However, it is around $40 a month and they simply don’t have as many locations as Planet Fitness (around 700 locations). If we had planned to stay in one part of the country it may have made sense to go with Gold’s but we have no real plans of where we want to be so we couldn’t make a decision to get a membership at a gym that we weren’t sure we would ever see on the road. One day we will get back to exercise classes but for now, we will have to make them up ourselves.
  • 24 Hour Fitness. Another popular gym for vanlifers, 24-hour fitness is heavily located on the West Coast in California, Oregon, Washington plus other states mixed intermittently. If you are only planning on being on the west coast then this might be a great option for you. For Shawn and I, we knew we would be traveling all over so 24-hour fitness wasn’t a great membership for us to choose

Other Public Vanlife Shower Options

Truck stops

Most large truck stops have showers. Pilot, Loves, TA, they all often have a shower that you can use if in desperate need. Now, this is not the most cost-effective method, showers on average run $12 and unless you have endless cash or only shower twice a month, this can really add up. Plus I don’t LOVE the idea of showering at a truck stop, I’m not above it but I’d definitely be stepping out of my comfort zone to shower while road trippers and truckers are grabbing their favorite snacks. 

 

KOA and Camping Spots

If we had planned on staying at many camping spots, then we could have easily showered there. Most camping spots and KOA‘s have showers. They may not be the most glamorous but it’s a shower and it’s included in the price of your spot to stay for the night. Unfortunately, camping spots can really add up from $10-$45+ a night and that’s a LOT for a shower.

 

Recreation Centers

In most cities, they have a public recreation center. For $5-7 you can use their showers and often their indoor/outdoor pool. Although we don’t utilize recreation centers a ton it is a great option for when there isn’t a gym around. 

 

Beach Showers

If you are near a beach then you can almost bet there are outdoor or indoor showers available for free public use. Take notice of signs as often the shower leads straight to the ocean which means you can only rinse off and cannot use soap/shampoo. 


What to do in-between Showers

 

If a shower simply isn’t available to hold yourself over you can use these products to “bathe” yourself without a true shower. My best advice is to use things such as wipes, dry shampoo, and utilizing what water you do have to help wash your body without fully washing it! Check out my latest post to read more about Vanlife Hygiene products so you can stay clean on the road!

If all of the above fail then don’t forget about all the lakes, rivers, and fresh water that you can find! Jumping into fresh water when you haven’t showered in a week or two will feel like heaven! It may not get you as clean as a regular shower but it will hold you over until your next opportunity! 

vanlife shower

vanlife shower

vanlife shower

vanlife shower


If all of the above fail then don’t forget about all the lakes, rivers, and fresh water that you can find! Jumping into fresh water when you haven’t showered in a week or two will feel like heaven! It may not get you as clean as a regular shower but it will hold you over until your next opportunity!

Vanlife Toilet Options for Campervans

Vanlife Toilet Options for Campervans

We have been traveling in our van since August of 2018 now and still to this day one of the top questions we get asked about vanlife is “Where do you go to the bathroom?”. There are many ways to solve the bathroom issue on the road and so many people do it differently. If you are deciding what vanlife toilet option is right for you one of the main factors is going to be comfort. If you are traveling solo, for instance, I would recommend making your toilet a priority. No one wants to worry about a bathroom emergency in the middle of the night by yourself. If space is a main priority you may not want to utilize the precious space you have for an unnecessary portable toilet. No matter what your priorities we have laid out all your vanlife toilet options so that you can make an educated decision!

Do You Need a Toilet in Your Campervan? 

 

When deciding whether you want to have a toilet in your campervan you really need to layout why you want or need one. Depending on your needs and where you will be spending your time, a toilet may or may not make sense for you. 

A big pro is convenience- there is nothing like having your own bathroom. You are more comfortable, it feels cleaner and you don’t have to stress when you really have to go. When you are in the wild you don’t have to go dig a hole and if you do go poop then you have a container to keep it in until you can dispose of it. 

Another key thing to think about is safety. If you are solo you need to decide if you will feel comfortable when you have to go to the bathroom and it’s late at night. When you have your own toilet you can stay safe inside your van.

A big con is that you have to clean it and it’s possible to will stink. You’ve got to find somewhere to dump your toilet at some point and pay for that dump fee. If it’s compostable you have to keep up with putting kitty litter or chips in it, if not it might start smelling. Not to mention you are already in such a small space that you have to worry about where to put the toilet. 

