Van Life Hacks for Couples: Sharing Your Tiny Space

Save space and enjoy van life with your significant other even more with these van life hacks

If you are like us, you receive a lot of joy from traveling.  You enjoy seeing new places, meeting new people, and having new experiences. Especially on four wheels. (That’s probably why you’re interested in a DM Van.) Most importantly, you enjoy sharing your adventures on four wheels with your significant other. 

Traveling and living on the road with your significant other is an entirely rewarding experience. It’s like the enjoyment is multiplied by two. But if we are being honest,  it does come with some challenges, especially concerning personal space, privacy, and communication.

In this article, we want to help establish a baseline of the space you can expect to live within with one of our vans. Then, we want to share some van life hacks for not only maximizing and thriving in that small space but more importantly, remaining in harmony with your significant other while doing so.  

Disclaimer: we are class B RV outfitters, not relationship specialists. That said, we have learned a lot from our time on the road, in smaller spaces, and with our loved ones. 

Understanding the Space Dynamics and Amenities of a DM Class B RV

To establish a baseline of what you can expect when you move into a DM Van, let’s talk specifics. There are three fully outfitted class B RVs in the DM Van lineup– the LV3, LV5, and LV7. Every single one of our conversions uses the Ram Promaster as its foundation.

Dave and Matt Vans
The LV3The LV5 (comes in LV 5.1 and 5.2 Models)The LV7 (comes in LV 7.1 and 7.2 Models)
Key Features: RAM ProMaster 136” Wheelbase
353 cubic feet
Single storage bench
Lofted short queen mattress
Two front swivel seats
RAM ProMaster 159” Wheelbase
420 cubic feet
Single storage bench/dinette seating
Queen or Full mattress options
Two front swivel seats
RAM ProMaster 159” Ext. Wheelbase
463 cubic feet
Dinette seating
Full mattress lofted bed
Two front swivel seats
Upgraded suspension and braking
Bed System:Sleeps 1-2
Short Queen (72”x60”)
60” Vented Platform
Sleeps 1-2
LV 5.1: Short Queen (72”x60”)
LV 5.2: Full (75”x54”) Vented Platform
Sleeps 1-2
Full (75”x54”)
75” Vented Platform
Power:x2 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
x2 – 160-watt Solar Panel
LV 5.1: x2 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
LV 5.2: x4 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
x2 – 160-watt Solar Panel
LV 7.1: x4 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
LV 7.2: x4 – 100 ah Lithium Batteries
x2 – 160-watt Solar Panel
Comfort:Cassette toilet
Cabin heater
AC (shore power)
Table system
LV 5.1: Cassette toilet
LV 5.2: Composting Toilet
Cabin heater
AC (shore power)
Table system
LV 7.1: Composting Toilet
Cabin heater
AC (shore power)
Table system
Standard Features on all DM Vans
Kitchenette: Electrical System:Safety Features: 
5 Drawer kitchenette
Overhead cabinet with LED lighting
Divider with electrical access
12v Refrigerator
Induction cooktop
Sink and faucet with electric Pump
7 Gallon fresh water tank
7 Gallon gray water tank
3,000-watt inverter
30 amp shore power hook up + AC/DC converter
50 amp DC-DC + MPPT charger
Integrated battery monitor
1 x 4 Port USB outlets
2 x 2 Port 120v outlets
Battery box with extra storage
Smoke / CO detector
Fire extinguisher
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
Available colors: Sandstone

Every DM Van comes with a standard array of features, regardless of the model.

  • Fully electric setup
  • Solar panels
  • Smart lithium batteries
  • 3,000-watt inverter
  • In-cabin heater
  • Roof ventilation fan
  • Roof-mounted AC
  • Rear door ladder
  • Outdoor shower
  • Toilet (cassette or composting)
  • Induction cooktop
  • Upper and lower kitchenette storage
  • Zone cabin lighting
  • Class IV hitch receiver
  • Screened windows on driver + passenger side
  • VanEssential window covers

In addition to these standard features, you can expect a kitchenette, dinette seating area, and sleeping area on the interior of every DM Van. From there, each model will have unique characteristics and customizable amenities.

Browse DM Vans Inventory >>

The LV3

The LV3 van is ideal for weekend getaways for the solo van lifer or a couple who can operate with less space. It is built on the 136″ Ram Promaster wheelbase and has 353 cubic feet of interior space.

