There are several reasons why someone may choose to live in their car. In fact, it's becoming quite the trend on social media, thanks to the hashtag #vanlife and #homeiswhereyouparkit. While it may be trendy for some, for others, it's a necessity, leading to well over 2 billion search inquires for "tips for living in your car" on Google alone.
Why Would Someone Consider Living in Their Car?
Living in your car used to be the last resort for those who lost their homes or those who lost their jobs, leading them to lose their homes. However, in recent years, living in your car has become a way of life for thousands of people for many different reasons.
According to the 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, researchers noted that approximately 567,715 people lived in shelters or on the street/in their cars across America. These numbers include both working families and people who are unemployed. Unfortunately, homeless shelters are often full, leaving hundreds of people forced to find alternative shelter, and for a lucky few who have a vehicle, they can use that to escape from the elements.
Desire to Travel
If you've got a desire to travel, then living and sleeping in your car may be something you've considered. Why – because it offers you the freedom to roam as you please. When living in your car, there is very little holding you back, which is why social media has exploded with those documenting their travels while living in their vehicles.
Many people across the country have watched their cost of living increase over the years, and while some people are forced to find ways to cut unnecessary costs, others are redefining what they consider as necessary. For example, instead of paying rent or a mortgage, hundreds of people have chosen to live in their vehicles to help them save money.
Tiny homes have been a thing for many years now, and in recent years, many have taken the concept and made it mobile by downsizing their space to include only their vehicle. Sure, living in a bus or RV can help you downsize quite a bit and help mobilize you; however, many don't have the money to go that big. Instead, they downsize even further and make do with their van, truck, or car.
5 Tips for Living in Your Car Safely in the Winter
It doesn't matter what your reason is for living in your vehicle. What's important is finding a way to do so safely, especially when it comes to the chillier winter months. Here are five tips for living in your car safely this winter:
1. Insulation is Vital
It doesn't matter where you'll be parking your car at night – the temperature will drop. If you're in warmer climates, then insulation could be as simple as using blankets as curtains for your windows. However, if you're staying in an area that experiences extreme cold, you'll need to amp up your insulation game by investing in other solutions such as Relfectix bubble packing insulators, which can be cut to size and will fit any window in your vehicle.
Other ways to insulate your vehicle could include placing insulation under a makeshift floorboard in your car and/or investing in a camping pad or mattress to lay on top of.
2. Kitty Litter is a Must-Have
You've likely heard the kitty litter tip to help you weigh down the back end of your car to help prevent fishtailing and that it can be placed on snow and ice to help your car with traction issues should you get stuck on the road.
However, this is a great tip for living in your car because it can be used to help control excessive moisture in your vehicle. For instance, you can place kitty litter inside of an old sock and place this in your windshield overnight to help prevent morning condensation buildup.
3. Make Room to Separate Wet/Dry Clothing
Another vital tip for living in your car during the winter is having a place to keep your wet items so that they do not come in contact with your dry clothing. If you're living in an area with snow, you'll want to create space for your wet shoes, socks, and other clothing to allow them to dry.
Absolutely never keep wet clothing items on as the temperatures begin to drop – even if you're inside your car, as this can lead to hypothermia.
4. Choose Your Tires Wisely
You may not think your tires are essential to living in your car. However, if you're required to move from location to location, then your car needs to be equipped with tires that can handle the terrain you're on. If you're located in a drier climate, then you'll likely be able to use all-weather or all-terrain tires. However, if you're in a location that experiences snow and ice, you'll likely want to invest in snow tires.
5. Winterize Your Car Properly
Living in your car in the winter requires quite a few extra steps in your regular winterization routine. However, that doesn't mean you can skip out on the usual winterization process, which should include:
- Checking your battery's health
- Checking all fluids in your car, including oils, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluids
- Inspecting your wiper blades for damage and replacing them if necessary
- Monitoring your roadside emergency kit and refilling necessary items
- Having your car routinely checked by a professional to check the overall health of the vehicle
Living in Your Car in The Winter is Possible
Whether it's a lifestyle choice or not – living in your car is a reality for thousands of people. With these five tips for living in your car, you'll be able to properly care for yourself and your vehicle through the winter months.