Van life minimalism tips

What is Van Life minimalism?

Van life minimalism is a lifestyle that combines the nomadic lifestyle of van life with the minimalist philosophy of living with less. It is about downsizing your belongings and living in a small, mobile space, while still enjoying the freedom and adventure of van life.

Van Life’s minimalism is not about deprivation. It is about living intentionally and only owning what you truly need and value. It is about simplifying your life and focusing on the experiences that are most important to you.

Benefits of Van Life Minimalism

Benefits of Van Life Minimalism

There are many benefits to van life minimalism, including:

  • Reduced cost of living: Van life can be a very affordable way to live. You can save money on rent, utilities, and transportation.
  • Increased financial flexibility: When you have fewer belongings, you have fewer expenses. This can give you more financial flexibility to pursue your passions and travel more often.
  • Reduced environmental impact: Van life can be more sustainable than living in a traditional home. You can use less energy and resources and produce less waste.
  • Increased freedom and flexibility: Van life allows you to travel and live wherever you want. You can work remotely, go on road trips, or explore new places.
  • Simplified lifestyle: Van life forces you to downsize your belongings and focus only on what you truly need and value. This can help you simplify your life and focus on your most important things.
  • Increased mental and physical well-being: Studies have shown that minimalism can lead to reduced stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also improve your sleep quality and overall health.

How to embrace Van Life minimalism

If you are interested in embracing van life minimalism, here are a few tips:

  • Start by decluttering your belongings. Go through your possessions and get rid of anything you don’t use, need, or love.
  • Invest in high-quality, multifunctional gear. When you have limited space, it is important to invest in gear that is durable, versatile, and easy to store.
  • Learn to live with less. It may take some time to adjust to living in a small space, but it is important to remember that you don’t need a lot of things to be happy.
  • Focus on experiences over possessions. Instead of spending your money on material things, focus on spending it on experiences that will enrich your life.
  • Connect with other van lifers. There is a large and supportive community of van lifers online and in person. Connecting with other van lifers can help you learn more about the lifestyle and get support from others who are on the same journey.

Van life minimalism can be a very rewarding experience. It can help you to live a simpler, more sustainable, and more fulfilling life. If you want to embrace this lifestyle, be patient, start small, and enjoy the journey.

How to downsize your belongings for van life

Downsizing your belongings for van life can be daunting, but it is essential if you want to live comfortably in a small space. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  1. Start by decluttering your home. Go through your possessions and get rid of anything you don’t use, need, or love. Be ruthless, and don’t be afraid to donate or sell items that you no longer need.
    • A good way to start is to go through each room of your house and sort your belongings into three piles: keep, donate, and sell.
    • Once you have sorted your belongings, start by removing the donate pile. You can donate items to local thrift stores, charities, or online marketplaces.
    • Next, get rid of the sell pile. You can sell items online, at garage sales, or to friends and family.
    • Finally, look at the keep pile and ensure you still need and love everything in it. If you’re unsure about something, put it in a storage box and revisit it later.

2. Make a list of the essentials. What items do you need to live comfortably and safely in a van? This may include clothes, bedding, cooking supplies, and personal hygiene items. Once you have a list of the essentials, you can start to get rid of anything else.

  • When making your list, consider the climate and activities you will be doing in your van. For example, if you plan on hiking, you will need different clothes and gear than if you plan on spending most of your time in the city.
  • It is also important to be realistic about what you can fit in your van. Don’t try to bring everything with you. Instead, focus on the essentials and items you will use most.

3. Choose multifunctional items. When you have limited space, it is important to invest in items that can serve multiple purposes. For example, a folding table can also be used as a desk or a bed tray. A camping stove can be used to cook both indoors and outdoors.
Here are a few other examples of multifunctional items that are great for van life:

  • Swiss Army knife
  • Travel mug
  • First-aid kit
  • Headlamp
  • Multi-tool
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Travel towel

4. Get rid of duplicates. Do you really need three different pairs of black jeans? Or two coffee makers? Get rid of any duplicate items that you don’t need.

  • One way to identify duplicates is to go through your belongings and group similar items together. For example, you might group together all of your black jeans, all of your coffee makers, or all of your books. Once you have grouped similar items together, take a look at each group and get rid of any duplicates.

