Last Update: 7/29/2016

Top 10 Questions About Living in a Van

Van is camped with folding chairs and a tarp awning making everything comfortable.

People keep asking Vanholio and other full-time vandwellers the same goddamn questions about van life over and over again. Here’s short answers to the Top 10.

Now understand that these are just Vanholio’s answers. I got my biases. Plus Vanholio is an OTR (on the road) vandweller. I’d do things different if I lived in a city.

Top 10 Van Life Questions Answered


1. What kind of van should I get?


Vanholio’s got a Promaster City converted to a camper. That’s a bit small for most. Full-size vans are more common. But hell, I’ve seen folks live in everything from Priuses up to buses, plus every kind of trailer or tent. What you need is to keep the weather off you. After that, it’s what you like and can afford. If you can work with what you already own, that's what I'd do.

2. How do you heat and cool the van?


Vanholio’s goal is keeping himself at a nice temp. Heat and A/C for a van is one way to do that. Plenty of folks have ways to do that. My ultimate climate control is longitude and altitude. But I also use clothes, blankets, and acclimatization to keep warm; and good fans, ventilation, and moisture evaporation to keep cool.

3. How do you shower?


First off, you don’t need a shower every goddamn day, unless you’re getting truly dirty at work. But showers ain’t hard. If you ain’t got access at a gym or built into your rig, you can get showers at truck stops and campsites, use portable shower gadgets, or clean up with wipes or no-rinse body wash.

4. Where do you go to the bathroom?


In the last year, I’ve only had to shit in the woods about half a dozen times. Mostly, I’ve used regular public or business bathrooms, or else vault toilets in the forests. ‘Course as a male, pissing wherever the fuck I want ain’t an issue.

5. What do you do for money?


Vanholio does freelance writing and graphic design. Lots of traveling vandwellers have businesses or jobs they can do via internet, phone, or mail, or by setting up shop here and there. Others find temp jobs around the country. Really ain’t that tough.

6. How much does living in a van cost?


This is gonna depend on your tastes, but from all I’ve heard the average vandweller lives on $1,000 or less per month. Some far less than that.

7. Do you have a gun?


No. I ain’t opposed to folks 2nd Amendment rights, but personally I don’t feel trained enough to use a gun right under stress. I do carry pepper spray and weapon-ready tools. But, but, BUT, my first defense is using my head to avoid trouble and avoid being noticed. Plus I got dogs.

8. Do the cops hassle you?

Living in a van ain’t exactly illegal. But local statutes and nosy cops can make it hard. I avoid those places and am damned sneaky when I can’t. Plus I move around, am well groomed, and have a clean vehicle, so I don’t catch the LEO’s eyes.

9. Where do you park at night?


Since Vanholio is a traveler and prefers the wild, I usually camp in the backcountry of national forests and BLM land. But I’ve also slept in Walmarts and other parking lots, rest stops, campgrounds, RV parks, friends’ driveways, curbside, and behind abandoned buildings.

10. Isn't living in a van lonely?


Oh, hell no! First off, loneliness is a state of mind. Second, if you want society, it’s easy to find as much as you want, with a little thought. Even pussy or cock or whatever revs your engine.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See …

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Last Update: 7/22/2016

Acclimatize for Comfort in All Weather

Wim Hof submerged in icy weather of a frozen pond.
"Ice Man" Wim Hof demonstrates human adaptability
Again and again, folks ask us, who live in a van down by the river: How do you deal with the heat? How do you handle the cold? HOW!? Simple: We acclimatize.

Human Body Is Adaptable


Now I ain’t denying the value for vandwellers of an A/C, fans, insulation, Little Buddy heaters, or the rest. There’s a place for all that shit, and maybe I’ll post about Vanholio’s weathertech in future. But for now I’m talking about how the human body adapts – when you let it.

See, we inherited us an amazing piece of biological machinery. Humans have lived in the Arctic without freezing and in Australia without catching fire. We’ve had pearl harvesters freedive their livings off Korea and settled Tibet at nosebleed altitudes. We’re a pretty damned adaptable species. And it ain’t all about throwing money, energy, and tech at the problem.

