Van life has never been more popular or desirable. Because of the joy, freedom, and ease that come from traveling the open road, more Americans are choosing to work remotely and live life on the road.
Do you want to be one of them but don’t know if the van sitting in your garage is up to the challenge?
It might be best to look for van upgrades before you hit the road. But don’t worry, outfitting your van doesn’t have to break the bank. We’ve got a few tips and tricks to help you customize your ride with a few upgrades that will be worth your time, money, and effort.
Read on to learn more!
Exterior Van Upgrades
When you’re on the road, you want your van to not only look good but also be able to withstand hours and hours of travel. So you have to make sure that your exterior is not only stylish but functional. This upgrade includes new wheels and tires, a roof rack or cargo box, a bumper-mounted winch, a bull bar, and a new paint job.
1. New Wheels and Tires
If you’re thinking about giving your van a makeover, new wheels and tires are a great place to start. Not only will they help your van look its best, but they can also improve its performance. Worn-put tired never helped anybody.
For example, if you often find yourself driving off-road, all-terrain tires are a must. They provide better traction and stability on various surfaces, so you can tackle any terrain with confidence.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to improve your van’s performance, high-performance tires are a great option. They provide better grip and handling, so you can take corners with ease.
There are also custom wheels, which are a great way to personalize your van and make it stand out from the rest. There are endless design options to choose from, so you can find the perfect set of wheels to match your style. While larger wheels are great if you’re looking to give your van a more aggressive look, they can also improve your van’s handling and stability.
2. Roof Rack or Cargo Box
When it comes to van upgrades, one of the most important things to consider is whether you want a roof rack or cargo box. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to decide which is right for you based on your needs.
A roof rack is a great option if you need to transport large, bulky items or if you frequently go camping or hiking and need to bring along a lot of gear. However, it can be more difficult to install and remove, and it can make your van more aerodynamically challenged and therefore use more gas.
A cargo box, on the other hand, is much easier to install and remove and can be more fuel-efficient since it doesn’t impact the van’s aerodynamics as much. However, it may not be able to accommodate as many large or bulky items as a roof rack can.
Just make sure that you find a van company that has experience in the installation process. This makes sure that you don’t encounter problems down the road.
3. Bumper Mounted Winch
This is a winch that is mounted on the front or rear bumper of your van. It provides a convenient way to recover your vehicle if it gets stuck in a ditch or a mud hole. It can also be used to tow vehicles that are disabled. This will not only be helpful to you but to other people on the road who might need assistance.
Additionally, a bumper-mounted winch can also be used to assist in loading and unloading heavy items from your van, making it a handy tool to have around. If you do a lot of off-roading or need to frequently transport heavy items, then a bumper-mounted winch is definitely an upgrade worth considering. It’s not the cheapest upgrade, but it’s definitely a must-have.
4. Bull Bar
A bull bar is a metal bar that is installed in front of the grille of a vehicle and is designed to protect the vehicle and its occupants from collisions with animals or other objects. This can be a great asset when you are driving in unfamiliar territory or during bad weather conditions.
They’re rugged and durable, making them ideal for off-road use, and they’ll give your van a distinctive look that will turn heads. They’re not cheap, but they’re definitely worth the investment. Just be sure to select one that is compatible with your van model and that is easy to install.
5. New Paint Job
A fresh coat of paint is one of the most transformative van upgrades you can make. This can make an old van look brand new and can also help protect it from the elements.
It’s also one of the most time-consuming and expensive. However, if you’re up for the challenge, a new paint job can completely transform the appearance of your van and make it feel brand new again. There are a few things to keep in mind when getting a new paint job, though.
First, you need to make sure that the paint job is done by a professional, preferably someone from a van conversion company. This is important because you want the job to look as good as possible. You can attempt it yourself, but it might not come out as polished as you want it to be.
Second, you need to decide what color you want your van to be. This is a personal preference, but it is important to consider what will look best with the rest of your van. You can also consider what fits best with your personality and style. After all, you’ll be the one stuck with the color for a long time.
Finally, you need to make sure that you take care of your new paint job properly. This means avoiding things that can damage the paint, like gravel or rocks, as much as possible.