5. Store items wisely. Once you have decluttered your belongings, you must find a way to store them efficiently in your van. Use shelves, bins, and other storage solutions to keep your belongings organized and accessible.
Here are a few tips for storing items in your van:

  • Use vertical space. Shelves are a great way to maximize storage space in a van.
  • Use under-bed storage. Many vans have storage space under the bed. This is a great place to store items you don’t need to access frequently.
  • Use behind-the-seat storage. Many vans also have storage space behind the seats. This is a great place to store items you need to access quickly and easily, such as snacks, maps, and sunscreen.
  • Use bins and baskets. Bins and baskets are a great way to keep your belongings organized and accessible. You can use bins and baskets to store everything from clothes to food to cooking supplies.

6. Label everything. Once you have stored your belongings, be sure to label everything. This will help you to find what you need quickly and easily.

  • You can use labels to mark the contents of bins and baskets, as well as the location of items on shelves and in drawers.
  • You can also use labels to create a packing list for your van. This will help you to make sure that you don’t forget anything when you are packing up and hitting the road.

Downsizing your belongings for van life can be a challenge, but it is definitely possible. Following these tips, you can create a comfortable and functional home on wheels.

Make regular purges.

One of the best things that can help keep your lifestyle of minimalism is to constantly evaluate your belongings. This is not a single occurrence, but one that should be done regularly. A lifestyle of minimalism isn’t a one-time choice – it is a constant choice that must be pursued each day. Throughout each month, see if you notice anything in your living space and think, “I haven’t used that in a while.” Keep a bag or bin somewhere in your van where you can toss these items when you have this realization. Then at the end of the month, do a brief audit throughout your entire vehicle. Open each drawer and take a quick look. See if there is anything else you could live without or isn’t serving a regular purpose anymore. Then, gather all those items, along with the items you bagged throughout the month, and purge it all. *The exception that should be noted is seasonal items and clothing! Obviously, these won’t be used every month.* (source)

Find a versatile travel bag fit for multiple occasions. 

In an ideal world, I would only have one bag in the entire van. My van truly comes with me everywhere, so it isn’t super often that I need to pack many bags. However, owning one extremely functional and versatile bag is a game changer. I use the Pakt travel backpackwhich serves as a digital nomad’s dream bag. It has plenty of space for all my work stuff, so I’m able to bring just one bag inside when I work in libraries or coffee shops. It has multiple compartments with mesh dividers and fits airline requirements as a carry on (one thing I realized after my first year in the van is that flying without a suitcase is a pain, but so is storing a suitcase in a van…) This backpack solved that exact problem! It’s also water resistant and fits all my camera gear, including multiple large lenses, a tripod, and more, which also allows it to serve as a gear backpack when I hike. Seriously, find yourself a dual-purpose bag. It’s incredible. 

Essential van life gear

Van: The most important gear for van life is the van itself. When choosing a van, consider your budget, needs, and wants. Some popular options include the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, and Ram ProMaster.

Image Source: FreeImages

‍Living the van life is a dream for many adventure enthusiasts. The freedom to hit the open road, explore new places, and live a minimalist lifestyle is incredibly appealing. If you’re considering embarking on a van life adventure, ensuring you have the right gear to make your experience comfortable, safe, and enjoyable is important. This article’ll explore the top van life essentials to help you prepare for your journey and make the most of your time on the road.

Van Kitchen Must-Haves

One of the most important aspects of van life is having a well-equipped kitchen. From cooking delicious meals to enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the morning, having the right gear can make all the difference. Here are some van kitchen must-haves:

Camp Stove

A reliable camp stove is an essential item for any van kitchen. The Eureka Ignite Plus is a popular choice among van lifers for its auto-ignition button, excellent simmer capabilities, and ability to fit two 12-inch pans. If you prefer a slightly smaller option, the Eureka Ignite also comes in a version that fits two 10-inch pans.

camp stove

Cooking Table

Cooking outside allows you to enjoy the outdoors and prevent your van from becoming smelly. The GCI Outdoor Slim-Fold Cook Station is a portable and compact table that provides plenty of counter space and hooks for your kitchen gear. It’s easy to set up and packs down flat for convenient storage.

cooking table

Nesting Cook Set

Storing pots and pans in a van can be challenging, so a nesting cook set is a great solution. The Stanley Even-Heat Camp Pro Cook Set includes a pot, a frying pan, a saucepan, and utensils. This set is induction-friendly, making it compatible with induction stoves.

