As you might have guessed, space in the van isn’t very abundant.
In Pam, every little gap, slot and corner is jammed with stuff.
Every thing I keep in the van has a purpose.
Ok ok, maybe not the cacti, the fake pretty flowers or the seashells I keep collecting on Scottish beaches, but well most of the things do.
Today I’m going to share with you my 6 MUST HAVES when traveling in the van.
Without those 6 items I would be lost. Seriously.
Ready to find out what those things are?
1. FLIP FLOPS
Flip flops are the best thing invented ever. They are small, light, easy to slip in and let your toes breathe fresh air. I’d love to live somewhere where you can always wear flip flops, all year round.
Anyhow, back to the topic, flip flops are a must in a van for a few reasons:
- you often need to pop in and out of the van especially if you’re staying in a small one or/and you have a dog. Flip flops are easy to get in and off, which means you can keep them outside the van and wear them when you go out. This way no dirty shoes can get the van dirty;
- if you are planning to use ANY communal showers at swimming pools, leisure centers, motorway service stations, you need flip flops to keep your feet nice and safe (or any sandal type of shoe really, but did I tell you I like flip flops?);
- they are super useful to wear if you like me refill your water bottles from rivers and streams. I often want to get my water from the center of the stream as that’s where there’s more water flow (which equals cleaner water). It’s great to have flip flops that you can get wet to walk on river beds, you never know when you fill find a broken beer bottle hidden between stones;
- they are great to have if you are going on long hikes or plan to camp anywhere. Flip flops are only a few hundreds grams, so you can just pop them into your rucksack without really having to worry about the weight. You will be glad to have a break from your boots at the end of the day.
I recently “splurged” on this TEVA pair. They just make the most comfortable and durable flip flops and sandals ever.
2. A TROWEL
No, you ain’t gonna do any gardening in the van. This little tool is what you will need, to… POOP. If you are planning to camp anywhere far from public toilets you will need one of those. If you are not familiar with Leave No Trace the principle, this is how it goes. When nature calls you:
- go find a spot far from ANY water source (at least 50m),
- make a 6 to 8 inch deep hole,
- do your business,
- ideally you should burn or take away any toilet paper.
The trowel can also come useful to ehm, well, dig other holes whenever you need to.
If a normal garden trowel seems to big for you, you can find folding trowels in camping stores.
3. MINI BROOM
The first thing I do in the morning before even washing my face is cleaning the van. I like to start my day with the never ending battle broom vs hair. I use this small broom to swipe the floor, the little carpet I put on top of the bed but also the van dashboard and my laptop keyboard.
Don’t ask me why but I find using this little fella weirdly satisfying. Maybe you will too. Keep me updated.
4. MICROFIBER TOWEL
Raise your hand if you hated the microfiber towel the first time you tried it. It’s ok, you’re not alone, we’ve all been there.
Yes, microfiber towels don’t feel as nice as normal ones but what IS nice is that they take SO much less space and dry SUPER fast.
I’ll admit, I did keep my “normal” XL lovely soft towel for a few months after starting living in Pam. It was hard saying goodbye but it had to be done. Life is all about compromises, they say.
A headlamp is always handy to have at arm length.
My main lights are VERY bright and when I switch them on you can see me from miles away (you can see how i installed them here). Sometimes it’s nice to be able to brush your teeth/find your phone charger/read your bedtime story without the whole village seeing you do it.
Headlamps are also great to wear when investigating weird noises in the middle of the night and of course are great to keep in the backpack during any hikes and camping trips.
Mine is a cheap <£10 headlamp from Decathlon, but you can spend as much or as little as you like depending on how fancy you want it to look.
6. WATER FILTER
This is the latest addition to the crew and probably the awesomest.
I realized that the biggest reason why I wasn’t able to camp off grid for more than two days was water. I don’t have big water reserves so every few days I needed to find a spot with drinkable water to refill my tanks and bottles.
Since I have been in Scotland though, I have had access to so many crystal clear water sources it super seemed silly not to take advantage of it. At first I would just boil the water that I wanted to drink but I soon realized that was a lot of hassle, I would run out of gas very quickly and (surprise surprise) the water was hot, not the most appealing thing to drink on a warm day.
This is when I decided to buy a water filter. Those little things take very little space and are SO useful.
This is how it works:
A. find some water.
B. Fill in the bladder or a bottle.
C. screw in the filter.
D. you squeeze the water out
What comes out is super clean, drinkable water without any of that boiling hassle.
The filter has allowed me to stay off grid for much longer stretches and eliminated my dependence on drinking water taps. It is also super useful to bring on hikes if you know you’ll have access to a stream a river or a lake.
I’m sure there are fancier water filters you can install in your van, but the compactness and affordability of the Sawyer filter won me.
So here you have it, my 6 must haves in a van. What are yours?
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4 thoughts on “6 Van Must Haves | Items I couldn’t live without”
Love the list. I’m midway through converting my own and my little broom is the most useful item I have, and probably the cheapest !
Hi i just watched your video, regarding the Sawyer filter taking 20 minutes to fill, if you go to https://sawyer.com/products/?type=water-filtration you will see less time consuming sawyer product which could be ideal in your situation such as a 4 liter gravity fed filter and also a bucket adaptor system.
Hope this helps.
Thank you Rich, will have a look!
On your video it looks like you are filling the water filter with a old water bottle, you shouldn’t reuse them for water, try bpa free, PS keep up the videos you are living the dream x