So you want to get or build a campervan – maybe a simple, DIY van conversion, maybe a high-end, professional Sprinter campervan conversion. Either way, you want to live the VanLife – whether that’s as your full-time or part-time home, or as a campervan that you spend as much time in as possible on weekends and vacations.
Yeah – we hear you! But buying and converting a campervan is a big financial and time commitment, so it makes sense to first find out what VanLife is really like to ensure you are pretty certain you will love living or camping in a van, before jumping in with two feet and buying or building your own van conversion.
There are also some other great reasons to try VanLife before you buy your own van or build your own campervan conversion. This is a great opportunity to find out what features are most important to you – what are must-haves and nice-to-haves, what layouts may suit your living / working / playing preferences, whether you really need features such as a toilet, hot water and solar charging, and more. Aside from all of these reasons, it’s also a great excuse to plan a short vacation!
Three ways to try living in a campervan to find out what VanLife is really like
Here are three ways that you can try out VanLife without committing to buy your own campervan. All are relatively low-cost options that could be invaluable (not to mention fun) experiences which should help you find out more about what VanLife is really like, how you would use your own campervan, what features you would need/want/like in your van, and more.
1. Borrow a friend or family member’s campervan (or RV)
The easiest way to try out VanLife, because it should be (nearly) free, is to nicely ask a good friend or family member who already has one, if you can borrow it for a weekend or so. Even if it’s not the type of van you think you want, you’ll get the experience of driving yourself to your camping destination, living and moving around in the van, and other experiences such as finding camping, keeping the electrics charged and water full… and waking up for early morning coffee and watching sunrises over the horizon – right from your bed.
While you’re chatting with them about their van, it can be really valuable to ask them what they think of it, understand how they use it, what’s great, what they would change or plan to modify on it, and why. Even if their living or camping preferences are different to yours, the more information you can find about campervans and how they can be used, the better-informed you will be if you are still narrowing down your decision around whether VanLife is for you, and what type of van user you will be.
2. Rent a campervan for a weekend or vacation
The ‘AirBnb of VanLife’, Outdoorsy is a van and RV rental platform where you can search for campervan rentals by type of van, budget and location, and book your trip just as you would do with a vacation home rental. This is an awesome way to find cool van conversions that you can actually rent and use, and gives you the opportunity to try out different size and brands of vans, different layouts, different styles (such as boho chic vs. utility off-road camper) and more.
If you visit Outdoorsy and want to book, use the button below with our code “SPRINTERCAMPERVANS” to get $50 off your booking.
3. Go car-camping
Yeah, I know, it’s not the same as being in a sweet cosy campervan. But, it’s cheap and will certainly be cosy and some things are the same, such as finding spots to stay and set up camp, packing and traveling light, and enjoying that closeness to nature – without being in a tent. All you need are some car/van camping essentials, to make your car-camping trip a little more comfortable. We’ve put together a list of some VanLife essentials that may also be useful for car-camping.
Although, speaking of tents, if you have a smaller car, such as a hatchback or SUV, then you can get tents that you can add on to the trunk area to increase your private enclosed space while you’re out camping – such as this one.