Best Van Life Gear Under $50

Through trial and error, we’ve found some gear that makes life on the road and in our van not only easier but more enjoyable. Though we’ve done other gear posts before such as the 9 essential pieces of gear you need for van life, this is the first one where every item on the list is $50 or less.

Gear for Sleeping Better

Foldable Silvering Reflective Car Sun Visor 

Keep the sun out (and consequently keep temperatures down) during the day. Keep street and car lights out while parked at night. It offers a little privacy, too, when you’re trying to change. This little silver accordion windshield cover folds down fairly compact and is one of our most often used items.

Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs

You might not need a jar of 50 but if you’re like us (okay, Erin) then you lose things often and might need to get a jar of 50. These will help you get a better night’s sleep in your van.

Gear for Staying Clean

Coleman 5-Gallon Solar Shower

Thanks to our friend Lisa Giles, we scored a sweet sun shower! The black exterior heats the water up in hardly no time and helps you rinse the van life grime of ya. It’s one of the ways we manage to stay clean on the road. We no longer have an excuse for showing up to dinner dirty. With this, neither do you.

Collapsible Buckets TOPIND Multi-Functional 5L/10L Folding Water Bucket

We’ve done both laundry and dishes in this bucket. Don’t worry we always rinse it out when we’re done so that our dishes and clothes don’t get gross. When you’re not using it, the whole thing collapses down to about the size of a dinner plate.

Gear for Cooking and Eating

Detachable Camping Eating Utensil – Half Fork/Bottle Opener, Half Spoon/Knife, SST with Aluminum Handles, Red

These showed up in our stocking at Christmas. Santa, aka Erin’s Mom, decided we could use a little all in one utensil kit and she was right! This little tool separates, too, so you can use one at a time if you like.

Stanley Prep & Cook Set

Everything packs down small and fits into the pot, even the spatula. There’s other gear that you can get that’s lighter, but for us, since we’re not trekking miles up a mountain with this kit, it works great.

Hydro Flask 24 oz Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Leak Proof Sports Water Bottle, Standard Mouth with BPA Free Flex Cap, Pacific

I’ve used Nalgene’s for years and while they’re awesome, they don’t keep water quite as cold as the Hydro Flask. They come in all sorts of cool colors and their handle works well with carabiners and packs.

GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip

If you love a pourover coffee, this little lightweight filter is going to be your new best friend. It makes delicious coffee and attaches to almost any kind of mug. Quite possibly the best feature is that it cleans easily and dries almost instantly.

Klean Kanteen KSSC16 Adult’s 16oz Kanteen Pint Cup Brushed Stainless

If you love drinking your beer from a glass, pick up one or two of these Klean Canteen pint glasses. They’re great for when you don’t want the bottle or can (stealth mode, anyone?) or you’re in an area where you can’t have glass. Plus they just feel good in your hand.

Gear for Navigation

National Geographic Road Atlas – Adventure Edition

Your cell phone doesn’t work everywhere, even in 2018. We’ve relied on our adventure edition road atlas to show us the way more than a few times. The front section has some great info on some of the best National Parks and there are even maps in there of the entire country that will help you plot out a REALLY big adventure.

SE CCV18 Wristband Compass

Pair this with the road atlas and you’ll be on your way (in the right direction) in no time. This little compass doesn’t have a battery and therefore never needs a charge. The next time your cell phone dies or you can’t get a signal, there’s no need to stress. It’s also a great way to unplug and make the most of your adventure.

All-purpose Van Life Gear

50 Feet of 3/16″ Utility / All Purpose Rope – Red

We bought some of this rope to create three small clotheslines in our van and had enough left over to make a long one which we string up at camp.

Home-X Wooden Clothespins. Set of 50.

For hanging your clothes and maybe pinching your nose when the van starts to stink lol.

Black Diamond Unisex Cosmo Light Matte Black One Size

We each have a headlamp and use it to get around in the dark at camp, to show up when we run at night, to make our way along a trail at dusk and of course to read before bed.

Nathan FireStorm Race Vest Hydration Pack, 2-Liter, One Size, Sparkling Cosmo

Gonna need a day pack, why not make it a hydration pack as well. We’ve got two of these, one for each of us for when we go running. It’s got a couple of zipper compartments for keys, IDs and a little cash.

Sun Safety Gear

Patagonia Fitz Roy Crest LoPro Trucker Hat (Black)

Keep the sun off your face with this hat and feel good about investing in a company that promotes fair labor practices, safe working conditions and actually cares about the planet.

Suncloud Sentry Polarized Sunglass (Tortoise Frame/Brown Polar Lens)

Protect your eyes, they’re the only ones you’ve got! We like these shades because they’re polarized and if you’re out on the water, will help you see better.

Water Sports Gear

Cressi Scuba Diving Snorkeling Freediving Mask Snorkel Set, All Black

Chances are at some point in your van life adventure you’re going to come in contact with water. If you’re anything like us, you’re going to want to see what’s in the water. So grab a mask and snorkel and go check it out!

Tusa Liberator Xten Open Heel Scuba Diving Fins

A mask and snorkel might be all you need but if you want to take your water exploration a little further, pick up some fins. This type of fin requires you to wear booties with them. There are others that don’t but we’re recommending these because we have them and we love them.

Mares Equator 2mm Dive Boots by Mares

These are some booties you can wear with your fins. They’ve got a firm rubber sole which will allow you to walk safely and comfortable from the dock to the boat or along a rocky shoreline without cutting up your feet. They dry fairly quickly too.