©Megan Cable Proudly showing off her Vanlife Toilet Option. Check out her Instagram!


Where to put a toilet in your campervan? 

A big reason we personally do not have a toilet in our campervan is that we simply didn’t have the space. No matter which toilet you decide is right for you, you’ve got to find a way to build it into the van. Which is why I personally recommend deciding before you build your van whether you will want to incorporate a toilet into your van. Building a space into your van for your toilet will help disguise it and make your space feel cleaner and cozier. 

Although space is limited I have seen some pretty creative ways of hiding your portable toilet in your campervan. You don’t have to have a toilet in plain sight if you decide to have one in your camper. 

  • Between the two front seats. When we were considering a toilet Shawn did the measurments and found that the thetford toilet can fit between the Sprinter two front seats. You had just enough room to make a box that surrounded the toilet and made it seem like an extra seat instead of a toilet in your front cab. 
  • Inside your shower. If you are going to build a shower into your van then it only makes sense to have your toilet inside of that same room. It keeps it out of the way and everything in one space. 
  • Hidden in Bench Seating. So many vanlifers have their toilet inside of seating. Especially if you are building a compostable toilet then you will want to build it into the van. As seen in the pictures from Megan Cable below her toilet (non-compostable) is hidden inside of bench seating. It even has cushions on top of the seating so when the box lid is closed you would have no idea that a toilet was inside!

 

Images by © Megan Cable


Types of Vanlife Toilets for your campervan

 

The next decision you have to make is what kind of vanlife toilet you want to invest in. There are many options from devices as simple as a bucket and as complex as a $1000 compostable toilet. There are options for every budget and for every van build.

You don’t have to spend a bunch of money or have a fancy toilet in order to incorporate a toilet into your campervan. You can spend as little as $30 and have a Luggable Loo bucket. Another great option is to buy a Lowe’s a bucket for a few dollars and simply use it as your trash can AND your toilet in an emergency. You simply take out the trash put a new trash bag in and go poop when it’s an emergency. 

If you want something a little bit nicer than a bucket then the Clean waste portable toilet is a great option that is comfortable but not too pricey. 

With all of these options, I don’t recommend going pee in them. Only utilize them for going poop and always put a new bag in and tie it up when finished to avoid stinking up your van. 

 


Best Compostable Vanlife Toilets 

 

From the beginning, Shawn wanted a compostable campervan toilet. When he told me what a compostable toilet was, I was completely turned off. I assumed it stank, was dirty and was something I wanted no part of. Not to mention to purchase one it can cost around $1000 bucks! However, there are alternatives and you can make one yourself for around $100 and they are actually quite amazing. Our friend BennyAriVanLife made one themselves and you would never know that it was even there nevertheless that it smelt. The genius behind their compostable toilet is that there is a fan that leads outside the van that makes sure that any smells stay outside the van. To learn how to build your own DIY toilet, check out Vanessa and Adam’s video on how to build your own compostable toilet. 


Best Cassette Vanlife Toilets 

 

A cassette toilet is a budget-friendly portable campervan toilet that many van lifers have inside of their van. It has two separate parts keeping the waste sealed so you do not have to smell it. You can either put chemicals in it to take care of your poop or you can use a bag and keep your waste in there until you can dispose of it properly. It is supposed to be easy to clean and is around 13.5” tall and 15 inches wide. A great way to hide it is to create a box that fits in between your two front seats and can be moved slide into the back when you need to use it!


Campervan and Vanlife Toilet Alternatives & Tools

 

If you were to ask a man if he has ever peed in a bottle, chances are the answer would be yes. If you were to ask if a woman has ever peed in a moving car, odds are no. It’s simply not possible without a toilet. But sometimes we really have to pee. For instance, late at night, I have to pee- like 2 times. Early morning, I REALLY have to pee. In the first few weeks of van life, I simply held it until we were able to find a bathroom. Not the most enjoyable experience or healthy for that matter. But I survived and it wasn’t so bad.

But what kind of life am I living if I can’t have a beer with Shawn at night because I’m afraid I’ll have to pee? Not one I’m willing to live. So until I can convince Shawn that I need a campervan toilet, I’ve “manned” up and bought an invention that frees women of having to squat: The She-Wee.