Vanholio Wears Shorts, Sandals at All Temps


This here last year, Vanholio’s been driving all over the country. I’ve been in the Rocky Mountain blizzards, Texas and the Southwest heat waves, and up and down from sea level to 10,000 feet.

Through it all, I’ve been wearing shorts and sandals. Seriously. Well, a light jacket and knit cap, too, when it’s below 40 F. Even when the van was 35 F inside on a winter morning, I’ve been toasty under a couple regular blankets, plus a hat and socks.

How could I do this? Hell, I don’t know. I just got used to it, I acclimatized.

Acclimatization Takes About Two Weeks


I started looking up online about human acclimatization. I read about how runners adapt to doing marathons in the heat, how climbers get used to high altitudes, and how soldiers handle extreme cold. Lots of good info with shit tons of detail. But it all comes down to letting yourself get used to it, usually for about two weeks.

A little lightheaded at altitude? Camp up high for about two weeks. Getting seriously cold? Spend about at least an hour outdoors while a bit underdressed for two weeks. Summer roasting you? Do some mild exercise outside for a bit every day for two weeks.

Let Yourself Adapt to the World


Sure, there are real fucking limits to the heat and cold a body can stand. I ain’t advocating goin' nekked all the time and sleeping atop a stone slab. Plus, it’s a fact that old folks have more trouble acclimatizing.

But we’re so goddamn used to living in 75 F houses, we’ve forgotten what we’re capable of. Vanlife comfort ain’t always about HVAC. Sometimes it’s just about letting ourselves acclimatize to the world as it is, outside four walls.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See …


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Last Update: 7/16/2016

TANSTAAFL (Literally!)

Mouse hovers over cheese on set mousetrap, like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” (TANSTAAFL). When it comes to gettin’ grub, it’s literally goddamn true. So I been learnin’ all over again.

Everything Costs Cash or Time (or Both)


See, the idea of TANSTAAFL is that everything costs you something. If it don’t cost you cash, it costs you time, including time you coulda been doing something else. Like earning cash. It’s Econ 101. Even a handout costs you time and maybe dignity and opportunities.

Some time ago, I posted my ideas for "21 Alternative Food Sources". As I’ve been trying out some of them, I find that even cashless ones cost me fuckloads of time and hassle. Not one of them is truly free.

Even Roadkill Ain’t Free!


Not even eating roadkill is free! First off, in some states, you gotta pay a tag fee to the wildlife LEOs. But even if you don’t need to (or don’t tell ‘em), it takes time to find the critter and time to butcher and cook it.

As it turns out, good roadkill ain’t even that damn easy to find. I been all over this here USA, and I only occasionally run into something good (ba-dum-dump). The critters mostly cross roads at certain places, and you gotta know them places. They have to been killt just the right way, best a knock in the noggin. And in summer, you gotta get ‘em early before they get to be too hot and rotted.

To get enough roadkill, you gotta put time and gas into a route. That don’t work so well with van travel.

Dumpster Divin’ Ain’t a Cornucopia


I looked in a few dumpsters. Nothin’. The best dumpster diving is in bigger towns (which Vanholio avoids like Sodom and Gomorrah). Then you gotta know the good dumpsters and which days and times they get chucked in. Finally, you gotta wrap all that info into a night-time route. And since Vanholio boondocks outside towns, it ain’t his plan.

Foraging Is Hard Work, Hard Eatin'


Even gleaning nature takes a lotta work. You gotta be where and when the plants and critters are ready. You gotta walk all over and gather ‘em. And most natural plant foods take shit-tons a effort to process to where they’re tasty and edible. The Native Americans planned their yearly travels all around the food, at least the nomadic ones.

I Could Go On!


