Before I bought my van, I was reading pretty much everything I could about the van dwelling lifestyle because I found it really exciting to read about other people’s stories and learn from their experiences related to living in a van or car. Blog posts and Instagram captions are great, but I found full-length books to be some of the best resources for van dwelling knowledge and inspiration. Here’s a list of the best books for a vandweller or for those simply obsessed with the idea of van life.
See you on the road!
- Walden on Wheels by Ken Ilgunas
This book gets the number 1 spot because it’s my personal favorite of the van dwelling books. This book is written as a novel, but it describes the true story of the author adopting a minimalist lifestyle and living in a Chevy “stealth camper” van while he works to pay off a mountain of student debt. Since it’s written as a novel, it does a great job of inspiring and exciting the reader about the potential to save money and live adventurously, but if you’re looking for a technical how-to book on living in a van or car, consider book number 2 in this list!
- Vanabode – Live on $20 a day forever by Jason Odom
Some refer to this book as the “Van Dwellers Bible”. It was one of the first books to describe specific tips and techniques for full-time RV and van living before #vanlife made it mainstream. The book is filled with practical knowledge and tips for those serious about moving toward living in a van, car, or rv and it’s a worthwhile investment for those who are really thinking about giving van life a shot. While Walden on Wheels is an enjoyable story, this book is for those who are really thinking about maybe living on the road in a van or car, whether for a week, a month, or a lifetime.
A great introduction to the both the lifestyle and basic technical aspects of van living, written by one of the most influential and respected people in the mobile living community. Bob Wells is the founder of CheapRVLiving.com as well as the annual mobile living meet up known as the “Rubber Tramp Rendezvous”. His insights into mobile living lifestyle are both genuine and applicable, as he’s learned from years of experience what it takes to live comfortably in a car, van, or RV. This book is a great all-around read that encompasses both practical tips as well as lifestyle considerations and inspiration.
- Project Van Life by Trevor Deruise and Sarah Davies
This book is a real life account of a young college couple who jumped into van life to accommodate the travel required for a summer mountain bike racing circuit. It details their 150,000 mile journey and describes how they managed to run their digital marketing business from the road.
5. The Rolling Home by Lauren Smith & Calum Creasey
If you like dreaming about the romantic portrayal of the #vanlife, this book is for you. It doesn’t contain much in the way of valuable information about van dwelling, as it’s mostly a picture book with some captions intermixed, but if you want a nice book to inspire you every once in a while, this might be a good one for you.
6. The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify by Francine Joy
Another popular book regarding minimalist living written with the intent of helping people who feel stressed and overwhelmed in their daily life to change their perspective on their belongings and what their spending their time and money on. The author challenges the reader to really reflect on why they buy the things they buy and to get rid of the useless clutter they’ve accumulated over time. While it’s not directly about living in a van or car, it’s an important topic for van dwellers to reflect on, because living with less is a big part of nomadic living.
A book filled with practical tips and how-to information with regard to converting and living in a van or other vehicle. Backed with the authors own personal experience from both van living and world travel, Jess Ward also shares a great deal of information regarding solo living and travel, including the often overlook mental challenges of living alone.