How to Survive the Heat in Your Van, and Other Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

How to Survive the Heat in Your Van

And Other Tips for Your Summer Road Trips

Summer is here.

Summer... the ideal season to travel in a van. The days are longer - full of promises - and warmer, liberating your wildest dreams of escapes. It's the season that's favorable to the most fun activities... mountain biking, hiking, surfing, yoga on the beach, lounging around the campfire, you name it! But all these hobbies require their own gear, and more than ever, the eternal challenge emerges: how will it fit in the van? Life on the road requires high quality and space-optimized gear. It's got to be purposeful, practical, sturdy — and most importantly, easy to store.

Since that's what we do, we put together a list of products that we believe will contribute to smoother travels on the road this summer. Enjoy! 

Staying cool in the van

We've all experienced coming back to a car that has been toasting on a parking lot for too long. Now, imagine it's your home sitting there, miserable. You step into a metal box so hot you start sweating instantly.

Heat is an important issue enough that most Vanlifers drive up north to reach tolerable temperatures. For those staying in  hotter parts of the country, there are some easy tricks to maintain a bearable temperature in your van. Chase trees and lakes like maniacs, keeping a 12V fan on, and covering your windows with sun-blockers —like these DIY insulating curtains you can find a tutorial for in our DIY section here.

But we've been looking for a more reliable solution to help cooling your van, without adding an AC. After some research, we decided to try Evapolar's evaporative air 12V personal coolers. And we loved them. They're lightweight, use very little power and can be powered by a power bank, a laptop, or a power socket. They bring personal comfort to a new level by producing fresh, clean, humid air. It is not an AC — but its portability, compact size and unique design as well as its natural process using water makes it more appealing and practical for our tiny spaces. These are the most energy-efficient cooling systems on the market, consuming 100 times less energy than traditional split systems!

They come in three models the evaCHILL, evaLIGHTplus and evaSMART which differ in size and power, but all have the same efficiency and great designs. The cartridge inside the device contains natural material produced from basalt (a rock formation). It is long-lasting and hygienically persistent in contrast to cellulose. Evapolar is the ideal natural cooling solution that will make your summer so much cooler.

Photo courtesy Evapolar

Beach camping

For those who don’t have a 4x4 and can’t drive directly into the beach, we have the solution to avoid the many back and forth between your car and your spot on the beach: store it all in one box! The Rux 70L is the perfect storage that can be carried like a bag, is waterproof and will collapse when you are done using it to help with space optimization. 

If you are looking for a multi-function towel that'll survive all your outdoor adventures without fluffing,  Lava Linens created what you are looking for. Their towels are lightweight, quick-drying, antimicrobial, and made of flax and hemp.

Lounging on the beach has never been so troubleless with Cgear's Sandlite Mat.  Nobody likes a sandy mat, Cgear created a woven design that will let sand and wind flow through so debris doesn't stick on you and your gear. 

If your summer involves a surf road trip, Clean Ocean Designs has the perfect products for you! First... finally a changing/shower mat that dries and stores well! Introducing the Mariner Mat, made of high quality environmentally-conscious biomaterial. They also designed surf knit board covers made in the USA,  that come in different colors and sizes, with a fabric that will stretch to fit your board. So cool. For more surf-related products, check out our Surf gear for the road selection!

Photo courtesy Clean Ocean Designs

Rux 70l green

Rux 70L - all-in-one system to pack, move, and use your valuable gear
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Cgear - Sandlite Mat

Cgear - Sandlite Mat Sand free matView product

Lounging at camp

Summer evening rhymes with longer and warmer days, campfire hangs and game nights. Please, though... don’t forget to check fire restrictions in your area and refer  to Principle #5 of our partner Leave No Trace's 7 principles for better outdoor ethics.

In our opinion, the best camp lights for reliability, ambiance and usability are the Mpowrd's Luci Solar String Lights. They're sun powered and pack 100 lumens across an 18ft cord! From the same brand, the Luci Original inflatable lantern is an other  solar solution, with up to 24 hours on a single charge! 

Another favorite product of ours is Trippy Outdoor's Tripster chairs. They come in a variety of unique colors and versions, like with a longer top or even a kid's version! Itcan handle up to 1000lbs, and it's easy to carry around.  But most importantly, it's (admittedly surprisingly) very comfortable! Give it a shot, you won't regret it. Finally an alternative to the canvas chairs.

For the families, to entertain your evening Hasbro has come up with a National Parks Family Games series (with big names like Jenga, Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit) and they're a must have for an evening of fun!

For your morning stretch, Yoga session or simply to lounge around the fire, we've also found a gem: the KĀMA Surface origami adventure mat will turn into your playground! It is super comfortable, comes in fun colors, and is respectful of the environment. For more yoga products, check out our on Yoga on the road section! 

Now for that nice refreshing cocktail after a long day in the sun... our friends who create such beautiful products over at W&P came up with a wide variety of fun crafted cocktail kits made with premium, small-batch ingredients. It is tasty, easy to use, and you’ll just need to add the adequate liquor for some fun cocktail party. Needless to say (but we'll say it)... drink responsibly!

Mpowerd - Luci Solar String Lights

Mpowerd - Luci Solar String Lights
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KĀMA Surface

KĀMA - outdoor adventure mat 
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Barebones Classic Dutch Oven

Barebones - Fire Pit
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Barebones Classic Dutch Oven

Barebones - Dutch Oven
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Linen Bowl Cover

Marley's Monsters - Linen Bowl Covers
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Utility Sling

Roam and Shelter - Utility Sling
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Fireside Cooking

We're being fans of cooking on, or around the campfire. The folks from Barebones, a brand sold on Simpler Ways, share that passion: they carry an impressive variety of products to cook outside.  We're big fans of their fire pit in particular: pair it with their grill grate, their cast iron classic Dutch oven and skillet for some delicious fire cooked meals. Carrying and storing your firewood can be messy. The father and son duo over at Roam and Shelter came up with a great robust and styling utility sling.

After your meals, if you have any leftovers, zero-waste champions Marley's Monsters got the perfect reusable linen bowl cover! It comes in three different sizes and various fun colors. We love that it is washable, reusable and eco-friendly. 

Photo courtesy Barebones

We hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, and all the fun it comes with! 

Happy travels, and see you on the road!

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