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#VanLife Essentials

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#Vanlife Essentials: 13 Products To Improve Life On The Road

Want to live the #Vanlife in comfort? These 13 items will help make the road less-traveled a little more luxurious.

Andrew Piasecki lives in his van. Over the last two months of initiation into the #Vanlife, the sales rep for Kelty, Sierra Designs, and Ultimate Direction has learned a trick or two.

He travels the United States in a 13-passenger van, pulling a 15-foot camper trailer. His daily grind includes visiting Kelty retailers and putting on Wander Lost tour events. It goes without saying, he needs his rest.

We asked him about the gear he uses to make sure he nabs some solid Z’s. Check out GearJunkie’s additional gear info in italicized wording below.

Kelty True Comfort Doublewide 20

This is the main sleeping bag I use when sleeping in my camper. It’s the most comfortable sleeping bag I’ve ever had.

The Kelty True Comfort Doublewide has two separate blankets that allow you and your sleeping partner to have individual temperature regulation. When temperatures are higher, you can zip off the top layer and you’re left with an under quilt and two blankets. 

Engal Fridge/Freezer

The Engal fridge keeps my beer cold… Enough said.

All Engel fridge/freezers feature the Engel Swing Motor Compressor which typically draws around 1 to 2 awmps per hour. The Engel fridge/freezer also runs on battery power (12V/24V DC) or 110V AC. 

Kelty Lowdown Chair // Mesh Low-Love Chair

Both chairs are perfect for making friends with other campers when you’re in a new campground. The Mesh Low-Love is the best for hot days! It’s also great for two people or one person to really lounge out.

The Kelty Lowdown Chair has a slightly reclined posture for a more relaxed stance than traditional camp chairs. The Kelty Mesh Low-Love Chair is a camp chair gone love seat. Both models utilize insulated cup holders to keep your beverages happy. 

Pocket Knife (SOG Salute MTNT)

Every van dweller needs a good pocket knife. This is one of the many items that I’m sure to put in my pocket every morning as soon as I wake up and get dressed. I’ve used this for making sandwiches, preparing marshmallow sticks, and even for tightening screws on my camper.

The SOG Salute has a 3.6 inch blade that is made from 8CR13MOV steel. It uses a movable thumb stud so you can tailor the position to your own hands. 

Kelty Ardent Backpack

This backpack is my go-to for urban exploring and short hikes in the woods. It has tons of pockets for all my small gear and a laptop sleeve on the back. 

This 30L pack has a large u-zip main opening and padded, externally-accessible laptop and tablet sleeves.

Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station

This powers my electric devices and my Engal fridge/freezer. I’m currently charging it with my Goal Zero Boulder 100 Solar Panel. 

There are three ways to charge a Goal Zero Yeti 400: by connecting a compatible solar panel (see the chart below for solar compatibility), by using a regular wall outlet, and by plugging it into your car’s 12V adapter. In total, it has the capacity to charge a laptop 5 times. 

Goal Zero Boulder 100 Solar Panel

This is permanently attached to the top of my pull-behind trailer. It keeps my Engal fridge/freezer running in the hot southern climates. 

The Boulder 100 Solar Panel has tempered glass and an aluminum frame with added corner protection for temporary or permanent installation. It can be used to power any Goal Zero charger. It delivers up to 100 watts of power, but the angle of the panels and the cloud coverage impacts performance.

Kelty Dodger Duffel

This is my go-to bag for all my clothes and toiletries. I use it when I leave my camper to visit the showers.

The Kelty Dodger Duffel has a 40L capacity with two internal accessory pockets and a zippered end pocket. The padded exterior adds extra security to your goods. 

Kelty Sine 20 Sleeping BagKelty sine sleeping bag review

The perfect bag for sleeping anywhere. I use this when I’m not sleeping in my camper and I especially love using it when I’m sleeping in my hammock.

The Kelty Sine 20 uses Kelty’s new Arc Zipper System to provide a natural arm motion when opening the bag and allows for dual venting. This bag uses 800-fill DriDown and weighs 2lbs. 5oz. GearJunkie reviewed this bag here

ENO SingleNest Hammock

Hanging in ENO Roadie Hammock Stand by Lake

Perfect setup when you don’t have time to pitch a complete camp, or just want to take a quick nap at a rest stop. The ENO Atlas straps are especially awesome!

The ENO SingleNest is made for one person and has a capacity of 400lbs. It uses aluminum carabiners and triple-stitched seams to increase stability. The Atlas Straps has 30 adjustment points to easily adjust to any tree size. 

Nite Ize Steelie FreeMount

I use this while driving through cities and countryside that I’ve never been through. It’s literally saved my life and my car on many an occasion.

The Nite Ize Steelie FreeMount works by attaching a magnet to your air vent with a locking lever. Attach the Steelie Magnetic Phone Socket to your phone, throw it on the FreeMount, and drive hands free. 

Non-Gear Essentials

Some of the things Andrew uses everyday aren’t your typical ‘techy’ pieces. Check out what he uses that you can pick up at any gas station.

Baby Wipes

I’ve found these to be one of the most useful pieces of gear on the road. They’re key when you don’t have a shower or sink nearby. Not quite as good as a shower, but almost as good when you’re on the road for months at a time.

Duct Tape

I’ve used this for everything that breaks on the road. It holds parts of my camper together when I have to wait a week or two to get to a shop.


– This post is sponsored by Kelty. Follow their ‘Wander Lost Tour’ on the tour microsite and on Kelty’s FacebookInstagram, & Twitter using #VanLife.

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