Check Out These Van Life Events

Check Out These Van Life Events

Jun 25, 2024

Van life is inherently solitary. Constant travel is exciting, but it can get lonely without many chances to meet people. Connecting online isn't quite the same as spending time together in person, but fortunately, you can find events across the country for like-minded modern nomads.

Here, you'll find just a small sampling of upcoming van life events. All sorts of organizations and collectives aim to gather nomads to socialize and inspire each other. Watch their websites, follow events in your favorite cities and participate in online groups with fellow travelers to discover new experiences.

TinyFest California

For its fifth year, the annual TinyFest California will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on March 16th and 17th. The expo offers tours of different tiny living options, expert panels, demonstrations and meet-ups. TinyFest's mission is to help more people live their tiny best while reducing their environmental impact.

Most of the weekend's presentations stick to this theme. A couple of examples include a class on solar power for off-grid living and a demonstration called "Tiny Experiments in Sustainability." You can also learn about the practical—but less glamorous—aspects of tiny living, like financing and permits. The education is rounded out with specialized workshops, including advice for senior living and how to homeschool on the road.

Tiny home tours are open throughout both days. Tiny houses, van conversions, shipping container homes, buses, RVs, ADUs and more will be open to the public. Some are professionally built by companies advertising their services, but others belong to private homeowners looking to share their experiences. You also have the option to book a private tour of a tiny home or van conversion for an extra $70. This gets you a private guided tour, personalized guidance and the opportunity to meet builders and suppliers.

Scheduled meet-ups are your chance to socialize with other modern nomads and tiny living enthusiasts, held every hour on both days. Some have a theme, like solo female travelers, San Diego area nomads and people with disabilities. Others focus on specific topics such as organizing and downsizing. It's an excellent opportunity to meet others living similar lifestyles, connect over shared interests and learn from each other.

The Simple Living Marketplace is another big draw of TinyFest. Vendors, professionals and individual craftspeople sell their wares here. It's a fun way to browse contractors or pick up something to decorate your Sprinter van.

Weird Wild West

April 18th through the 22nd, Bisbee, Arizona hosts Weird Wild West by Burnerella. It's one of six annual temporary villages created by The Journal of Lost Time, an organization dedicated to inspiring and documenting stories about losing yourself in the moment. They hold events across the country and refer to them collectively as The Lost Places. Burnerella is a temporary art gallery and market with various events around Bisbee. This weekend, though, focuses on the modern nomad community.

The whole town of Bisbee is part of the event. Camping spots span across five parking lots, all within walking distance. You don't have to book a stay in one to enter the event either—anyone can purchase a general admission ticket. The website lists several hotels visitors can stay in, too. Most of the events take place at what's colloquially called the Center Camp—the Jonquil Motel.

The weekend is packed full of scheduled events and activities. Karaoke, happy hours, live music and stand-up comedians are just some of the entertainment you can find. Every day but Thursday has a three-hour tie-dye apparel workshop. Saturday morning, weather permitting, everyone pitches in for an hour-long organized ditch clean-out. It's a great opportunity to meet other van lifers while helping the local community.

Outside of the scheduled fun, you can drop by a mobile tattoo studio in a van to get a flash piece from a talented artist. The nearby Redbone Bisbee Vintage boutique will be open with discounts for attendees. Saturday is "Alice in Bisbeeland," with everyone encouraged to dress up as their favorite Alice in Wonderland character, but you don't have to wait until then to toss on a costume. In fact, Burnerella asks visitors to "get weird" with their clothing all weekend. After all, Bisbee is a spirited town that loves the creativity and self-expression that van life inspires.

Holy Toledo!

Holy Toledo! is another temporary village weekend from The Journal of Lost Time, popping up July 18th through 22nd in Toledo, OR. The Oregon Coast Visitors Association sponsors this van life event to celebrate the coast and everything it offers. Despite sharing its organizers with Weird Wild West, they're vastly different experiences.

Most of the weekend's scheduled events center around the Oregon Coast. Free family boating, lessons on cooking local seafood, mussel foraging workshops and the Deep Slough Path cleanup will give visitors a taste of living on the coast. Several local restaurants and bars get in on the action too, hosting events or giving out discounts. That's where you'll find most of the entertainment, including live music, karaoke and stand-up comedy. Van life bingo and the Van Olympics offer fun, creative ways to meet fellow modern nomads.

Most of the other activities are health and wellness-focused. A bus-based masseuse offers head, neck and shoulder massages paired with guided meditation throughout the weekend. On Friday, you can check out the "Workout and Words" workshop with a holistic health coach or learn about ice baths (and try one out if you're brave enough). Sunday features a "Morning Breathwork" demonstration with a certified Wim Hof Method instructor and evening yoga.

This only scratches the surface of what Holy Toledo! has to offer. Even though much of the schedule is devoted to the Oregon Coast, it's still a van life event. You'll get to meet modern nomads with similar interests and find inspiration in different van conversions. There are even van-based businesses—two mobile tattoo studios and a mobile hair salon will have their doors open all weekend.

Prepare Your Sprinter Van for the Trip

Are you interested in checking out a van life event? Whether you've already got a van or you're looking for inspiration, these gatherings can be both fun and informational. Before you make the trek, make sure your Sprinter van is ready for the occasion. Consider these to get it in tip-top shape or keep them in mind for your future modern nomadic home.

Exterior Storage

Storage is always a challenge with van life. There's only so much space inside, but exterior storage adds more options. It's a necessity if you're transporting large objects like bicycles or skis. A roof rack and ladder will open even more possibilities.


You can go beyond the factory-standard lighting on your van. Functional options include pillar lights or lights attached to your roof rack. You can have some fun, too, with an underbody light kit. If you plan on overlanding, extra lighting could be essential.

Maintenance and Repairs

It's important to make sure your Sprinter van is in good shape before a long drive. Check your brakes, fluids and tires ahead of time. Replace or repair everything that needs it before leaving. Be sure to keep spares of whatever you can, especially if you're going off-grid or overlanding for a while. That exterior storage would really come in handy to hold those extra parts.

Handy Extras

You might be surprised at how many accessories are available for Sprinter vans. You may not have considered a phone mount for your cup holder, but it's a great way to keep your phone nearby without it being in a distracting place.

Did you know there are also awnings for your van? They make for a great place to sit outside in the shade, especially if your van life journey has you traveling to hot, sunny locations.

Express Yourself

Any van life event is a chance to express yourself and meet other modern nomads. You could try decorating your Sprinter van inside and out. If you need some inspiration, consider adding art you like, setting out personal objects you find meaningful or adding string lights.

Some people even paint the outside of their van. It doesn't have to be a wizard shooting lightning bolts from the 1980s (unless that's what you want) and it's not a necessity like some of the things listed above. However, it's a unique opportunity to show your personality to the world and spark conversations when you come together for van life events.

Live Your Best Van Life

No matter where you are in your modern nomadic journey, you can find all your Sprinter van needs and accessories at Sprinter Store. They have everything you need to convert, maintain, or repair your van. As a bonus, you won't pay sales tax on your purchases!