I really like the idea of the vanlife lifestyle, but I can’t really afford it. I want to talk to people who have been living in a tent full time car camping. Is it do-able? What are the major pros and cons?
Just like anything, its doable as long as you can tolerate it. If you live for a few months out of your car and in a tent, you might really start to miss a bed haha
I lived in a tent/out of my car for about 3.5 years when I was a park guide in California because we were always traveling and we weren’t in one spot long enough to need a permanent house. The way that made it doable was that I always had sites for before and after the trip that were reliable where I could leave my car (and all my worldly possessions) safely when out in the backcountry and we had a home base building where we could go to shower or do laundry when needed in between trips. Once you get down the schedule of re-packing food, ice, gear needed the most, and getting rid of the excess it is quite relaxing. It is also nice now to have a place to unpack gear and clean it out but I do miss being able to just have a car and that’s it. Living like this for that long made it really easy now to not worry about finding a camp spot or worrying about where i’m off to next when I do travel. The traveling in the moment and unknown part is the best form of living.
I live for long spurts in my car and tent. I take off for my blog and might be gone a month or 3 and with that I usually am very limited on amenities. I thought at first this would be super hard but the more you adapt to your needs and how to really focus on what you need vs want it becomes more and more easy. Larger cities can be a challenge but there are lots of options out there if you are able to be flexible. I found that many states are very accommodating and have options for car camping when you cannot find tent camping locations. The cons are going to be the adjustment process such as finding locations when in populated areas to sleep and how to shower (I suggest an inexpensive gym membership if you are located next to cities often and investing in a solar shower if you are more remote and off grid) also the ability to work from wherever you are can be tricky. Traveling like I do I take one day out of the week to make sure I am near wifi to download and upload, this is easy to find at libraries and coffee shops, even some Walmarts. Safety is another thing to consider when you carry your world around with you. Make sure you don’t make yourself a target by allowing people to see all your possessions are in your car…The pros of course will outweigh this adjustment process as you have your world open to so many new views and opportunities.
I lived in a van tent camp for a 2 month. We used some of these tents. It’s another life. A little bit different. If you can find good place to stop (it will be good if you have a motorhome) and if your job didn’t depend on location, it worth to try.