BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
Living in a VW van is the ultimate way to live and travel for tons of people who have chosen to join the van life. Some buy older, rundown vans and pour their money into renovating the vehicle into their dream home. Others choose to spend their money on buying a more modernized version; one that requires little to no renovations. Either way, there are certain things van-livers want in their van that they look for when buying or renovating.
What features your dream van has is completely dependent on how you’re using your van. Are you using it twice a year to pack your family in for a family road trip? Are you using it every couple months to travel? Or are you using it as your home, allowing you to travel every day if you’d like? However you choose to use your van, there are a few features to add to your van that will make your travels even more enjoyable than before.
These are five updates to bring your van to the next level:
1. Install solar panels
Whether you’re planning to live in your van full-time and travel, or just use it for long camping trips, you may want to consider going green and installing some solar panels. Harnessing energy from the sun to run your electronics (think charging batteries and laptops and running appliances like a fridge) can be game-changing when you’re living in a van. Installing solar panels will not only make your van eco-friendly, which is pretty important seeing as all of the gas the van uses, but it also allows you to be free to venture through your travels without needing to find electricity everywhere you go.
2. Update the storage
As you can imagine, living in a van means there isn’t a ton of space for personal items. Before most people move into their van they get rid of tons of stuff to accommodate their new smaller lifestyle. Even if you only bring the necessities with you, you will probably find your van lacks the space you’re used to. For this reason, one of the best upgrades you can do to your van is to install some innovative storage. Depending on your van there are tons of ways to find room for storage: in the floorboards, create storage within the seats, between the seats, shelves along the walls, within the doors or underneath the bed. It’s best to get creative with your storage strategy and find as much as possible.
3. Add insulation & shades
You want your van to be as comfortable as possible. If you’re travelling to new places in your van, this means making sure your van is durable in both the heat and the cold. The easy way to keep your van safe from the heat is to install some window shades. Investing in some thick shades will ensure the sunlight stays out and the cold air stays in. If you’re travelling during the summer days or just in a generally hot place, these will feel lifesaving. Just as important is keeping your van warm during cold nights. If you’ve bought an older van there’s a good chance it doesn’t have updated insulation. Before you renovate your van, consider what type of insulation you should install.
4. Update your engine
This is an important upgrade especially if you purchased an older VW van. The engine is the core of your vehicle so is arguably the most important upgrade. Your engine determines the power, efficiency and gas consumption of your van. So, if you’re only considering putting money into a few upgrades this is one you should seriously consider. Different engines will work best for your van depending on the version, so make sure to shop around and consult a professional!
5. Make it your own
Upgrade the interior and exterior of your van to make it home.You’ll be calling this van “home” so why not make it look like it? You can paint the outside of your van, you could add designs or paint on a name. The interior designs are endless. Put some time and thought into this so your new home is just as you imagined it. Some choose to go the comfy route and fill their van with pastel colours and pillows and lots of lounging space, while others go for a modern look with lots of storage for extra roaming space. Whatever you choose, do it yourself! Save some money and make it exactly what you dreamed of.