VAN LIFE GEAR CHECKLIST: THE ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR OFFGRID ADVENTURE
One hashtag has gathered such a large following in recent years that it has resulted in a new (or at least freshly publicised) lifestyle: #vanlife. While people have been living in vehicles in some form or another since the invention of the automobile, the van life movement is distinguished less by necessity and more by the desire to make van living as comfortable — and in some cases, glamorous — as possible.
In this article, we have compiled a ‘Van Life Gear Checklist: The Absolute Essentials for Your Offgrid Adventure’, to help van lifers live the best experience in a mobile home.
IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A CHECKLIST FOR THE VAN LIFESTYLE
A Van Life Gear Checklist Can Help Identify and Anticipate Issues
There are many aspects of checklist planning that may require additional time. It could involve making a meal plan, organising gear and routes, and many other things.
However, it is worth spending some extra time planning a checklist as adequate preparation can help van lifers to identify and anticipate issues that may arise.
A Van Life Gear Checklist Can Help Make Processes More Organised
In its most basic form, a checklist is similar to a shopping list of equipment that is either worn or packed.
However, with some additional organisation and columns, the checklist can be so much more. Everyone has different needs and requirements, and checklists can help van lifers fine-tune their specific setups to ease the process of meeting their particular needs.
The Checklist Can Help to Track, Check and Budget Gear
Most van life gear kits can have up to 50 or more different items. The task to track, check and budget gear will be made easier with an organised checklist that can help divide the gear into multiple categories such as clothing, tools and utility, power and many more.
THE ABSOLUTE ESSENTIALS FOR YOUR OFFGRID ADVENTURE
Van Life Security and Safety
In any situation, it is always preferable to plan for the worst. Investing in a GPS tracker for the van is well worth it.
A GPS tracker serves two functions: it can track the van if it is stolen, and it can assist van lifers in finding their way back to the van if they become lost while exploring outside the vehicle.
GPS tracking systems can keep track of locations and store data. Most systems can record where the device has been in the past 12 hours.
In an emergency, the process of tracing the van can be made easier. The GPS tracker will be able to trace the van's movements and share these locations with local authorities almost immediately.
Security Safe Box
Vans come in many forms and sizes. While many van lifers may use their imagination when it comes to cupboards and storage, it is better to have a secure place to store valuable items.
Even locked cupboard doors and compartments in a van can be broken into with simple equipment.
It is safer to store your valuables in a safe box secured with a key-coded lock, and a thick steel exterior that is mounted in the van.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Another essential item to have on your Van Life Gear Checklist is a carbon monoxide detector. If there is a leak, the van’s occupants may end up in a dangerous situation, especially while sleeping.
An ideal carbon monoxide detector should be small, portable, and easy to operate. It can be kept in an accessible spot in your van.
Emergency Roadside Kit
Accidents and breakdowns are frustrating, but they are part and parcel of van living.
Dealing with an engine problem, having to jumpstart a battery, or dealing with the hassle of changing tires is simply a rite of passage when it comes to the van life.
While travelling offgrid, getting help can be difficult. Hence, having a roadside emergency kit will be useful in emergencies.
Fires are not uncommon. According to The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), “vehicle fires account for nearly one in every eight reported fires, so it's worth knowing how to reduce some of the risks on your own.”
You should always be ready for an emergency with gas tanks, additional electrical equipment, and overworked engines.
Always have a portable fire extinguisher in the van while travelling. By being prepared, the fire can be tackled before it spreads and become worse.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is essential for anyone living in a motorised home. It is good to have peace of mind knowing that access to basic wound care is available, even when one is travelling offgrid.
Portable Power Station
It is crucial to determine how the van will be powered up before diving into the van lifestyle. Portable Power stations are a great option to help keep gear and devices in a van powered up.
Portable power stations are similar to power banks, but they boast a greater capacity, more output power, and AC (wall) outlets, allowing them to power anything from phones to home appliances.
