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How to survive Vanlife rain days

While the Covid-19 situation seems to be winding down, some of the suggestions we make in this post won’t be available for awhile. For example, many Meetup groups and on hold… We’re optimistic that things will reopen soon. Please stay safe, healthy and patient.

Into each life, some rain must fall

While the dream of Vanlife (and so many Instagram accounts) suggests endless, breezy summers (or perfect powder if snow sports are your thing), the reality is, some rainy days are inevitable for most of us.

It’s easy to get caught up in unhealthy routines like snacking, watching movies and episodic TV, romance novels…

Name your mind numbing, escapist, unhealthy behavior, rain days will bring them out.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my movies and TV, and a day or two of that now and again is fine, but It’s important to not allow rain days to get the better of you for long periods of time.

In this post we’ll share both how to get out of the van, and what to do if that’s not an option.

Please enjoy our tips for keeping an active, healthy body and mind, no matter what the weather is like.

What to do instead of hibernating in the van

Here are a few ideas that will get your thoughts pointed in the direction of not being stuck inside

As a native Seattleite, I’ve seen rainy periods that lasted as long as 4 months. Imagine 120 days of nonstop rain.

While I’ve spent a lot of rain time inside a house or apartment, I can’t imagine staying inside a van of any size without getting out every day.

So it’s important to have some ideas on hand to survive rainy periods. Here are a few.

Hiking and walking

As long as the rain isn’t too heavy, I will go hiking in it.

I’ve got a couple of great rain jackets, some great waterproof hats and hiking shoes. These have proven to be very valuable investments.

I’ve grown to love hiking in the forest, beach, desert (yes, I’ve been stuck in the desert during periods of bad weather) or just around town in a light rain.

The rain changes the feel of the environment and offers a different perspective that I might otherwise not experience.

By staying open minded and willing to get out and suffer a little dampness, I’ve seen some beautiful rainy days.

Survive vanlife Rain days vansage
Photo courtesy of NeONBRAND

Mall walking

The brilliant FitBit for health and fitness tracking. Click here to see pricing and other details.

Shopping malls can be a great place to power walk, or just stroll.

How many laps around the mall equals one mile? Use your Fitbit, smart watch or other step tracker to find out.

Don’t be surprised when you meet others who are there just to walk. Also, you can stop to talk with shop employees or get a coffee or a meal any time you want.

And obviously, shopping. Just be careful to not let shopping become another unhealthy behavior when feeling bad about bad weather.

Visit friends and family

If you’re not already in an area where you know people and have access to family, the rainy season might be a good time to head there.

Even people who live in houses and apartments get cabin fever and will likely appreciate a visit for a couple hours or even a few days.


Helping others in need is one of the most powerful and fulfilling ways to spend our time and it’s a great way to maintain mental health.

Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, hospitals, churches, animal shelters, charities, community centers…

Seek out organizations that need help and reach out.

Google “Volunteer + name of city you’re in” and you’ll likely find many opportunities.

Join the club

Meetup.com is a great site to find like minded people with similar interests who are meeting on a regular basis.

Whatever you’re into, you can find others to meet and talk with about that thing.

Whatever the topic or event they will typically have a room, restaurant, coffee shop or other venue reserved to meet in.

Facebook groups also often have in-person gatherings. Search for your favorite topics plus the town you’re in and something will likely come up.

If you’re not already a member of any of the multitudes of Vanlife groups on Facebook or other platforms, now’s a good time to sign up and search for people to meet in the area you’re in.

You can find other groups and clubs by searching online or stopping by local shops and community centers.

Knitting, fly tying, art of all kinds, music… Many possibilities.

Work can be good for the soul

If you’re rain bound in an area for a while and don’t have the option to go to another weather zone, you might consider getting some part time work just to get out of the van for a few hours each day.

Part time, temporary work will get you out and keep you active.

This can be a great way to save some extra cash for that fridge-freezer or battery upgrade you’ve been eyeing.

Consider posting your skills, abilities and availability in the Craigslist gigs section.

There are many temporary job placement organizations online. Search for “Temporary jobs + city you’re in”.

If you just cannot get out

Sometimes circumstances keep us van-bound… For some of us, even a few hours a day can be very difficult.

What to do in the van instead of eating and staring at screens. Pick two or three of these each day and the time will fly by.

  • Clean. Great time to get in to those deep nooks and crannies, back of the drawers and cabinets…
  • Work. Focus on online projects, writing, art… so you can take time off when it’s nice out
  • Start that project you’ve been thinking about: Podcast, website, e commerce shop, novel, comic series…
  • Plan your travel. Where to next? Route research and planning. Learn about new destinations
  • Schedule/book campgrounds
  • Design. What changes do you need to make to your van? Learn a graphic drawing program such as SketchUp, draw physical plans on graph paper
  • Keep your brain active vs staring at the TV: Study language, history, literature, art

The Campervan Podcast #004: Surviving rain days in your campervan


Long periods of inclement weather can really present a challenge for those of us who spend a lot of time on the road.

Consider it a challenge to be mastered and while you may never look forward to rain days, at least you’ll have a game plan for surviving and even thriving when the weather gets bad.

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