Written By: Emily McDonald
For the past eight months, I've called a 70 square foot 2005 Chevy Express cargo van my home. Traveling in a tiny space alongside mother nature has made me mindful of how I live. My trash accumulates quickly, so I shop for things without bulky packaging and try to buy local, in-season produce. I use a multi-functional Dr. Bronner's biodegradable soap when I take cold showers outside and scrub dirty dishes. With most of my time spent outdoors, my Sea & Summit SPF 50 stick has quickly become my favorite and most versatile vanlife product. From mornings spent behind the wheel to after-work trail runs, it keeps me protected all day long. Formulated with rose clay, it offers extra sun-blocking power and is my favorite all-in-one, compact skincare product.
Search #vanlife on Instagram, and you'll scroll through an endless grid of squares highlighting coffee sipped from mountain peaks, secluded hikes through desert canyons, and sunset views from cozy beds. I viewed this feed daily before hitting the road and was sold on the fun, simple life spent in nature. But after living full-time in my van, I've realized that this lifestyle has challenges that I didn't have to consider before hitting the road. I spend hours every day googling free places to fill my water tanks, drop off my recycling, and park overnight. Even after cross-checking my campsites with the Verizon service coverage map, I still spend mornings desperately driving, flailing my cell phone out the window, begging the sky for just one bar of LTE in time for my Zoom call.
To me, #vanlife is all about chasing warm, beautiful weather, discovering unmarked trailheads, and sunrise hot spring soaks. I've traded in stable wifi connections and hot showers for this life full of spontaneous outdoor adventure. Because most things take a lot of energy and preparation, I love finding high-quality, eco-friendly products like my Sea & Summit SPF 50 stick that make getting outside every day effortless.