Live in a Van with no Hassle from The Man

As the housing crisis continues to inflict havoc on families across the USA and Europe, the option of living in a vehicle is sometimes the only one available.

For a good, reliable intro, check out Roll Your Own: The Complete Guide to Living in a Truck, Bus, Van, or Camper.

Matt Howe’s web guide to Van living is refreshingly practical.

His key advice: stay organized. “Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find something you desperately need and not being able to because your van is a mess.”

A YouTube film features a guy who lives in a Walmart parking lot going over the details of his van conversion, from carpets to extra lights.

But its not all good news.  One woman on YouTube described the “humiliation and degradation” of being reduced to van living.

I’ve lost stuff for days that was two feet away from me the whole time. Organization is probably the most important part of smooth living in your van.”

Another good idea is to keep something near your bed that you can beat somebody’s brains in with if they try to break in: It helps you sleep a little easier—you’re a little jumpy at outside noises the first month or so. It’s good to keep some little portable camp lights around too; they always come in handy.”

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10 Responses

  1. if you sign up to be a “teacher” (even with felony record) you can borrow an extra 4k a year and beat out the 1 year residency requirement, too. With 2 people, that’s 32k per year, plus 11k of grants, out of which you should be able to have 3k left, after tuition and used books (amazon, last year’s editions) 35k a year, live on 20k, is 15k a year in the bank. Do a bit of chores “on the side, and you can save 25k per year. 2 years and you have down payment on and money to divide all rooms in an old house into 1/2 size “flop” room, for /$100 per week “sober living contract” (ie, kick them out easily). with 3 bedrooms, attic, basement, attached garage, kitchen, living room, and dining room, 2 enclosed porches, that’s 21 rooms. 105k per year, on an investment of 30k and your labor.

  2. get 12k per year student loan, for online college. Get in state tuition rates (1/2 as much as out of state) with a IP “spoofer’ site, and beat 1 year residency requirement (and get 4k more per year loan) by stating that you will teach when you graduate.

  3. google for the cheapest, 5×5 ft public storage close to where you mostly hang out. In my area, that’s just $25 per month, no lease. If you don’t use something every 1-2 days, get it (mostly) out of your hair, by putting it in storage. makes for much less stuff in van, to attract attention, be stolen, cause clutter and hassles for you.

  4. always move your van, twice a day, morning and evening. If you are legally parked, there is no law that says you cannot “rest” in your vehicle. 1/2 mile move is almost always enough, if it’s around the corner and out of sight of your last parking spot.

  5. I recommend that you use 1-2 camper’s sleeping pads. Roll them up and stow them, with your sleeping bag. Always hide your stuff under blankets or sheets. It helps with cops, thieves and nosy trouble makers.

  6. Hello great website. Just a few question would it be best to have a fulltime bed or a folding bed?
    Im thinking more in the lines of fulltime bed. Can cardboard be used as a inulsation? And would like to know the r values of the industrial one, I think those are about an inch thick to half an inch or maybe more. I have a few thats why.

  7. I grew up on a ranch in Colorado, so I know how ranchers often think, I also spent a great deal of my life living out of a tent or the back of my truck, etc. I recommend that you approach a rancher or a farmer that does not appear extremely busy, in a quiet and courteous manner, and ask if they would know where you could spend some time and rest in exchange for some help with their work. Most always there is more work than one person can do easily and it could often get you a part time or full time job. At least a safe place to sleep for awhile. Be sure that you pick up ALL OF YOUR TRASH and any other that you may find. Never burn your bridges, you may need to come back that way again. There is also BLM land available you can locate that with BLM maps and on line from the local library computers. NEVER MAKE A PEST OF YOURSELF and you can usually blend in and be welcome back.

  8. Just some food for thought when thinking or doing the “van, truck, camper living”. Be sure where ever you choose to park your home allows overnight parking or camping.
    Many Wal-Marts in Amercia no longer allow even semi-truck drivers to sleep overnight in the parking lot. Several other stores and organizations have the same policy.
    Other popular option in the area of Colorado that I live in is to “camp out” or park in the Public Forest sites. You can stay in the same camp site for 30 days here and then move to another one for the next 30 days and so on. Even if you have two sites side by side you can simply move your vehicle from one to the other every month. This provides a little more privacy and peaceful living rather than staying in a parking lot and the camp grounds are often free to use.

  9. Hey the lady should not complain she could be in a impoverished area of Africa or Haita we people in America have never suffered like the Haitians or the people of Africa that suffer daily by a lack of dignity and humiliation so extreme some men pray for death .To live in a van is better to than having nothing .

  10. Absolutely great, and well linked !
    Also always worth the pain to follow the links…

    I am finding myself dropping into this site
    for news and comfort more and more lately,
    especially since the crisis began.
    Make it my “starting page” ? Not yet,
    but possibly in the near future.

    You just don´t “meet” that many sane people
    anywhere else…
    Mr Rosen (and all the others, not just Wretha ;), you sure are on the right track !

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