Essential Gear for Living on the Road

When your systems are in place and you find yourself well-prepared, life on the road can be simple, freeing, and pleasant. But, be ill-prepared, and you may find the lifestyle to be a cumbersome and stressful ordeal.

Throughout the past two years of living on the road myself, I’ve found a number of items that significantly improve the experience—products that help keep you organized, sanitary, and ready to tackle the day’s adventure.

The suggestions below are well-suited not just for van-dwellers, but anyone that enjoys a good road trip, too.

Camp Chef Everest 2-Burner Stove

A powerful stove in a compact package

Featuring two high-pressure 20,000 BTU burners, Camp Chef’s Everest is one of the most powerful portable cooking stoves on the market. While some camp stoves fail to deliver precise control over the heat level, you’ll have full control with the Everest’s sensitive knobs. The stove also features a quick-ignition button, wind-blocking screens, a steel cooking grate, locking lid, and a carry handle.

Wealers Travel Spice Kit

All the fixings in a compact pouch

With all your belongings confined to a small space, optimizing storage is key. For those that love cooking, this kit provides a simple way to organize your favorite spices and herbs. Each shaker is constructed of stainless steel with a twist top that offers four different settings: closed, small, medium, and large holes.

BESTEK DC to AC Inverter

Power everything on the move

Featuring two AC outlets and two USB ports, you’ll be able to charge everything you need without a full electrical setup. Boasting 3000 5-star reviews, this essential is a traveler’s favorite.

Dr. Bronners

Do-it-all cleaner for your living space, your dishes, your body, and more

In the wild, it’s important to be using biodegradable and environmentally sound products. Organic and vegan, Dr. Bronners does feel healthier than its alternatives and it can be used as your only cleaner … for everything. And when you’re really feeling ambitious, just add some into a tub with water and your dirty clothes. Laundry, done.

Although it might seem expensive in comparison to other soaps, this Dr. Bronners is quite concentrated and should be diluted with water to extend its usage.

DUDE & GoodWipes

Shower without taking a shower

While on the topic of cleanliness, showers on the road can be a little tricky. But, you can elongate your duration between bathing days with intermittent full-body wipe-downs. DUDE Quick Shower Wipes for men and GoodWipes for women offer a quick and convenient way to get clean.

If you’re looking for something more akin to a warm shower at home, check out the Advanced Elements 3-Gallon Solar Shower.

AeroPress, Yitelle Pour-Over, Kaleep Mini Espresso Machine

Non-destructible coffee and espresso making

Within a week of living on the road, I broke a French press. One week later, I watched as my friends broke their French press, too. Unsurprisingly, glass has a shorter life expectancy when you live on the road. The coffee-making methods above are reliable in durability and quality.

Primal Greens Superfood Supplement

A simple means to get important nutrients when off the grid

When you’re traveling through desert and remote locations, finding fresh vegetables can be much harder than you’d expect. Further—depending on your refrigeration—keeping fresh greens might not be a possibility. To support your diet on the road and to ensure that you’re getting a range of vitamins and minerals, your body will be pleased to have supplementation. Used once daily, this container will last a month.

Settlers of Catan: Travel Edition

The enjoyment of Catan in a portable package

Living on the road will yield countless adventures, but also plenty of down time to kick back and enjoy a board game. This version of the popular Settlers of Catan comes in a small package, perfect for squeezing into your vehicle.

Luci Lanterns

Solar, renewable, light

The problem with many headlamps is the need to repeatedly replace batteries. Consider opting instead for Luci Solar Lanterns; which, for only $15, provide renewable light to illuminate your vehicle, campsite, or tent. Charging them is a breeze: just set the lantern(s) on your dashboard during daytime sun.

Aomais Sport II Bluetooth Speaker

Music for any adventure

Having a reliable speaker setup will bring a little more excitement to your camping setup. This speaker by Aomais is specifically designed for the rugged environments you’ll encounter: it’s fully waterproof (can be submerged up to one meter) and designed to handle dust and mud. Further, you can pair two of these speakers together for a full surround-sound effect.

Thera Cane

Don’t be fooled by its goofy looks

Time in the driver’s seat can be stiffening on your back and your legs. Add in some daily adventures your body is begging for a little care. The Thera Cane helps you pinpoint areas of tightness and immobility; it helps you massage areas you’d otherwise not be able to touch.

iClever Solar Battery Charger

Portable, renewable power off the grid

If you’re looking for a compact power supply and aren’t equipped with a full-fledged electrical setup, the Solar Battery Charger by iClever can’t be beaten. While many portable panels require a separate battery, this is an all-in-one solution that can be fully charged with just five hours of sunlight to power any of your USB devices.

Dometic Refrigerator/Freezer or Yeti Tundra

Keep food and drinks cold … with or without power

During my first year on the road, I lived without refrigeration. I ate hard or canned veggies and rarely sipped the pleasure of a cold beer. Upgrading to refrigeration not only improved my diet, but also my overall quality of [van]life.

With a DC power supply, you’ll do yourself a favor owning Dometic’s 50-liter CFX-50. It will keep your food at a consistent, cool temperature and an internal LED light will make locating your goods easy in the dark. It even has a built-in USB charger for your phone, camera, or tablet. Other sizes vary from 28 to 95 liters.

If without power, consider making the investment in a Yeti. While the price point is high in comparison to other coolers on the market, Yeti’s quality is unmatched: most users remark that their food stays cold for at least four days without the need to refill on ice.

Renogy Solar Panels or Goal Zero Yeti 1250 Kit

Power everything with the sun

When it comes to an electrical setup, there are those who opt for the do-it-yourself value option, and also those that go for the all-in-one Goal Zero packages.

If you want more bang for your buck and don’t mind the extra work, consider configuring your own solar and battery setup; this means panels, batteries, controller, etc. However, if you’re seeking convenience and don’t mind the price tag, Goal Zero makes great all-in-one options.

Tepui Kukenam Roof Top Tent

Convenient car camping … anywhere

The benefits of a RTT (roof-top tent) may not be obvious at first, but with use you’ll find this method of car camping to offer a range of benefits over the hassle of setting up and taking down ordinary ground tents. For one, RTT tents are superior in their convenience, taking a mere 5-10 minutes to set up. Tepui models also include a built-in mattress pad, so you’ll never again wake up with a rock sticking into your back. The tent also keeps the inside of your vehicle spacious, as you can stow sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows in the tent even while closed. If you can’t sleep in your vehicle, a roof-top model by Tepui is your answer.


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