Living In My Jeep Wrangler Full Time

Hi everyone, just started my nomad journey Dec 1st and loving it so far. I’m primarily dispersed camping in parks just outside metro areas. It’s taken a few weeks, but finally developing a good routine and equipment layout that suits me well. One area I need help with is food. Still trying to figure out cheap meal options that don’t require a fridge. Lately I’ve been eating a lot of pasta, canned chili, and bean burritos. Any food suggestions are much appreciated. My starting location is in Arizona, and eager to meet other nomads in the area.

Greetings & Welcome!

There’s multiple solutions… An ice chest, buying fresh right before cooking, get a coleman type oven to on top of your stove, and there’s a plethora of frozen dinners available, and last but not least is getting creatie with your food choices.

You can buy fully cooked canned meats, chicken, turkey, & seafood. Fully cooked bacon too. Lots of lunch meat choices too. You can make roll ups with lunch meat, cheese, & veggies in a tortilla for cold burritos, or you can heat them up. Many smoked meats don’t need refrigeration, and are very tasty.

Much of your fruits, veggies, & produce will last for days too. Don’t forget potatoes need no refrigeration, they’re healthy, and there’s tons of different ways to cook them. Grilled cheese, or grilled meat & cheese sandwiches are good too.

You can get small ice chests if space is your problem. With dry ice, you can even have a freezer. I’ve just got an el cheapo ice chest, and a 99¢ block of ice will last me a week. If it’s getting below freezing at night, sit a couple of milk jugs or soda/water bottles outside and let them freeze overnight.

If you pay attention to the dates on fresh meats, many of them will last a week in an ice chest without needing to be frozen.

Lot’s of ideas at too.

Good luck & keep us posted!


"Beat Murphy's Law with a KISS! (Keep It Stupidly Simple)" ~ Van_Dweller

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My fridge is the best thing I ever bought for my van. I’d suggest getting one and a 12v crockpot. That’s my life. You can fix a porkbutt in it and eat on that thing for almost a week. I know it’s not the answer you are looking for but that’s what I got:) good luck my friend.

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Greetings & Welcome!

Nice too see you joining in!

So I’m curious for your plans when your power goes out? All of my essentials except for my phone and laptop are non electrical, although some of my luxuries do require 12v. An ice chest works well for me, and a dutch oven on my stove or over a campfire would be my crock pot.

If people really want a fridge, I usually suggest a 3-way RV fridge from a wrecking yard for ~$50. They don’t require power in propane mode, and since they’re vented they don’t add heat to your interior in the summer. I’m not a big fan of propane though, and I don’t use it myself. I use kerosene/diesel/cooking oil, whichever is handiest for my main fuel source.


"Beat Murphy's Law with a KISS! (Keep It Stupidly Simple)" ~ Van_Dweller

I have 2 solar panels and 200+ amp hours of storage. Unless my batteries die perminatlly I’ve never ran out of power. My fridge freezer has never ran the batteries down. I have a gas camp stove and a camp portable hot water heater that works very well. In my new van I’m getting an alternator charger and one panel. Will see how that works:)


I just use an isolator these days, with a cheap generator & battery charger for a backup plan. I have a deep cycle battery for both my starter battery & my house battery, with low battery cutoffs on each of them. If stationary, each battery will last about a week, so I can dry camp for about 2 weeks and still have plenty of power to start my rig. If longer, I can recharge my batteries with the generator.

The older I get, the more I’m leaning towards old school, simple, reliable, & foolproof, & that new & improved is usually a lie, and means cheaper to make and with a shorter lifespans, or more maintenance required. Simple & reliable has so many better advantages, but we’ve got both big business and governments working against us. The better technologies are being suppressed to keep us slaves to the system.

By this coming summer, I am hoping to replace my 12v swamp cooler with a fuel powered one (stirling engine powered), and then start working on being able to power our engines with hydrogen produced as needed from water in the fuel tank. That will convert any engine into a zero emmission engine because the only byproduct of hydrogen is water vapor. Then if we popularize the external combustion engines (ECE), like the stirling engines, they can be run on solar, or any type of fuel. A small ECE generator powered by solar can produce more power than a whole field full of solar panels. And this is all older, tried & proven technologies, nothing new… Done right, we could all have nearly unlimited power for free, or close to it. (The equipment will cost a little…) A few manufacturing companies could make billions on these two methods, and the whole world would be better for it, but of course big money & consequently governments will do whatever it takes to prevent these technologies from becoming mainstream.

I’m hoping a grass roots movement might succeed in spite of big money & governments. Sometimes that’s what it takes to beat the system. Can you imagine all our homes & vehicles powered by just water? It IS possible!!! It IS already being done by a small number of people…


"Beat Murphy's Law with a KISS! (Keep It Stupidly Simple)" ~ Van_Dweller

Hey Crocket, I had started in a Jeep many years ago. I had built this five years ago, it may be something that would make life easier for you on the road. Due to a hip replacement I don’t use it much anymore, it needs finishing.

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Recipe please!

I’m always amazed at what we can cook on the road.

Our favorite sandwich on the road is peanut butter, honey, and bananas. Not very gourmet, but easy, cheap, healthy, filling, and provides great energy!

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@TKupp - This is one of my go to’s as well. Sans bananas.

We do a lot of charcuterie aka fancy lunchables these days. If you’re anywhere other than the US, eggs do not need to be refrigerated and can be used in a ton of dishes.

If I have to pick one item that we make that does not require refrigeration, it would be coconut soup, aka tom kha gai, or tofu or whatever protein you want to put into it. The only hitch there is you have to find galangal somewhere, but you can substitute lime and ginger for it if need be. If you haven’t had this dish you need to try it at least once.


I’m also a peanut butter connoisseur :smile:

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Where diet is is concerned, I quickly learned to make it my first priority. At the 6th month point of this wonderful adventure, I was hospitalized for two weeks due to low hemoglobin and iron deficiency anemia. Note that I continue to not cook in my vehicle, but rather hit the hip to consume at least one well-balanced restaurant meal along with healthy snacking daily.

On the subject of 12 Volt accessories, I do not labor my vehicle’s electrical system beyond use for cellphone and tablet charging and occasional use of a 300 Watt inverter for my laptop. This policy is resultant to a recent scare concerning use of a Road Pro 12V coffee maker. It produced three wonderful pots; 4th attempt, the pot shorted out requiring me to replace both my vehicle’s 12V accessory sockets and some relatively simple vehicle rewiring and fuse replacement. Now for a few tips:

Overnight parking: So far, I limit mine to large Walmarts, major hospital emergency room areas and truck stops. Change parking spaces daily, do not exceed three consecutive nights stay at any location and disappear during daylight hours.

Hygeine and dress: We vehicular vagabond nomads are fortunate that such a large segment of “normal” society has adopted slovenly, unkempt manners of appearance. It is very easy for us to fly comfortably beneath the radar by avoiding any appearance commonly associated with being “homeless.” It ain’t rocket science. Top down, neatly-maintained hair and beard; clean, unwrinkled clothing that fits well and cleaned/shined footwear. Perhaps even more importantly, DON’T STINK!

Finally, no matter what care and precautions you exercise, you will eventually attract attention from law enforcement. You may or may not feel you have erred but your prime objective here is maintaining a non-confrontational posture. I have experienced four such situations over the eight months I’ve been on the road. On all four occasions, after receiving satisfactory responses to questioning and my documentation checked out, the engagements ended on a good note. Although no offers of life-long friendship or dinner invitations were extended, I was treated courteously and sent on my merry way.

May only good health and outrageous good fortune accompany you in your new adventure.

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