Anywhoo, I could give you more examples. The point is that getting food any which way is gonna take you cash or work. No gettin’ around it. TANSTAAFL. ‘Course for you, cash might be a problem while time ain’t. Or you might have principled reasons to go cashless. I fucking respect that. Naturally, some strategies take more cash or effort than others. Plan as appropriate.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See …

Eating Roadkill Rabbit Down by the River
Vanholio’s 21 Alternative Food Sources
Dumpster Diving: A Travel Strategy for Free Food (TravelBlogs)
Read More »

Last Update: 7/12/2016

Ultimate Van Life Music Playlist

Van loaded with woofers and bass in a graffiti tunnel
If you ever seen “I’m Gonna Get You Sucka,” you know that every hero needs some theme music. Vandwellers got this here YouTube list of 22! Lock and load, hit the road!

Many thanks to redditor sewersucker, who curated this YouTube mega-songlist of “vanlife related musics” from /r/vandwellers contributors. Now were a-rockin’ in our vans down by the river.



Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...

Podcasts for the Van Living Lifestyle
Top 10 Biker Songs (Ultimate Classic Rock)
The Best Ever Travelling Music Playlist! (The Travel Affair)
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Last Update: 7/04/2016

Patriotism, Like Love, Is a Goddamn Mess

I was not born in America, I was born on my land. I am America.
How does Vanholio feel about July 4 Independence Day and the USA? Well, let’s just say it’s complicated. But not nearly as much as for U.S. Native Americans. Yet many are patriots! What’s the fucking lesson here!?

Native Americans Got Grievances


First off, most of their ancestors didn’t want to be part of the USA. Hell, most of their ancestors were probably killed off by U.S. soldiers and settlers.

Click me
One of the reasons the colonies declared independence was to be able to kill injuns and take their land (before they killed "us," they thought). Read the fucking “Declaration of Independence” if you don’t believe me!

Those Native Americans that survived Manifest Destiny were forced onto reservations, starved, had their kids sent to boarding schools and forbidden to speak their language, and even their religions were outlawed.

Things are better than that today. But Native Americans are still one of the most fucked-over minorities in this country. Don’t believe me? Go drive around a few reservations.

Yet Native Americans Celebrate July 4


Many (not all) Native Americans are proud to be U.S. citizens, enjoy this country’s freedoms, and are honored to serve in our armed forces.

Bunches of tribes celebrate July 4 in a big way. There’s some mixed history to the celebrations there, but the fireworks still fly and the barbecues are still sizzling down on the rez.

Mescalero Apaches Honor Their Marine


Yesterday I went to see the Independence Day ceremonial dances on the Mescalero Apache reservation.

A young Marine was being honored that afternoon: Private First Class Colorado Mangas. They way the Apache figure it, he's serving to protect them, his community.

Private Mangas is a direct descendant of Apache war chief Mangas Colorado, who gave the Mexican and U.S. armies hell for decades. Old Mangas was killed by the U.S. Army in the end – after being tortured.

You never saw a Marine stand taller, prouder than Private Mangas in his dress uniform, dancing and shaking his rattle, waving his eagle-feather fan. He is a Marine's Marine and an Apache's Apache.

In the Honor Dance, lines of men and women danced alongside and behind Private Mangas, saying to the world, “I stand with this man. His service does us proud.” It was more touching than any braggy goddamned speech I’ve ever heard.

Behind the dancers, Old Glory waved high on the flagpole.

Vanholio’s Independence Day Lesson?


Shit, I don’t know. The real history of this country is pretty bloody, cruel, and mixed up. Our present is a goddamned mess. But maybe that’s always true for Man the so-called Wise, wherever we are.

And it’s been much worse in other times and places.

And anyway, we’re all in this together. So maybe it’s best to appreciate what we got here in the USA and try to love and help one another.

And let’s not let one election get us at each other’s throats too much.

And maybe patriotism, like love, is fucking messy. At least if you think once in a while.

And that’s as much July 4th sunshine as Vanholio’s going to blow up your ass.

Hey, Beer Vanholio! He works hard on this blog.

Also See ...


Will Tonight's Election Results Be Good or Bad?
Fuck the 2016 Presidential Debates
6 Great US Presidents and Their Crimes Against Humanity (Cracked)
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