10 Van essentials / Off-Grid 9sqm (100sqft) self built van.

Travelling with a van can be quite comfortable especially when it’s equipped with all the important features. After travelling with our van for almost three years we thought we can list what are some of the most important van essentials for us.

1. Fantastic fan. A very inspired name for this fan as it really does a fantastic job airing the van. The model we have comes with a remote control so we can easily turn it on and off from the bed or where we’re at. It also has rain sensors so we can leave it open while we are away and if it starts raining it will turn off and the lid will close by itself. The cool thing about it is that air goes in and out bidirectional. So it can either push air in or suck it out and while one or more windows are open, it creates a very good air circulation, keeping the van cool during hot summer days.

2. Metal air vents. We have two of them for the front windows allowing the air to circulate and keep the van cool while we are away. These work great together with the fantastic fan. We use them also while we sleep during hot summer nights. They also keep the bugs/mosquitos out so we don’t need to worry about that.

3. Blinders. Especially while parked in a city it’s important to be able to have some privacy so we have blinders for all our windows. Of course, also for the times when we want to sleep in a bit longer. For the blinders we use in the front we attached small magnets so we can easily attach/remove them and be sure they don’t fall down at night.

4. Toilet. We know many people travelling with motorhomes are doing just fine without having a toilet inside but for us, this is really essential. Especially at night, can’t imagine having to go out to look for a toilet. The one we currently have is a composting toilet, so the liquids and solids are in separate containers. For the solids container we use a coconut hair base and we need to empty it only once a month. Natureshead has done an awesome job designing this toilet, it has a great ventilation system and it leaks no smell which makes it a great choice for motorhomes and any off-grid houses.

5. To keep the van in level, we have a levelling system from Thule which is very convenient. We‘ve been using it a lot in the mountains, campgrounds, and even in the cities with hill areas. In hand with these levellers comes side to side/ front to back levels. We have one mounted on the door and a second under the dashboard. With these two we can see how much we are out of level and becomes much easier and preciser to level Leni out.

6. Mosquito net is a must during Summertime. We have changed already a couple of them. The first one we got was white and by the time the season was over it was not so white anymore. 🙂 Last year we got a black one but the magnet system wasn’t that great and had some space in between them so there were some sneaky and smart mosquitoes that still found their way in. This year we ordered a different one and it looks like after a slight adjustment it will be the best so far.  We will add magnets instead of Velcro to fasten it to the van.

7. Gas alarm. Ours is from Linnepe and it’s very old but it’s still working well. We are using it on a daily basis as LPG gas alarm and if we are staying in areas that are not so secure then we’re switching on the KO Gas alarm.

8. Talking about security, we mounted Thule locks on all doors. After long research, these were the best in comparison to others on the market. We always lock them when we park Leni and leave. Also at night, Romans will lock all doors from the outside.

9. Leni is a completely off-grid tiny house on wheels. We have 200ah lithium battery, that is charged with 460w solar panels and it’s also connected to the car’s alternator allowing it to charge while driving. It’s connected to the car’s alternator through the relay which allows charging the battery but doesn’t discharge the van’s starter battery.

10. We have flexible solar panels and as we didn’t want to drill extra holes in the roof we attached them with 3m double tape. The solar panels are connected through a cheap Chinese 60A charge controller which does its job. We know that lithium charge controller (for example, Victron) would charge at least 10% more but the price difference is very huge. It is on our bucket list though. Same story with the power inverter. We have one for a few hundred dollars (a Chinese brand EnRise 2kw) and it’s working great. We are able to charge our Laptops, E-bikes and E-scooters, and all our camera gear.

Hope you find this post informative. These are some essentials that make our life easier on the road and the order was totally random. If you’re interested in any item we listed, check out the links below.

Levelers: https://amzn.to/2JMaPDa

Levelling System: https://amzn.to/34jkfPU

Mosquito net: https://amzn.to/2Vbrwxh

160w flexible solar panel: https://amzn.to/3c35ELi

3m tape: https://amzn.to/2Rm7AXs

Battery charging relay: https://amzn.to/2UUXa3c

Battery: https://amzn.to/2xYPbcl

Toilet: https://amzn.to/2VfcQgj

Fantastic vent: https://amzn.to/34pvHK6

Thule lock: https://amzn.to/2UTBpR8



Leveling System https://amzn.to/3w36937

Thule Leveler https://amzn.to/3GFXqc4

Mosquito net: https://amzn.to/3pTJPYy

160w flexible solar panel https://amzn.to/3w36RNP

3m tape https://amzn.to/3jV59Jy

Battery charging relay https://amzn.to/3EALwhS

Lithium battery 200ah https://amzn.to/3EQwjcy

Composting Toilet https://amzn.to/3qfpygc

Fantastic Vent https://amzn.to/3kcJ6y2

Thule Lock https://amzn.to/3H1k6DA

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