Saturday, August 30, 2014

Living in a Van during the Summer

In response to the uber popular winter tips and tricks post here is a summer themed one!

A friend of mine used to say with some frequency that sometimes living the dream ain't so dreamy. Which can sometimes certainly be the case for van life in the winter but I think is even more true in the summa' time.

Location, location, location.
It has been my experience that unless you have a friend's house that you're able to park at or are willing to rent a campsite the summer can be troublesome to a dirtbag as the added camping crowds heighten the awareness of campsite poaching (not paying for an established campsite or camping in a turnout) as dirtbags and respectable folk alike are attempting this. And then with all the regular people looking to enjoy the outdoors, there is tremendous competition for free camping close to town.

Getting an early start on a high country mountain bike ride,
enjoying the blankets of wildflowers. Picture by John Fleury
If you choose to stay within city limits, there is certainly a risk of having a chat with police officers at 2AM about where you are living and sleeping that isn't the most fun thing to do at that hour. It also means that unless you have a driveway to sleep in it's best to keep moving locations to keep a low profile, which is a surprisingly exhausting endeavor.

Food and the heat.
You definitely have to be a bit more aware of food going bad in the heat as refrigeration is a luxury of more sedentary folk. That being said it's not hard to toss a wet towel or shirt on the cooler for some evaporation cooling and taking advantage of freezers when possible, either freezing food or water bottles to put in the cooler. Also, I have found that I just shop more frequently for fresh fruits and vegetables during summers in the van just to minimize the frequency of food being wasted.

All of the pros.

-Daylight Hours They're long and glorious, allowing you to get out and play in off(ish) the grid locations, sleep there and cruise back to town with the early rising sun. It can make for long days but I also personally love rising and falling asleep with the sun.

-Not Cold enough said right? You're not cold while you sleep, while you dress in the morning etc. While I prefer to sleep cold, there is something to be said for being comfortable all the time.

Just doing a little sorting in the park.
-Van Organization is Made Easy it's easy to spend 30 minutes at a park on a fine summer day, unload you're worldly possessions and pack them back just they way you would like to with out worrying about them getting wet, snowy blown away etc.
-More Naps what better way to beat the heat than to sleep through it to awake refreshed and ready to enjoy the extended daylight hours of the summer.

-No Moisture Issues No need to worry about rust, mildew or any other excessive moisture issues as the summer heat should evaporate any condensation that does accrue overnight. This evaporation as previously mentioned, when is does occur can be coolly harnessed for your benefit.

-Easier Night Time Activities if you're not exhausted at the end of your day it is so much easier to get out and enjoy the great outdoors or other night time activities when the nighttime temperatures are pleasant and conducive to not hanging out in your vehicle reading or listening to podcasts.

-Bathing in Rivers is best done in less populated areas to minimize the likelihood of offense; but is an easy way to feel like a badass as well as not mooching a shower off of friends and coworkers. It's also great for getting in touch, literally, with nature and checking out the next great fishing hole! Remember to pack a biodegradable soap like campsuds or Dr. Bronners, I've been pretty psyched on Bronner's citrus orange and classic peppermint scents!

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