What’s it like to sleep in a van?

Vicky SosaMarch 16, 2021

What’s it like to sleep in a van?

The idea of living the #vanlife has become increasingly popular. All over social media, you see people enjoying the great outdoors and then settling in at the end of the night to their tiny home on wheels. If you’re new to RVing, you may have a lot of questions. What it’s like to sleep in a van? Where can the van be parked for the night? Is sleeping in a van safe? Don’t worry, we’ll answer all of these questions and more.

What is a campervan?

Also known as a Class B, a campervan has a lot to offer. Because it is much smaller than a Class A or C, traveling in a Class B is easy and almost like driving a minivan or large SUV. They are easy to maneuver and can practically go down any road a car can.

There are different brands and models of campervans, however, so their dimensions and weight will be slightly different. Even so, campervans are small enough that you can park them anywhere that a regular car can fit. This means you won’t be struggling to find a large enough parking spot when it’s time to settle in for the night.

Campervans also have many of the same amenities that larger RVs have, just on a smaller scale. Most campervans come with a sink, stovetop, refrigerator, bed, and plenty of storage. Some even come with a toilet and shower. Having these amenities make campervans perfect for a romantic weekend away or even a girls’ trip. Usually, campervans can comfortably sleep three people, so there are many kinds of trips you can plan for.

Where can you park your rig for the night?

When it’s time to park for the evening, you can either find RV Parks and Campgrounds or you can boondock. Because campervans are easy to drive, maneuver, and park, many people choose to boondock. But what is boondocking?

Boondocking is when you camp somewhere for free without having access to amenities or hookups. This could mean parking your campervan in a National Forest or in a Walmart parking lot. Boondocking can save you a lot of money and it’s the perfect option if you want to stay away from crowded campgrounds.

Nowadays there are a lot of camping apps and websites that you can use to find free campsites. The most popular apps to find free RV parking are:

Additionally, you can camp on almost any Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest land for free. Keep in mind, though, that if you are boondocking in remote areas, you won’t have access to amenities like bathrooms or WiFi. Make sure you plan ahead and have all of the supplies you’ll need. 

If you’re boondocking in town, many businesses allow overnight parking. These include:

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Cabela’s
  • Cracker Barrel
  • Dennys
  • IHOP

Some hotel chains also allow overnight parking but make sure to call ahead and ask. It’s never good to assume you can park somewhere so look around for signage, and if you’re not sure, don’t park there. The last thing you want is to be woken up in the middle of the night by a tow truck.

Is sleeping in a van safe?

The answer is yes!

Of course, there are things you can do to maximize your safety: 

  • This may seem like common sense, but lock all of your doors.
  • Use the seatbelt trick — wrap your seatbelt through the handle of the door and buckle it. 
  • Always park the campervan facing the way you will exit in case you need to leave quickly.
  • Cover all of your windows.
  • Pack a weapon that you feel comfortable using.
  • Before losing signal, let someone know where you plan to spend the night.

The most important thing you can do, though, is to trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, leave and find another place to park for the night.

Tips for making your campervan comfortable and cozy

When it’s finally time to get some shut-eye, it’s important to have a comfortable sleeping area. Don’t skimp when it comes to sheets and pillows! If you’re someone that gets hot easily while you sleep, pack a portable and rechargeable battery-operated fan. You might also consider packing earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.

You also want your sleeping area to be your sanctuary and a place to recharge for the next day’s adventure. Pack things that make you happy like books, essential oils, or small plants.

Time to hit the road!

Now that you’ve learned all about sleeping in a van, let’s talk about some of the awesome places you can visit. Along the west coast of the country, there are many scenic drives and plenty of BLM land for you to park and enjoy some amazing views. There are deserts, forests, and meadows that will take your breath away. The east coast has its fair share of spectacular campsites as well. Head to the Florida Keys and camp just a few feet from the ocean!

As you can see, living the #vanlife definitely has its perks; even celebrities are getting in on the lifestyle! If you want to Roll Like Zoey Deutch in a Sprinter Campervan, you just have to do a little research and planning.

And if you want to try out living in a campervan, Outdoorsy makes it super easy. They offer hundreds of campervan and class B rentals all over the country. It’s the perfect way to hit the road and see if the lifestyle is right for you.

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