Van Dwellers

RV Lifestyle

Van dwellers are people that live in vans or other vehicles that aren’t RV’s.  Van dwellers have made a choice, and although many have moved into this lifestyle because of necessity, some have chosen it for the freedom and a way to save money.  Urban van dwellers might go stealth and park their van on a city street.  Others might park at a local Big Box store that is open for 24 hours.  Those in less congested areas can boondock on BLM land or forest land, but wherever they park to sleep, during the day many van dwellers work at different jobs.

Living in a Van:FAQ

Q: How do you get your mail?

A: There are different places/companies that you can set up a mail forwarding service with. They also will provide you with a street address.

Q: How do you shower? 

A: Some people have gym or Y memberships and shower there. Some shower at the beach. There are also places that you can pay to shower and do your laundry in Ehrenberg, AZ, Quartsite, AZ, and Cimarron, CO.  Ask around.  The majority of campgrounds have showers and many truck stops have them as well.

Q: How do you use the bathroom?

A: A luggable loo, or a porta potty work while in the van.

Q: How do you find places to camp? BLM and Forest Service land allow you to stay for 14 days for free, and maps are available in every state.  Another resource is, where you can  find free and cheap camping areas in every state.

Q: How do you get Internet?

A:   You might also want to check the different carriers, but Verizon has the best overall coverage.

Tips for successful van dwelling:

  • A 110 volt refrigerator is not as efficient as a 12 volt and will require you to have an inverter or the ability to plug in somewhere. 12 volt refrigerators tend to be expensive, sometimes costing as much as several hundred dollars.
  • An inverter of 3,000 peak and 2,000 steady will run the fridge, laptop, fan
  • A small generator will run everything when boon docking
  • Every state has maps of BLM and Forest Service land
  • 100 watt solar panel…suitcase
  • lucy lights solar

Safety Tips

Safety is a big concern for solo van dwellers, especially in the beginning. Home Depot has inexpensive security lights that are solar powered. When there’s motion near your van the light becomes a flood light, alerting you to someone being close to your van. The light is a great deterrent for those with bad intentions. These lights cost under $15, but if you don’t have a Home Depot near you, you can get them here on Amazon and have them shipped to you.  Check and see if there is an Amazon Dropbox near you if you don’t have a permanent mailing address.

Here are a few safety tips for living in your Van.

The most important safety tip is: If you get bad vibes from the area, leave!

  • Cooking – We all have to eat, and some people are in areas that are too cold to cook outside, but you have to be careful.  Crack a window, or open the door to get enough ventilation or you could get carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Heat – Again crack a window if you are using a heater for any length of time to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide within the van.



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