Portable Wind Turbines
Portable wind turbines use the wind to generate instant electricity that is delivered directly to a device or battery, making them ideal for charging portable power stations, smartphones, cameras, medical equipment, and other devices.
Most portable wind turbines in the market now make excellent use of turbine blades to maximise torque and power, making them exceptionally efficient for their small size.
Van Life Must Haves
When it comes to the van toilet, it would be best to have one that is comfortable, simple to install, and easy to empty. A self-contained composting toilet is an excellent option.
Space will always be an issue while trying to shower in a van. Tank-equipped fixed showers need a lot more space to accommodate higher water storage capacities.
Portable showers may be installed in considerably smaller spaces because they are much more compact. However, one might need to trade off water pressure in return for a better chance at saving energy.
Van Water Filter
It's never easy to tell where water comes from or how clean it is, regardless of where you get it. For this reason, a water filtration system is a necessity for a van lifestyle that should not be overlooked.
BONUS TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR VAN LIFE
Save Gas Mileage with Light and Portable Gear
Reports are showing that gas is rising in price, and it is occurring worldwide. At the same time, the public is becoming more concerned about environmental issues, and many are pushing for green energy. As a result, the van's fuel efficiency should be taken into consideration.
This is coming off as a challenge for van lifers. Vans that are loaded down with gear tend to be heavier, thus resulting in a vehicle with lower mileage.
The typical van setup would have three important components: a bed, storage, and living space. Here are some useful tips on how to configure a van to ensure that no unnecessary items are adding extra weight and taking up extra space:
- Use a fold-out or slide-out bed as it provides more space for when it is not in use.
- Source materials for furniture by recycling items that are not heavy. A wooden pallet may be repurposed and turned into a compact desk or table.
- Forget about complex sink systems. Sink systems that are powered by pumps may sound like a nice concept but in real-life applications, many van lifers discover that their sink does not function as expected.
In terms of gear, the variables are endless. However, most van lifers would agree that the necessities include:
- A power source of some kind, such as portable wind turbines, portable power stations, and portable solar panels.
- A place to keep food, such as a portable refrigerator.
- Coverings for privacy and temperature control.
- A reliable camping cooking gear.
How to Calculate and Expect the Amount of Power Used by Appliances
It is good to equip the van with as many necessary gears as possible, but it is also important to know how much power they consume. By knowing this, it will be easier to gauge the average power consumption of the gear and it will help in rationing power to avoid wastage while maintaining efficiency
What You Need to Know Before Calculating the Power Consumption of Any Appliance
- Wattage Of the Appliance: Wattage is the rated power of the appliance. Wattage indicates the rate at which the appliance will consume power.
- Operational Hours: Operational hours are the number of hours a device is in operation.
- Kilowatt Hours: Kilowatt hours (kWh) is the unit of power. This is the value that will be calculated by electricity providers. Consumers are then charged based on kWh (unit) of electricity consumed.
How to Calculate the Amount of Power Consumption of Any Appliance
To calculate the power consumption of any appliance, multiply its wattage by the number of hours it is in use (operational hours).
For example, a 500-watt laptop running for one hour will consume (500 watts X 1 hour) 500 watts hour or 0.5-kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity.
To calculate the monthly power consumption, you need to multiply the daily power consumption by 30 days and for annual power consumption multiply the daily power consumption by 365 days.
NOW YOU ARE MORE THAN READY TO ROCK THE LIFESTYLE, WITH THE PERFECT VAN LIFE GEAR CHECKLIST!
Van life is an amazing lifestyle that allows people to visit places while living efficiently. A checklist will help to ensure the preparation and processes are planned out properly, directly providing comfort and safety for the lifestyle.
One of the most important points in the checklist is to ensure that a van is always equipped with power sources, so that essential appliances may function. Texenergy’s Infinite Air 18 has a max power output of 18V and its total weight of just 3.2kg makes it an ideal source of portable power for the van lifestyle
Now that you are fully equipped and ready, go on and live the best version of your van life!