Observations on #vanlife

Since I’m new to the camper van experience, I wanted to capture impressions as I go to help inform any (possible) purchases in the future.

This page will be regularly updated.

Dodge Ram Promaster 3500

I think this truck is a 3500, but I’ll have to double-check that. Anyhow, truck-specific things:

Pros

Drives easily.

Decent turn radius, given the van length.

Cons

Non-adjustable driver’s seatbelt hits my neck at a weird, uncomfortable place.

Going up a hill or “punching it, Margaret” sounds like asthmatic lungs. This is a heavy vehicle and it sounds like a car sounds when it’s in too low a gear.

Steering wheel can be adjusted to be closer to or farther away from the driver, but there’s no up/down adjustment, so the steering wheel is not in the most comfortable position for me to keep my hands at “10 and 2”.

Camper Vans (Generally speaking)

Neutral observations

  • There are no windows on the driver’s side of the van (save the window on the front door) and there’s a big blind spot — looking over the shoulder is a useless maneuver in this particular van (but I’m guessing thisight be the case in many vans)
  • You use something and put it right back in it’s place.
  • Going from camping mode to driving mode involves a sort of pre-flight checklist.
    • Turn the propane off (if it’s turned on)
    • Change fridge power back to battery
    • Ensure pop-up vent is closed
    • Ensure any pop-open windows are closed
    • Make sure everything is stowed securely
    • I’m 10+ days in and haven’t touched the microwave. Not convinced it’s earning the space it takes up.
    • Quality speakers are important. Pay for the upgrade.

Like

Re: Onboard potty: So nice to pull over and just “take care of business”

Re: high roof. Love this and would not go shorter. The ability to stand upright and move around is great. And a pop-up roof would not be the same experience as that would involve “the checklist.” As it is, I can pop back into the van area for something and jump right back in the driver’s seat and go.

Zippered bug nets for the side door and back door allow for open airflow and a view but keep critters from joining the party.

Dislike

I really thought I’d enjoy a wet bath (it’s like taking a shower AND cleaning your toilet at the same time!), but I’ve quickly realized the major downside:

Take a shower before you go to bed and when you get up at 3am to go pee, you’re stepping in the cold water that hasn’t fully drained. WIDE AWAKE!