How to Live Off the Grid in a Van – Can you actually live in a van?

Have you ever wondered about what it would be like to disconnect from the main power, gas, and water supply and live self sufficiently freely? A lot of people often wonder what living off the grid means and it encompasses all that and more.

Most people go off the grid while some do it for controlling their finances. However, living off the main circuit may not necessarily mean living minimally. While you might have to downsize in some areas, others would need additional attention and extra resources. Here is everything you need to know about living on the road in a camper van. 

Where do You Get Your Electricity: 

The best and the most popular method of staying consistent with never ever plugging into the main power lines is by installing solar panels in your camper. If you will be traveling around warm and sunny climates this will work seamlessly. 

That being said, if you are still concerned about the panels not getting enough sun, get a split charge relay that allows your leisure batteries to charge when the vehicle is running. 

You will need an inverter for hooking up appliances like a toaster, or a food processor to a charging port. 

You Don’t Have to be Stuck in One Place:

When you are off the grid you usually end up spending a lot of time outdoors. This does not mean that you will not have the comforts of home. You will just find yourself moving out and about a lot to stretch your legs. 

It’s a good idea to make a route on your travels to places that have hiking trails and lakes that you can swim in during the hot days. It is a great way to keep you fit as well. Do not underestimate the camper life, it can be quite exciting. 

Downsizing for Minimal Space:

When you are packing to go off the grid in the van you will have to do a lot of downsizing. You are now officially going to be learning new ways to utilize small spaces and pack clothing and other items efficiently so that more of your stuff goes in one drawer or bag. 

So before you embark on this journey you are going to have to go through the ordeal of what you need and what you will have to throw away. Check out some Marie Condo videos, donate, or sell things that may be more useful to someone else. 

Water System in the Camper:

There are certainly new things that you will have to get accustomed to when you decide to go off the grid in a camper van. You will have to invest in a rinse kit for showering. Another option is solar shower bags which are effective and affordable. 

When it comes to washing your clothes. Unless you have a giant van with space for a washing machine you will have to start hand washing. With these items such as wash bags and scrubbing tools can come in handy. You can time your laundry days with days you plan on taking a break outdoors. That way you can have a picnic or just sunbathe in the sun while your clothes dry on the line. 

Using the toilet is another concern. Here you have varying options as well like getting a porta-potty or looking into installing a composting toilet. A composting toilet is excellent for the environment as well because it functions by turning your waste into the soil so that it can fertilize the ground. 

Making Money and Budgeting on the Road:

One of the biggest queries for people who want to get away from the main system is how would they make money. 

One of the easiest ways to get yourself an off the grid job is to do migrant labor. But this does not have to be the same for everyone. Some people do not mind hooking on to the internet and getting an online gig such as graphic designing or web development. Some people even make use of their savings through the whole experience. 

If you are really into putting the word about the lifestyle out there you should think about recording your experience through a blog or an ebook and then sell it. 

The truth is that there is no guarantee if you are going to have a consistent income while you are on the road that is why it is imperative that you learn to budget and never cave in to impulse buys. Remember being off the grid means only hanging on to the necessities. 

On the Road with Pets:

It helps if you have a companion while you are off the grid. Who says you cannot take your pet with you. There is, of course, a transition period to this. Some pets have separation anxiety with their former home, others get restless staying in a moving camper for too long. You will have to decide how you are going to accommodate them as you accommodate yourself. 

Cooking while Travelling:

Cooking is a factor that may have you racking your brains. Use propane to fuel the portable oven. You can get a gas canister too. It helps you stay on the road a lot longer. 

Another option is an electric hob. You may want to use this to prepare meal plans which you will find are much more convenient and do not require you to cook every few hours. 

You can never fully foresee exactly how things will pan out when you go off the grid. In order to truly commit to this, you must accept that the future is uncertain. Life is not short on ups and downs and keeping away from your old lifestyle does not spare you from that. Sometimes plans never happen, sometimes you get sick, then there are obstacles you never even thought of. 

That being said, it is an amazing experience if you really feel like doing it. At the end of it, you will emerge a more experienced and maybe even a wiser person. 

Written by David Lee

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