The she-wee is a genius invention that simply gives me the same power as a man, I can pee standing up into a bottle. Gross, yes but sometimes necessary. There are a few models, one that is made of silicone and can be easily folded up and the other is made of hard plastic. The silicone one is nice because I can clean it and then hide that sucker in shame, but honestly, it’s terrifying. Every time I pee I am holding on to it for dear life in fear that I will feel pee running down my leg. Seriously men have no idea. Shawn once told me (pre-she wee) to “just aim”. Yeah ok Shawn, because it works that way. The plastic She-wee would probably give me more confidence that there wasn’t a leak and I could pee fear-free.

Nevertheless, I am happy with my silicone she-wee and will continue to use it in emergencies when a bathroom is simply not an option or until Shawn finally pities me enough to buy me a $99 toilet.

For more information on methods to stay hygenic in a van check out my post on Vanlife Hygiene Products. 


Alternative Vanlife Toilet options

 

If you choose to opt-out of the above-vanlife toilet options then fear not there are so many options on the road for going to the bathroom. Just like any road trip, you simply have to figure it out. Basically you think about all the places that offer free bathrooms and utilize those! A great resource for finding bathrooms on the road is the app Flush which will pull up free restrooms in your area ranked by cleanliness and cost. To see the top vanlife apps check out my post Top vanlife apps for your road trip. 

Using the restroom outside – If you are out in the wilderness for long periods of time then your best bet is to use the bathroom outside. Make sure you are in areas where the ground is capable of composting your poop and ALWAYS abide by LNT principles for using the bathroom. 

Rules for using the bathroom outside: 

  • Find a space 200 feet from water sources, campsite, and trails.
  • Try to find a site with deep organic soil.
  • Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep and 4-6 inches in diameter
  • Cover with natural materials when finished.
  • If you use toilet paper or wipes, bring them back with you and dispose of in the trash! Do NOT leave it behind!

These basic rules come from Leave No Trace, to learn more about going to the bathroom outside visit their website

Free restrooms Ideas: 

Truck stops 

Starbucks

Grocery Stores 

Rest Areas 


When it comes to going to the bathroom on the road there is not one answer but rather many! What vanlife toilet option do you use in your campervan? Anything I have not listed? Let me know in the comments!

 

Other posts you might enjoy: 

Top Vanlife Apps

Top Vanlife Hygiene Products 

Vanlife Wifi Options: How to stay connected on a Roadtrip

Vanlife Wifi Options: How to stay connected on a Roadtrip

If you are considering vanlife then you might be thinking about how you will get your internet. Shawn and I have been on the road since 2018 and have traveled from the east coast to the west coast and back again. During this time we have been living and working on the road which means we are constantly traveling to different areas of the country. Since we make a large majority of our income online, we must have a connection to the internet to get work done. Unless you hook up a mobile wifi system to your rig chances are you will need to figure out how to get wifi on the road. From paid to free here are my top Vanlife wifi options. 

Paid Vanlife Wifi Options

There are quite a few mobile hot spot options that you can choose for your vanlife wifi option. If you already have a cell phone plan then chances are you can add on a mobile hotspot from around $20 a month depending on your data plan. To get the best hotspot I recommend checking out the different coverage from each carrier and deciding which carrier has service in the areas you will be most. 

The prices below are assuming you are a new customer who does not currently have a plan with the cellular carrier. 

Top Mobile Hotspots for Vanlife Wifi

Verizon Jetpack– By far Verizon Jetpack is the most used hotspot that I have seen in the vanlife community. They have a good reputation for having coverage in the more rural areas where vanlifers often can be. It is a great option if you do not want to use your hot spot on your phone or if you have a low data plan on your cell. The Jetpack cost ranges from $15/month for 1gb of data, $60 for 10gb, $80 for 15gb, $90 for 20gb, $120 for 30gb, and $150 for 40gb.

AT&T Nighthawk– If you are an AT&T subsciber then this might be a good add on option for you. It’s a hotspot and router giving you more options for creating wifi in any situation. However, Shawn has AT&T and he hardly has service in remote areas. It is also being rated as the number 3 network as far as coverage according to whistleout. It costs $50 per month for 10gb of data. 

Sprint MiFi 8000– Sprint offers a basic MiFi card running from $30-$60 a month with 10gb,50gb, and 100gb of high-speed data respectively. 

