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Van Life FAQ

All of your van life questions answered in one simple post! In this article, we’re going to provide answers to the most common concerns about van life.

  • If you’re ready to start a van build, check out this guide.

living the van life in a diy camper van conversion

Van Life Questions

What is van life?

Van life is an alternative lifestyle similar to living in an RV, tiny home, or sailboat. The van life movement is particularly attractive to digital nomads, minimalists, and outdoor lovers who travel frequently and camp in their vehicles.

Is van life legal?

Yes. US citizens are not required to have a physical address. In our articles about finding free campsites and camping stealth, we discuss ways to park legally overnight for free.

Can you live in a van full time?

Yes. Many people live in vans full time comfortably. It takes an adaptable person that is good at planning and willing to sacrifice a few comforts.

The cons of van life

  • Lack of space
  • Difficulty finding showers
  • Requires constant planning
  • Using camper van toilets
  • Finding water
  • Discovering overnight parking

We discuss how to solve all of these issues in our DIY van life guide.

van life is popular with the climbing community because they can camp next to the best routes

Types of vans for van life

  • Cargo vans and conversion vans
  • Euro style Vans – Sprinters, ProMasters and Transit Vans
  • Classic vans – VW Vanagons, VW Bus, 70’s 80’s vans
  • Skoolies
  • Overlanding vehicles
  • Class B RV’s

These are the most popular camper van conversions, but you can choose to live in any type of van.

What is the best van to live in?

Cargo vans are some of the largest vehicles so they will give you a lot of space for conversion. But there are pros and cons to every type of van. We discuss the best van for van life in this article.

Is van life a good idea?

Yes! If you are the type of person that craves adventure, there’s no better way to experience the country than with van life.

How do you live comfortably in a van?

  • Design a practical layout
  • Add a comfortable bed
  • Install a camper van toilet
  • Use good insulation
  • Keep food cold
  • Regulate temperature with a vent fan

Get step by step solutions to designing a comfortable camper here.

spending the night at a van life campsite

Where can you sleep in van life?

  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) areas
  • National Forests
  • State Forests
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • National Parks
  • Walmart, Cabellas, Cracker Barrell
  • Some hardware stores and retail stores
  • Casinos
  • Truck stops and rest areas

There are many places to park overnight for free and sleep comfortably. We cover free wilderness camping in this post, and stealth camping in the city here.

How do you shower when you live in a van?

  • Wet wipes
  • Dry shampoo
  • Gym memberships
  • Recreation centers
  • Private campgrounds
  • Truck stops
  • Beaches
  • Camping shower bags
  • Pressured sprayers

Showers can be found in numerous locations. We go over tips to find showers when you live in a van here.

van life shower in the back of a diy camper van conversion

Do conversion vans have toilets?

Yes, there are many options for adding toilets to a camper van conversion. These include:

  • Bucket toilets
  • Cassette toilets
  • Composting toilets
  • Boyscout shovel method

What is living in a van really like?

Living in a van is more comfortable than camping. It’s similar to sleeping in a micro-apartment. You get to wake up somewhere new every morning and travel at your own pace.

The best part about living in a van is that you have all of your things with you all the time. We discuss our first two years of experience living in a van here.

How do you build a DIY camper van conversion?

Follow this DIY guide by it will lead you through the process step-by-step.

  1. Buy a van
  2. Add insulation
  3. Install a vent fan
  4. Wire solar panels
  5. Build a bed and storage
  6. Add a toilet or shower
  7. Pack accessories like a portable refrigerator, stovetop, cell phone signal booster

How do you start van life?

Starting van life is easy! Join our email list. We’ll give you actionable tips to getting started with van life.

Eternal Flame In NY

Kate Moore

Kate is the lead content creator for and has spent over two years living in a camper van conversion. She has traveled through 48 US states and writes about van life, camping and RV living.

Eternal Flame in NY

Hello! We are Kate, Ian and Harper. We spent over two years living in a DIY camper van and visiting 48 US states. Along the way, we've met with other van lifers, checked out their rigs, and learned a lot about adventure travel. We hope this site can help you plan your next road trip.

Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics Proud Partner
Leave No Trace Center For Outdoor Ethics Proud Partner
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