While we don’t live a full-time #vanlife, we spend extra-long stretches of time on the road. This summer, we’re living in Superfeet’s converted Sprinter van through July—we’ve already clocked 4,000 miles on in the Superfeet Sprinter, and are set to put on at least another 4,000 more.
For this go-around, we’re traveling the country on a nationwide speaking tour, carrying giveaways and schwag for our 31 stops. Off the top of my head, I know we have at least 50 pairs of Superfeet sunglasses and 50 Superfeet trucker hats filling the 50 square feet of space in the van.
Because we don’t want to battle our stuff for living space, we’ve really slimmed down our personal possessions. Everything we’re traveling with during this tour fits in six duffel bags.
While the bulk of it may be mountaineering and backpacking gear, the rest contains essential items to make vanlife more like real-life:
The Superfeet van is equipped with a thin mattress topper on the bed board, so we added the MondoKing sleeping pads. King is the operative word here, because 4-inches of loft and an R-value of 11.4 allow us to sleep like one. We are all for ultralight pads when backpacking, but we always upgrade our front country sleep system. And since it’s summer, our 40-degree blanket (plus sheets) has proven to be more than adequate for staying warm while sleeping at mountain trailheads.
We’ve had this cookset since our car camping days. Everything about it screams van life. It is portable, with removable handles for easy storage, drainable lids so you don’t need a separate colander and the nonstick coating makes it easy to clean in a tiny sink. Road life doesn’t always translate to the healthy eating, but having good cookware means we have no excuse not dine at “home.”
If you think dirty clothes pile up in a house fast, multiply that by 10 for a van. Plus, we cycle through our small wardrobe fairly quickly. This easy-to-use laundry bag produces machine-quality washes using the same method as the old-fashioned washboards. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fan of modernized washers. But, we can be presentable in a pinch thanks to Scrubba.
Blood clots while driving long distances is a real thing—take it from a couple who knows. Prevention is key, so anytime we are driving more than 2 hours you’ll find us wearing our compression socks. We’ve tried a lot of different compression socks, but the merino wool/nylon/spandex blend found in CloudLine’s pair make them easy to pull on and off, and still provide moderate compression.
This fit-in-your pocket, 3.2 ounce Bluetooth speaker does not take up too much space, but brings a party to the van. It is waterproof and rugged, so that means we can bring our tunes just about anywhere. We especially like to rock it out while setting up and breaking down presentations. When the 7-hour internal battery life depletes, it simply takes just a couple of hours to recharge.
We have so many more suggestions where these came from, but these favorites are hitting the road with us this summer and will be with us for the many miles ahead.
Patrice La Vigne is a writer and adventurer who lives a life less ordinary with her husband, Justin La Vigne. The self-proclaimed nomads spend more time outside than inside with their main passion being backpacking. The couple walked the length of New Zealand’s Te Araroa in 2014-15 and are currently on a nationwide speaking tour about their trek. The tour includes 31 stops in 17 states. For a complete tour schedule, check out www.wanderinglavignes.com.