n. A lifestyle based on living in a van or similar vehicle.
Other Forms
Huntington’s vanlife hashtag was a joking reference to Tupac’s “thug life” tattoo. “You know, it’s not thug life—it's van life!” he told me. Six years later, more than 1.2 million Instagram posts have been tagged #vanlife.
—Rachel Monroe, “#Vanlife, the Bohemian Social-Media Movement,” The New Yorker, April 24, 2017
Logan Watts, founder of, says the Swallows’ journeys have resonated with his site’s readers because, rather than pedaling abroad, they’re tackling places that seem within reach. After all, the allure of dropping out of mainstream existence spawned the entire vanlife movement—and bikepacking is more approach­able than coughing up twenty grand for a fully equipped vehicle.
—Christopher Solomon, “The First Couple of Bikepacking,” Outside, September 19, 2016
In 2011, Foster Huntington created the #vanlife Instagram hashtag, and unexpectedly spawned hundreds of thousands of posts and a family of eager followers.
—Sam Price-waldman, “The Wanderlust of #Vanlife,” The Atlantic, August 03, 2015
2008 (earliest)
While spending the "winter" hitchhiking and backpacking around the islands, I discovered that going on foot and sleeping under the stars in the tropics is often much preferable to the vanlife I knew so well.
—Douglas Vuncannon, “Vanlife,” Indy Week, March 12, 2008
They afford the only opportunity of comparing notes and obtaining practical suggestions for vanconstruction, and for the thousand and one dodges, inventions, and contrivances connected with “packing away,” annexe tents, utilisation of every inch of space, and many other matters essential and contributing to comfortable vanlife.
—J. Harris Stone, “Some Firsts and Lasts,” The English Illustrated Magazine - Volume 46, January 01, 1912