This is a guide for those that have a van-lifer in their family or friends that are building or hope to build a van, skoolie, or overland vehicle. We own most of these products and can attest to their usefulness in a mobile lifestyle.
This is not a guide of things that we want for Christmas! We already have a ton of stuff and we have whittled down what we own to fit into our little bus and everything works really well.
Sea to Summit X-Pot
This thing is so useful that we have replaced our standard kitchen pot with the 2L size. The silicon sides make handling the X-pot a dream and the vented lid lets moisture escape the pot and also works as a handy strainer for pasta dishes. The best feature in our opinion is that the X-pot collapses to about 2 inches thick which makes it a storage dream. We have been using the X-pot for two years almost daily and it is still crushing it!
Viair 88P Air Compressor
Every vehicle needs a portable air compressor to keep in the trunk for low tires. We have used our portable air compressor more times than we can count. From airing down in Baja to topping off our bus tires after sitting for a while, the 88p does everything we ask it to. With the purchase of an adaptor we have even been able to air up our stand up paddle boards with the 88P. If you run bigger tires, VIAIR makes many different models and we wouldn’t hesitate to throw money at anything with the VIAIR name on it.
Blue Sea Systems 12V USB Outlet
One of our favorite additions that we made to our skoolie was a couple of 12V charger ports on each end of the bus to charge our phones, camera batteries, GPS, and anything else that uses USB to charge. We originally cheeped out and bought Chinese knock-offs and that was a bad idea because one has already died after being in use for a very short time and it was replaced with the Blue Sea unit. Blue Sea Systems sells a fast charge version of their USB outlet that will crank out enough juice to charge your iPad or cell phone in no time.
Helinox Chair One XL
Had you told us two years ago that we would be using $100 lawn chairs, we both would have laughed in your face. What we have learned is the saying “Buy once, cry once” is a real thing and definitely applies to camp chairs. Our hand-me-down fold out camp chairs from Wal-Mart were beginning to succumb to the hundreds of uses in creeks and sandy beaches as well as bouncing around in the rear of the bus and truck for some 50,000 miles of travel. Once one chair became too derelict to use, we chucked it and put the other in deep storage as there was a new chair in town: the Helinox. The stored size is perfect for any number of cubby holes and the chairs are truly top notch quality. We expect to use these chairs for a long time!
Rand McNally Road Atlas
Rand McNally Paper Map
There are times that we feel like old-folks…when we go to bed at 6PM and read until we fall asleep with a book on our faces and when we use paper maps to navigate. Our jobs take us around some of the most hi-tech navigation setups in the overlanding world and we still rely on a cell-phone with offline maps and a paper atlas. There is something soothing and adventurous about following your navigator’s finger on a map instead of a dot on a screen.
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