T-mobile Alcatel LINKZONE HotspotT Mobile also has its version of a mobile hot spot running from $35/mo: 5GB $60/mo: 15GB $85/mo: 20GB $100/mo: 25GB.

Other Vanlife Wifi Options

Prepaid hotspots Another option is a prepaid mobile hotspot. These can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Amazon, and cellular stores. The upside is that you purchase the hotspot and buy data as need so no data goes wasted. However, the downside is worrying about constantly refilling your data when most plans only cost around an additional $20 or so for a mobile hotspot. I would only get a prepaid mobile hotspot if you didn’t want to commit to a contract or pay for a high priced device. Verizon Prepaid Hotspot offers three current devices that you can choose from on a pre-paid plan. From $50-$200 per device and a data plan of $30-$50 a month for up to 30GB of data.

Cell Phone Hotspot. Using your mobile hotspot to connect your computer to wifi is a fantastic option if you are trying to budget on the road. Depending on your plan it may not cost at all or cost very much to use your data. The downside is that often I need to use my phone and my computer at the same time and this can slow them both down. 

 


Vanlife Wifi Booster Options

Assuming you are using a hotspot device then you might not be near a city and finding signal can be quite tricky. You might have great signal one mile before your campsite and then wham! You suddenly have 3G or no bars at all. This is where a wi-fi booster can come in handy. Although we personally do not have one YET, I have sat in some people’s vans who have the wifi-booster and can attest that it works. 

Now, they aren’t miracle workers, you aren’t going to be zooming along when no one else has a signal. However, it has saved me whenever there was no way I could have worked on the small amount of signal I had. It was still slow, but it worked. I recommend really thinking over how often you are in weak signal and you REALLY REALLY need to get work done. Wifi boosters cost around $600 and take a little bit of work to install. 


Free Vanlife Wifi Options

The amazing thing about being on the road is you can move! If you don’t have a signal and need it, then chances are you are able to move down the road to get some wi-fi. When we are in cities or even small towns we often find places to get out of the van and get some work done with free wifi. 

Library 

Getting free wifi at a library seems so glaringly obvious yet, I didn’t utilize public libraries until my friend Katie from So We Bought a Van suggested we head to the library in Moab one day. Libraries are so fantastic; they are quiet, free, and you can stay there as long as you want. Personally I get super antsy and feel guilty if I take up a spot at a coffee shop for too long and feel the need to buy something else or move even though I just got in the groove. Libraries are usually open late hours and no one cares if you need to stay for a while. Another tip is so many libraries have study rooms to reserve even if you don’t have a library card with them. You simply ask the librarian and you can typically reserve them for two-hour increments. 

Coffee Shop

Visiting local coffee shops is one of my favorite parts of being on the road. A local coffee shop says so much about a town and it’s community and I find it so enjoyable to hop in and see what they have to offer. I typically will research the area and find the best coffee shops that are set up for laptop workers. Check online to see if they have wifi and use Google or Yelp to scope out pictures that will show you if they have much room. 

Especially with Mom and Pop shops I always purchase an item from them and try not to stay more than two hours. It’s a great way to get out of the van for a few hours and experience new scenery. 

Breweries 

I love a good beer, and tasting local beer right from the brewery is another perk of living on the road. Most Breweries have great wifi and if you visit during the day chances are its super chill, quiet and a great place to get a little work done. Be careful though, you might find yourself drunk and getting work done! Maybe try a pale ale over an IPA.


Other places to get free vanlife wi-fi

  • Wal-mart, Lowe’s, Home Depot – So many larger retail chains offer free wi-fi. If you get lucky and find a spot close to the door you MIGHT be able to hop on the free wifi. Honestly, it’s not ideal but sometimes you’re in an emergency wifi situation! 
  • Starbucks- Starbucks is a tried and true option for getting work done. There are so many of them even in small towns and you can always count on your drink tasting the same. 
  • Bars – Check out the local bars often they have wifi! Just like breweries, during the day they often are super slow and have great wifi speed and you get to experience a piece of the city you are in! 
  • Restaurants – Although my grandmother told me never to try and multitask while eating, you COULD check out the local restaurants for lunch while getting some laptop work finished! 
  • Xfinity Wifi- If you have maintained your Xfinity subscription while on the road you may notice their wifi pop up as an option in bigger cities. If you have an Xfinity plan then you are able to access free wifi from so many locations. They also have paid plans you can choose from if you were in a real bind!