How to Live Your Best Van Life

How to Live Your Best Van Life

There’s a lot of appeal to van life. Maybe you want to give up your permanent address for life on the road, or maybe you want to seriously upgrade your next month-long trip across the country. At Goal Zero, we’re committed to upgrading your adventure, whether you’re heading out for the afternoon or indefinitely. We’ve rounded up some tips to help make things easier if you’ve decided you’d like to give van life a try.

Van life essentials

Van life offers simplicity, but it still requires a lot of supplies. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of the stuff we consider essential:

  • First aid kit
  • Roadside emergency kit
  • Tool kit
  • CO detector
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Portable power station
  • Solar panels
  • Portable toilet and shower
  • Fan
  • Portable heater
  • Induction stove top
  • Coffee pot

  • Fridge
  • Lights
  • Skillet
  • Pot
  • Soap
  • Sturdy dinnerware
  • Water storage
  • Clothesline
  • Camp chairs
  • Folding table
  • Small power bank

    Powering van life essentials

    A lot of the gear listed above won’t do you much good without power. Luckily, we offer portable power solutions that make it easy to upgrade your life on the road. With portable power, you can cook yummy meals, store perishable ingredients, relax with a movie at the end of the day, manage the temperature, keep the lights on, charge your laptop and phone so you can work on the road, and much more.

    Goal Zero solar panels with kickstands connected to a Goal Zero Power Station sit outside a white van with a person inside and a dog sitting in the shade.

    Portable Power Stations for Van Life

    We offer a wide selection of power stations that can power you for days, months, or indefinitely, when paired with solar panels.

    Portable Solar Panels for Van Life

    Keep your power station running longer with solar. We offer a wide selection of solar panels, including mountable solar panels you can install on your van’s roof. And if you’re not ready for a permanent installation, all our panels are equipped with kickstands for easy setup on the ground.

    Choosing your van life set up

    There are endless ways to set your vehicle up for van life, but the most common set up options include:

    • Buying a van and converting it completely on your own
    • Getting a conversion kit and installing it yourself
    • Hiring a company to convert your van for you
    • Buying a camper van that’s already built out

    The right set up for you will depend on your budget, skill set, and lifestyle needs.

    How to live in a van

    There's a lot to love about life on the road, but the version of van life you see on Instagram leaves out some of the tougher things about this lifestyle. Managing your expectations can help you prepare better and enjoy yourself more. Keep these pros and cons in mind before you head out.

    Van Life Pros and Cons

    Pros Cons
    • Enjoy more flexibility and freedom
    • Live a simpler lifestyle
    • Reduce your carbon footprint
    • Save on housing costs
    • Travel further and more often
    • Get easier access to outdoor destinations
    • Learn new things
    • Make connections with the van life community
    • Reduced privacy
    • Limited space
    • Exposure to extreme temperatures
    • Fewer bathroom options
    • Maintenance costs
    • Increased need for safety awareness


    Van Life with Travis Burke and Alex Honnold

    A few years ago, we got a sneak peek into the van lifestyle of some of our favorite outdoor adventurers. Here are some pointers from them:

    Travis Burke | Athlete and Professional Photographer


    • Install rubber flooring to keep things cleaner.
    • Include lots of little compartments throughout for stashing small things.
    • Choose things that can do double duty—for example a couch that folds down to a bed.

    Alex Honnold | Professional Free Solo Climber

    • Build in extra storage under the bed for all your gear.
    • Install some lights to make life easier in the evenings and to add ambiance.
    • Invest in a privacy shield for safety and comfort.

    With the right gear and a positive attitude, van life is one of the best ways to explore new places, reduce living expenses, and enhance your life. We wish you the best as you head out on the road and can’t wait to see where you go next!

    Additional Articles

    Up To 5 Year Warranty

    Buy now, pay later