Adventure Vans are rugged, compact, and can get you just about anywhere, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort for durability. A big part of the draw to the Van Life is the customizability of each van, so you can truly make it your own. When building out the interior of your van, it’s easy to remember the big ticket items like interior kits, beds, and other* but there are some products that might be overlooked in the building process that will make your van feel more like home.
Having the right storage in your van will ultimately improve your experience. You don’t want to be living out of a suitcase for your whole trip, it feels unsettled and would take up too much space in an already snug van. Having a designated spot for everything like you do in your home will make traveling seem less stressful and more organized. Backwoods Adventure Mods Mule bags are a great tool to use that can hold larger items you bring with you. Store your duffle bags, clothes, or anything else up there and out of the way, but still in a convenient location. The FreedomVanGo Custom Designed overhead cabinets offer the same storage, but is better for heavy duty items, or items that you want to be a more protected. Our custom designed storage bench and galley unit include drawers to stay organized. Make each drawer or cabinet a designated space for kitchen utensils, first aid, snacks, or even socks.
For smaller items, Blue Ridge Overland Gear makes a variety of pouches and bags as well as ID Panels that will help you remember what is in each pouch. Not only do they make the pouches, but they have made it easy to store your various BROG bags with velcro organizers for head rests and visors, as well as seat back MOLLE panels. Keep your tools easily accessible with the BROG Tool Bag. For make-shift cabinet or shelving, consider the cube caddy with either mesh or clear packing cubes.
We are also here to help store your BROG bags with our rear door MOLLE panels that will allow you to use up every last bit of space in your van. Add on our Blue Ridge Overland Gear MOLLE pouch kit that comes with small and large pouches, a water bottle pouch, fire extinguisher pouch, and velcro front pouches. We’ve curated the perfect set so you don’t have to worry about which bags will be best suited for the panels.
Heater and AC:
Fans are a good addition that will keep air circulating in the van, but it doesn’t keep you cool or warm while camping. A rooftop AC unit and Espar heater will keep you comfortable regardless of the weather outside. Options from Nomadic Cooling and Dometic are great options for your rooftop AC unit. Both fit in a 14×14 cut out in your van and have a simple panel on the inside that will allow you to keep the cabin at a comfortable temperature. The Espar S2 D2L heater is our personal favorite heater to include in builds. The install is underneath the passenger seat, so it doesn’t take up any living space. All the wiring is hidden under the seat panels and under the van so nothing is seen or in the way. Espar heaters are the small, compact, and most efficient way to keep your van warm on chilly nights.
Generally speaking, vans are made for the more rugged adventures. Bulky appliances often get in the way of much needed storage space which can take away from your overall experience. The good news is there are multiple alternatives that are more suitable to adventure vans. These products are more rugged, but will significantly upgrade your van camping experience.
If you’ve decided on an adventure van, odds are you’re comfortable with the general lack of plumbing. That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternatives to conventional appliances that will elevate your experience. The Wrappon Green is a portable and chemical free toilet alternative that doesn’t rely on plumbing. It’s obviously not the most luxurious bathroom experience, but it’s certainly better than questionable rest areas and dirty campground restrooms.
Range and Sink Combos
Outdoor cooking certainly makes the camping experience feel more genuine, but there are some nights where making your meal inside would be better and easier. Full galley units can get expensive to install and difficult to maintain in a small van. Luckily there are more van-friendly options such as Dometic’s range and sink combination. It’s much smaller than a full galley setup but is enough to efficiently make meals on the road. The best part is that it comes with a cover to seamlessly incorporate the appliance into your countertop so you don’t lose space when you aren’t using it.
For any length trip, you’re probably going to bring food and drinks with you. Normal coolers can be a hassle, always worrying about how much ice is left inside and if your food is actually staying cold enough. With an electric cooler, there is no need to worry about your food staying at a safe temperature. Dometic makes a variety of coolers/ fridges in all sizes, from the smallest being the Coolmatic cd 30, to the largest CFX3 100. There are even options such as the CFX3 75 Dual Zone that allows for both a fridge and freezer. The most popular amongst our customers is the CFX3 55 which fits perfectly in our galley storage unit. Add a dometic fridge slide that will hide your fridge in the storage unit until you want to pull it out to access your snacks. Although these units aren’t as large and spacious as your fridge at home, having an electric system helps ease some of the stress of camping.
Water Tank and Heater
If you’re thinking about that range/sink combo, you’ll need a water source. The good news is its easy to store a tank and heater in your van without compromising space or style. We put together a box to store the tank, wiring, and plumbing needed to hook up to whatever you may be using. It fits in perfectly under a bed near the wheel well in the rear of the van with easy access to the system with doors to get to it when you need it, but hide it when you don’t. Cover the unit with fabrication to match your interior build out and it will blend right into your design. Having running water and a sink will elevate your overall experience since you won’t only be relying on other sources for water to wash and cook with.
Ok, this isn’t an interior item, but it’s definitely a product that will upgrade your experience. Dometic and Fiamma both provide durable awnings for sprinters of all sizes. An awning adds an outdoor living space that the inside of your van is lacking. Grab some helinox chairs, a table, some games and a fire pit and you’ve got a fun and cozy outdoor living room while camping. Obviously, an awning isn’t required to enjoy being outside, but the shade and protection it provides makes outdoor seating more enjoyable!
Lets Get Started!
The van life is great, but it can be challenging when you start to miss the comforts of home. These options won’t magically make your van as cozy as your house, but they will certainly upgrade your adventures. If you need some help making your van a home, give us a call, it’s our specialty!