Van Essentials

Sprinter van at a campsite

Van life certainly has taken some getting used to. For example, earlier this week while brushing my teeth in a State Park bathroom, I glanced down to see what appeared to be a sink full of underwear. And that was the moment I decided to stick to brushing my teeth in the van, which brings me to my list of van essentials. Here are the things I can’t live without:


At just around a hundred bucks for the sink and faucet combo, it’s hard to beat having the convenience of running water. And I’m proud to say that I dropped that bad boy into the cabinet all by myself. Yay, me! (So what if I’m known by name at Lowes and Home Depot?) And after adding some plumber’s tape, a few adaptors, a foot pump, and a drain, it was an instant underwear-free zone.

Sleeping Pad

On the sleeping front, I’m so glad I opted to upgrade to a new Thermarest sleeping pad. My old pad did a number on my back after just a day or two of camping, and let’s just say I’m not fun to be around if I don’t get my sleep. Self-care, my friends. Self-care. The new pad may not be a Simmons Beautyrest pillowtop mattress, but it’s close. Damn close. So, while I wait patiently to find a builder who can tranform this rolling snack cart into a dreamy bistro, I’ll at least have plush sleeping accommodations, even if it’s only temporarily.

Window Shades

I am in absolute love with my window shades from Tin Barn. They add an extra layer of privacy and keep the sun’s heat at bay, which is important when you’re driving around a giant bread box on wheels. Plus, I love to support small, creative businesses.

Tea Kettle

From a culinary standpoint, there are a handful of things that make van life easier, the first of which is my Le Creuset tea kettle. Not only is it cute as hell, but it’s a beast at boiling water for coffee — and if I plan it right, there’s enough hot water left over for dishes. The added bonus is that I don’t have to stand around waiting for the water to boil — it whistles for me when it’s done, which means I can accomplish a ton of things in the morning before I even have my first cup of coffee. (Have I mentioned how much I love efficiency?)

French Press

Speaking of coffee, another essential gadget is my stainless French press. It’s super easy to clean and small enough to stow away easily. While it may not be as convenient as pushing a button for a cup o’ joe, it honestly doesn’t take that much more time to prepare.

Pepper Mill

And lastly, my mini pepper mill is just adorable. It’s thumb-powered, which means I can get freshly ground pepper with little more effort than a hitch-hiker, and it’s perfect for peppering salads and sauces. It doesn’t take up a lot of room either, and that’s kind of a big deal these days.

What are your essentials?

Like, let’s say you were to leave home with only the possessions that would fit into a moderately-sized van. What could you not live without?

Up for a challenge? Register for the 8-Day Self-Care Challenge here.

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