Nesting Cook Set

Coffee Maker

Start your mornings off right with a delicious cup of coffee. The Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press is a compact and portable coffee maker that will change your mornings on the road. Leave behind bulky and breakable coffee makers and opt for this travel-friendly option.

coffee maker

Water Filtration System

Having a reliable water filtration system is crucial when filling up public water sources. The Clearsource RV Water Filter is a highly recommended option for van lifers. It provides peace of mind by filtering out impurities from water sources such as campgrounds and gas stations.

one of customer’s Water Filtration System on Amazon

Small Cooler

A small cooler is perfect for storing snacks and drinks outside of your van fridge. The RTIC Soft Pack Cooler is highly regarded for chilling items for hours. Whether heading out for a paddle or lounging at the beach, this cooler will come in handy.

small cooler

Everyday Van Essentials

In addition to your kitchen gear, everyday essentials will make van life more comfortable and convenient. Here are some must-have items:

Durable Blanket

A durable blanket is a must-have for any van dweller. The Rumpl Blanket is a popular choice for its ability to repel dog hair and its easy machine washability. Whether you have pets or not, having a blanket that can withstand the wear and tear of van life is essential.

Durable Blanket

Portable Shower

A portable shower is a game-changer if your van doesn’t have a permanent shower. The Geyser Systems with Heater is a great option for van lifers who still want the luxury of hot showers. This system uses minimal water and has an internal hot water heater, making it perfect for rinsing off yourself, your pets, and your gear.

Portable Shower

Portable Power Station

A portable power station is essential for powering your lights, fans, and electronics. The EcoFlow RIVER Pro is a highly recommended option that charges quickly and efficiently. Even if you have a more robust electrical system, having a portable power station as a backup is always a smart idea.

Emergency Toilet

Traveling responsibly means being prepared for situations where outdoor bathroom options are limited. The Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Foldable Toilet is a must-have for van lifers. It’s compact, foldable, and provides a convenient and sanitary solution for when traditional bathrooms are not available.

Emergency Toilet

Van Gear for Your Outdoor Living Space

Creating a comfortable outdoor living space is a key aspect of van life. Here are some essential items to enhance your outdoor experience:

Camp Chair

Having a comfortable camp chair is essential for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. The Helinox Sunset Chair is a top-rated option known for its supportive high back and lightweight design. It’s packable and can be easily stored in your van when not in use.
For More Best camping chairs, read This.

Camp Chair
Camp Chair

Outdoor Mat

Keeping dirt and sand out of your van is important, which is why an outdoor mat is essential. The CGEAR Sand-Free Mat is a highly recommended option that filters out fine sand and dirt. It’s more packable than a traditional rug and helps clean your van.

Outdoor Mat
Outdoor Mat

Outdoor Table

A versatile outdoor table is a great addition to your van life gear. The REI Co-op Camp Roll Table is a popular choice that rolls up to the size of a large camp chair. It has adjustable legs, perfect for cooking, eating, or playing games.
For more view the below post best outdoor tables.

Outdoor Table


If you’re traveling in hot and sunny places, having an awning is essential. The MoonShade Portable Awning is a portable and versatile option that can be set up on your side or back doors. It provides much-needed shade and packs down small for easy storage.


String Lights

Create a cozy and inviting camp ambiance with string lights. The MPOWERD Luci Solar String Lights are a great option for van life. They’re charged by the sun or a USB and are perfect for brightening your campsite when campfires are not allowed.

String Lights
String Lights

Portable Fire Pit

A safe and portable fire pit is a game-changer for enjoying campfires during burn bans. The LavaBox is a small propane fire pit that is compact and easy to clean up. It allows you to have a safe campfire experience year-round.

Portable Fire Pit
Portable Fire Pit

Van Life Clothing Essentials

Regarding clothing for van life, versatility and comfort are key. Here are some clothing essentials to consider:

Hiking Boots

Having a reliable pair of hiking boots is essential for outdoor adventures. The Oboz Sypes Low Waterproof Hiking Shoes are lightweight, breathable, and perform well in various terrains. They can also double as town shoes without looking too much like hiking boots.

