After living in the van for six months, the van is well-lived in. Now we know what we like and what we don’t like. There are certain things we don’t love about our van build and there are things we do. If (and when) we do embark on our next van building adventure, we’ll be sure to include these five van life hacks.
Having traveled South America in a cargo van with no windows, we knew we needed air circulation in our second van. We added the three-speed manual MaxxAir Fan to our van build, and it is probably our most used item in the van. The extraction allows us to cook in the van, even with the doors and windows closed, and it helps circulates the air when our side windows are open at night. This is perhaps the single most necessary addition to our van build, outside of solar power. It is a game-changer for life on the road. There is no way that we would live in another van without one and you shouldn’t either!
We love our ARB awning. Living in such a tiny space, the ARB awning allows us to almost double the size of our home. It is quick and easy to set up and provides shade during the day from the fierce heat. Plus it allows us to hang up mosquito nets or lights if needed at night. We did not have an awning on our last van, but it is definitely a staple on all vans going forward.
Pro-tip: Make sure you always secure the awning with the guy ropes provided. One gust of wind can have your awning slung over the top of your van. We also recommend purchasing sand pegs in addition to the pegs provided.
Working in the van for us is key and thus electricity is of extreme importance. Although we have sufficient solar panels to provide for our output needs, that is only in sunlight (and if they are connected properly). For those long cloudy days and weeks, we need another way to keep everything charged. Having the ability to simply start the car and run lights if need be, is crucial, especially if you work in the van. We have been caught without power a few times, and our isolator quite literally saved our jobs. It is definitely something we would install again and recommend for everyone to install this handy device.