Van life was popular before the pandemic, and YouTube videos of youngsters traveling in their customized camper vans were abundant. But even now more than ever, people of all ages and family sizes are looking to explore life and vacation on the road. With so many now looking to customize their campers and build-out their vans for extended stays on the move, there are also a ton of folks who share their van build regrets and tips. As an example, we found one van lifer on YouTube who made a comprehensive list of mistakes he made when starting his build. And it’s a list you’ll probably want to avoid yourself.
One camper van lifer shares his van build regrets
One van lifer shared his experiences of planning and customizing his camper van build and highlighted five things he regrets most about what he designed. After living in his van for about a year, he pointed out what sounded like a great idea, in the beginning, has, in his real-life experience, proven to be a mistake.
For example, he first bought a van with a side window, thinking he’d enjoy viewing outdoors. But after living in his camper van, he’s had his side window covered, realizing he needs his privacy more than the occasional view outside.
Another regret this van life enthusiast pointed out is the waste of time and money spent on insulation. After realizing he had used a harmful fiberglass material in every nook and cranny, he’s spent months removing it and trying to replace it with safe fillers. He says that not having an ideal insulation product for the van’s windows makes insulation almost a wasted venture altogether. In addition to his insulation woes, he struggled with sourcing enough reliable power with his solar recharging battery. And to this day, he still regrets not having implemented running water.
One man’s regret is another’s inspiration
As you scroll the various videos online telling you what to do and what mistakes to avoid, don’t forget your camper van build is yours and yours alone. What may be a regret for one van lifer may turn out to be your inspiration. Watch these videos and take their wisdom with a grain of salt. Use the ideas, good or bad, to help you decide what’s best for your van life experience.
For example, this particular van lifer shared his regrets of not making better use of his storage space. You can use this idea to help carve out the perfect storage organization for your van life.
Deciding what’s best for your van life experience
Before you begin your van build, consider carving out your goals first. What are your camper van plans for travel, visiting friends, or hanging out, in general? Use these goals to help you then create a list of must-have amenities for your van build. Sustainable energy, battery operations, water sources, and sleeping arrangements may all be part of your plan. But you don’t want to venture head-first into a van build without knowing what you want precisely from your van life experience.
Set your camper van goals and enjoy the journey
Take your notes and do your best to avoid mistakes others have made only if you share the same goals. And be diligent about sticking your budget and taking the extra necessary steps to do a quality job with your build. But most importantly, don’t forget that enjoying the van build is just as much a part of your van life experience as living in your camper van. Enjoy yourself! Document your progress, your success, and your failures. Be proud of your adventure, from van build to destination.
If you only plan to use your customized camper van for vacation, you might be able to forgo the running water. On the other hand, if living in your camper van full-time is the goal, you’ll probably want a reliable water source to be self-contained. In the end, only your van life goals can help you determine what customized extras you incorporate.