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Van Lighting: Illuminate Your Vanlife Experience

CEO Khai Intela
Living life on the road in a van brings a sense of freedom and adventure. But when it comes to lighting, it's a whole different ball game. Unlike cars, vans require a solid lighting system...

Living life on the road in a van brings a sense of freedom and adventure. But when it comes to lighting, it's a whole different ball game. Unlike cars, vans require a solid lighting system to ensure a comfortable and well-lit living space. In this article, we'll guide you through the best interior light options for vanlife, from considerations to installation techniques. By the end, you'll have all the resources you need to curate a cozy, well-lit environment.

Considerations Before Choosing Your Van Lighting Setup

Before diving into the world of vanlife lighting, there are a few factors to consider. Your preferences and your van's limitations will determine which lights are suitable for your setup. Here are some key factors to think about:

How Many Lumens Do You Need in Your Van?

The first thing to consider is the level of lighting you want in your van. Instead of focusing on the number of lights, think about how many lumens you'd like. Lumens refer to the amount of visible light emitted by a bulb. Factors to consider when determining the number of lumens include the size of your van, the different areas in your van, and the type of activities you do. In general, a campervan will require around 500 lumens per square meter.

Van Lighting Installation Difficulty

Next, consider the amount of time and effort you're willing to put into installing your van conversion lighting. Recessed lights offer a classy look but require more effort to install. On the other hand, hang lights are easier to work with but may not have the same professional appearance. Decide how important lighting is to you and weigh the benefits of high-quality lights against the effort needed for installation.

Van Power Supply

Always consider the power supply available in your van when choosing lighting options. Recessed lights can use a significant amount of power, while LED lights are more energy-efficient. Assess your electrical system, the number of appliances you use, and how often you use lights to determine the lighting that best fits your van's power capacity.

Van Lighting Budget

Lastly, consider your budget when selecting van lighting options. Recessed lights may be more expensive upfront, but they tend to last longer. On the other hand, fairy lights or LED light strips are more affordable but may need replacement more frequently. Consider your long-term lighting goals and budget accordingly.

Lighting Vans: Wired Lighting Options and Installation

Once you've considered the above factors, you'll have a better idea of the lighting fixtures that suit your needs. Let's explore some top camper van lighting ideas and their installation processes:

Recessed 12 V Puck Lighting for Vans

Recessed lights are a popular choice for van interiors. They are installed directly into the ceiling or walls and consist of three elements: housing, trim, and a bulb. These lights come in various shapes and sizes, with recessed 12V puck lights being the most common for van conversions.

Pros of Recessed Lights

  • Long-lasting
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Space-saving
  • Versatile style options

Cons of Recessed Lights

  • Expensive
  • Difficult installation process
  • Time-sensitive

Installing recessed lights requires careful planning and construction. Here's a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose your desired lights, considering color, voltage, and light type.
  2. Decide on the number of lights and their placement.
  3. Measure the dimensions of the lights and create templates.
  4. Cut holes for the lights in the ceiling or wood panels.
  5. Attach and wire the lights, connecting the appropriate wires to the electrical system.
  6. Conceal the wiring within the walls and ceiling.

LED Light Strips for Vans

LED light strips are flexible circuit boards filled with small LED bulbs. They are easy to install and come in various colors. While primarily used for accent or decorative lighting, LED light strips can be used to create a more comprehensive lighting solution for your van.

Pros of LED Light Strips

  • Energy-efficient
  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Flexible
  • Suitable for highlighting items

Cons of LED Light Strips

  • Low lighting capabilities
  • Susceptible to high temperatures
  • Short lifespan

To install LED light strips in your van, follow these simple steps:

  1. Measure the area where you want the LED lights to go.
  2. Cut the LED strips to the desired length.
  3. Connect the strips to a power source using a quick connector.
  4. Stick the strips to the desired surface using the adhesive backing.

Fairy Lights for Your Van

Fairy lights are decorative lights attached to a string, available in various colors and sizes. They create a cozy, ambient atmosphere in your van and are perfect for decorative lighting.

Pros of Fairy Lights

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Good for decor

Cons of Fairy Lights

  • Low lighting capabilities
  • Short lifespan
  • Susceptible to falling down

To hang fairy lights in your van, you have several options:

  • Thumb tacks
  • Command hooks
  • Putty
  • Tape
  • Nails

Choose the method that suits your needs and preferences. Alternatively, you can wrap the strings around shelves or run them along overhead cabinetry.

Other Van Lighting Options

If you are looking for additional lighting options or want to supplement your wired lighting, consider these alternatives:

Solar Lanterns

Solar lanterns are small, portable lamps powered by solar energy. They are environmentally friendly and require little to no maintenance. However, their lighting capabilities may be limited, especially during periods of poor weather.

Battery Powered Puck Lights

Battery-powered puck lights are small, round lights that can be installed anywhere in your van. They are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and offer strong lighting capabilities. However, they require occasional charging and may fall down if not properly attached.

Battery Powered Reading Lights

Battery-powered reading lights are portable lamps that can be placed on books, desks, or cabinets. They are convenient, portable, and do not require installation. However, they also require charging and may be prone to breakage if not handled carefully.

How Will You Light Your Van?

Choosing the right lighting setup for your van is essential for creating a comfortable and enjoyable living space. Consider your preferences, power supply, and budget before making a decision. Whether you opt for wired lighting, supplemental lighting, or a combination of both, make sure to create a cozy atmosphere that enhances your vanlife experience. If you have any questions or need assistance, our team is here to help. Happy van lighting!