Van Increase Your Van’s Cargo and Kill the Clutter
There’s nothing worse than sorting through piles of unorganized gear on a daily basis. Stepping over bulky objects and moving around your van when it’s filled to the brim is a pain in the butt and it gets old in a hurry.
Pulling bulky objects to the exterior means your interior can be a livable space where it’s easy to move around, jump in and out of bed, cook great meals and spend time with others without the stress of constantly shuffling gear.
Add strategic cargo boxes and mounting systems to turn your van exterior into a gear transportation system that leaves more living space in the interior.
Assessing Your Daily Routine
The first step in killing clutter is determining which items are used on a near daily basis and which can move to the exterior. Conduct an inventory assessment to see where you can afford to stow away certain items. Your daily bathing supplies, clothing, kitchen gear and anything used very regularly can stay inside.
With your specialty, non-daily items separated out, move to the bulky stuff next. For example, you might use a bicycle daily but it’s taking up space in the living area when it could live on the ladder rack. Pull out the surf boards, big backpacks and everything that is clogging up your living area without serving a daily purpose.
Note - the primary exception to the clutter rule is emergency gear. Keep a first aid kit handy and have your compressor, tow strap, jumper cables and roadside emergency kit stored in an easily accessible area. Under the bed or seats is often a good way to stow these items out of the way while also having them ready for action.
Top Load and Hitch Mount Cargo Carriers
Top load and hitch mount carriers are the two primary means of increasing exterior storage space. Adding one or both will bump up square footage while adding safe spaces for a variety of gear. The rooftop cargo systems are locking and watertight, making them the perfect place for backpacks and gear you want to keep dry. Open roof top cage style storage is also a great way to stash gear that doesn’t require weatherproofing.
Hitch mount boxes are much the same and swing away options retain easy access to the rear door. A variety of hitch mount storage options are available with some having the watertight containers and others using an open rack where you can store a generator, cooler, firewood and anything else capable of safely strpping down on the rack.
Strategic Mounting Points - Stashing the Bikes, Boards and More
Exterior mounts are the holy grail for adventure gear storage. Ladder mounts for bikes, side mounts for Maxtrax recovery boards and top/side mounts for surf and paddle boards all keep your favorite gear ready for action.
Other specialty solutions like fishing rod holders, kayak racks and hitch rack motorcycle carriers can really expand storage as well. Make sure you won’t cover solar panels but don’t hesitate to move your favorite gear to the exterior
Interior Storage Boxes
Not everything can be stored outside but that doesn’t mean you need loose gear scattered around the van. Implement interior storage boxes to organize gear while keeping everything contained. You can double purpose boxes and coolers for sitting or store them beneath a bed.
Anything that serves a dual indoor/outdoor purpose is perfect for hard sided storage boxes as well. If you cook indoors and outdoors, use a box to easily move between the two spaces. Camp gear is a great fit for storage boxes as well. Lastly, keep sensitive items like camera equipment, electronics and anything breakable/valuable in expedition boxes and pelican cases to prevent damage.
With a little planning, you can quickly create a storage system that aligns with your hobbies and the gear you carry. From racks and mounts to interior boxes, design a storage system that kills clutter and makes van life more enjoyable.
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