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Why we Love Vans with Solar Power Systems


Whether you already own a camper van or are planning on buying one, you might be curious about the benefits of solar power. There are two main options here–you can retrofit a van with solar panels or purchase a rig with a solar power system already installed. 

Either way, you’ll be able to travel farther off the beaten path, power your modern lifestyle in an eco-friendly way, enjoy a peaceful and quiet source of electricity, and save money.  

Sound interesting? Below, we’re delving deeper into all the reasons we love van life with solar power. 

Photo By @StoryTellerOverland

Escape into Nature

If the open road is calling to you, we’re willing to bet you don’t just want to stay in packed RV parks everywhere you go. One of the best parts of van life is the freedom to explore and stay in destinations off the beaten path, from stunning BLM land to iconic national parks. You can do this much more easily if you have the optimal setup to go off-grid. 

The best boondocking electricity setup should include a gas or diesel generator for powering A/C and heat in more extreme climates along with a solar power setup for everything else. With this reliable double-pronged approach, you can comfortably trade crowded RV parks for quaint campsites and dispersed camping amongst forests and meadows.

Photo By @StoryTellerOverland

Power your Modern Lifestyle

What’s even better than getting to camp overnight in jaw-dropping locations? Staying for as long as you like because you’re able to maintain your lifestyle there. From using kitchen appliances to charging all of your gadgets, solar power will allow you to camp in nature with all the amenities of a modern lifestyle. Work remotely from the van without ever worrying about running out of juice. Prepare a meal with ingredients kept fresh by your fridge. Then relax with a hot shower warmed by your van’s solar power system. 

Photo By @WinnebagoRVs

Enjoy Clean, Quiet Electricity

As we mentioned above, gas and diesel generators are the primary way to power your A/C and heat when camping off the grid due to the sheer amount of electricity required. However, there will be many times you won’t need to have these temperature-control systems running in your van. Plus, gas generators can be loud and produce fumes. 

Because of this, you’ll probably want to turn to solar power for most other things. In this system, solar panels (usually mounted on the roof) can charge batteries without noise or fumes. These batteries can then power your devices and many appliances, even when the sun isn’t out. 

As a renewable resource, solar power is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to fuel your camper van lifestyle. You can limit the amount of gasoline you use and reduce your carbon emissions by using the rays of the sun for the majority of your daily electricity needs. 

Photo By @WinnebagoRVs

Save Money

While solar power systems can be pricey to install or raise the total price tag of a van you’re considering buying, consider it an investment. If you plan to boondock often, the system will pay for itself in money saved on alternate forms of power. You’ll get to avoid expensive RV park spots with hookups–which can sometimes cost as much as a hotel room per night–and unlock the plethora of affordable or free dry camping campgrounds. In addition, solar power technology is much more affordable today than in past decades and is constantly becoming more efficient.  

Photo By @LeisureVans

The Takeaway

Regardless of which factors hold the most weight for you, it is clear to see the appeal of powering your road warrior adventures with the infinite energy of the sun. At Rec Van, we carry a wide variety of new and used camper vans from industry-leading brands–many already outfitted with solar power systems. To browse our inventory, click here. To learn more, check out “Solar Power for Your Camper Van–Is It Worth It?”