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How to Get Started with #Vanlife in NYC — with Van Expert Rob Walker

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

Have you read our comprehensive guide on VanLife in New York and want to learn more? We recently interviewed one of our expert van builders, Rob Walker, who has lived and traveled in his own van since 2019. Last year Rob was featured in this video that has garnered around 2m views, where he talked about van dwelling in Brooklyn.

Keep reading to learn Rob’s best advice for new members of the van life community, plus his best tips for living rent-free in a custom campervan in NYC.

What are your favorite easy weekend trips to take the van out of NYC?

My number one destination in New York is Montauk State Park on Long Island. I recommend going between March and October to see the lighthouse up close. Second is the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, New York. It’s a beautiful area with lots of apple picking and breweries in the fall.

Third is Castle Craig in Connecticut. This is a lesser-known spot that makes for a great drive or hike. There are also lots of things to do in the area. Some honorable mentions in New York are New Croton Dam, Robert Moses State Park, and King’s Park Psychiatric. In Pennsylvania, I recommend Bushkill Falls.

Where are the best places to get supplies around New York before a trip?

With the van, I prefer any grocery store with a parking lot. It is so nice to have the space to load up, rather than carrying all your groceries and loading up while you’re street parked.

So, I usually find a grocery store that is on my way out of the city and load up there. I like to

make sure that my fridge is full because an empty fridge will draw more power trying to keep cool. I also always stock up on lots of water before I go. The BKC Warehouse at 89 Spencer Street is a great place to fill up your water tank in NYC before heading out on a trip.

What memberships and passes are worthwhile for northeast vanlifers?

It depends on what kind of traveler you are. I personally recommend everyone gets a National Parks Pass, but that isn’t very useful if you mainly travel in the northeast.

If you’re sticking to the northeast, your money is better spent on beach passes, especially

around Long Island or New Jersey. I also highly recommend subscribing to Harvest Hosts, so you can park at breweries, wineries, and farms around the area.

Also, if you don’t have an indoor shower in your campervan, I recommend getting a gym

membership like Planet Fitness so you can shower.

What is your number one tip for new vanlifers?

My number one tip is to respect where you park. Most people won’t have a problem with you parking your van in legitimate spots, but you’ll definitely attract some negative attention if you start dumping trash on the street, taking up multiple parking spots, or otherwise causing a disturbance or eyesore.

What makes a Brooklyn Campervan custom van build unique?

Brooklyn Campervans custom van builds are stealthy and fit in most parking spots, so they are easy to overnight in the city. Their vans can also have the option to add a 360 degree security camera system that is always on, so your van is always safe.

Their clean, minimalistic interior designs provide all the amenities and feel of an upscale NYC apartment, without the crazy rent prices or roommates. Finally, their signature Swing-Out Panels provide a cool alternative to windows that no other van builder can provide.

How can people get in touch with Brooklyn Campervans?

Reach out to our team at and we’d be happy to answer any questions about vanlilfe in NYC and getting started with a custom campervan.

You can also swing by the BKC Warehouse to check out our in-progress vans or camper vans for sale whenever we open our doors for our public #vanlife gatherings, open houses, happy hours, or even concerts at our Warehouse at 344A Maujer St. Brooklyn, New York. Follow us on Instagram and join our email mailing list to make sure you never miss an upcoming event!


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