Reading: A Note on Minimalism From a Man Who Lives in a Van

A Note on Minimalism From a Man Who Lives in a Van

Vandwelling is no small feat. Well, technically, it is a small feat. (And beneficial to those with small feet–all those shoes have to go somewhere.)

The fact is, it’s remarkably complex to live with such simplicity. Imagine: everything you own, folded, rolled and stuffed into a vehicle no bigger than a minivan. Step one, as you might guess, is to own less. The Great Shoe Cull of 2016 truly was something to behold, and we did have to discard a bunch of mugs (why did we have so many mugs?). But ultimately, we pared it down, eventually stuffing all footwear into one cupboard, closeable now only by hipcheck. To this day, all clothing is limited to a one-in one-out policy-sure, you can buy those flip flops, but something else has got to go.

Suddenly, all possessions considered for entry into our lives were vetted by size, weight and utility. If it isn’t compact, reliable and absolutely necessary, it probably won’t make the cut.

Here are five items that do make the cut and have improved our lives more than any number of mugs–and you definitely don’t need to live in a van to enjoy them.


The tunes are non-negotiable, as is the charge on our devices. This compact, durable speaker/charging station keeps the rock rolling and your phone full of juice. Plus, it’s waterproof, so, you know, feel free to spill shit on it.


No matter how tiny your tiny home, one thing we guarantee you won’t be willing to sacrifice is hygeine. Staying clean is a big part of staying human. Adventure gear producers Nemo Equipment have created a solution in their Helio Pressure Showers that pack down into the size of a tupperware container and expand to hold enough water to clean your body and your dishes – both of which smell pretty bad, you dirty hippy.


A solid hammock elevates your naps. No, literally, you can take naps up in trees now. Eagles Nest Outfitters’ (ENO) line of nests for humans conveniently pack up into pint-sized bags and can fit in, say, a glove box.


Victorinox (AKA Swiss Army) understands minimalism. All of their gear and most of their products are made for the adventure set-and the adventure set doesn’t have the time or the aforementioned space for frills. Just give us the good stuff. Their Swisstool Spirit XBS in black oxide steel is a tactical tool that’s  way more stylish than McGyver ever was.


Now you’ve got all your indisposable and portable gear, you need a bag to carry it in. Sully Wong’s simple all-black styling combined with a flap top means you can fit it all in there and look like you belong – whether you’re on the banks of a river, or at a bank on the corner.