If you’re planning a fall van trip, you want to make sure you have everything you need to hit the road. That includes what to wear and what to bring on your adventure, to ensure you’ll be comfortable and safe. Fall months mean a little extra attention to detail, since they have different challenges than traveling when the weather is warmer.
Depending on where you’re traveling to and from, or the sights you want to see, the weather can change quickly. Being prepared is the best way to get the most enjoyment out of your travels. Here are 12 items you’ll want to pack as you set out for your fall exploration.
Propane Camp Stove
Propane stoves are best for fall travel even when you have a camper van kitchen, because they work at any temperature and they allow you to cook, you guessed it, outside. Butane stoves won’t work when it gets below 40-45 degrees, and when you’re traveling in the cooler months you don’t want to worry about that. Don’t find out the hard way, when you can choose propane and its convenience and versatility right from the start.
Portable Coffee Maker
Most people are going to want coffee on a crisp fall morning. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, make sure you pack something that can give you hot water for other drinks, like tea or cocoa. Having the option for a hot drink on a cold day can really help you get moving and ready to explore, or cozy up with a book or a pre-downloaded movie at night.
Warm Sleeping Bag
It can get chilly during the fall months, especially if you’re traveling in northern parts of the country. A good sleeping bag that keeps you warm can help you feel more comfortable overnight and wake up ready for the day. Even if you sleep with a comforter in your van, it’s always smart to have a sleeping back on hand in case of emergency.
You want to stay warm all throughout the day, and if you’re reading or relaxing in your van you can wrap yourself in a blanket for warmth, so you don’t have to get into your sleeping bag or put on extra clothing to be comfortable.
Solar Power Panels
Having your own power for operating small appliances, charging phones, and more can be so beneficial when you’re camping off grid. If you’re not plugged into shore power and want to explore BLM land, this is the best option for keeping your gear powered.
There are still bugs out, even when fall temperatures arrive. You don’t want them climbing on you or sharing your van, so it’s best to convince them to stay away. A good insect repellent will keep your risk of bugs lower.
Staying clean is somewhat of a priority when on the road. While cleanliness may vary from van lifer to to van lifer, dry shampoo is a great option as it’s small, easy to store and is a simple way to keep your hair clean and fresh if you don’t want to mess with daily showers.
If you’re not wanting to take a shower in your wet bath on the daily and you’ve hit your limit with dry shampoo, a solar shower is a great option. You can use this shower by setting it in a sunny part of your campsite, and the water will warm up. That can help you take a warm shower, even when the air temperature is brisk. If you don’t have a lot of sunshine where you’re traveling, you can also choose other shower options, but these require a bucket and might not be as warm.
Autumn can be rainy in a lot of areas of the country and around the world. Making sure you have a good quality rain jacket is the best way to stay dry and feel confident that you can be outdoors when you want or need to. Raincoats are especially important if you’ll be hiking in areas like the Pacific Northwest.
Fall days mean it gets darker sooner than it does in the summertime, but with a solar lantern you can have light that lasts well into the evening and nighttime. You can also choose a lantern that’s waterproof, so it can be outdoors with you if you’re exploring, or if you need to repair something and are running out of daylight.
Roadside Emergency Kit
No matter what time of year you’re traveling, you want to have safety and security in mind. With a roadside assistance emergency kit you can protect yourself and let people know if something has gone wrong. Add a first aid kit along with it, in case you get injured or need to help someone else during your travels.
Van life means a lot of traveling, and that can mean flat tires. With leaves and other debris frequently on the roads in the fall, you can’t always see hazards that could damage a tire. Fix-a-flat will help you get to the nearest town to get a tire repaired. This is a good option, especially if you don’t have room for a tire patch kit and a portable air compressor.