Vanlife Q&A: Urban camping questions

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Urban camping questions

My thoughts:

I’m no expert but here are Some ideas that have worked for me in the van, my previous truck, and a huge shiny airstream trailer.

Hotel parking lots that are fairly full.

Light industrial or commercial office districts that have cars overnight that you can blend in with.

Truck stops and rest areas. If rest areas say no overnight, just roll in late and early. If you get woken up it’s fine, just tell them you’re traveling and tired so you need a nap to be safe to drive. Out of state plates help a lot with that.

Paid Parking garages if you can fit in and the rates are OK.

While it’s noisy, anywhere you see semi trucks overnighting is usually ok too.

Vanlife Q&A: What to do with trash?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

What to do with trash?

My thoughts:

Are you compacting it? And thinking about how you toss it in the bag vs just tossing it in and letting it take up more volume than it needs to, like most people are used to?

Also look at the packaging before buying stuff. Ex, a plastic milk bottle takes up more space than the paper kind, both in a small fridge and when compacted because it doesn’t fold flat so it creates a bunch of air space in the bag that’s wasted space.

Burning paper products is one thing (although burning anything that is printed and waxed or otherwise coated isn’t great either) but burning/melting plastics or styrofoam for example isn’t something most of us want happening, especially on public lands.

Have a bit of an open mind and read this and the pages linked at the bottom.
https://archive.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/web/html/index-3.html

While lots of people do burn stuff, that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing and harmless.

Or legal in many places. Its just hard to enforce.

Burning trash puts it into the air, disperses it and then it travels all over to land on whatever and further spreads with rain.

Burning fields, brush, wood, etc is one thing compared to trash.

It’s this kind of stuff happening on public lands that contributes to the negative opinions toward groups like van dwellers. “They’re dirty, they leave trash, they don’t care about the environment, they don’t follow the laws” etc.

I’m not meaning this as a lecture, but hoping you’ll consider the why behind these comments and downvotes and realize how just because we are used to doing something doesn’t mean it’s good or harmless and that there isn’t a better way.

Vanlife Q&A: How do you deal with prescription medication refills?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

How do you deal with prescription medication refills?

My thoughts:

Get a 90 day fill and then pick it up from wherever is convenient. Talk to your doctor and most of them will support what you’re doing and help you. Some will give you paper scripts to have for the next fill or fax to a local to you pharmacy.

Some times you can get insurance to pre approve 6 month fills if you’re traveling. I’ve done all of these.

Vanlife Q&A: How dangerous is living in a van in New York or other big cities?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

How dangerous is living in a van in New York or other big cities?

My thoughts:

I’m a male, I’m also at a disadvantage when faced with a much larger and/or stronger person. Might I be stronger than a female of my size? Maybe some and not others.

Rape is typically targeted toward females but there are plenty of other crimes that could compromise my safety.

I get what you’re saying and generally agree there are physical differences but that goes for all of us, not just females other than the fact they may be more of a target for certain crimes.

That being said, most of the females I know have more gut / intuition than men I know so that could serve as a defense mechanism to avoid certain situations completely.

Vanlife Q&A: What kind of gas mileage are you getting in your van ?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

What kind of gas mileage are you getting in your van ?

My thoughts:

I maintain a database for fuel economy for another application.

The problem with this question is that is is highly variable based on driving style, average speed, vehicle mechanical condition, measurement methods (dash lie-o-meter vs manual vs flow meter) variability, environmental conditions from temperature to geography, weight of the van, aerodynamic obstructions (roof rack/basket/solar/-AC/fan) types, condition and pressure of tires so on.

I’m not saying it’s useless, I’m saying that some reports of 19mpg may be actually 17 (or 21) or you may not be able to replicate that.

Just something to keep in mind as you read the responses if you’re using it to make a decision that may influence a purchase.

Vanlife Q&A: How has getting service on a Roadtrek been since they folded?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

How has getting service on a Roadtrek been since they folded?

My thoughts:

The company that is buying the assets is planning to honor warranty and keep building them. I’d think the dealers can service them just fine still as long as they can get access to the parts so even if you have an issue in the interim there would be no warranty coverage or pets from Roadtrek, you’d have to source the part from another supplier or if it’s a custom piece have it made.

Vanlife Q&A: Mobile Signal Booster

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Mobile Signal Booster

My thoughts:

Weboost seems to be a common choice because it’s mostly plug and play. Not exactly cheap though.

I have an LTE router that I will have a directional antenna for. If that’s not enough then I will get a booster for it as well. It’s more complex but it was quite a bit cheaper and provides full time WiFi to anything I want, but requires it’s own data plan. Mine will use 2 SIM cards and automatically failover or you can program data caps, etc.

The factors that come into play are the device (router, phone, hotspot etc) transmit power, external antenna type (omnidirectional or directional) if applicable to the device, the antenna gain.

Then there is the booster. It’s basically an amplifier. It uses an antenna to get the signal, amplifies it so it can stay in touch with the tower and rebroadcasts to your device.

Vanlife Q&A: Van Life Electrical

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Van Life Electrical

My thoughts:

There is no way to answer this with any accuracy unless you know the draws. Make a list of things, their wattage, expected run time and a calculator to amp hours in a spreadsheet and you can get close. Don’t forget to account for inverter losses (20-25%) for 120v electronics.

Vanlife Q&A: How do experienced van dwellers cope with the lack of routine and with general stress of nomadic living?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

How do experienced van dwellers cope with the lack of routine and with general stress of nomadic living?

My thoughts:

I’m not experienced in van dwelling but my life has been nothing but change and moving around for a long time, sometimes by choice others by not.

Every day is different. Sure I have some routine like I brush my teeth every day but some days that’s 4am and others it’s at noon.

You have to be able to let go of what you can’t change, decide on what you can and head in that direction, be willing to change direction or just be ok with waiting to see what happens.

Some times it’s uncomfortable. That’s often what life is, especially if you’re doing something outside the social norms.

Vanlife Q&A: Is this kind of mileage bad on a diesel sprinter?

In this post in the Van Life Q&A, a user asks:

Is this kind of mileage bad on a diesel sprinter?

My thoughts:

My thought generally on all high mile or poor condition donors while we were looking is:

Do I really want to do all that work and spend the $ on something that may end up being a mechanical money pit that I just want to sell but have so much sunk cost that you would take a beating?

That all depends what you plan to do for your build of course.