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 ;)