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Choosing Van Life

More than just van builds worthy of Instagram, van life is a growing movement that has people from all over Australia packing their whole lives into six square metres and onto four wheels. With increased flexibility to work on the road, more people are forgoing a fixed lifestyle in favour of something more mobile. 

Choosing to hit the road full time is often only the first part of the decision and the real trouble comes when deciding how you’re going to travel. Between caravans and camper trailers, 4WDs and vans, the options are seemingly endless and trying to find the mode of travel that is perfect for you (as well as any passengers that might be tagging along for the ride) can be a challenge.

Why choose van life?

For many van lifers the choice to move into a van rather than a 4WD or caravan setup came when deciding where they wanted to travel. Choosing a van gives you more freedom to explore little tracks and remote locations without the restriction of towing a big caravan or camper trailer. Unlike a 4WD which often requires a bit of setup before you can relax, vans are perfect for parking up under a tree, opening the doors and you’re ready to go.

A woman setting up the awning on her van at the campsite

Leave the tent at home

One of the benefits when considering van life over other forms of travel is the lack of setup required. When you’re living in a self-contained van there’s no need to worry about getting to your next campsite with enough time or daylight to setup tents or caravans, simply park and crawl into bed. Being self-contained, with all your living fixed spaces inside the van, means that even a bout of bad weather doesn’t leave you sitting in the tent or hiding in the car until it passes.

The inside of a van build

Customise your setup

One of the reasons many van lifers choose a van over other modes of travel is its customisability. Whether you’re building it yourself or having someone fit it out for you, the setup options are almost endless. Permanent beds, folding beds, kitchens, bathrooms, tables, drawers, cupboards, if you can dream it someone has probably put it in their van. Being such a growing movement there is no shortage of build inspiration out there, and there are very few limits to what you can include to make your van build perfect for you.

It’s because of this customisability that many people are choosing a van over a 4WD or caravan. You’re not limited to predesigned layouts or having to fit everything into a canopy and rooftop tent, vans combine home comforts with a life on the road and that makes them such a popular option. While it’s called van life, the movement isn’t limited to just vans and this is another reason many people are choosing it. Rigs can range from new and vintage vans to fully fitted out LandCruisers and converted busses.

Setting the van up on the beach.

Travel light, but don’t go without

Like any life on the road, there are limitations. Living in such a confined space means that you must be extremely picky about which belongings you take with you. With vans being so customisable, storage is often what you make it but when you need to find space for your water, power, fridge, bathroom, tools and kitchen there can be little room left for your belongings. Van life often means living a more minimalist lifestyle.

Because of these space limitations, van life is often tailored more towards individuals and couples rather than families. This is not to say that it can’t be done by a family but van life does tend to lean towards couples. Van life is perfect for pets though. With four solid walls, it’s the perfect home for any pets, with an increasing number of van lifers taking not only dogs but cats on the road with them.

Living their best vanlife

To learn more about designing a van setup that is perfect for you check out our Powering Vanlife blogs on designing a perfect power system and the ins and outs of inverters. If you’re on the fence about choosing van life over other forms of travel, check out how some of our friends, As We Wander, travel in their van.

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