How To: Live In Your Whip
Do you want to chase pow all season? Can you live simply and in cold, small places? Are you comfortable with severely hindering your chances with the opposite sex? Then car living is right for you. With perks like first chairs, free rent, and the ability to chase storms—who needs a home?
Get The Right Rig
A camper van, box van, pickup truck with a camper shell, or even a large wagon can get the job done. You’ll want something with enough space for a comfy bed and a little storage. Big whips are gas guzzlers, but the space is nice, and four-wheel drive isn’t a necessity either—front-wheel drive, a good set of tires, and chains are fine.
Sleeping space, storage, and heat are crucial. Make a comfy, elevated bed with a plywood base, using crates (or frame) to support it, and foam on top. Store your gear underneath and splurge on a super warm sleeping bag and extra blankets. Keep the gas tank topped off for early morning warm-ups and never sleep with the car running or near snowdrifts. You can pick up a 12-volt car heater and boot dryer for around 30 bucks apiece, or splurge on a small gas generator for added luxury.
With all that rent money you’ll be saving, you can afford to eat well, plus you’ll need those extra calories to stay warm. Lining the windows with thick blankets will add insulation and snow piles can serve as a refrigerator. You can use a small, safe camp stove to whip up easy meals and hot drinks—just be wary of cooking inside. Fitness centers and Laundromats are the jam for hot showers, and the JiWire Wi-Fi Finder app makes hunting down Internet a breeze.
Keep It Incognito
Look into local city/resort laws about overnight camping and avoid sleeping in the same spot twice. American flags, handyman logos, church group decor, or a few witty bumper stickers can help you from getting heckled. Be sure to tint those windows or toss up some curtains for privacy. And remember, lights out at night except for a headlamp.
Just The Tip
Elevate your vagabond status with these engine-fired recipes:
1 handful of cheese
Sandwich the cheese between the tortillas and wrap it in aluminum foil. Put it on top of the engine after reaching the resort for a hot and gooey snack.
1 bratwurst (cooked)
1 small onion
1 red pepper
Chop ingredients and toss in an aluminum foil pouch with olive oil and seasonings. Nest that pouch on the engine and fire it up (or drive) for a good 30 minutes. Serves: one hungry dirtbag.
ILLUSTRATIONS: Shawn O’Keefe