My favorite gear, right here—read on!
Hey! It’s been a while since I’ve penned, or pecked out on a keyboard, anything for this lonely little website. Although I no longer live the part-time van life, I still reap the benefits from all the things I learned along the way.
Now that I live in Portugal (I can’t believe it’s been two years already!), my life is definitely different from when I was still in California. In California, I had my trusty little Promaster van fitted with the Wayfarer modular camping kit. That van was great; it was my daily driver and my adventure mobile.
I am car-free in Portugal, and happily so. Although I do follow the antics of a few van lifers and sometimes get the itch to do it all over again, European-style. But for now, I’ve got my two feet to take me where I need to go, so my range is limited, and public transportation once this global pandemic calms the hell down!
Van Gear for Everyday Life
Hanging out a lot at home, with COVID-19 dictating our ability to travel or not, I’ve been reflecting on the van life gear that I use in my apartment—gear that I loved when on the road and have found I love just as much at home. So, without further ado, I want to share my five favorite items that stood me in good stead on the road as much as they do at home.
Disclaimer: Yes, these are affiliate links. I make a few cents if you make a purchase using these links (at no extra cost to you). If you don’t want to do that, just go to your favorite browser, search for the item, and et voila! No pennies for me! And no hard feelings, either.
On to the list!
The original puffy indoor-outdoor camping picnic everything blanket. Oh, how I love my Rumpl blanket! I am so glad I brought it to Portugal with me.
Portugal is known for, besides cool cities and incredible natural beauty, how cold it can be inside Portuguese homes. In fact, in the winter, it’s often warmer outside than it is inside! It’s not uncommon to see people lined up when the sun’s out, against the wall of a building, soaking in the rays before going back inside to shiver. Lightweight and packable, the Rumpl blanket is a lifesaver indoors and out. It comes in a range of prices and sizes.
It’s no secret that I love Goal Zero products. And although I couldn’t bring my Goal Zero Yeti Power Station, I did bring a few of their smaller items like the Lighthouse lantern.
It stands on foldable feet, with a hook at the top for hanging; it’s directional, adjustable, and you can recharge the internal battery with the hand crank or from any USB port. You can also charge your cell phone with it! This little lantern is perfect when the power goes out or for hanging out on your patio or terrace in the summer. Small enough to take with you, whether by van or by train, it will become your new favorite, too.
This little filtration system is small enough to take anywhere. I’ve only used it a few times, but I’m glad to know I have it. With drought and other environmental calamities accelerating each year, this is a must-have for your bug out bag.
With a high-performance 0.1 Micron absolute inline filter that fits in the palm of your hand, this mini filter weighs just 2-ounces and attaches to a straw, hydration pack, water bottle, or directly to the water source with ease.
Massive, biodegradable, and no weird residue, these things are the best. Made from bamboo, they are 100% biodegradable and about as planet-friendly as a single-use wipe can be.
Epic Wipes are about the size of a small towel; great for any kind of travel, especially on public transit in the virus age. I often cut them in half to get two uses out of one. You’ll want these in your emergency kit, backpack, or glove compartment—trust me on this one.
There was no way I’d leave my trusty AeroPress behind when I moved to Portugal. To be honest, I am more of an espresso lover than a brewed coffee lover (another reason I love Portugal, and Europe in general), but this little thing is so handy and packable that I take it with me on weekend trips. It’s so comforting to know you can always get a decent cup of coffee wherever you are.
When it’s safe again to travel, you can be sure the AeroPress will be in my bag and ready to deliver my morning caffeine fix. And a late entry, but necessary to the travel coffee program, is my JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder. Travel-sized, with ceramic burrs and adjustable settings, this small grinder packs away in its own bag.