Trying to choose the right van?
In my work I deal with people from all over the UK, from every background imaginable, and every style of self-built, or off the shelf van you’ve seen, and one of the only reasons for getting rid of their van is “It’s too small”, “we’ve outgrown it”, so my advice when choosing the right van is to keep in mind the most valuable commodity SPACE.
There are pages and groups dedicated to buying the “right van”, to convert into a camper, but what is the right van for you? Well the first thing to figure out is “who are you?”
- Are you someone whom lives, sleeps and breathes an outdoor sport like mountain biking?
- Are you a nomad living out of your van during the week, staying off the radar while parked in a big City?
- Are you a family of 5 making their way across the African continent?
- Are you a weekend explorer with a hire purchase agreement?
Figuring out who you truly, honestly are is simultaneously one of the first considerations of choosing the right van for you, but also something that you don’t really know until you’ve been living your new van life for some time.
A lot of aspects of your van build are fluid, and you can change and adapt as you go, for example:-
- If you end up needing far more gadgets, and thus electricity, than you originally expected you can add a second or third solar panel to your van.
- If you are regularly draining your water tank and need more capacity between reloads, you can add a second tank under the van.
- If you wanted a stealth van for city living, but a lack of windows making you feel like you’re living in a coffin; add additional windows.
- If you blow your engine, a week in the garage and you’re back on the road.
- If you’ve gone over weight with building your home on wheels you contact me and I’ll get you legal again.
But the hardest thing to add after the build is more space.
For example, you buy a low-top/SWB van for weekend excursions, you built it to your idea of domestic perfection, and then find that you love the outdoors so much you want to go full time?
But you can’t as it’s impossible to stand up in the van, so the thought of a week in the rain, stooped over a hob would have you spending more on chiropractor sessions than lithium leisure batteries. Cue needing to buy a bigger van, and possibly losing money (and a part of your heart and soul) selling your first van.
We’ve all seen the posts of beautiful people, in their sleek minimalist build racking up the Insta’Tube points, but quickly realising they’ve got nowhere to wash, or have a poop, so probably don’t stray too far from home in search of to-die-for photo shoot locations.
So think about what you could possibly want to do during your future vanlife, and find a van big enough to encompass those possibilities; there is more to vanlife than sitting on your phone every evening.
Trust me, space is the key to a happy vanlife, and the one thing you cannot add more of on the road.