Van LIfe: Preparing For Our Road trip And Some Helpful Gear

Packing for the trip was the most consuming part of the process. We have 3 kids and a dog so even a large van gets filled fairly quickly. We had purchased a few items to help with the trip which gave us some extra space and were priceless for the trip.

The first thing that we purchased were roof racks and a luggage basket for the roof. These two things allowed us to put all of our bags along with our camping chairs on the roof which freed up space inside the van. We went with the Rhino Rack cargo carrier ( ). The carrier was solid and held a ton of gear. It didn’t create any noise while we were on the highway and is built extremely well. If your looking for roof racks you need to shop according to your personal vehicle. We ended up purchasing ours through They had great customer service and helped us fit the correct racks to our vehicle.

The other item that was a must have was our waterproof luggage bag that we placed on the roof. We have actually had this for some time and it has held up great on many trips all over the US. This is the Rightline Weatherproof Gear Top Carrier ( ). You don’t have to have the roof basket to use this bag but it definitely helps. The bag has a solid zipper and has always kept our gear dry. We don’t actually use the straps that come with it. We use ratchet straps and they hold it down nice and tight.

Finally, we have a hitch mount cargo carrier for the rear of the vehicle where we put some waterproof Tupperware bins and a water jug. The bins had all of our sandals and outdoor shoes and the other had all of our cooking gear. We had to bring a water jug because many of the Michigan campgrounds do not have water at each site. The cargo carrier was just another way for us to save space and it worked out great. We used bungee cords to hold it all down and to keep it from flying off on the highway. The link here is to a similar version that has some great reviews ( ). You don’t have to spend a ton of money on these things to get a good product. Just take care of it.

These are all the exterior upgrades we made for our two week road trip. In the next blog we can share some photos of the interior and some things we added. We hope this helps and thanks for following along on our adventure.

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