Why is Van Life so popular?
In 2014 my wife and I bought our first Sprinter van; it was a used 2011 Mercedes passenger van. At that time, I had already quit my job as a PTA to start my own trail running business, and we would camp out at the trailhead where our race started. We usually had a little camper that we towed to the race with all our equipment, but this sprinter van was so much more convenient. I could also store all our race equipment in a small utility trailer and tow it to the race with the van. Inside the Sprinter I made a bed and a little sink/cook stove area turning the van into a nice little camper. I learned a lot from that first van conversion, one of those lessons was the blackout curtains. Since my van was a passenger van I had to figure out a way to cover all of the windows without spending a ton of money. Since some of our races took place in the fall and winter, I also needed to figure out how to better insulate the loss of heat from the windows. When I started looking around for insulated window covers I suffered from severe sticker shock. That’s when I decided to make my first set of window covers for my van(FYI I didnt know hwo to sew.) My brother-in-law worked for a company that used Sprinter vans for their dealer reps in the bike industry and he told me if I made him a set he’d “have 5 sets sold after his next trip.” He did by the way, but that’s basically how I got started making insulated window covers for van conversions.
Over the years van camping has become increasingly popular, especially Mercedes, Ford transit and Dodge Promaster sprinters. Sprinter van conversions make a lot of sense. Some of the trends that I have seen emerge in this industry include:
- Increased interest in off-grid living: More people are looking to live off the grid, and van camping provides an excellent opportunity to do so. With solar panels, portable generators, and other off-grid technologies, van campers can live comfortably without relying on traditional power sources.
- Customization: Van campers are increasingly customizing their vehicles to suit their needs. From adding custom storage solutions to installing solar panels, van campers are making their vehicles more functional and comfortable.
- Minimalism: Many van campers are embracing minimalism and downsizing their possessions. This trend is driven by a desire to live a simpler, more sustainable lifestyle.
- Technology: Technology has played a significant role in the van camping trend. From GPS navigation systems to portable Wi-Fi hotspots to Starlink, van campers are using technology to stay connected and make their lives easier. Recyclable water systems are gaining a lot of popularity.
- Sustainability: With a growing concern for the environment, many van campers are adopting sustainable practices. This includes using renewable energy sources, reducing waste, and minimizing their carbon footprint.
Overall, van camping has become a popular lifestyle choice for many people, and the trend is likely to continue in the coming years. I think the best part is that Van Life can be what you decide it to be, we don’t have rules. Just don't forget some window covers ;)