The LV3 is the most economical van in our lineup because it is our smallest. Although it is smaller, the LV3 is mighty. We designed the interior to save space and ensure that the van is highly functional for a wide variety of camper van users and van life dwellers. The LV3 comes in at just under 18 feet in length which means it can fit into a regular parking space, making it even easier to get around in.

Check out the LV3 Van >>

The LV5

The LV5 is our mid-sized model. It is built on the 159″ Ram Promaster wheelbase and has 420 cubic feet of interior space. It is ideal for solo travelers or a couple who want a little extra room. Thanks to its customizable layout, the LV5 is a great vehicle for weekend warriors but is also roomy enough for longer trips and full-time living.

Besides the additional storage, the LV5.2 also has an option for a more robust electrical system for folks who require more energy to power their adventures or remote-working careers. In addition, you can select between a cassette toilet with our LV5.1 model and a composting toilet with our LV5.2 model.

Check out the LV 5.1 and 5.2 Vans >>

The LV7

The LV7 is the largest and longest van in our repertoire. It is built on the Promaster’s 159″ extended wheelbase and has 463 cubic feet of interior space. The LV7 is the van for couples, small families on a road trip, or solo travelers who travel with a lot of equipment. Thanks to its roomy and intelligent interior design, the LV7 is fully capable of full-time van life.

Both the LV7.1 and LV7.2 vans come with a larger, more powerful electrical system. The LV7 also comes with a composting toilet for in-house comfort. Should you need room for more passengers like your best friend or a couple of kids, the LV7.2 comes with a second-row seat.

Check out the LV7 Van >>

Selecting the Best DM Van For Your Lifestyle

We may be a little biased, but all of our vans are awesome. However, depending on your lifestyle and travel preferences, one may be better for you than another. Here are some helpful questions to ponder as you deliberate your van.

  • How do you like to travel? Are you a minimalist? Or do you like more storage space?
  • Are you solo or do you need room for other passengers? Maybe a dog or van cat?
  • What activities do you like to do while traveling?
  • How long do you plan to be away?
  • Will you be spending time deep in the backcountry or in the city?
  • Where will you park? Stealth camping or free camping spots?

Top Tips for Maximizing Your Storage Space

You are going to feel happy, regardless of the DM Van you select. That’s because we’ve spent a lot of time fine-tuning our interior design to ensure the layout is as roomy as possible, functional, even for multiple people, and versatile for the unique ways you like to live and travel.

Nonetheless, there are a few things you can do on your end of things to maximize the space even more. Here are some simple van life hacks to make your rig as streamlined and functional as possible.

Optimize your vertical space

One of our favorite camper organization hacks is optimizing vertical space. At home, we get used to ample horizontal storage space like drawers, cupboards, and shelves. We forget about the vertical space.

But in camper vans, the vertical space is precious real estate.

For example, after you’ve built out your cupboard with pots and pans or miscellaneous food storage, hang cup hooks from the top of the cupboard to use the empty space. Or, use the underside of the campervan kitchen cupboard to install a hanging spice rack.

Bungee cords are your best friends

We like to wrap everything in bungee cords, twist ties, and rubber bands. We also recommend nylon tension straps like Voile straps. Bungee cords, twist ties, rubber bands, and tension straps help keep loose items from escaping into your van’s voids.

For example, loose cables can be twist-tied. Spare batteries love to be grouped together and wrapped in a rubber band. And pairs of shoes enjoy being nested together and wrapped in a Voile strap.

Use packing cubes for clothing

Regarding clothing, one of the best campervan storage hacks is not to bring less than you think. So that’s the first step.

After you’ve got a streamlined wardrobe of your most functional garments, we recommend always storing them in packing cubes. If you opt for the LV 5.2 or LV7 vans with the built-in storage closet, packing cubes will control your bulky clothing and keep everything compact.

Invest in collapsible everything

You can really maximize storage space if you invest in collapsible dishware. For example, collapsible cups and bowls are perfect for the overhead cupboards in the kitchenette.

Secure your belongings with removable mounting putty

Another fantastic van life hack is the strategic use of removable mounting putty. When traveling in a camper van, securing your items becomes a necessity, not just a convenience. Removable mounting putty is versatile and can help keep your belongings in place while on the move. Whether it’s clay planters, picture frames, or any decorative items on counters and shelves, a few strips of mounting putty can ensure they stay put during travel. This putty is strong yet gentle on surfaces and can be easily removed or adjusted as needed, making it an essential addition to your van life toolkit for both functionality and aesthetic purposes.

Creating Privacy in Close Quarters

One of the pros of van living with your significant other is that you get to spend a lot of time with your favorite person. However, we admit that sometimes, the lack of privacy and personal space can be a struggle. This is especially true for folks who enjoy their own space and individuality while also being in a relationship.

