3 Snugbugs On the Road

 

We’re Jeff, Patty and Peppermint the Basset Hound and we live and work full time in our Honda Odyssey minivan. It’s an adventure for sure! We’ll be traveling the US in the spring and summer of 2018, deciding if we should upgrade to a bigger rig for a more permanent roadlife or if we can find the perfect place to settle down for good.

Our Gear

When we started plotting for our new life on the road we had zero idea what sort of ‘stuff’ we’d need for day-to-day life! This is a list of what we’re currently using. Some links might be Amazon Affiliate links, so if you click and buy, we might get a small bit from Amazon as well! If you have any question, please drop us a note — we know how confusing it can be starting out!

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Lithium Power Pack

This is how we charge up our phones and laptops and most importantly… run our fan at night! There are cheaper ways to get power, but they are a bit more complicated (not super hard) and involve drilling holes for wires and attaching a house battery to your vehicle battery. There’s a fair bit of math involved. The Yeti can be recharged from solar panels (see below) or by plugging into an outlet. The company is also working on a cable to charge from a cigarette lighter 12 volt plug. The 400 can recharge a laptop a few times before needing to be recharged itself. We love this power unit since it’s light and portable, that means that I don’t have to charge up my laptop while sitting in the van… I can just bring the Yeti to where I am (plus our 12 volt fan clips onto the handle perfectly if I’m hot!) There are two regular 110 volt (US house-style) outlets, 3 USB outlets and one 12 volt outlet.

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Briefcase Solar

We recharge our Yeti with this portable solar setup, also from Goal Zero. The two panels fold down to about 20×22″. Truth be told, we’d thought of getting the Nomad panels, which are meant for backpacking and are more the size of a laptop when folded up. Portability costs, though, and it would have been closer to $650 to get the smaller setup versus $300 for this setup. Seems to work fine, in good sun will recharge our Yeti in about eight hours. There’s a kickstand that’s a bit limiting if the angle isn’t quite right, but so far we like!

Luci Inflatable Solar Light

This inflatable light is pretty cool! It’s solar, so you just leave out wherever, then blow up in a couple of puffs and your’e set! There are a few different settings (bright, brighter, flashing) and it gives off a lot of light. We like how light it is – our curtains in the van are mounted on jute rope and we don’t like to add more weight to them, but this is super light and we just clip on to the rope when we need light at night. If we had to buy over, I think we would get the Lux version, which has a softer light — we got this one because they had them at Walmart, so we didn’t have to order. The light on this version isn’t super pleasant to read by. 

Futon Mattress

We heard about this futon mattress from Getting Stamped on You Tube. This mattress is completely awesome! It has independently encased coils, so it’s not hard like some futon mattresses. It’s 56″ wide and our van is only 48″ wide, but it squashed in very nicely. Our bed is a platform made from 5/8″ plywood, and there was just a teeny bit of firmness that we could feel while sitting (versus lying) on the mattress when we got it, but we had a piece of 2″ regular foam that we stuck underneath and now it’s perfect! Highly recommend for vanlife, but if you’re looking for a futon mattress, this sucker is heavy and I suspect would be a pain to fold into the sofa shape!

12 Volt Fan

We knew we’d want a fan, especially for sleeping in hot summer nights! It was hard to pick out one. We wanted a 12 volt fan (the kind that plugs into a cigarette lighter) for better power management and I combed through Amazon, but most people were using while the car was running for dogs and kids in the backseat. We ended up just going with the one option at Walmart — it didn’t need to be shipped and was cheap. I’m happy to report it’s perfect. It oscillates and moves a lot of air. Plus the cord is pretty long – five or six feet. 

Ivar Shelf

Our main pantry is an Ivar shelf from Ikea. We could have built this from lumbar, but the Ivar shelf happened to be the exact size we needed at 33″ wide and 20″ deep. We purchased the 70″ high unit and had to cut it down a bit, but it works well! 

Wire Shelf

This little wire shelf is the perfect size to go with the Ivar shelf from Ikea – this little guy is 20″ deep by 7″ wide, so it fits perfectly next to the Ivar and we secured it with some zip ties. The ‘shelves’ are fairly deep wire baskets, making it a perfect place to stash pantry items like vinegar and oil, plus our dry goods which we store in glass mason jars. All the glass jars and bottles have ‘sleeves’ made of old sweaters so they don’t crash against each other and drive us nutty when we’re driving….

My Vanlife Minimalist Wardrobe

So Jeff and I have been camped out at my mom’s house in northern Minnesota for the last few days, which means that after six months on the road, it’s time to take stock of my vanlife semi-minimalist (by necessity) wardrobe.  Long time readers will know how...
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