Mesh Equipment Bag, Green Р32 x 36 РAdjustable, sliding drawstring cord closure. 

We keep all of our snorkel gear in a mesh bag so that it doesn’t get lost when we get on a boat with other people. It’s also great because we can then easily dunk the whole thing in a fresh water barrel when we’re done. After it dries, we then put it back in our van storage box and it’s ready for the next time we go snorkeling. We also have a second mesh bag for dirty laundry.

Best Van Life Gear Under $50 Recap

The items we’ve listed are things we’re currently using in our Wayfarer Van. How many of these things are pieces of gear that you use as well? Is there anything you think we’ve missed that should be on this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave them in the comments below!

Best Pizza in Asheville, NC

Ok, it’s no secret that we love coffee, ramen, and cheeseburgers. But one of our all-time favorites is that cheesy goodness we all know and love: pizza. In this post we’re going to share about our favorite spots in Asheville. Are your ready? Here we go: Best Pizza in Asheville, NC. Save it, pin it, share it, whatever you do, keep it handy as you’re going to want to make your way to each of these restaurants. Note: our list does not include chains like Papa Johns or Pizza Hut. We only feature non-chain local businesses in this post of the Best Pizza in Asheville.

All Souls Pizza | 175 Clingman Avenue

Erin McGrady is smiling at a cheese pizza from All Souls that is resting on a round, silver pizza tray on top of a wooden picnic table. There are some small yellow flowers in the background.
The tomato and cheese pizza from All Souls.

One of the best pizza places in Asheville is All Souls Pizza. Their pizzas are soooo good. We love whatever they have on special and are a big fan of the pizza with greens, leeks, fromage blanc, and mozzarella. Another one we like is the garlic sausage, sweet pepper ferment, red onion, and fontina pizza. If you’re not sure what to order just go for the cheese and tomato. It’s fantastic. We typically get three at a time so that we can taste a bunch of flavors and have a couple slices leftover for lunch. The dine-in area is cool because you can sit at the bar and watch them make your pizza. They’ve also got a really nice outdoor patio and lawn area that’s kid-friendly.

828 Family Pizzeria | 946 Merrimon Avenue

We’re still getting used to the name change. 828 Family Pizzeria used to be called Marcos. Then a few years back they switched it up. Regardless, the pizza is delicious. We usually order a large pizza and add basil and mushrooms. This is our go-to spot when we are really hungry and we want a lot of good food for our buck. The pies are big and two slices usually make us full with some leftover.

PIE.ZAA | 46 Millard Avenue

A view of a big cheese pizza slice in a cardboard box that is in the shape of a piece of pizza. The box and pizza slice are resting on a black table, outdoors, with the PIE.ZAA logo on it.
No list of the best pizza in Asheville would be complete without a nod to PIE.ZAA!

PIE.ZAA bills itself as the best late-night pizza in Asheville but it’s delicious even if you’re not out late. (You can get this pizza during ‘regular’ hours as well.) It’s got a slightly cripsy bottom that’s stretched thin, a flavorful crust that’s the perfect amount of saltiness, and lots of gooey cheese. You can get a single slice or pizza or leave with a huge box. You may have even seen people with it around town – it’s the pizza in the huge black box, enough to feed you, your partner, and a few of your friends. We’ve had the cheese and the pepperoni and both are among our favorite in Asheville. Bonus: it’s just down the street from Burial Beer, one of our favorite beer gardens in Asheville.

White Labs Kitchen and Tap | 172 South Charlotte Street

No conversation about the best pizza in Asheville is complete without mentioning White Labs. Wood-fired pizza, craft beer, and a place that makes yeast? Yeah, it really exists and it’s here in Asheville! Pre-Covid we took a tour of the facility and then had dinner, drinks, and pizza. It was a really unique date. The beer was brewed with their yeast and the dough was made from their yeast. Both were super tasty. White Labs has the usual pepperoni and cheese pizzas as well as a salmon and sweet potato pizza. They’ve also got a vegan option. Lastly, they also have a take and bake kit where you can buy the dough and the toppings and then make your pie at home.

Asheville Pizza and Brewing | Three Asheville Locations

Entertainment, pizza, and beer. Pizza and beer are often enough for most people but Asheville Pizza and Brewing also shows movies. And tickets to most of them are only $3.00 a person. It seriously makes for a super fun and affordable date night. (Covid has forced Asheville Pizza and Brewing to put a stop to their movies but they are certain to be back! Stay tuned and check their website for updates.)

Cucina 24 | 24 Wall Street

There are so many delicious things to order on the menu at Cucina 24 but it’s hard not to order their pizza. Their mushroom, besciamella (white sauce), arugula, and rosemary pizza is a solid pick. So too, is ordering a ton of unique appetizers and then getting a simple mozzarella and tomato pie. No matter what you order you can count on Cucina 24 to have some of the best pizza in Asheville because of their commitment to fresh ingredients, many of which are grown by local farmers.

Best Pizza in Asheville Recap

So the long and short of it is that when it comes to where to find the best pizza in Asheville, you’ve got options. You can have simple, straightforward pies, you can have creative, uniquely-topped pizza, and you can of course have them both with some of Asheville’s other specialty: craft beer.

Sound good but craving burgers instead? Check out our top picks for the Best Burgers in Asheville.

Learn more about some of our favorite and best outdoor breweries in Asheville and bars as well as the best brewery tours in Asheville.