Adopting the van life is no small thing, and the lifestyle represents an incredibly different existence from what most people consider “normal.” Those who sing the van life mantra show the world their awesome views, amazing rigs, and all the benefits of switching from brick & mortar to steel & wheels.
Whether you buy a used van that someone else loved and traveled in or built your own, van life represents freedom from the terrestrial things that often seem to hold us down. Are you thinking about embarking on a vanlife journey but aren’t sure what to expect?
Let’s take a look at some of the best van life blogs on the web and find out whether it’s time to start your own DIY campervan.
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1. Bearfoot Theory
If you want to lose yourself in a myriad of topics on camper van conversions, van lifestyle tips, and all the unexpected things that happen when you’re living in a van, Bearfoot Theory is an excellent place to start. Not only has the author lived in a converted Sprinter van for the last six years, but she’s also converted multiple Sprinter vans and learned an incredible amount about van life along the way.
The author’s blogs represent an incredibly valuable resource for those who have yet to hit the road in their own adventure mobile. The blogs on Bearfoot Theory aren’t a glossed-over representation of all things van life. She actually shares what worked well and what didn’t work so well. You’ll get tons of information about what to do – and what not to do – when you pursue your own van conversion.
For example, if you take a look at one of her latest conversion projects, you’ll learn that her first van needed more space to work and more storage space, so she set about correcting that in her later conversion projects. The “hard, expensive lessons” from her first conversion van experience can help you plan the best conversion and avoid layout or design mistakes.
2. The Vanabond Tales
One of the cool features of The Vanabond Tales blog is that the authors aren’t just living in a van. They’re also pursuing “sail life,” which is an adventure they started after traveling across three continents on their van journey. Once you’ve found everything there is to find on land, there’s an entire ocean out there waiting for you when you choose to live on a sailboat.
Of course, it’s vital to know a little about sailing before you head off into the sunset on a sailboat. The art of sailing requires a whole different language, and if you’ve never sailed before, you’ll marvel at the sheer number of words and phrases used to describe the act of sailing and all the parts of a sailboat.
Fortunately, you can read posts like “How to Prepare a Sailboat for Winter Storage in the Mediterranean,” and get all the info you need to figure out whether the sail life or van life is best for you. If you’re not ready to sail, that’s okay. The blog also offers a great perspective on how it feels to be on a permanent road trip.
3. Far Out Ride
Far Out Ride offers some excellent blogs on van life, but you’ll find a slew of pages dedicated to in-depth projects like building water systems, a 12V battery powered A/C, and van insulation. These guides are a gold mine when you’re planning your DIY camper van conversion and want to spend your money on the right projects.
Not only does this van life blog share details about various projects you might undertake as you build your van, but you’ll also find breakdowns of the cost and labor to build certain facets of your van, as well as breakdowns for weight, maintenance, and repair. The repair and maintenance side of van conversion projects is often overlooked, and forgetting about it may become a rather costly mistake.
The website also offers great information related to life on the road, with van life advice on how to find free campsites, destination guides for places like Mexico and the Yukon, and costs you may encounter on the road. Planning is a huge part of successful road trips, and Far Out Ride can help you plan for all contingencies.
4. Parked in Paradise
Parked in Paradise is a van life blog that offers in-depth explorations of different rigs built by van dwellers from every corner. Not only will you find super valuable topics like minivan camper conversions, but you’ll also find helpful tips on bed designs, portable refrigerators, and readymade vehicles like A-frame pop-up campers.
This website offers an excellent view of full-time van life, as well as the best rigs for weekend road trips to your local national parks. If you’re starting at the beginning of designing your van build, you’ll find some great articles about the full process of building your own campervan, from electricity to showers to the layout.
Not only will you find detailed guides but you’ll also see examples of the best vehicles for your particular goals. For example, should you try to find a high-top or standard height camper van? Is a Chevy van better than a Ford van? How much should you expect to pay while living van life full time?
5. Outbound Living
Your own van build will be something that’s uniquely you and built to help you accomplish whatever it is you seek while on your road trip. However, if you haven’t yet started buying your conversion materials or you don’t even have a van yet, you might find the process a little overwhelming. That’s where Outbound Living can help.
The website is divided into several categories, with helpful information about embarking on van life and how it feels to give up your comfortable existence and live life full-time in a campervan. You’ll find a lifestyle guide about van life, how to’s on van conversions, and ideas for where to go and what to see on your next road trip.
Some of the most interesting topics covered within the website’s van life blogs are location guides that can help you plan your van travels in places like South America and Europe. You’ll definitely want to check out the Van Life Guide to Northern Spain where Sophie and Andes describe their journey through beautiful Northern Spain.
