Don’t Waste Your Money on These Van Life Scams

There are plenty of people out there that consider making a shift toward van life. The blissfully free life of nomadic adventure is alluring. Some may think that they can’t afford to start life on the road. This video, however, shows that if you make some sacrifices and minimize your setup the freedom of the camper van life isn’t out of reach. In the YouTube video below, we get a list of van life scams that aren’t worth the money.

If you can live a very minimalist nomadic life, there is a good chance you’ll save some money and be glad of it. Don’t waste your money buying the things on this list. The YouTube channel ‘Paradise on Pennies’ gives advice on items you won’t need on your van life excursion.

Minimalist nomadic living

For some having the big rig or a van and all of the wild accessories is part of the deal. However, there are others out there that truly just want to hit the road and convert to the nomadic lifestyle as soon as possible. Sometimes the idea that you need to buy a new van or do a $15,000 conversion is something you have to do before heading out on the road feels daunting. In fact, these are just things you can do. Not necessarily what you need.

If your number one priority is just getting out of the rut you’re stuck in and heading out on the open road, you can avoid all of these van life ‘scams.’ Sure, it’s fun to buy new stuff and accumulate accessories. But if the most important thing is to actually get on the road for camper van life, there is in fact much less that you need in order to take the leap.

Car camper grilling on a stove off the back of his car
Car Camping in a Ford Focus |

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Things you don’t need for camper van living

In the video above, the Paradise on Pennies couple gives a rundown of what you don’t need for van life. One of the first and more surprising items on the list is a van. In fact, they say you probably don’t need a new vehicle at all. Unless for you the van is part of the experience, living out of the minivan, SUV, or truck you already have is totally doable. In fact, some people even live out of cars like the Toyota Prius or Honda Fit.

The next thing on the list is high ground clearance. They explain that any instance that calls for a foot of ground clearance isn’t really all that common. Camper van life often goes off-road, but there’s rarely a need for massive clearance. In the video, the couple tells us that they have been in very remote and rugged places and never needed more than what their factory Ford Escape offered in terms of ground clearance.

2020 Toyota RAV4 Off Road in the desert on a trail with the bike on the roof rack ready for adventure
2020 Toyota RAV4 Off Road | Toyota

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In addition, there is little need for common overland buys like racks, snorkels, and gas cans. It turns out that––unless you’re going way off the grid and fording rivers on ridiculously gnarly backroads––you’ll never be that far away from a gas station. Additionally, some of the best places are better to get to on foot. They often park their car and head off on a trail for some nights of backpacking into the remote wilderness.

Choose your adventure

Some more advice given in the video is to choose your camper van adventure. Rather than taking everything you need for every activity you might do on your journey, pick one or two. If you choose the one or two activities you are most passionate about, then you can plan and prepare for those. That way you only have to pack what you need and leave those ‘just in case’ items behind.

Egoé Nestbox Hiker for camping
Egoé Nestbox Hiker | Egoé

Think simple

Overall, you won’t need nearly as many clothes as you think. You won’t need all that gimmicky ‘survival gear.’ You don’t even have to invest in expensive solar panels and charging system. They have two small solar charging units that do everything they need. If you keep it super simple, you can avoid wasting your money on van life scams. The nomadic camper van life is right before you, and you hardly need to buy––or bring––anything. The adventure awaits.