Is Van Life for Me?

Is your Instagram full of #vanlife? Do you dream of living in a van? I have not been nor do I think I could be a full- time van lifer at this point in my life. I have too many hobbies which use specialized gear, GEAR which takes up SPACE. Now don’t get me wrong, I love having a van, it just happens to be the biggest piece of gear I own. It’s great as a mobile home base and super useful for my lifestyle. I just don’t think I could live in it full-time, even though I stay in it for about 150 days a year and some of those days I am even parked in my own driveway. Hey, it beats carrying everything in from the van if I am only stopping at home for a few days.

If I were to be a full-time van lifer, I would just snowboard all the time. I mean I can see the appeal of driving around visiting the National Parks, but I did that when I was young enough to see them on foot. Driving from campsite to campsite cooking in a fancy kitchen, in a van, just does not entice me at this juncture in life. If I were to do this the van would become a house instead of a piece of gear! I get it, I could totally do the Apre’ ski with a fancy dinner and beer at the van. A life on wheels traveling from mountain to mountain would be amazing, but not for more than a season, because I have hobbies. Even with the above mentioned scenario I don’t really think I could spend the year just in the van. I feel I could come close, though. It’s not the living in the van that would stop me, it’s not having a place for my other gear. I would want to do another sport at some point, and lets face it, if I live in a van full time and am traveling odds are I won’t have everything I need to participate in what I want to do.

For my lifestyle, the van as gear works great. It provides me with transportation to where I am working at the time, allowing me to carry a large amount of gear with me. Once I get to where I am working I can unload all the adventure gear I need and have the van as a mobile base again. An example is when I worked in Oregon for the Forest Service, I drove 3,000 hard miles using the van as an extremely cramped bedroom. I had 3 kayaks, 2 sets of skis, 2 snowboards, backpacking gear, and on and on. Oh and, of course, work gear. The van made it possible to carry all this stuff but, I could not have managed to live out of it while traveling. Although I did once with another person for a month on the way back from a previous job. In that instance, however, I only had 2 kayaks and no work gear. The work gear put me over the edge of livability :). With this van as a piece of gear scenario I could then set off on my off time to explore the area and enjoy a multitude of activities which wouldn’t have been available if I was a full-time van dweller.

Maybe it’s the fact that I am an 80 percenter that I can’t commit to living in a van 100% of the time. I really enjoy having the versatility of it and I actually like sleeping in it, but I don’t see myself ever committing to being a full-time rubber tramp. Maybe when I am older it will be a different story, but for now I like the van as my most useful piece of outdoor gear.

Do you think you could live in a van full time? What makes you think you could/couldn’t?

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