6. So We Bought a Van
So We Bought a Van is a collection of van life blogs from a digital nomad named Katie who started touring North America in her Sprinter van, discovering all sorts of things about herself and the ups and downs of van life during her travels. Her passion is exploring the outdoors, and she believes the best way to do so is from the comfort of an awesome van conversion.
She’s taken her van life journey in two vans: a 2016 Ford Transit and a 2016 Mercedes Sprinter. She offer some excellent advice on these two van builds, and you’ll find some interesting details from her collaboration with another member of the van life movement, Logan. He built a 1998 Ford Econoline conversion over the course of two months.
If you’re thinking about converting a Sprinter van (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll find Katie’s full writeup on her van conversion a gold mine of information. She offers details on virtually every facet of her conversion, from the deep cycle batteries and solar setup to the cedar tongue-and-groove walls.
7. Chasing the Wild Goose
If you dream of living in your van full time, one of the best van life blogs to read is Chasing the Wild Goose. One of the concerns you might have in adopting full-time van life is how to make money while you’re traveling. The digital nomads of Chasing the Wild Goose have an entire section devoted to remote work and income and are living proof that you can enjoy life on the road while earning money.
You’ll also find some van life blogs on the website that offer helpful details on converting a Sprinter van, which is one of the most popular vans for conversion. The authors offer some excellent questions that you’ll want to ask yourself as you explore van life. What do you want to get out of your van and what do you expect to do while you’re living in a van?
Answering these questions can help you make good choices before you jump into your exciting existence as a van lifer. You’ll find some valuable advice about what not to do when designing your van build and living in a van after your project is complete.
8. The Wanderful
Some van life blogs offer excellent information on building your campervan. Others provide beautiful photos and destination guides of all the places you might want to see during your life on the road. The Wanderful offers some very sage advice on topics almost nobody else would want to touch like “Where to Empty Campervan Toilets: A Complete Guide.
Toilets aren’t the first thing you might think about when considering van life, but they’re an incredibly important part of the experience. Which toilet will you buy? Will your van feature plumbing for your van, or will you choose a composting toilet? Maybe it’s best to choose a toilet you can empty on a regular basis, so you’re not dealing with extra plumbing in your van.
Whatever choice you make, The Wanderful is a van life blog with excellent advice on difficult subjects. The author even offers in-depth information on getting your van out of the sand when you get stuck and removing unnecessary weight in your van to improve mileage.
9. Project Van Life
Many van life blogs offer details on vehicles like Ford Econolines, Sprinter Vans, and old school VW vans (did you know Volkswagen is making an electric van called the ID.Buzz? Whoa!). One of the coolest features at the Project Van Life website is the section regarding a tiny house on wheels, which is quite different from the traditional van life environment.
The authors of the blog are from the Netherlands and they drive a tiny house on wheels with a pair of cats. Their tiny house looks like a square trailer, and they plan on sharing their adventures with the world as they travel. Project Van Life also has an excellent array of stories from people who have joined the van life and given up a stationary life.
Further, the website offers lots of advice on achieving financial independence as a van lifer, decisions that can make van life better, and advice on building a campervan. Want to learn how to install electrical and solar equipment? Thinking about improving your van storage? Want to build a van kitchen? This website has information on how to do it.
10. Gnomad Home
If you’re looking for inspiration to build your own van and make the jump into van life, you’ll find Gnomad Home is an incredible resource for conversion ideas and how to let go of a conventional lifestyle and enjoy life on the road. The authors of the website are John and Jayme, and they sold everything they owned to build a campervan and escape life on a three-year road trip.
The authors of this van life blog employ an easily accessible writing style that will help you accomplish everything you want with your van project, from selecting your rig and conversion ideas to living in a small space and van life tips like finding public showers on the road. Before you can fully enjoy your travel adventures, you’ll need to learn about the basics of living vanlife, and John and Jayne, as well as the other authors on the site, have a lot of information to share.
Want to find the best campsites? Need to choose solar panels? Want to know more about daily life in a van? This extensive website will have a topic that interests you, as well as several more that will send you down the reading rabbit hole.
11. Mowgli Adventures
Some van life blogs offer great information on topics almost everyone will experience. Mowgli Adventures, on the other hand, takes a deep dive into some really interesting topics that could prove valuable should you decide to travel as far as possible into the hinterlands. For example, you’ll learn how to winterize a camper, how to heat an RV without propane, and how to keep your pipes working in frigid temperatures.
