Story by Alex Embry |

July 19, 2021 |

Photo of couple lounging in van with dog enjoying camper van life

Ready to start living the camper van life? Not the Instagram #Vanlife where everyone is drinking coffee while gazing at the sunrise and tending to their succulents. But the fun camper van life is where you can hit the road at a moment’s notice and be prepared for whatever your next adventure may be.

Whether you’re a weekend adventurer or plan to roam the country in your van year-round, we’ve got everything you need from start to finish to make living in a camper van a smooth transition. Let’s get started!

8 Steps to Camper Van Life

We’ve helped nearly 1,000 Wayfarians bring their camper van dreams to reality, and it’s easier than you may think.

1. Find the right van

Determine what you need and what matters most to find the right van. If you’re looking for affordability or a compact size, the RAM ProMaster 136″ WB is a great option. For more space, consider the Promaster 159” to spread out. Need all-wheel drive for rough terrain? The Ford Transit 148” is the way to go.

2. Select a camper van conversion

Custom building your camper van is pricey, ranging from $20,000 to over $100,000. DIY is a cheaper route, but you can run into hiccups like not having the right tools and taking a long time. A Wayfarer build hits the sweet spot for a quick and affordable camper van conversion. Reach out to us for the most up-to-date wait times, we can sometimes schedule folks in as little as two weeks, though our average is 4-6 weeks.

3. Get must-have van accessories

Camping in a van can be quite comfortable — with the right accessories. Some of our favorite add-ons are the Dometic CFX3 35 Powered Cooler so you never have to run into town for ice again, an insulated partition for privacy, and a wheel well storage box to keep your garage organized. If you’ll be working on the road, or just enjoy not eating off your lap, we highly recommend the hideaway table.

4. Determine your power needs

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for power (not everyone needs expensive rooftop solar panels). If you are used to tent camping, you may not need anything more than the van’s 12v outlets for charging your phone. Or if you’re looking to power some accessories, plug in your laptop or add a disco ball to your dance party, you may want to add a Goal Zero Yeti 1500x to your van. Check out our blog post on how to add solar and electrical to your van, the easy way!

5. Protect your pup with dog first aid

Many van owners enjoy bringing their dog, or pack of dogs, along for adventures. Before taking your pup on the road, it’s crucial that you review dog first aid so you can handle any issues that pop up for your pup when the vet is far away. You should also pack a pet first aid kit that includes:

  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Nail clippers and styptic powder
  • Harness
  • Bandage materials (gauze, pressure wrap, medical tape, bandage scissors)
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Digital thermometer
  • Doggy wipes
  • Tick remover
  • Dog booties
  • Water filter
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Betadine solution

6. Prepare your van for cold and hot weather

There is always that magical spring date of April 25th, because it’s not too hot, and it’s not too cold. But for the other 364 days of the year, a little preparation will keep you comfy no matter what the weather throws at you. The Propex heater (aka Hot Wheelie) is perfect for winter camping while the Maxx Air Deluxe Vent Fan will get a nice breeze going in the summer and can help keep any condensation from forming in the winter.

7. Research destinations ahead of time

Nobody wants to wait in line for 45 minutes to enter a national park, only to find out that an entry reservation is required this year. Avoid disappointment or frustration by researching your destinations ahead of time for the best camping experience. Also, avoid the crowds by going to that amazing national forest right next to the national park, or visit a spot during its off popular destinations during the off-peak season. And there is the Wayfarer app for the beta on all the best campsites, both free and paid.

8. Bring your community with you

You may be a solo traveler, but you’re never alone with the Wayfarian community with you. Make friends, share stories, and get tips from others. Wayfarer’s Facebook fan page is a great place to meet people all over the country who are just as passionate about camper van living as you are. 

Start Your Camper Van Journey

The only thing left to do is start your journey. Reach out to us on our contact page, we’d love to schedule a time to chat. Happy adventuring!