DAILY INCONVENIENCES OF OFF-GRID VAN LIFE AND HOW TO HANDLE THEM
The off-grid van life has swept over Instagram in recent years, with over a hundred thousand people living off-grid in a van since 2019. Just like anything else on social media, the majority of what people see are positive aspects of it.
Living in a van appears to be spontaneously fun and stress-free. And while this is sometimes true, it is not always the case. If one is beginning or considering off-grid van life in the near future, this blog tells the truth behind living in a van.
REASONS TO LIVE IN A VAN
At its core, the off-grid van life is both adventurous and cosy - the best of both worlds. Despite its popularity, some people are still unfamiliar with the specifics of the lifestyle, and questions are raised by those who are just beginning or considering it.
"What are the best aspects of van life?"
"Is it truly worthwhile?"
Those who enjoy this kind of living will undoubtedly respond in the affirmative. However, off-grid van life is not just a way of life for outgoing and adventurous people. Many more individuals will enjoy van life if they give it a shot. Here is a list of good reasons to live in a van.
The cost of living in an off-grid van life is modest. There is no rent, power, or water bill. The primary expenses are gasoline and food. It is an inexpensive way to live and travel. Van life is an excellent choice for anyone on a budget.
The concept of living a minimalist lifestyle is now appealing. Similar to the trend of "tiny houses," people living in vans live simply. There is a limit to the consumption of needs, the amount of energy used, and the number of items to buy because of the limited storage space.
By avoiding unnecessary purchasing and living in such a small place, people living off-grid in a van also contribute to reducing their environmental footprint.
Ability to Travel More
People living in a van never need to worry about reaching a specific location to book accommodations and check in to hotels, Airbnb, or campsites. People living in a van can go stealth camping where permitted or camping on free sites.
These individuals are constantly following personal timetables and can uniquely experience each destination. One can stay longer in a particular location if it feels safe and pleasing.
Personal Space Customisation
Many people living off-grid want the van to feel at home, which is one of the best advantages of living off-grid in a van. Such individuals appreciate the edge of designing and modifying the van to specific style and comfort preferences. It is more cost-efficient than paying expensive rent in unappealing places or designing an entire house.
In contrast, individuals living off-grid in a van could afford to invest in a few lovely touches to make the van into a visually pleasing and comfortable space.
INCONVENIENCES OF OFF-GRID VAN LIFE
After exploring the reasons for living in a van, it is important to set realistic expectations, including the inconveniences of living in a van.
Safety is a concern when living off-grid in a van because vans are not immune to theft and break-ins, just like typical homes and cars. However, there are typically more valuables in a van than in a car, making it more attractive to thieves, and there is a greater loss if it is broken into.
There are vans without toilets; the biggest struggle is locating a decent one. Individuals can use the restroom at gas stations, visitor centres, grocery stores, and coffee shops. When camping at a decent campground with facilities, looking for a toilet is not a problem.
But despite the presence of public toilets, not all are clean and functional. Sanitation is an important aspect of health. It is a good choice to have a toilet in the van. But the struggle does not end there. Emptying the toilet after use and maintaining it is another aspect to consider. It will depend on the type of toilet that a van has. A van could have either composting or a cassette toilet.
Liquids and solids are separated with composting toilets, and one must empty the liquid compartment frequently, every three to four days.
Unlike composting toilets, where the solids’ container is odourless, cassette toilets are notoriously smelly. It is essentially a container filled with human waste. It is advised to empty the toilet cassette every one to two days. It is only allowed to be disposed of at authorised dump stations.
Water and Electricity
Water and electricity are not problems in a house with plumbing and power lines. But in a van, there is a need to fill the tank and install a portable and sustainable energy source for electricity.
For water, there must be tanks to fill and dump, and individuals must look for a place to outsource clean water properly and ethically dump greywater.
For electricity, solar panels and portable wind turbines are great sources of sustainable energy to power up radios and other appliances.
Some days are too hot or too cold. Either of these days is part of the struggle of living in a van. It is difficult to stay warm during winter as much as it is to stay cool when it is too humid. It is important to insulate the van to survive extreme temperatures. An alternative is to drive to places with milder temperatures.
HOW TO HANDLE VAN LIFE INCONVENIENCES
After establishing realistic expectations for off-grid van life, here are some effective ways to handle van life inconveniences.
Seek Van Life Communities
A quick Facebook search will yield numerous results for van life communities. Joining groups enables individuals to find other people living van lifestyles and communicate with each other.
Community forums are wonderful sources if an individual needs immediate answers to important questions.
One should also search for local meet-up places and engage in the gatherings of local communities. Attend events, socialize, and engage with local people while exploring the place. It is also important to stay connected to these communities and respect local cultures and traditions.
Ask for Help When It Is Needed
Do not hesitate to ask for help when needed. Ask friends and family for monetary or in-kind help and support or look into government assistance programs if needed. Nothing is bad about looking and asking for help. It is an important aspect of survival.
Keep an Emergency Savings Account
Keeping an emergency savings account helps keep the mind at ease, knowing that there are available financial resources to support immediate needs and fix issues that require finances, such as individuals’ health and the van’s technical and mechanical issues.
PREPARING TO FACE CHALLENGES THAT COME WITH OFF-GRID VAN LIFESTYLE
While living in a van can be fun and exciting, it can also be challenging in times of inconvenience. That is why it is important to establish reliable resources and solutions to handle inconveniences.
Portable wind turbines like the Texenergy Air 5T and Texenergy Infinite Air 18 are excellent power sources in off-grid van life. They are convenient and can be set up in any location where the wind is present.
The wind turbines are compatible with Texenergy Infinite Solar 24 solar panels to create an even more powerful charging system. The combination of Texenergy wind turbines and solar panels during the day provides a 30% to 50% charging increase. These sustainable power-generating products will resolve problems by establishing reliable electricity sources for off-grid van life.