10 Necessary Items to Live in a Van with Dogs

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After living in my Sprinter van for a year with my two border collies, I have 10 items that make my life WAY easier (and a bit cleaner). If you’re thinking about #vanlife with your dogs, you’ll want to check out this list (including my favorite leash, a crash-proof crate, the best fan on the market, and a few tricks to keep muddy paws from ruining your bed).

10 Items that Make Living in a Van with Dogs Much Easier

  1. De-Matting Spray: this is great for keeping my border collie’s thick coat free of burrs, sticks, and mats. It also makes him smell nice!
  2. MudBuster Paw Cleaner: this is a great way to clean the dogs’ paws quickly before letting them back into the van. Simply fill it with water and give the paws a quick scrub.
  3. Ryobi Battery Powered Fan: I can hang this battery-powered fan on Niffler’s crate to keep him cool. Even better, I charge it on my solar and can use it to keep myself cool at night or while working. The ONE+ system also allows me to swap the batteries between tools, so the same battery also works for my mini vacuum. Amazing!
  4. Biothane Leash + Carabiner: I use a 12-15 foot long line made of biothane. I like having a long line with a hand loop and a carabiner so I can clip the dogs to my hitch, the grab bar, or a tree. It keeps us all safe and in-place at camp. Biothane is great because it is smooth and slippery, so it won’t get muddy or torn.
  5. Dog Information Magnet: I made a custom magnet that says that the dogs are fine in a climate-controlled and solar-powered van. It also has my phone number and I will translate to Spanish for the upcoming trip.
  6. No-Spill Dog Bowl: this is a nice addition to keep your floors from getting too sloppy when your pups are thirsty or if you forget to dump water before hitting the road.
  7. Pump Hand Sprayer: I’ve used this to clean cow poo off of a naughty Niffler, to
  8. Dog Food Bin: it’s nice to have a consistent square container that fits all our dog kibble. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s nice to have!
  9. Waterproof Blanket: this fluffy blanket catches hair, sand, and water that the dogs otherwise would bring into my bed. It smells a bit between washes, but I can easily throw it over my bed to protect the bed and remove it to shake out later.
  10. Crash Safety Tools: I use a crash-proof harness for Barley and a Variocage kennel for Niffler. Read more about our crash safety tools here.

We also bring along some dog grooming gear and trail-running/adventure gear for the dogs.

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