Hiking Boots
Hiking Boots


A pair of durable and versatile sandals is a must-have for van life. The Teva Universal Trail Sandals are popular for various outdoor activities, including hiking and water sports. Their comfortable design and adjustable straps make them easily slip on and off.

Packing Cubes

Staying organized is crucial when living in a van. Packing cubes are a game-changer for keeping your clothes and belongings organized. The REI Co-op Packing Cube Set is a highly recommended option that helps you easily locate specific items without rummaging through your entire van.

Sun Hat

Protecting yourself from the sun is important, especially when spending time outdoors. The Wallaroo Sedona Hat is a great option providing sun protection while hiding any hair mishaps. It’s durable and perfect for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Cozy Layers

Having cozy layers is essential for staying warm on chilly nights. The Selk’Bags Wearable Sleeping Bag is a unique and comfortable option that keeps you warm in colder temperatures. Outdoor slippers, like the REI Co-op Camp Dreamer Booties, are also a game-changer for comfort in the van.

Cozy Layers
Cozy Layers

Van Life Organizational Gear

Staying organized in a small space is crucial for van life. Here are some organizational gear essentials:

Starlink Case

Having a storage case is essential if you have a Starlink or are planning to get one. The Radius Outfitters Starlink Storage Case is lightweight compact, and keeps everything protected and in place.

Seat Back Organizer

Keeping small items organized and easily accessible is essential. The Overland Gear Guy Seat Back Organizer is a great solution for storing essentials like keys, phones, and notebooks. It even has a secret laptop compartment for added security.

Must-Have Recovery & Safety Gear

Preparing for emergencies and unexpected situations is crucial when living on the road. Here are some must-have recovery and safety gear items:

Recovery Boards

If you get stuck in sandy or muddy conditions, Max Trax recovery boards are essential for self-recovery. These durable boards provide traction and help you get your van back on the road.

Battery Jump Starter

Having a battery jump starter is essential for van life. The Hulkman Jump Starter is a compact and powerful device that allows you to jump-start your vehicle without relying on external assistance.

Portable Air Compressor

Monitoring tire pressure is important when travelling long distances. The Viair Air Compressor is a portable and efficient option for inflating and deflating your tires. It’s especially useful when driving on soft surfaces like sand.

Satellite Communication Device

A two-way satellite communication device provides peace of mind when travelling in remote areas without cell service. The Garmin InReach Mini 2 is a compact and reliable device that allows you to send messages, share your location, and request help in emergencies.

Satellite Communication Device

Folding Shovel

A folding shovel is a multi-functional tool that comes in handy in various situations. A shovel is a must-have for van life, from digging catholes to using the bathroom to digging yourself out if you’re stuck. The Gerber E-Tool Folding Spade is a popular choice for its durability and compact design.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Living and sleeping in a small space with propane appliances requires a carbon monoxide detector for safety. The Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector is a highly recommended option that provides accurate readings and alerts you to potential dangers.

Essential Van Life Memberships

Access to resources and information is crucial when living on the road. Here are some essential memberships for van lifers:

Camp-site Finder

The Dyrt Pro is a useful app for finding campsites, both paid and free. With a Pro membership, you can access offline maps, map overlays for NFS/BLM land, discounts on campgrounds, and more.

Harvest Hosts

A Harvest Hosts membership lets you stay at unique properties such as wineries, farms, breweries, and museums. You can also add Boondockers Welcome for access to private properties across the US.

Hiking Trail Finder

AllTrails+ is a popular app for finding local trails while travelling. The Pro version offers extra features like offline maps, making it particularly useful for camping off-grid.

Annual Park Pass

If you plan on visiting national parks, an America The Beautiful National Park Pass is a must-have. This pass allows for unlimited entry to national parks for 12 months from the date of purchase.


Embarking on a van-life adventure requires careful preparation and the right gear. By investing in the top van life essentials, you can ensure a comfortable, safe, and enjoyable journey. From kitchen must-haves to outdoor gear and safety equipment, this comprehensive guide has covered all the essentials for your van life adventure. So get ready to hit the open road, explore new places, and live the dream of van life!

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