Top 5 Must-Have Items for Vanlife (Summer)

I wanted to share with you some serious glow-ups for my van in a simple Top 5 list for van life (mostly because I really love Top 5 lists). Now, I should tell you — I’ve never been one to pick favorites. I don’t have a favorite band, color, television show, movie, or even food. Trust me, I’ve tried just to you know, commit to something when someone asks me what my favorite (whatever) is in causal conversation instead of just saying “oh I don’t know,” because that’s a bit boring, BUT it’s always been hard for me because I like so many things for different reasons!

So the fact that I’m sharing a TOP 5 list is a BIG deal, people!

If you read my previous post about why I started living in a van, then you know that I’ve been doing this for a little while with different vehicles (including a 1984 Chevy G20, a 1986 Toyota Sunrader and now my 2019 Dodge Promaster that is converted into being a fully contained home on wheels).  

Now, (and this is my opinion and experience speaking here) I do think that the van that I live in right now, the one that you’ve probably seen on instagram, is a much easier way to live on the road, mostly in part because it has a lot of elements that a “normal” home would have. That being said, it doesn’t make the experience any less interesting to say the least. 

Here are currently my Top 5 list of my favorite things in my van. Things that I can’t live without. 

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Drumroll please ….

1. This bug screen

Camper van with bug screen. Curtains are open and image is taken from the outside looking in.
Top 5 Vanlife MUST have items (Summer 2020)

This is my latest and greatest glow-up for Lucy and is quickly becoming something that is absolutely a game changer when it comes to living full time in a van. 

I’m currently parked in Nashville Tennessee and rent out one of my best friends back yards. 

It’s August. 

You may know what I mean if you live in the south but August but for those of you who don’t, August is basically the most miserable time of year to exist in the south, let alone live in a van with no AC. It’s hot and humid and extremely annoying because, though it may say the high is 82 degrees, the heat index is well over 100 degrees almost every day. I have serious trust issues with my weather app. It does me wrong every time I see what normally would be a “nice” day but in reality it feels like my skin is melting off. 

As soon as the sun goes down the bugs come out so unless you want to sit in the dark and just wait until its an appropriate time to go to sleep, you want to turn on our lights and leave your doors open as long as possible. 

These screens are perfect because they have a magnetic closure, which means Ollie and I can go in and out and it literally snaps closed behind us right away. It’s also a super easy install. The entire thing is held up by a super long strip of velcro (supplied) which means it can be removed whenever you want. 

No more mosquitos or moths flying into your face at night with these bad boys. I highly suggest them.

2. These sticky pads

These are basically like magic and they are scattered everywhere in my van holding everything in place. I have one in the cab of my van that holds my phone while I’m driving (safety first!) and about 6 of them in the back. 

They are what keep my plants, vases, candles — basically everything that is sitting on a counter or shelf, in place. They are removable (and don’t leave any marks) and washable. Better yet, they are reusable! After you wash them and they dry, they are just as sticky the first time you use them as they are every time after that. I don’t know the science behind it (and kinda love that it’s a mystery), but it’s basically magic and I love them!

3. These childproof cabinet latches.

These are another glow-up for Lucy here! I was using velcro — like super industrial strength velcro to hold my cabinet drawers in place while driving (which unfortunately lasted about 5 whole minutes). There I was driving down the road and turned left, one silly little left, and all my drawers flew out.

I knew I needed to find something that I could install easily and wouldn’t ruin the cabinets (I really didn’t want to screw anything into the faces or backs) so when I found these, I knew they would be perfect and they have been! They are super easy to install and have held my cabinets in place ever since. I highly recommend these if you’re looking for an easy solution to keep some rouge cabinets in place.

4. This travel oils diffuser

There is something about diffusing oils that just feels like home and its the little things like that that make a big impact while living in a van full time. I love picking out my favorite combinations for the morning and afternoons while I’m just waking up or needing a little boost for the afternoon. At night or before bed, I’ve been really loving diffusing some lavender oil to relax and feel calm. 

One little tip — if you diffuse cedar oil (and if you want, a little citronella oil) it will help keep the bugs away! 

5. My Ninja

I don’t know what is about being able to make smoothies in a van, but I feel like it’s a dang LUXURY. I’m a sucker for pretty food and smoothie bowls just really get me a certain kind of excited. I’m actually getting giddy just thinking about them.

Honestly, I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done, you deserve the kinda goodness that a smoothie bowl with a little granola and some fresh berries can give.

5 stars my dudes. 

Okay but for real though, I love my Ninja. I’ve just recently added it to my life so I’m still figuring out what I can create with it. I want to start making soups once it’s cooler out. Shoot me some of your favorite recipes on instagram if you want! 

There you have it! My Top 5 Must Haves for August 2020! 

As always, if you loved this blog, let me know below in the comments section and if you want to see more posts like this one! Then come over to instagram and send me a dm letting me know!


Chandra Rae

10 thoughts on “Top 5 Must-Have Items for Vanlife (Summer)

  1. I’m planning for van living right now and this is a great list!! I hadn’t thought about a diffuser yet and that one is such a good size haha

    1. I’m so glad this list was helpful! There really is something about having a diffuser that makes it feel homier. It really is a perfect size and takes almost no power to run.

  2. Chandra!! These are perfect and so genius! Prepping for a new van now and never thought about the bug net or the cabinet latches!

  3. Thanks for the tips!!! That’s very helpful 🤩 I’m planning too to live in a van next year so I’m checking a lot of info. There is so much information around 🥳 I saw some people recommending some of the things that you recommend too 👍🏼 Does the mixer take a lot of electricity? I love smoothies too 😋 Love your IG!

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