Van living is much easier when you travel with the right accessories. Here are a few of the things that add simplicity to our time in the Love Shack.
- The Helio Nemo—This little unit folds up into a plastic bag that measures about 6 inches around and 2 inches deep – easy to store. The Helio Nemo is referred to as a floor model pressure shower and we bought it to use inside the van in our shower stall. Brian has actually used it this way and it works well. We heat some water on the Coleman stove – or leave the filled tank in the sun – and we can use it to shower, wash dishes, wash dogs, and of course, wash the motorcycle.
- The Clam—This is probably the best part of life on the road. Clam is the manufacturer of this handy “screen house” that can be erected in about 3 or 4 minutes and allows us to have shade, shelter from insects and rain and just a nice place to hang out. We set up a small table and a couple of folding chairs and have our morning coffee and evening cocktails in the Clam.
- Nets & Storage—Prior to life in the Love Shack the only storage nets I had ever used was when my kids were little and they each had a “pet net” for all of their stuffed animals. I didn’t know that camping and RV stores sell all kinds of these things for life on the road. You can see our back net is overstuffed – Brian fears that I am going to put so much in it that it will hit him in the head while he’s driving. But seriously, we have a few of these strategically placed in the van and they hold a ton of stuff. You can also see in this photo that we have a magnetic board over the sink/counter area with various clips and containers and a small mirror. The little shelf with a “lip” on it holds various items including jewelry, pocket stuff, etc. You can also see the wall-mounted spice rack in the upper corner—and the air conditioner in the back window.
- Speaking of the air conditioner—this is a vital piece of equipment when traveling with pets. When we take off to go to a show, as long as we can plug the van in—we can run the air conditioner for the dogs. Brian took out one of the van’s rear windows and made a custom window with fittings to hold the air conditioner when we are not traveling. Though it is not as perfect as a built-in, roof-mounted unit—it does the job. When we were in Alabama in mid-June and it was 85 degrees at 9 p.m.—we were happy to have it!
- We travel with some small accessories as well. We have two battery-powered lanterns, a couple of solar chargers, lots of bungee chords, various lighters, matches, plastic bags, and the other little things that make life simple. Over time, I’ve learned to pack a cooler for five days of living and bring just the right amount of clothing to fit in our built-in storage drawers. I now see it as a challenge to not have to go to the store for anything except ice!