It's definitely not for everybody.
But if you're the sleep anywhere type, love adventure and most of all really love Moto then living out of a van while turning laps on the weekend might open the door to bigger and better things. Like a hotel room, some day.
Moto Vans come in a variety of shapes and sizes and sometimes go by the name of Sprinter van, conversions, camper vans and even RVs though these much bigger cousins of a traditional Moto Van offer far more luxuries than what amounts to a large, oversized extended car.
Moto Van living allows you to save money towards the ultimate goal of obtaining a pro contract. Or perhaps you just love the track and hate wasting anytime between coffee and your dirt bike. It's sort of like glamping (but not really) since you're in nature so when nature calls where the heck do you go? We'll try and answer these questions because as the Moto Van craze picks up, and its popularity is indeed rising, comfort certainly goes a long way towards stepping on the podium and enjoying the ride for years to come.
A foldout couch and table easily fit inside a Moto Van. This and all photos below by Rory Sullivan
Buying from scratch, a Moto Van allows you to more or less customize your living quarters. However, if you're easy and have no problems roughing it, all you really need is a van and sleeping bag. Your sleeping partner(s), i.e. dirt bikes, snuggle around you. Comfort is entirely up to you and what you need to feel comfortable.
Therefore, if Moto is life, you like to wake up ready to ride and save money while doing so but have an issue with quasi homelessness then take these steps to make life on the road a bit more bearable.
Where to Park a Moto Van?
Probably the first question on the minds of anyone entering the Moto Van life foray is "Where do I park?" Usually at the track but if you're driving a long distance or entering a regional series or even trying to make the Night Show in Supercross sometimes it takes a day or two to reach the next locale.
Don't just park on the side of the road or find an empty parking lot. That's usually the best way to get the hard tap of a flashlight on the window and a police officer wanting to know who you are and what you're doing.
Try a rest stop or truck stop off the highway. Many Wal-Marts allow camper type vans to stay overnight in their parking lots (check first) and of course you can't go wrong staying in a camp ground. Moto vans generally blend in because they fit inside a regular parking spot, so any place open 24 hours presents a viable option.
It's a book that many parents impress upon their children and it's also true. So if you live in a van for a few days or a couple of weeks where do you go, to go? Lots of riders resolve this through trial and error. The more common amenities include a nearby store, rest stops, track porta potties or grab a portable toilet. They exist and replicate pretty much what's at home for less than $100 and about 10 pounds.
Also, grab a receptacle to pee in, it's not the best practice to relive yourself on track grounds or the pavement of the business who welcomes overnight Moto travelers. A jug or other disposable container provides an easy solution for #1 and you don't have to step out of the van in the middle of the night.
If you don't mind filth then move on but most everyone enjoys a hot shower especially after a day of riding. Sweat, muck and grime turns your Moto van into a ripe oven even if you've simply driven all day. Truck stops offer showers for a nominal fee, summer weather helps warm rivers or other bodies of water enough for a swim, grab a portable shower or equip your Moto Van with a small hot water heater and water tank so you can shower at the back of your van.
Another option is baby wipes. You'll work your way through a package pretty fast but it's easy and helps get the job done.
Cleanliness is next to godliness - a shower installed in your Moto Van helps a lot.
Bring jugs of fresh water for not only drinking but to wash your hands and brush your teeth. Don't fully rely on other businesses or the track for faucet and sink. Moto van life is just like camping but without the tent so when preparing think of it like camping and pack like you're camping. Therefore...
Bring enough food to keep nourished. Remember, you ride! So keep in mind the foods that help with fatigue and replenish your system after a day on the track.
Don't forget toothbrush, plates, bowls and utensils. Yes you can get by without them but these nice-to-haves become must-haves when you want them.
All this space is your canvas.
Finally, ask around. When you first got into riding you probably asked others for advice. The MX community is small but we're a tight family. Once your face turns familiar to others and others to you, the welcome mat just might get laid out for your next cross country trip at various homes along your route. At the very least you get a spot in someone's driveway with restroom facilities a short walk away or at best a full room with clean sheets and a nightlight.
One more thing, don't be surprised if this venture turns into a lifestyle. A number of companies offer custom kits to convert your van into a true rolling home on wheels. A bed, stove, sink with running water and even a refrigerator represent some of the comforts of home easily squeezed inside a tiny home also known as a Moto Van.
Check out these other articles that should help prepare your stay in a Moto Van:
- Memorial Day Prep: How to Prepare for a 3-Day Weekend of Riding
- What To Bring: Dirt Bike Trail Riding
- 10 Required Tools in Your Motocross Tool Box
- Dirt Bike Theft Prevention Tips
Written By: AndrewT