So, if that sounds like you, here are some van life tips for creating privacy in close quarters.

  • Use headphones for listening to your own music or make phonecalls. You can also use headphones to go into “do not disturb” mode.
  • Eye masks and earplugs are perfect if one person wants to take a nap while the other person remains awake.
  • Designating daily or weekly quiet time where you can read a book, scroll on your phone, or work on your computer without interacting with your partner is a good way to enjoy each other’s company without constant interaction.
  • Separate leisure activities help preserve some individuality. For example, not every bike ride, hike, or jaunt through the city needs to be a group event.
  • Install a partition between the cab and living space to add a layer of privacy. You can also install a portion over the sleeping space for even more privacy.

Designing Your Camper Van Together

As fellow van lifers, we know that buying and moving into a van can be an emotional process. When you start vanlife, you change your day-to-day environment and routines. This can feel exciting and jarring at the same time.

On top of that, decorating and personalizing your new home on four wheels can be a lot of work, especially as a couple. Together, you have to make a lot of decisions, solve problems, and spend money.

To help maybe mitigate some headache and frustration, here are a few things to consider as you begin to design your van with your significant other and get it ready for your first road trip.

Use a “yours, mine, ours” approach to personalizing your camper van

Regardless of the van model you select, the interior should reflect a little bit of everyone. When packing your van life essentials and decorating your van build, ensure that there are elements that reflect your preferences, the preferences of your partner, and the preferences that serve you both.

For example, if you love a certain blanket, that choice can be yours. On the other hand, if your partner has a specific preference for a small area carpet, that choice can be theirs. Lastly, decorating with knick knacks that you both enjoy is a good way to make each person feel at home.

Be ready to reciprocate

If you are asking your partner to get rid of something or downsize, it’s only fair to be prepared to do the same. This helps mitigate the feeling of someone getting pushed out or that one person’s personal items take up more space than the others.

If you are full-time van living, you will slowly accumulate items from your life on the road. It can be helpful to downsize periodically to mitigate clutter inside the an.

Make a list of things that require both partners’ approval

When we think of things that might require both partner’s approval, we think of large purchases. It can be helpful to set a dollar amount for large purchases and decisions where both partners should be involved.

For example, purchasing a string of fairy lights to spruce up your campsites’ nighttime vibes is no big deal. On the other hand, purchasing new tires should involve both parties.

Decide which items you’re both willing to concede

Not everyone has the same passions and preferences for the same things. So, if there is an element of your van’s interior design that you don’t care for as much as your partner, let them take charge. This is a great solution for dividing, conquering, and relying on one another’s strengths.

For example, if your partner wants to spend the extra money and time to install some rubber matting in the overhead cupboards to keep the dishes from rattling while you drive, but the rattling doesn’t really bother you, you can concede so your partner feels heard.

The Great Outdoors as Your Extended Living Room

One of the best parts about van life is that the outdoors can extend your living space. Many van lifers forget that you can enjoy public parks and camping spots to spread out, air out, and generally spend more time outside.

For that reason, we firmly believe that your van life essentials list should include a selection of portable, collapsible, and lightweight camping gear to help you harness the exterior space around your van when you are parked and don’t have to worry about stealth camping

  • Outdoor tables and chairs allow you to sit outside when the weather is ideal during the summer months
  • Picnic table cover for when your camping spots come with a picnic table
  • “Front porch” material like turf grass, a multi-purpose door mat, or a picnic blanket to extend your living space outside
  • Camp stove for cooking outside
  • Fairy lights, headlamps, and a lantern so you can see what you’re cooking outside
  • Sleeping bags and pads for when you want to sleep outside under the stars.
  • Outdoor rug to lay down outside your slider when parked is a really nice homey feel for getting in and out of the van
  • Bug screens to keep doors open and bugs out.

Go on a Road Trip with a DM Van (and your significant other)

Road trips and full-time campervan life are some of the best ways to spend quality time with your significant other.

But don’t get us wrong—campervan life can also come with some challenges. This is true for navigating the small space of your van build and managing storage with two people, all the while constantly communicating and relying on one another.

If you ask other van lifers, you’ll find out that figuring out how to operate and thrive as a couple within your van may come with a steep learning curve. But with time, you learn that life on the road seems to enrich a relationship more than hamper it.

We hope these tips help make van life easier and more rewarding as you make a DM Van campervan conversion your next home.

See you on the road.

-Dave and Matt

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