Interior Van Upgrades
There are many van interior upgrades that you can do to make your trip more comfortable. Aside from upgrading to more comfortable seats and sprucing up your van with a TV and a sound system, there are more practical options you should also consider.
These van upgrades include a better insulation system, new flooring, adding cabinet and drawer space, and installing door and window awnings. To find out more about them, read on below.
1. Better Insulation System
A good insulation system will keep the van cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It will also help reduce noise levels inside the van.
Not only that, but it will also help keep your precious cargo safe and sound. There are many different insulation systems available on the market, but we recommend the following three: reflectix, expol, and therma-foil.
Reflectix is a lightweight and easy-to-install insulation system. It is perfect if you want to do the installation yourself. It’s also very affordable, making it a great option for budget-minded vanlifers.
Expol is great if you’re looking for a more durable and heavy-duty insulation system. It’s slightly more expensive than Reflectix, but it will definitely last longer.
Therma-foil is a top-of-the-line insulation system that is ideal for those who want the best of the best. It’s more expensive than the other options, but it’s worth the price for the added comfort and protection it provides.
2. New Flooring
New flooring is a great way to upgrade your van. It can make your van feel more like home and can also help protect your investment. There are a few things to consider when choosing new flooring for your van.
First, you will want to decide on the material. There are many different types of flooring materials on the market, so you will want to choose one that is durable and easy to clean. You can get carpet, tile, linoleum, or hardwood floors. Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks.
Carpet is soft and comfortable, but it can be hard to keep clean. Tile is easy to clean but can be cold and hard. Linoleum is inexpensive but can be slippery. Hardwood floors are beautiful but can be expensive.
Second, you will need to install the flooring properly. Do not treat it as a DIY van upgrades project, so it is important to hire a professional who can do the job correctly.
Finally, you will need to take care of your new flooring. Regular cleaning and maintenance will help it last for many years to come.
Flooring can be a significant investment, so no matter what type of flooring you choose, make sure it is suitable for your needs. This ensures that you are getting the best value for your money.
3. Cabinet and Drawer Space
A van is only as functional as its storage capacity. And adding or improving cabinetry can make a world of difference.
Some of the best upgrades in this category include slide-out pantries, spice racks, and lazy Susans. These can all help to maximize space and make it easier to access everything you need while on the road.
In addition, adding simple things like cabinet dividers and hooks can also be a big help in organizing everything from your kitchen tools to your clothes. If you’re really short on space, you can even install a floor-to-ceiling storage system that will help you make the most of the space in your van. These kinds of improvements can go a long way toward making your van life more enjoyable and stress-free.
4. Door and Window Awnings
Not only do they provide added protection from the sun and rain, but they can also increase the energy efficiency of your home. In the summer, the awnings keep the interior of your home cooler by shading the windows from direct sunlight. In the winter, awnings can prevent heat loss by trapping heat inside your home.
These van accessories also allow you to have more privacy whenever you need or want it. This is especially important at night, when you need to sleep and do not want to be bothered by people around the space that you have parked on.
They are relatively easy to install and can be found in a variety of styles to match the look of your van. Whether you are looking for a functional upgrade or a cosmetic change, door and window awnings are great options.
And Install a Security System Just in Case
Just as homes have become more vulnerable to intruders, vans have too. A van security system will help to protect your belongings and give you peace of mind.
This system can include a GPS system, which can be very helpful if you are traveling in unfamiliar territory. You can further protect your van by using a backup camera. This can not only save you time and hassle when parallel parking but also record possible intruders who will damage or break into your van.
Installing a security system in your van is one of the best upgrades you can make. You can sleep easy at night knowing that nobody will be able to break in and steal from you or threaten your life. After all, your van is your home away from home.
Upgrade Your Van for a Better Road Experience
After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of which van upgrades are worth your time, money, and effort.
Van upgrades are a great way to increase your productivity and make your life easier. From exterior to interior upgrades, there are plenty of ways to make your van more efficient, functional, and comfortable. So consider some of these options and see which ones are right for you.
By investing in some simple upgrades, you can save yourself time and money in the long run. Try out one or all of these upgrades to see how they can help you on your next road trip journey.
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