In the final article in our vanlife series, editor Mike Blewitt offers some reasons why what you see on Instagram might not be the reality.

Words: Mike Blewitt 

Photos: Dom Hook

I've slept in cars, on floors, mountain sides, in basements, train seats, airport chairs, atop piles of hay, on ice shelves, in snow caves, in tents and under a poncho – all as a way to do more adventures. But sometimes staying in a van isn't for me. Here's why.

Mike wouldn't fancy a trip in Will's Toyota Hiace.
  1. Pack, and unpack, everything

Unless you have a large, purpose built van and very few items – you might find you're unpacking and repacking the van a few times a day. Did you pick up a hire van from the airport? With bike bags, luggage, groceries and bikes – it's a constant game of tetris.

  1. Meals on wheels

In the planning stage for a mountain bike trip in a van, it seems ideal. But cooking stooped over with crappy utensils might mean you're looking for a pub or restauarant more often than you'd like.

  1. Camels of the road

If a camel is a ship of the desert, a van is the camel of the road. They lumber along country roads, occasionally nearing 20% below the speed limit. Throw in the constant chorus of cuttlery and glasses and anything you haven't tied down flying around, and that top 10 drive you have embarked on just becomes a headache. 

Don't like things rattling around while you're driving? The vanlife might not be for you then!
  1. Become one with public toilets

If you hire a van with a toilet, someone has to empty it. So get a smaller van and you're stuck using public toilets all trip. That includes showers. If you're over 30 or so and seen some things, enough said.

  1. Love the mud life

So, it's raining. You're wet. Your gear is wet. Everything is wet – and muddy. A nice hot shower and somewhere to unwind and dry your gear out would be ideal. Oh, you're in a van...

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