Data Showing the Lifestyle Habits of Van Dwellers
People email us all the time asking, "Who is your typical client?". Our answer? Everyone. We've built vans for 22 year old digital nomads as well as 71 year old weekend warriors. We've handed keys over to individuals, couples, small families, and companies. Anyone and everyone can experience van living!
People will also email us asking questions about The Van Lifestyle. They don’t understand how van dwellers or “van lifers” can sustain a lifestyle off the grid in a home the size of a bathroom. They want to know where you sleep, how you bathe, and how you make a living, to name a few.
Our friends over at Outbound Living took a survey of over 700 van lifers to help everyone better understand their lifestyle and habits.
Let’s look at the numbers
Where do you primarily sleep at night?
Knowing where to sleep is important because there’s nothing worse than being woken up in the middle of the night to the authorities telling you to move your van.
You can see that most respondents sleep in BLM, National Forests/Grasslands. They sleep here because it’s free, quiet, and can often offer a pretty stunning view.
Many others sleep in city streets and parking lots. Walmart is often a go-to choice for van lifers because they’re one of few businesses that legally allow you to sleep in their parking lots.
How do you primarily bathe?
A very interesting stat we found was that 4 percent of all respondents bathe at the beach, but 39 percent of Australian respondents bathe at the beach. This is quite an outlier, however it’s not too surprising because with their warmer weather and surf culture, many beaches have showers available.
Another interesting bathing statistic showed that only 13% of European respondents bathe at a gym, compared to 28% of all respondents. European van lifers rarely bathe at gyms because there are few gym franchises in Europe that have thousands of locations with 24 hour access. In the U.S. in particular, there are really affordable gyms like Planet Fitness with locations all over the country. This makes it easy to stop in for a quick rinse.
A built-in van shower is surprising to some. There’s not much room for a shower inside of a van so many van lifers will open their back doors to hang a shower curtain from the back of their van and hook up a portable shower head to their water tank. Here at Vanlife Customs, we opt out of indoor showers in favor of a on demand heated rear door shower unit.
How do you primarily use the bathroom?
Public bathrooms are always a go-to if you don’t have a built-in van toilet. For those that have a built-in toilet, they’re often environmentally friendly composting toilets. For others, you can build your own toilet or be one with nature and do your business out in the wild. Here at Vanlife Customs we can build you a custom bench which houses a cassette toilet, but we don't install any wet bathrooms or flushing toilets in our vans.
What type of job do you have?
Having enough money to sustain this lifestyle is always a concern for people. With the internet in particular, it’s not as difficult as you think to find a consistent job. In the chart you will notice that 45% of respondents chose “other” as their job. This will primarily consist of people remaining in one location for work vs others who are always on the move.
If you’re intrigued and would like to read more, you can check out the rest of the statistics at https://outboundliving.com/van-life-statistics/