Mowgli Adventures is one of the best van life blogs for learning about the full process of building a campervan, from choosing a van to planning the conversion to embarking on van life. The authors of the website spent an incredible 2,500 hours converting their van, a 2005 Mercedes Sprinter.
One of the cool features of this van life blog is that it’s not just a repository van life posts. You’ll also find loads of information about RV living, which is an alternative that some nomads choose after considering van life versus RV life.
12. Green Van Go
Building a campervan is a project that may take thousands of dollars or it might take just a few hundred, depending on your needs and goals. If you’re looking for ways to travel on the cheap, Green Van Go is an great place to start. This van life blog is designed to help you through the entire process, from choosing your van, building it, and traveling on a budget.
Unfortunately, some van life travelers make costly mistakes that make it tough to live a comfortable life on the road, and the free resources from Van Life Go can help you avoid spending too much money with your conversion or on the road once your van is complete. One of the neat features of the website is the starter guide designed to make living life in a van both affordable and enjoyable.
Check out the fresh “Van Life Costs: How Much Does it Cost to Live in a Van?” to help you plan, as well as the “41 Lessons Learned from Women Living in Vans” if you plan on traveling alone as a female. Adopting solo van life is quite a change for most people, and this van life blog has some helpful resources for learning more about van life before actually setting out on the adventure.
13. Two Wandering Soles
Two Wandering Soles is a fun van life blog written by Katie and Ben, a pair of adventure seekers and nature lovers. They also apparently love eating almost everything and boast that they can’t seem to get rid of their “funny” Minnesota accents. The couple met on a snowboarding trip several years ago and eventually started traveling the world.
Since then, they’ve had adventures all over the world and have published quite a collection of stories about living in a campervan and converting their van. They have a convenient buying guide that will help you shop for all the materials you might need for your campervan conversion project.
You’ll also find lots of content on related subjects that you might find interesting down the road. The couple of travel addicts has traveled around the entire world and their van life blog features a treasure trove of topics about traveling to virtually every continent on the planet. If you want to travel internationally on your van life adventure, Two Wandering Soles can help you accomplish it.
14. Van Clan
Not all vans are worthy of taking the adventure off-road, but if remote travel through the world’s most difficult terrain is on your mind, Van Clan can help you figure out how to get there. This van life blog offers topics on van life, traveling gear, camping, and off-roading, so you can enjoy a full and complete road trip lifestyle, from sleeping in a van to telling ghost stories around a campfire.
The website also has a small but growing selection of posts on tiny homes, which are something that some van life fans choose when they decide to stay in one spot for a while and adopt the simple, minimalistic lifestyle of the tiny home movement. Did you know that some people make tiny homes out of shipping containers? Dive into the blog posts at Van Clan for more information.
The website has loads of free resources but also sells a 170-page book about how to build a camper that you might find valuable if you’re just starting out on your conversion project. You’ll even find information about creating a business using your van or camper as a rental for other adventurers to enjoy.
15. Drink Tea & Travel
If you want to watch videos about van conversions rather than just read about campervans, you’ll want to explore Drink Tea & Travel. This is one of the best van life blogs for learning about van life from a YouTube channel. The videos are quite in-depth and helpful for learning about different aspects of converting a van.
You won’t just read about someone’s experience converting a van. You’ll see helpful details in the videos that will help you plan your own conversion. You’ll also find some helpful listicle style articles that offer a wealth of information and choices for different items you’ll find very helpful and necessary in your van. What type of pots and pans will you use? This van life blog will help you figure that out.
After you crawl through posts like “10 Best Campervan Fridges for your Van Life” and “10 Beautiful Sprinter Van Conversions to Inspire Your Build,” check out a few of the many videos on the website. You’ll learn about all sorts of adventures from camping in Banff to going on a grizzly safari in British Columbia.
16. Engineers Who Van
Many who adopt the van life do so as a way to get away from it all and live completely remotely and away from life. The engineers of Engineers Who Van do things a little differently and live full-time in their van while also working full-time as engineers. Their perspective on van life is truly unique, and their take on converting a van offers valuable information for anyone who is new to conversions.
Engineers Who Van are Eric, an applications engineer, and Colby, a senior software engineer. Not only does the pair maintain an entertaining blog but they also offer one-on-one van building consultations. Colby’s favorite part of the conversion process is conquering building challenges and Eric’s forte is building the electrical system.
You don’t have to be a software engineer to enjoy this blog or find value from it. You’ll find helpful, in-depth articles about van life that will help you build your van right the first time, whether you want to live off-grid in a wholly self-contained campervan or you’re thinking about converting a van for weekend trips to the mountains.
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