Contents of an Adventure Van

#Vanlife… the myriad of ways in which people dive into this life and the van builds which reflect the manner in which they plan to spend their lives in a van is pretty endless. The appeal to design a living space that meets all your needs and the challenge of getting that into a relatively small space is addictive.

For me it was about being close to mountains, rivers, and the ocean. As it turns out that means carting around a lot of kit, particularly as I didn’t want to have to return to Ireland (a ferry trip from continental Europe) to change seasons. I wanted to be able to be self reliant for gear, so that I could have someone join me if they wanted, and I didn’t have to borrow gear. The question was, can I fit it all into a sensibly sized van?

The challenge includes having both the gear and the clothing for everything. Unfortunately (well, in the practical sense) I really enjoy a very diverse set of activities! Without unnecessary foreshadowing I wanted to be able to be prepared for the following activities:

  • Mountain Biking
  • Mountaineering
  • Climbing
  • Skiing / Ski Touring
  • Canoeing
  • Camping (Summer and Winter)
  • Hiking
  • SCUBA Diving (colder and warmer waters)
  • Photography (which I don’t really cover in this post)

All of this in a Long-wheelbase Ford Transit (similar to a Medium-wheelbase Sprinter). I had wanted to have a road bike in there too (and I did) but I sacrificed the space for increased water capacity.

Whilst I will make some significant changes in my next van’s design I managed to cram everything I could possibly want in. Not one to be a follower I did like some of the posts that showed all the kit that people took with them. I hope it shows just how much you can pack in! And, what’s more, I probably didn’t need some of the gear I did pack.

Mountain Biking

  • Trek – Full suspension 29er mountain bike
  • Helmet
  • Spares, tool kit, and puncture repair kits, pump (workshop pump and hand pump)
  • Spare inner tubes
  • Road tires / knobbly tires
  • Bag
  • Cycling clothes, gloves
  • Small U-Lock

Mountaineering / Climbing

  • Helmet
  • Harnesses (multi-purpose, cragging, mountaineering/ski touring)
  • 70m full rope (and bag)
  • 2 x 60m half ropes (and bag)
  • Set of Nuts
  • Set of Cams
  • Quickdraws (sports and alpine)
  • Slings and cordellete
  • Belay devices
  • Various carabiners, nut key, rope knife
  • Ice-screw
  • Ice axe
  • Cat-4 glasses
  • Rock shoes, approach shoes
  • Alpine boots, mountaineering boots,
  • Crampons (ice-climbing, glacier travel)
  • Alpine bags (40l and 28l)

Skiing / Ski Touring

  • Skis (powder, all-round) with tech-bindings and skins
  • Ski poles
  • Boots (ski-touring)
  • Helmet
  • Googles with various lenses
  • Wax and iron
  • Snow saw, loupe, probe, shovel, beacon
  • 4 season 2 person tent, winter sleeping bag, winter mat, z-lite mat


  • Inflatable Canoe (and pump)
  • Buoyancy aids (2)
  • Paddles (2)
  • Water shoes (2 pair)

Camping / Hiking

  • Summer tent / Alpine bivvy (2 – person)
  • Bivvy (breathable)
  • 3-season tent (3 – person)
  • Stoves, cook-set, and gas (with neoprene case)
  • Sleeping bags (0 degrees, -7 degrees, -19 degrees) and liners
  • Sleeping mat (lightweight)
  • Pillow (inflatable)
  • Backpacks (65 litre, 40 litre)
  • Compression sacks, packing cubes, stuff sacks
  • Axe, knife
  • Toilet roll, trowel, WAG bags
  • Dried food, snacks, drinks
  • Coffee maker
  • Hiking boots

Scuba Diving / Underwater Photography

  • Wet Suits (7mm semi-dry, 5mm long, 3mm shorty)
  • Tech shorts
  • Hood, gloves, booties
  • Fins
  • BCD
  • Masks
  • Regulator set
  • Underwater housing (camera) with ports, strobes, float arms, and arms, including backpack carry case.

Other than a couple of camp chairs, 240v hook extension cable, shower tent, and snow chains (for the van), that’s the main bulk of the gear. There’s a bunch of little things (like a little quick grab bag for hiking/camping/ski-touring, flash lights, bug spray, etc.) that I haven’t listed or laid out, nor did I detail the photography gear, or the clothing that I’ve been able to pack in (which is a fair bit too!).

What’s great is that I have space to bring along pretty specific gear for various scenarios. Of course, with a companion some of the gear would need to be rationalised, or at least the clothing. What’s great is I know that (for my van 2.0) I know which and how much gear I can get into the van.

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