Unexpected Items to Put on Your Van-Life Packing List

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If you are planning a road trip vacation or looking to become a full-time van-lifer, there has never been a better time. There are a lot of adventurers taking the leap and hitting the road thanks to that little life-changing pandemic going around. COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in a lot of folk’s plans, so whether you are changing your summer vacation accordingly or finding yourself unemployed with the sudden opportunity to change course, you will be in good company. 

Pulling it all together requires a masterpiece in the art of planning because nobody wants to be 100 miles from the next town (without cell service, of course) just to realize they forgot something major. As you plan, you are going to find plenty of helpful packing lists to walk you through the basics, but here are the extras they forgot to mention. 

Extra Blankets

Elevation: call it earth’s original thermostat. You can spend your day driving through a 110º valley and with just a couple thousand miles straight up, you will be looking for your heaviest socks. This is where the extra blankets will come in handy. As you travel through any of the mountainous states, you will be delighted to have the extra covers when you snuggle into bed for the night. 

They will also save your upholstery, which is especially important if you’re renting or planning to sell your camper at the end of your trip. Tuck your blankets around couches or chairs like a makeshift seat cover. It’s an easy way to sneak in a couple of extra blankets without using up precious storage space, and it also makes cleaning up any crumbs or spills easy. You can toss a blanket in a standard washer and dryer and it’s clean in an hour. Alternatively, trying to remove a stain from the original upholstery can quickly turn into a day of tentatively blotting and asking the universe for a miracle. 

Camping Laundry Line 

It’s a small convenience, but for under $10, it can make your camping life just a little easier. There’s the obvious use — you might need it to dry your clothes — but it’s also great for airing out towels, rugs, and the aforementioned blankets between washes. 

Drink Koozies

Can’t beat a cold beverage in hot places, right? But seriously, koozies are surprisingly efficient at keeping cans and jars and anything else that wiggles from constantly bumping against each other as you’re driving down the road. They’re cheap, you’ve probably already got a drawer full of them somewhere, and they’ll slide right over everything from spaghetti sauce to mason jars. 

Chapstick 

Friends from humid places, this one is for you. If you so much as put your big toe into one of those “it’s a dry heat!” states, your lips will dry out in a second. They’re not kidding, it is a dry heat and chapped lips hurt. 

Accept That You Will Forget Things

Almost certainly, you are going to be 100 miles from the nearest town when you think of something you wished you had packed. That’s probably also where you’ll be when you see something taking up valuable space that you still haven’t used. It’s all part of the adventure! But with these items on your packing list, you’ll have a couple of bases covered that you didn’t even know you needed. 


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